Indeed. While you’re at it, explore @msfreepress#highered coverage all year. We do real journalism about what’s happening at Mississippi’s colleges and universities, especially the public ones because they shouldn’t function behind closed doors. Archive:
Mississippi colleges, like those across country, are crucibles of the conflict between old ways and new ones. It’s heartening to watch so many students and faculty work to expose problems, even as others are either happy with status quo or silenced by the culture of fear.
This stepping-out-for-change versus culture-of-fear is at heart of what @msfreepress#UMemails series about, as well as lack of transparency and attempts to silence those who step out in various ways (and us, btw). It’s some of most important work I’ve edited. I’m proud of it.
What I’ve learned is that journalists in our state treat our universities (many went to them) as third rail of Mississippi journalism. That is, school spirit and connections keeps stories like #UMEmails from being told even when journalists have seen the emails for many months.
Reporter @ashtonpittman and I both went to state universities. We don’t believe they should operate in darkness. Our focus through this work is students-first over hurt feelings of those who didn’t make revelations in #UMEmails series public in order to protect students sooner.
You’ll see this by reading the full #UMEmails series, but know that this full story could have been told back in 2018, then in 2019, then earlier in 2020, because there were adults who knew it and who practice journalism in various ways. We stepped in because no one else willing.
Some adults at UM apparently do not want people to focus and understand my last tweet, but it is at the heart of this whole series. Parts 1 and 3 of @ashtonpittman’s original series lays out details of this so go read to understand better.
I told UM students in interview this week that I pushed to drop #UMEmails series in early August because students would be back on campus soon and needed to know exactly what had happened on the square using their images. Knowing is a form of protection now, or back in 2018.
I wrote about this editor’s note week #UMEmails package dropped in early August. We’ve been proved right multiple times in our decisions to protect sources by what we saw happen afterward, including intense pressure in j-school for sources to out selves.…
And as I said, the trashing of people others *thought* we might’ve talked to. Apparently, there’s a “list” of faculty saying they didn’t talk to us made to apparently prove who might have. It’s absurd to think confidential sources were going to tell angry co-workers if they did.
I’ll add that it’s very sad as a journalist, with a master’s in journalism, to see this happen in a journalism school.
BTW, send #highered story tips to or DM me or @ashtonpittman if you prefer.
Two other stories we’re not done with either. Read piece @11_mcgee and I did about my alma mater Mississippi State’s role in ensuring that generations were taught lies about Civil War and Confederacy—led by men MSU still honors:…
Plus, @ashtonpittman wrote about his University of Southern Mississippi’s sordid racist past (or some of it) and how students are stepping up for change. USM has a serious naming problem, too:…
Me, btw, responding to journalism faculty demanding that I provide a list of who talked to us and didn't for #UMEmails series:

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More from @DonnerKay

22 Nov
1. Vital: This isn’t “but racism is everywhere” excuse-making. Point is to focus on what’s in your front yard everywhere, not scapegoat other places so you’re, well, superior. First: Learn your own history like we do ours here. Don’t be in denial because you were miseducated, too
2. Pilgrimages to Mississippi to understand our race fascism/history are great, and I meet/tour these folks continually. But when I ask them about history-digging for white supremacy and violence back home, I’m often met w blank looks. But we weren’t Mississippi, the logic goes.
3. No, their states weren’t the worst. We were. Mississippi was the heart of US slavery wealth and then resistance to ending it and the right to give Black people full human status. But all along way, that was reinforced from outside state, and racism was bad *everywhere* in U.S.
Read 9 tweets
21 Nov
White Mississippians donated to legal fund organized by Americans for the Preservation of the White Race in 1960s to pay for bond/defense of KKK terrorists who attacked Black people+protesters of all races. The country rightly dumped on Mississippi for defending terrorism.

Put simply, rich white supremacists always got the backs of the terrorists on the front lines. This history tends to be lost because no one wants to admit to it and blame "all that" on the "Krazy Klucker in the Korner" as I've longed called this amnesia syndrome in my state.
I discovered this when I investigated Dee-Moore murders (finding James Ford Seale alive). KKK abducted them in Meadville where Franklin Cty Advocate newspaper editor David Webb did public relations for Americans for Preservation of the White Race. I believe APWR met in courthouse
Read 6 tweets
30 Oct
Let this sink in. After election, we will lead a serious conversation at @MSFreePress about public servants abdicating responsibility to be transparent or answer questions about things in purview. When whole state is run by statement/not real questions, our state is in trouble.
Huge problem is that journalism outlets here have allowed public servants (elected or not) to reduce real interviews to ask real questions into "send us questions and we'll get attorneys to do/approve a general statement." This is irresponsible, and media should not accept it.
This is major reason my publications do not provide questions in advance. This is not accountability (or real) journalism, period. We have high-paid PR people at state universities who think they can demand this. Media who allow it are engaging in access journalism, which stinks.
Read 6 tweets
30 Oct
1. So proud of @11_mcgee and @slimmm__32 for quickly organizing a wonderful Mississippi Trusted Elections Solution Circle of people from around the state to discuss voting concerns and solutions. Super-engaged group included a poll worker! Thanks to @AmPress for support. Image
2. MFP will report fast on what we learned in tonight's on our growing Mississippi Trusted Elections site of voting news, essays and some remarkable statewide voting infographics with data you won't find all in one place anywhere else. Visit and share:
3. Jarius Smith (@slimmm_32) is our voting solutions circles coordinator; @MSFreePress will host more circles post-election to start voting solutions process now, not in 4 years. Email to get on the circles invitation list. We need your voice!
Read 4 tweets
29 Jun
No, Sen. Sojourner. Every level of Miss. govt (yes, #msleg), police and white businessmen of Citizens Council conspired in the violence then. Americans for Preservation of the White Race (APWR) started in YOUR town of Natchez and paid Klansmen legal fees.…
I've gone through news archives in Natchez and Meadville when worked on That's how I learned about APWR (Franklin County newspaper editor big in it, attorneys, etc.) What many don't know is businessmen would meet and decide whether/when to invite Klan in.
In fact, Sen. Sojourner, I talk about Americans for the Preservation of the White Race and editor David Webb a bit in this piece during James Ford Seale trial thanks to library archives. Not exactly a "fringe" network.
Read 10 tweets
4 Jan
Thread: Let’s be honest about Parchman and other prisons in Mississippi. Most people simply don’t care about conditions and corruption. Cedric Willis, a falsely accused man released after years there told us the realities back in 2006:…
2. all the political posturing about gangs being responsible is dumb bullshit. Cedric explained in 2006, as have @BennyIvey1 and others have told me since, that prisoners must split into “brotherhoods” for protection and survival especially since many guards are dirty. Cedric:
3. More Cedric on guards’ abuse at Parchman:
Read 26 tweets

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