Brittany Brown covers workers and labor in Memphis, Tennessee for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, which reports on policy, poverty and power in Memphis and Shelby County. Prior to joining MLK50, Brown reported on the criminal justice system in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana for the Gulf States Newsroom, NPR’s southern news hub. She was the inaugural Emerging Reporters Fellow at Mississippi Today, where she covered the state’s criminal legal system through the lens of justice and equity. Brown’s journalism career began in student media at the University of Mississippi, where she worked as a reporter and editor for the student newspaper, tv station and yearbook. In college she worked as a breaking news intern with The Baltimore Sun and was a reporting fellow with Carnegie-Knight News21 at Arizona State University, where she reported on hate crimes in America. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is currently completing her master’s documentary thesis project in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.
Keely Brewer covers the environmental impacts on communities of color for the Daily Memphian, an online publication in Memphis, Tennessee. Brewer is a recent graduate of The University of Alabama, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in news media and served as editor-in-chief of The Crimson White. While there, Brewer launched a campus investigation into COVID-19 reporting tools in partnership with the Poynter Institute. She has covered Tuscaloosa, Alabama as an intern at the Tuscaloosa News, and has reported on the impact of faith-based diabetes programs at the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.
Laura Kebede-Twumasi is launching the Civil Wrongs project at the Institute for Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. Previously, she wrote and hosted a WKNO public television special on unresolved civil rights crimes in the Memphis area, and spearheaded a partnership between The New Tri-State Defender and WKNO public radio on a forgotten civil rights journalism hero, L. Alex Wilson. Laura Kebede-Twumasi is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has a decade of reporting experience, including five years writing about education inequities in Memphis for Chalkbeat.
MLK50: Justice Through Journalism is an award-winning nonprofit digital newsroom, and focused on the intersection of poverty, power and policy. Its vision echoes Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream: a nation where all residents, especially workers, have enough resources to thrive, and where public and private policy supports their success.
The Daily Memphian is the largest, nonprofit daily news site in the country that covers all local news, including sports, things to do and dining. It reports critical news, holds political, business and community leaders accountable, and engages with and entertains readers.
The Institute for Public Service Reporting is a nonprofit newsroom on the campus of the University of Memphis specializing in investigative reporting and in-depth explanatory journalism—an arm of the university with a firewall protecting their editorial independence. Its mission is to provide robust, civic-minded journalism that promotes a vibrant democracy, fosters inclusiveness and enriches the lives of the people of greater Memphis, including many underserved communities. Stories appear on its news site, and on The Daily Memphian, a nonprofit news site.
Astrid Kayembe is a reporter for The Commercial Appeal, a paper based on Memphis, Tennessee, covering South Memphis. Most recently, she was a social media associate for L.A. Taco, a news site, and participated in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. Kayembe earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in media and social change from the University of Southern California in 2021, where she was a reporter and editor for Intersections South L.A. Kayembe and a team partnered with L.A.Taco and won first place in a student innovation competition hosted by the University of Missouri School of Journalism. For a fellowship, she produced the “Truth Told” video series with a team of journalists as a part of the Google News Initiative. Kayembe calls South Central LA home, and when she isn’t reporting she can be found searching for the best fried plantains in the city (which are probably at her mom’s house).
Caroline Eggers covers environmental issues with a focus on equity for WPLN, an NPR member station in Nashville, Tennessee. Before this, she spent several years covering water quality issues, biodiversity, climate change and Mammoth Cave National Park for newsrooms in the South. Her reporting on homelessness and a runoff-related fish kill for the Bowling Green Daily News earned her awards from the Kentucky Press Association. Eggers studied journalism and creating writing at Emory University and began her science communication career in Washington, D.C. at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the American Wind Energy Association. Beyond deadlines, she is frequently dancing to electronic dance music, playing piano or photographing wildlife or her poodle, Princess. She's from Owensboro, Kentucky.
Jacob Steimer reports on poverty, power and public policy for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit digital newsroom in Memphis, Tennessee. Before this, Steimer reported for the Memphis Business Journal for more than four years, regularly scooping the competition. He says that his best stories included an investigation into a low income housing program and an in-depth look at why so few Memphis commercial real estate agents are Black, why that matters and how it could change. While studying journalism and economics at the University of Missouri, he was a reporter and editor for the Columbia Missourian, the school’s community paper, and earned awards from the Missouri Press Association. Steimer has interned at The Charlotte Observer and WVLT-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. An avid sports fan and a history enthusiast, he grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee.
MLK50: Justice Through Journalism is an award-winning nonprofit digital newsroom based in Memphis and focused on the intersection of poverty, power and policy.
Launched in April 2017 during the run-up to the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, we frame the news from the perspective of the people King would have been aligned with had he not been assassinated.
Through our three-year partnership with ProPublica, MLK50’s RFA fellows will have access to ProPublica training and may have the opportunity to collaborate on stories co-published with the national investigative reporting outlet.