MLK50: Justice Through Journalism has received national attention for its investigative journalism interrogating systems of power and wealth for Memphis’ low-wealth communities, and operates a highly contributive network that mirrors the city’s racial demographics.

The newsroom is one of a pilot-round early-stage investment in leaders of young organizations having outsized impact and in need of business and revenue infrastructure. The American Journalism Project’s two-year grants are structured to establish these fundamental operations and prepare the organizations for future growth.


  • Wendi C. Thomas founded MLK50 in 2017 as a one-year project that grew into a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on poverty, power and public policy in Memphis. She is a member of ProPublica’s 2020 Local Reporting Network and was in its 2019 LRN cohort. Previously, Wendi was metro columnist and assistant managing editor at The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. She has also worked for The Charlotte Observer, The (Nashville) Tennessean and The Indianapolis Star. Wendi was a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.