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Women-Founded Nonprofit Acquires Jackson Free Press Assets

Move Unites JFP, Mississippi Free Press, Youth Media Project Under One Roof

(Jackson, Miss.) The Mississippi Journalism and Education Group board of directors is proud to announce that it recently completed the acquisition of the journalism assets of the Jackson Free Press. The JFP has served Jackson, Mississippi, and surrounding areas for nearly two decades, covering Mississippi’s capital city and suburbs through print and digital media. MJEG is a 501(c)(3) that includes the statewide Mississippi Free Press and the Mississippi Youth Media Project, which offers young people journalism mentorship and job training in their own working newsroom. (YMP has been on hiatus through the pandemic, but MJEG hopes to relaunch in 2023.)

“I’m excited by this acquisition because it saves important journalism,“ said Publisher and Director of Revenue Kimberly Griffin, a Mississippi native who announced the acquisition to readers in a publisher’s note Monday. “The JFP served the capital city so well by covering communities other media ignored or sensationalized. We’re excited to extend that service and include more JFP readers in our statewide community.”

The acquisition includes the entirety of the Jackson Free Press’ published journalism and work product, the Jackson Free Press name and mailing lists, access to social media accounts, and office furniture and computer equipment. Jackson Free Press Inc. retains its financial obligations along with the Best of Jackson trademark, website and related content. The remaining Jackson Free Press Inc. staff will continue the work they have been doing in digital media services, changing over from JFP Digital Services to the renamed Changemaker Media Services over the next 90 days.

This move preserves nearly 20 years of important journalism in its original form. As resources allow, MJEG plans to update the presentation of JFP content allowing for a more user-friendly experience with select “classic” media packages housed on the MFP website.

“At the MFP, just as we did at the JFP, we rely heavily on history to contextualize our reporting, especially on race history, inequities, and systemic barriers,” MFP Editor and Executive Director Donna Ladd said. Ladd was a co-founder and editor of the JFP. “MFP journalists and other journalists now regularly build on the reporting our team did at the JFP for so many years. That public record needs to be preserved and easily searchable to be the full resource it can be in the Mississippi journalistic ecosystem.”

The Mississippi Free Press employs 10 former Jackson Free Press staff members, providing strong institutional knowledge and strong, inclusive networks across the state. They are Donna Ladd, editor and executive director; Kimberly Griffin, publisher and director of revenue; Kristen Brenemen, creative director; Ashton Pittman, senior reporter; Azia Wiggins, deputy editor; Kayode Crown, reporter; Nate Schumann, deputy editor; Nick Judin, state reporter; Aliyah Veal, culture reporter; and Dustin Cardon, digital editor. All grew up in Mississippi, other than Kayode Crown.

“In a time when many young local publications are struggling to hire the staff they need to do essential journalism, the Mississippi Free Press has benefited immensely from bringing over dedicated staff members from the Jackson Free Press,” Ladd said. “This meant no one was laid off during the pandemic, and our nonprofit journalism newsroom could quickly build a dream team of professionals who work together well and share a passion for our state.”

MFP Takes Over JFP Offices in Downtown Jackson

The Mississippi Journalism and Education Group signed a new lease effective January 2022 for the offices that formerly housed the Jackson Free Press, allowing MFP’s hybrid (remote and in-office) staff to continue to be based in the capital city—downtown Jackson—near city, state and federal government offices, courts and the Legislature. Our address is 125 S. Congress Street #1324, Jackson, MS, 39201. Call the MFP at 601-301-2021 and Publisher Kimberly Griffin at (601) 884-0316.

“The MFP and JFP were separate organizations until this point, and it was a bit confusing to readers,” Griffin said. “We now extend a formal invitation to our JFP readers to join us on the MFP journey. As Mississippians, we know it’s important our state has robust journalism in the capital city and statewide. We hold fast to the mission that Mississippians deserve accurate, in-depth reporting that seeks solutions through deep reporting and listening to our communities.”

Mississippi Journalism and Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit media organization (EIN 85-1403937) for the state, devoted to going beyond partisanship to publish solutions journalism for the Magnolia State and all of its people. MJEG now operates the Mississippi Free Press, Jackson Free Press and Mississippi Youth Media Project. Launched in March 2020 as the pandemic hit, the Mississippi Free Press was named Startup of the Year in 2021 by the Institute for Nonprofit News. The MFP has attracted many honors, accolades and significant local, regional and national media coverage since it launched.

This story originally appeared in the Mississippi Free Press. The Mississippi Free Press is a statewide nonprofit news outlet that provides most of its stories free to other media outlets to republish. Write shaye@mississippifreepress.org for information.

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