Deep South Today aims to solve the challenges facing local news through a networked hub of nonprofit newsrooms serving the most challenged region in the United States. The vision of Deep South Today is to create an infrastructure for impact-driven newsrooms that allows local players to focus on audience and editorial while receiving support in finance, administration and fundraising from a centralized hub.
Deep South Today currently has two newsrooms in its network: Mississippi Today and Verite.
About Mississippi Today
Mississippi Today is one of the largest newsrooms in Mississippi, providing free, nonpartisan news as an antidote to apathy and an essential key to government accountability.
Founded in 2016 as a statehouse watchdog, Mississippi Today’s roots in capitol coverage have grown to encompass a myriad of beats beyond politics and policy, including education, public health, justice, environment, equity and sports. It has drawn praise from civic leaders for its statewide public-interest coverage, serving diverse residents throughout the state through its journalism and events.
With support from the American Journalism Project, the organization is building a leadership and revenue team that can undertake expansion to provide local news for communities across the Deep South.
Verite is a nonprofit news organization with a twofold mission to produce in-depth journalism that serves the whole community while training, developing and mentoring a new generation of minority journalists to work on the ground in New Orleans, and equip them to work anywhere through daily reporting and a targeted fellowship program.
Verite will elevate voices from communities that have been historically dismissed or ignored, creating thoughtful, solution-based coverage on crucial topics such as education, housing, health care, criminal justice, the environment and politics to help lift up a region that has been left behind compared to similar national metropolitan areas.
Verite will provide a new platform for the area’s unique culture through thoughtful coverage, compelling storytelling, historical retrospectives and by publishing contributions from writers, poets, musicians, artists and other culture bearers who are striving to preserve traditions while also creating new ones.
The newsroom’s in-depth, data-based reporting will be geared to finding solutions to issues such as the racial wealth gap, gentrification, health care disparities, and chronic poverty. Bringing these issues to light with a thoughtful, inclusive approach will engage and empathize with all stakeholders to bring positive change. Addressing and increasing diversity in newsrooms is part of the solution.
Deep South Today leaders
Warwick Sabin is the inaugural president and CEO for Deep South Today. Sabin is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Arkansas who was elected to three terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives and previously served as Publisher of the Oxford American, an award-winning national magazine that focuses on the American South. Earlier in his career, Sabin was the founding leader of the Innovation Hub in Little Rock, which later became part of Winrock International, which along with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is among the three institutions created to sustain the legacy of Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. More recently, he served for four years as the executive director of strategic engagement at the Aspen Institute.
Mississippi Today leaders
Mary Margaret White works closely with the Mississippi Today leadership team to ensure collaboration and mission alignment throughout our nonprofit newsroom. Mary Margaret builds relationships with foundations, grant makers and impact donors to ensure reporters have the financial support they need to do their work.
Adam, named Mississippi Today’s editor-in-chief April 2020, has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. Adam oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to produce high-quality journalism in the public interest.
David Francis is the retired Executive Vice President and Publisher of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, working for NOLA Media Group and its predecessor, The Times-Picayune, for more than 24 years. David previously served as a Regional Business Planner and Manager of Financial Operations for Pepsi-Cola and Audit Manager for Deloitte & Touche. He earned his undergraduate and master's degrees in business administration from Tulane University and is a CPA (inactive status). In addition to the presidency of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, he is the President of the Institute of Mental Hygiene board. He is currently a board member of Liberty Bank and Trust, LSU Healthcare Network and The Times-Picayune Doll and Toy Fund. Previously, David was president of the boards of the Louisiana Press Association, Louisiana Daily Newspaper Association and, Children's Bureau of New Orleans and Vice Chair, of Lakefront Management Authority Board of Commissioners He has served on the boards of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Board of Advisory for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. During his tenure at The Times-Picayune, the newspaper won four Pulitzer Prizes, including the first in its 176-year history.
Terry Baquet is a 28-year veteran of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and a lifelong New Orleanian. He served as Sunday Editor and was the Page 1 Editor during the paper’s Katrina coverage which won two Pulitzer Prizes in breaking news and public service. In 2012, Terry was named Managing editor/Director of Print essentially overseeing all editorial decisions for the newspaper’s print edition and also supervising the layout and production for four other newspapers in the Advance Publications chain. He also ran The Times-Picayune’s community engagement efforts. He has served on the boards of Lede New Orleans and Spaceship Media. Terry is from an old New Orleans family that is deeply rooted in the city’s jazz and restaurant history. He graduated from Hampton Institute in Virginia, grew up in the 7th Ward and continues to live there today.