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57 years of sports, 57 years of stories

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57 years of sports, 57 years of stories

Hard to believe this has been my 57th year of covering sports in Mississippi. Fifty-seven years! Think about it. I covered the integration of sports in Mississippi. I covered the game-changing effects of Title IX on women’s sports. I have watched college baseball go from being a springtime dalliance to a huge business, one that Mississippi teams are extremely proficient at. Two years, two national championships. Can’t wait for next spring.

I have covered 13 head football coaches at , nine at Mississippi — including the legendary Mike Leach, 13 at Southern Miss and 10 at Jackson State. That 13th coach at Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin, and that 10th at Jackson State, Deion Sanders, have kept me really busy here the last few weeks.

And I know what you’re thinking: Where is he going with this? Bear with me, I am getting there …

People ask me all the time: Do you ever get tired of writing about games or the people who play them? I do not. Every game is its own passion play. Every athlete has his or her own story. I have learned over the years, it’s not so much about the games as it is the people who play them. Fact is, sports are a huge part of Mississippi’s social fabric.

I love what I do. I love my job. Indeed, I love the job I have now more than any I have ever had. For the past six years, I have written my columns for Mississippi Today, joining this not-for-profit company not long after its launch.

I believe in Mississippi Today’s mission. I believe we have filled a void left by newspapers’ drastic cutbacks and, worse, closures, across the state. In a democracy such as ours, newspapers have been the traditional watchdog over government at all levels. In Mississippi, we were dangerously close to losing that, especially at the state level. Mississippi Today has filled the void.

As our newsroom has grown, so has our influence. One of the biggest stories in Mississippi this year has been the Robin Hood-in-reverse, robbing-from-the-poor, giving-to-the-rich welfare scandal that has rocked the state. Mississippi Today’s Anna Wolfe first uncovered and then has owned that ongoing story.

What’s more, Mississippi Today currently is covering the state’s health care crisis as no other news organization has. Hospitals are closing, and many more are on the verge. Health services are being slashed. Hundreds of thousands of cannot afford the care they need. Too many people are dying far before they should. State government has largely turned a blind eye to the catastrophe. Mississippi Today hasn’t. And won’t.

By now, you probably know that Mississippi Today is a non-profit newsroom. Our digital, public service journalism is free. We operate for the most part on gifts from foundations and on donations from readers such as you. Please consider helping us continue to cover Mississippi and its people in the manner it must be covered.

I work here, but I give, too. Please join me.

Most of all, keep reading. You keep reading, and we’ll keep telling your stories.


Now through December 31, theMaddox Foundation, theJonathan Logan Family Foundation, theWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s education program, andadditional supporters will match your new recurring donation dollar-for-dollar, combined up to $54,000.That means your $25 turns into $100to continue telling your stories.

The Maddox Foundation will match all donations dollar-for-dollar made to Mississippi Today during its year-end NewsMatch campaign, up to $25,000. 

Maddox Foundation was founded by Dan Maddox in 1968. He and his wife, Margaret Maddox, had a commitment to young people, a love of nature and a vision for making their corner of the world a better place. Maddox Foundation President Robin Hurdle has continued their legacy, which lives on through the current work of the foundation.

Maddox Foundation, located in Hernando, has made many signature investment grants into youth development.These investments include renovating and supporting the Margaret Maddox Family YMCA; putting an internet-connected computer in every public classroom in Mississippi; creating innovative places for children to learn and play; establishing the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi; and funding the Education Director position and the MTV exhibit at the Grammy Mississippi.

The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation will match all donations dollar-for-dollar made to Mississippi Today during NewsMatch 2022, up to $15,000.

The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation (JLFF), based in Berkeley, CA, supports organizations that advance social justice by promoting world-changing work in investigative journalism, the arts, documentary film and democracy. As a small foundation, JLFF’s investment in NewsMatch allows the Foundation to make a difference across the entire field of local investigative journalism.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's education program has awarded Mississippi Today with a $10,000 dollar-for-dollar matching grant for any donations made during NewsMatch 2022.

The Hewlett Foundation’s Education program supports media outlets that strengthen the information ecosystem around our country’s K-12 education systems. They believe that local communities are a key part of improving teaching and learning opportunities for every student.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.biloxinewsevents.com/?p=201676

Here’s how you can support Mississippi Today’s relentless pursuit for answers

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Here’s how you can support Mississippi Today’s relentless pursuit for answers

In my first week at Mississippi Today in September of 2018, I sat on the floor in the middle of the newsroom, federal financial reports from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program splayed in front of me. “I am investigating our ’s TANF program,” I wrote in an email to my editor. “Where is the money going and where is it not? We know the TANF program has not improved our rate of poverty: is that an unfortunate reality or the result of negligence? Even by design?”

Over the last four years, I’ve sought that answer.

What followed was the largest public fraud case in state history.

Officials stole or misspent tens of millions of these federal dollars that could have been used to provide food, child care, workforce training or cash assistance to tens of thousands of vulnerable families. We first broke the story in 2020 about the role that former NFL quarterback Brett Favre played in two pet projects that received welfare funds.

But it wasn’t until I got my hands on some private text messages earlier this year that learned just how involved their governor was at the time.

“I will open a hole,” then-Gov. Phil Bryant texted Favre, days before millions of welfare dollars began flowing to the athlete’s pharmaceutical venture.

Our series, The Backchannel, provided a groundbreaking glimpse into the inner workings of state government and altered the course of the ongoing investigation, pressuring officials to acknowledge just how high up the corruption went.

Mississippi Today is relentless in its pursuit of answers. But the reporting isn’t cheap. In the last four years, I’ve filed more than 140 public records requests, which have cost thousands of dollars, and traveled everywhere from Marks to Kiln to tell Mississippi’s story.

You can help us continue this work:

Most of all, keep reading. You keep reading, and we’ll keep going to uncover the truth.


Now through December 31, theMaddox Foundation, theJonathan Logan Family Foundation, theWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s education program, andadditional supporters will match your new recurring donation dollar-for-dollar, combined up to $54,000.That means your $25 turns into $100to continue telling your stories.

The Maddox Foundation will match all donations dollar-for-dollar made to Mississippi Today during its year-end NewsMatch campaign, up to $25,000. 

Maddox Foundation was founded by Dan Maddox in 1968. He and his wife, Margaret Maddox, had a commitment to young people, a love of nature and a vision for making their corner of the world a better place. Maddox Foundation President Robin Hurdle has continued their legacy, which lives on through the current work of the foundation.

Maddox Foundation, located in Hernando, has made many signature investment grants into youth development.These investments include renovating and supporting the Margaret Maddox Family YMCA; putting an internet-connected computer in every public classroom in Mississippi; creating innovative places for children to learn and play; establishing the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi; and funding the Education Director position and the MTV exhibit at the Grammy Mississippi.

The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation will match all donations dollar-for-dollar made to Mississippi Today during NewsMatch 2022, up to $15,000.

The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation (JLFF), based in Berkeley, CA, supports organizations that advance social justice by promoting world-changing work in investigative journalism, the arts, documentary film and democracy. As a small foundation, JLFF’s investment in NewsMatch allows the Foundation to make a difference across the entire field of local investigative journalism.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's education program has awarded Mississippi Today with a $10,000 dollar-for-dollar matching grant for any donations made during NewsMatch 2022.

The Hewlett Foundation’s Education program supports media outlets that strengthen the information ecosystem around our country’s K-12 education systems. They believe that local communities are a key part of improving teaching and learning opportunities for every student.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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