Jackson Free Press

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Jackson Free Press (front page).jpg
Owner(s)Donna Ladd, Todd Stauffer
PublisherTodd Stauffer
EditorDonna Ladd
HeadquartersJackson, Mississippi

The Jackson Free Press, referred to often as simply "JFP", is a for profit community magazine available free of charge at various retail establishments in Jackson, Mississippi founded in 2002 and owned by Mississippi native and Donna Ladd, author and technology expert Todd Stauffer. It is currently the only member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) in the state of Mississippi. JFP distributes approximately 15,000 free copies[1] to 425+ locations throughout the Jackson metropolitan area twice monthly. It is known locally for its annual Best of Jackson awards as nominated by its readers and its online political blogs. It also has sponsored numerous local events such as the Fondren ArtMix, JubileeJam, the Chick Ball, the "Race, Religion & Society Series" and the Crossroads Film Festival.

The publication is named after the Mississippi Free Press, a civil rights movement newspaper started by a multiracial coalition including Medgar Evers, Rev. R.L.T. Smith, and printed by white newspaper publisher Hazel Brannon Smith.[1][2]

In its first four years of publication, JFP won 14 national writing awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.[3]

In July 2005, a team of JFP journalists, led by editor Donna Ladd, joined Thomas Moore and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation filmmaker David Ridgen in a trip to Moore's hometown of Meadville, Mississippi to investigate and call for justice for the 1964 KKK murders of his brother Charles, and his friend Henry Dee. In the paper's story about the trip, published July 20, 2005, JFP revealed that the lead suspect, James Ford Seale, was alive and living in the area, although other media outlets had reported that he was no longer alive. In January 2007, the Justice Department announced that Seale had been indicted for federal kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the case.[4]

The publication has also attracted attention with its dogged coverage of Jackson mayor Frank Melton. JFP's Adam Lynch broke the story on the publication's web site that the mayor had taken a group of young men to bust up an alleged "drughouse" with sledgehammers. That revelation led to the indictment of the mayor and his bodyguards on multiple criminal charges. They were eventually found not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing by a jury.[5]

The Jackson Free Press launched its active Web site with multiple blogs in 2002.[6] As the publication is a twice a month magazine, the website provides immediate breaking news and forums for discussions on news appearing in the print version and topics posted by readers.

In 2006, the JFP joined with eight other publishers in the Jackson area to form the Mississippi Independent Publishers Alliance (MIPA) to challenge the Gannett Corp.'s TDN distribution scheme to control local distribution. The JFP's efforts to fight the scheme,[7][8] which was blasted by Editor & Publisher magazine as a violation of independent publication's First Amendment rights,[9] was written up in media across the country.[10][11][12][13] JFP started a blog called the Goliath Blog to chronicle MIPA's successes in the battle and the national media coverage of the issue.[14] MIPA efforts led to an investigation of the strategy by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Jackson Free Press FAQ
  2. ^ IMDb:A Passion for Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story
  3. ^ "Association of Alternative Newsweeklies". Aan.org. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  4. ^ Jackson Free Press. "Road to Meadville". Jackson Free Press. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  5. ^ Jackson Free Press. "The JFP on Frank Melton". Jackson Free Press. Archived from the original on December 7, 2005. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Mark Glaser Posted: 2004-07-13 (July 13, 2004). "Online Journalism Review". Ojr.org. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  7. ^ "Mississippi Business Journal: Independent Publishers See Threat in TDN Plan". Allbusiness.com. May 29, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  8. ^ "Newspapers Battle Over Rack Territory". WLBT. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  9. ^ Jackson Free Press: E&P Editorial: Clarion-Ledger Violating First Amendment Archived March 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Hambrick, Greg (August 15, 2007). "Evening Post Publishing seeks to monopolize newspaper distribution". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  11. ^ "Des Moines City View: Racked". Dmcityview.com. June 7, 2005. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  12. ^ Ladd, Donna (March 28, 2007). "Beating Back Goliath; written by Donna Ladd; Jackson Free Press editor". Honolulu Weekly. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  13. ^ Independent Weekly: Boxed out
  14. ^ Jackson Free Press. "Local Media vs. Gannett Corp". Jackson Free Press. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  15. ^ Jackson Free Press:AG Scrutinizing Clarion-Ledger's TDN Scheme Archived November 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]