Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, 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.
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.