Helping Mississippi's students share their stories since 1947.

Helping Mississippi's students share their stories since 1947.


Helping Mississippi's students share their stories since 1947.


Primer: Anna Wolfe will deliver the Hamilton Keynote Speech


The Mississippi Scholastic Press Association will celebrate 77 years of student media at its annual spring convention on Tuesday, April 2, at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Pulitzer-Prize winner Anna Wolfe will deliver the Hamilton Keynote Speech.


Anna Wolfe is an investigative reporter at Mississippi Today who covers inequality and corruption in government safety net programs, nonprofit service providers and institutions affecting the marginalized. She began reporting for Mississippi Today in 2018 after she approached the editor with the idea of starting a poverty beat, the first of its kind in the state.


Wolfe has received national recognition, including the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, the Livingston Award, and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigating Reporter, for her years-long coverage of Mississippi’s welfare program.


In her investigative series The Backchannel, she exposed new details about how state officials funneled tens of millions of federal public assistance funds away from needy families and instead to their friends, families and the pet projects of famous athletes.


Previously, Wolfe worked for three years at Clarion Ledger, Mississippi’s statewide newspaper, where she covered city hall, health care, and wrote stories about hunger and medical billing, earning the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism two years in a row. Born and raised on the Puget Sound in Washington State, Wolfe moved to Mississippi in 2012 to attend Mississippi State University, where she currently serves on the Digital Journalism Advisory Board. She has lived in Jackson, Mississippi since graduating in 2014. 


To learn more about Wolfe and the work she has done, Mississippi Scholastic Press Association spoke with Anna Wolfe.




When did your interest in journalism start?

I went to Mississippi State and I studied journalism there. I think a lot of people have these romantic origin stories in journalism, and really I just wanted to write and that was the career choice that made the most sense for me – a job I could make a living writing in. 


Did you do any journalism in high school?

I did not. My high school did not have a journalism program so I wasn’t really exposed to that until college.


Could you tell me about the Pulitzer Prize you won?

That is a story that really starts many years ago, beginning with my reporting on a program called “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families,” which was the state welfare program. I, through being persistent and trying to uncover what was going on with this public assistance program, was able to really get a front seat to a once-in-a-lifetime story of corruption and greed from some of our state’s highest and most powerful official. Reporting on that story led to me winning the Pulitizer. 


What made you want to have a journalism career in Mississippi?

I’m from Washington State, originally. I think I just saw that the south was a place that I could really carve out some really interesting stories and I went to school here, so I was already here. When I graduated, I chose to stay in Jackson and found my way here and felt like I found my people and found my place. I love the culture and the stories are just really unmatched, so it is difficult to think about going and doing this job anywhere else. 


Who is your inspiration?

I’ve gotten this question before and I kind of struggle with it because of the work that I’ve been doing and the reason why I chose the beat that I have now, really, is credited to my mom, who has in her career pretty much always been working with underprivileged folks and people living in poverty. She kind of gave me my heart for justice and passion for economic justice.

More to Discover