Our mission

Scalawag sparks critical conversations about the many Souths where we live, love, and struggle. We amplify voices of activists, artists, and writers to reckon with Southern realities as they are, rather than as they seem to be.

The stories we tell matter. In print, online, and in person, Scalawag reimagines the roots and futures of the place we call home. We are on our way.

Our story

The idea for Scalawag came from conversations between Atlanta-native Sarah Bufkin and Winston-Salem-native Jesse Williams in the summer of 2013. The following summer, now-resident-carpetbagger Evan Walker-Wells joined the team and the three began building a core team and soliciting contributors. In March 2015 we launched a Kickstarter campaign (and raised more than 150% of our goal), which allowed us to publish our first issue in June 2015.

We've now entered our second year publishing. With a print issue every three months, at least two new pieces online each week, our weekly email This Week in the South, and community conversations, Scalawag spurs examination of Southern politics and cultures. We've covered environmental justice, public school resegregation, and how family's face mental illness. With stories from Mississippi to Virginia, Atlanta to rural West Virginia, Scalawag has amplified the voices of Southerners reckoning with our region.

We do this as volunteers: Two years in, no one on our team has received a salary. At the same time, we've paid every writer, poet, and photographer. We've been able to do that because of the support of the Scalawag community—our subscribers and our donors. We hope you'll join us by subscribing or pledging to this work.

Write for us

Scalawag works primarily with freelance writers—if you're interested in writing, email us at editors@scalawagmag.org and we'll send you our contributor guide. We look forward to hearing your pitches.


Editorial Independence Policy

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:

Scalawag retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services, or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

While Scalawag may consider or solicit donations to support the coverage of broad topics, our editorial board maintains control of all coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Scalawag publicly thanks and lists all donors who give $1,000 or more. As a nonprofit, we will avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources for anything except general operations, and we will not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials, or candidates actively seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our Board of Directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.


Read more about Scalawag's business and donor policies on our Transparency page.