By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Donna Ladd strikes back

Donna Ladd, the editor and CEO of the Mississippi Free Press, took issue with my post arguing that her regional news outlet ought to stick with covering state issues rather than weighing in on national politics. She voiced her opinions on Twitter/X, noting that the Free Press is in the process of hiring a Washington-based reporter to cover state issues from the nation’s capital. (Good move, although unrelated to the concern I raised.) She tweeted (among other things):

You might’ve used a different phrase than telling us to stay in our lane, Dan. Or, maybe talked to us as @jbenton did. Our ‘lane’ has always included pro-democracy reporting and Voices, and nothing about our decision means we will do less local reporting.”

Because she and others thought my observation that “local and regional news organizations ought to stay in their lane” was condescending, I’ve gone back and changed it, even though that was not my intent. I think holding power to account at the state and local level is an honorable and much-needed lane, but obviously I failed to make myself understood. That’s on me.

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  1. Paul Bass

    Semantics aside, I find this a useful and interesting debate. Keep it going! You’re both on the side of the angels.

  2. Bert Derouen

    On behalf of all Southern progressives: kiss our grits.

    Why don’t you stay in your lane and worry about the filthy, unreliable Red Line and we’ll worry about rescuing our homes.

  3. Thanks Paul and Bert. I appreciate both your comments, being that this whole post is about me. Be sure to see my full column responding to Kennedy’s blog post if you didn’t. This is bigger than the offensive and quickly deleted phrase for the MFP to “stay in their lane.” We believe that it’s all-hands-on-deck time (to use another tired ciché) and that journalism must hold all power to account, especially in this moment. And that our readers deserve this and other pivotal info during an election year–and not behind national paywalls that do not serve them.

    I write more about that here:

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