Jackson Free Press co-founder and editor Donna Ladd was one of "six exceptional individuals" who received a Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Award on Friday. The awards, given out by Jackson State University's Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy, go to people who "have been instrumental in modeling a civil society" in Mississippi.

Continue ReadingJackson Free Press Editor Donna Ladd Receives Fannie Lou Hamer Award

Last week, Jackson Free Press became one of the 22 AAN papers that have published a version of Stacy Mitchell's story on "local washing," the phenomenon in which large, national corporations don the figurative garb of natives in order to co-opt the "buy local" movement. JFP editor Donna Ladd wrote a column in the same issue placing Gannett's ShopLocal(TM) squarely in the local-washing camp. Yesterday, Patrick Flanagan, the senior director of product management for ShopLocal(TM), answered JFP in a blog post purporting to "clear up the confusion around the meaning of 'local'", which he defines in a way that manages to include every bricks-and-mortar business in America, including CVS and Wal-Mart. So, according to Flanagan (whose post also caused collateral damage to the term "hyperlocal"), all shopping is local as long as it's done in a physical store.

Continue ReadingGannett Redefines the Meaning of a ‘Local’ Business

In the ninth installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, Jackson Free Press editor Donna Ladd discusses her award-winning feature on the Seale family, which has long ties to the Ku Klux Klan, but has tried to ameliorate its past. She talks to St. John Barned-Smith about how they found the story, how her upbringing in Mississippi informs her work, and how she connects with her sources. "I find the best way is to just have absolute interest in what they're saying," Ladd says. "I have no judgment when I'm sitting in front of someone. I am a sponge.

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Donna Ladd

The JFP has "resurrected the alt-weekly tradition of maverick investigations and cultural provocation," Casey Sanchez writes in Next American City magazine. In doing so, "it has cultivated an audience uncommon in the South and practically nonexistent among alt-weeklies -- young, white conservatives and black professionals, many of whom are lifelong Jacksonians." Editor Donna Ladd says the paper's dogged coverage of City Hall has helped build a loyal following. "Any cover with the mayor on it doesn't stay on the stands more than a day," she says.

Continue ReadingHow the Jackson Free Press Built an Uncommon Alt-Weekly Audience

This year the high school in Charleston, Miss., held an integrated prom for the first time -- ending a system of parallel parties for black and white students. National Public Radio's Bryant Park Project covered the story after reading about it in the Jackson Free Press. "After we covered the story this week, a whole lot of people wrote in to say they were just plain shocked that any kind of segregation could still exist in this country," writes the show's web editor (and former Village Voice executive editor) Laura Conaway. She talks to Ladd about the story, the reaction, and where the conversation about race in America needs to go.

Continue ReadingJackson Free Press Editor Donna Ladd Talks About Race in America

All of the members who have announced their candidacies are thus far running unopposed. However, AAN bylaws do not require individuals to declare their intention to run in advance. Any regular members who are interested in seeking a seat on the board can be nominated from the floor at the annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, June 7, during the association's annual meeting in Philadelphia. Read here to find out who has announced they are running, why they want to serve on the board, and what they view as the important issues facing AAN and its members.

Continue ReadingTen Candidates Running for Election to AAN Board of Directors