About us

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.

Cover image from Scalawag's first issue. Image by Julian Plowden.

How we work

Scalawag is committed to community-supported, nonprofit journalism. As a 501(c)3, we depend on individual donors and foundations to support our work. Subscription sales cover the costs of our ongoing journalism, but donations and grants are essential for the expansion of our work.

Until 2017, we did this work with less than $50,000 a year. The entire Scalawag team worked as volunteers, even as we have paid every writer and photographer. Our team is now beginning to be paid—even as we expand and many of us work on part-time basis. We work with partners of all kinds—journalists, local community organizations, and national networks like the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Media Consortium.

Scalawag's impact is not only in its journalism. We believe that Scalawag can be a home that mentors and supports a new generation of Southern writers, editors, and nonprofit leaders committed to an equitable and just South. With support from donors who give $5 and institutional support from places like the AJ Fletcher Foundation and the Emerson Collective, we're growing Scalawag's impact—and punching above our weight.

Learn more about our donors and our commitment to transparency.

And you can meet our fabulous Board of Directors here.

You can mail inquiries, donations, or pitches to Scalawag, PO Box 129, Durham, NC 27702.

Zaina Alsous

Zaina Alsous is an editor for Scalawag and MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Miami. Born and raised by immigrants in North Carolina, most of her writing and community work focuses on labor, Arab diaspora, and decarceration.

Sarah Bufkin

Sarah Bufkin is a co-founder of Scalawag and a member of the editorial board. Born and raised in Atlanta, she is now a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford where she works at the intersection of contemporary political theory and critical race studies.

Lovey Cooper

Lovey Cooper is a journalist from small-town North Carolina who was educated in Appalachia and cut her teeth in Washington. She’s a Scalawag fellow and the voice behind This Week in the South.

Katie Costanza

Katie Costanza is a life-long North Carolinian and member of Scalawag's business team. She has a background in communications, public education, and refugee resettlement. She currently works in higher ed.

Mike Ellis

Michael Ellis is Scalawag’s Executive Director-Publisher. From his early days as a political canvasser, Mike has been committed to local community engagement as the root of social transformation. At Scalawag, Mike is committed to developing a new model of independent media to fulfill this mission.

Rachel Garringer

Rachel Garringer hails from southeastern West Virginia and is an editor for Scalawag. She has written and edited for Scalawag since 2015 and is the founder and director of an ongoing oral history project called Country Queers.

Alysia Nicole Harris

Alysia Nicole Harris is a performance artist, poet, and linguist from Virginia. Religion, travel and the arts make her heart go thud thud. She makes up part of Scalawag's Atlanta-based editorial crew.

Lizzy Hazeltine

Lizzy Hazeltine is a member of Scalawag's business team who brings her experience in venture capital and multimedia journalism to help this community grow. She's a Lowcountry native who calls the Old North State home.

Cierra Hinton

Cierra Hinton has an undying love and passion for the complicated South, which she brings to her work at Scalawag. She has found community across the South, including in Tennessee and Mississippi, but calls North Carolina home.

Ellis Johnson II

Ellis Johnson II is a Business Operations Fellow who combines a love for data and clear processes to improve and maintain efficient business operations. He is currently a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying public administration and city and regional planning.

Harold Landerer

Harold Landerer is a Business Operations Fellow, who brings his experience in start-up management and community activism to Scalawag. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Chika Ota

Chika Ota is creative director of Scalawag. Over the past decade she has initiated and advised numerous multimedia projects focusing on sociopolitical and environmental issues.

Emily Otey

Emily Otey is a native southerner who has lived in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. She is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of Scalawag’s business team.

Danielle Purifoy

Danielle Purifoy is a lawyer and Ph.D candidate in environmental policy at Duke University. She studies how structural racism creates environmental inequality in the South and brings these interests to her work as an editor for Scalawag.

Anna Simonton

Anna Simonton is an editor for Scalawag based in Atlanta, where she was raised. She is a freelance writer.

Lewis Wallace

Lewis Wallace is a reporter and editor with a background in public radio. His work focuses on the voices of people who are geographically, economically and politically marginalized. Lewis has previously worked as a community organizer, barista and sex educator. He’s from Michigan with roots in South Carolina. Lewis is transgender and goes by “he."

Evan Walker-Wells

Evan Walker-Wells is a Scalawag co-founder as well as our publisher and carpetbagger-in-residence. Evan's a veteran of both Obama campaigns and loves to cook.

Matt Whitt

Matt Whitt is a long-time member of Scalawag’s editorial team. Having lived in Virginia and Tennessee, he now teaches writing at Duke University and plans to settle in North Carolina for good.