Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Miss. reporter earns prestigious McArthur grant, will keep trying to solve crimes of civil-rights era

Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, has been awarded a prestigious McArthur Fellowship. Mitchell, who has spent two decades solving crimes of the civil-rights era in Mississippi, will receive a five-year, $500,000 grant funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

"The purpose of the program is to promote creativity across a great range of fields in the interest of improving the human condition," foundation president Bob Gallucci told Chris Joyner of The Clarion-Ledger. Mitchell, 50, plans to use the grant to continue his pursuit of crimes that remain unsolved and to finish a book. He may take temporary breaks from The Clarion-Ledger to work on the project, but will continue to publish his findings in the Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.

"I speak for the entire Clarion-Ledger family when I say that Jerry's latest honor solidifies his position as one of the nation's top journalists," Larry K. Whitaker, The Clarion-Ledger's president and publisher, told Joyner. According to the foundation's Web site, the three criteria for the fellowship are exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. (Read more) For the foundation's bio of Mitchell, click here.

UPDATE, Sept. 29: Richard Perez-Pena of The New York Times has a short but nice profile.

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