Jerry Mitchell Named MacArthur Fellow
McLEAN, VA – Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter at The Clarion-Ledger at Jackson, MS, was named one of two dozen new MacArthur Fellows, a list that includes artists, writers and scientists the foundation believes show the ability to use their gifts to improve the world.
For 20 years, Mitchell has investigated the civil-rights era, relentlessly pursuing leads and uncovering previously unknown information that helped result in the reopening of cases and the prosecution, arrests and convictions of several people responsible for 1960s-era civil-rights deaths.
“Jerry Mitchell never gives up searching for the truth. We are proud of his long-standing, courageous work, which underscores the important watchdog role that our newspapers have in their communities. He is a role model and an inspiration for all journalists,” said Robert Dickey, president of U.S. Community Publishing.
Among the results of Mitchell’s work: His stories helped reopen the case against Sam Bowers in the 1966 firebombing death of civil-rights leader Vernon Dahmer. His reporting work on the unsolved 1964 deaths of three civil-rights workers helped enable the state to convict the man who was behind the killings. Mitchell was the key reporter who exposed a State Sovereignty Commission that was shown to have existed to further segregation. His investigations also helped result in the arrests and convictions of the men responsible for the 1963 murder of NAACP leader Medgar Evers and the 1963 Birmingham, AL, church bombing that killed four girls.
Over the years, Mitchell has been a recipient of several national honors recognizing his body of work, including the George Polk Award for Justice Reporting, the Sidney Hillman Award, the Heywood Broun Award, the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, a career-recognition award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization. He also was named a Pulitzer finalist in the Beat Reporting category and received national honors from the Anti-Defamation League at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
In 2001, Mitchell was chosen as one of Gannett’s top 10 journalists to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award of Excellence in recognition of outstanding news performance. Two years earlier Mitchell was awarded Gannett’s William Ringle Outstanding Achievement Career Award, which recognizes those who have contributed for years to the success of Gannett newspapers and the journalism profession, and who clearly have made a positive contribution for readers.
Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is an international news and information company operating on multiple platforms including the Internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Gannett is an Internet leader with hundreds of newspaper and TV Web sites; CareerBuilder.com, the nation’s top employment site; USATODAY.com; and more than 80 local MomsLikeMe.com sites. Gannett publishes 84 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper, and more than 700 magazines and other non-dailies including USA WEEKEND. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s second largest regional newspaper company with 17 daily paid-for titles, more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and a network of Web sites.
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