Bringing the Deep South region and its diverse communities together by uplifting and amplifying typically unheard voices with immersive, investigative reporting and powerful storytelling that agitates the status quo.
Founder Ashton Pittman began Deep South Voice as a short-term journalism class project in 2011, but it has since morphed into a passionate pursuit to dig deep into issues that touch the heart of communities across the region. We’ve been the first to unearth stories that impact underserved communities and put humanity back at the forefront of political, social, and economic issues.
This gay-owned publication gained notoriety in 2014 after we broke the story on Mississippi Senate Bill 2681, a so-called “religious freedom” bill written by out-of-state actors to enable discrimination against the LGBT community by making an exception for individuals and businesses that cite “deeply held religious views” as justification. Our coverage drew national attention from LGBT rights organizations and figures, including the Human Rights Campaign and former ‘N Sync star Lance Bass, a Mississippi native.
Though the mainstream media missed the story initially, our work drove it to the forefront of a statewide debate, and a number of House members who had not understood the bill’s implications when they first voted for it re-examined the bill, changed their votes, and began to speak out fervently against it. A significantly smaller majority of legislators ultimately approved the bill, and Governor Phil Bryant signed S.B. 2681 into law that spring. Still, we shined a light on the legislation’s true intent, and the ensuing statewide conversation proved we were onto something.
Because we believe in making a difference telling stories that matter, we’ve decided to dedicate our resources and talents to Deep South Voice full time. We’ll tackle tough topics, seek the truth, and strive for substantive change. We’re also a source for daily news and how it affects the diverse communities in the Deep South states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
Join us on this journey as we lift up the voices of those around us.
Have a story you think should be told? Send an email to [email protected].
Founder, editor, and co-owner Ashton Pittman thrives on curiosity and has a natural knack for storytelling. He’s taken the world of journalism by storm with pieces published by the New York Times, The Guardian, and an NBCThink piece on sexism and politics.
As the state reporter for the Jackson Free Press, his award-winning coverage of the 2018 U.S. Senate special election in Mississippi drove national headlines when he broke the story about U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s time at a segregation academy. He has been a guest on NPR, BBC World Radio, and has made several guest appearances on various MSNBC shows.
His coverage and social media presence has garnered attention from politicians, top journalists, celebrities, authors, activists, and academics of all stripes.
Ashton studied journalism and political science at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he also learned photojournalism and developed a love for shooting on film and working in a darkroom. A South Mississippi-native, he lives in his home state with his husband, William, where they run Deep South Voice together, assisted by their pit bulls, Dorothy and Dru.
Publisher and co-owner William Pittman is passionate about forging a new path for journalism that amplifies the voices of communities that are too often left out of the conversation. His first published piece, a personal story for DIME Entertainment Magazine, detailed the struggles he faces on a daily basis as someone with a severe mental illness. Several readers let William know that his story had an impact, helping them either recognize or better understand their own struggles with mental illness.
As a photojournalist and writer at Deep South Voice, he’s covered a variety of topics, including Jennifer Riley Collins’ historic run for statewide office in Mississippi, the State’s Jim Crow-era laws that remain in effect to this day, former Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Alabama to support Doug Jones’ U.S. Senate run, and University of Southern Mississippi student leader Brandon Rue’s efforts to turn out the college vote in the 2018 elections. His stories have been retweeted by celebrities like comedian Chelsea Handler.
William is from Pascagoula and lives in South Mississippi with his husband, Ashton, where they run Deep South Voice together, assisted by their pit bulls, Dorothy and Dru (short for Drucilla).
We adopted Dorothy, our red nose pit bull, from the Hub City Humane Society in February 2017. When we found her, she had recently been rescued from an abusive puppy mill, where she spent the first two years of her life. She is now a spoiled princess whose ears perk up at the mere hint of going “outside.” Dorothy loves balls, sticks, likes to destroy dolls, and believes it is her inalienable right to sleep in the bed with her daddies. Her pastimes include stealing office chairs, making her humans get their exercise, and continuing in her unending quest to kill her little pit bull sister (playfully, of course).
When we met Dru, we knew we had no choice but to take her home with us. A few days earlier, we had seen a Facebook post from someone who had found her when she showed up on their farm; apparently, someone had abandoned her. We took her to meet Dorothy at a dog park to see how they would get along. She immediately came over, put her front paws around Dorothy’s neck, and then walked over and sat in William’s lap. Everything makes Dru happy—especially pestering her big sister, eating, sleeping, and doing her best to sit on top of anyone who will remain still long enough.