Abbey is a leader in the Alabama Media Group’s Reckon Women project that gives voice to women from the deep South, and particularly those from Alabama.
The project was started after the Alabama legislature passed a state law banning nearly all abortions.
“National media were quick to paint women in Alabama with a broad brush, claiming it’s problematic past had marked its people a monolith,” said Abbey who is the only women and gender issues reporter in Alabama. “But we knew that wasn’t true.”
The project started with essays from more than 200 women from varying backgrounds and reactions to the new law and as well as how Alabama treats women.
Abbey’s team also started a Facebook group, which, she said, “is dedicated to conversation about making sure the Deep South is a place where women can thrive.” Started at the end of April, 2019, the group has nearly 2,500 members.
The group has been a place to build off reported pieces, share stories and to find commonalities among members. Because of the volatility of the abortion issue, Alabama Media partnered with Spaceship Media to help guide and moderate the conversations.
In June 2019, Abbey started a Reckon Women newsletter that cultivates news from around the country relevant to women in the Deep South, and featuring interviews with accomplished women.
“The country is quick to write off red states and disregard the nuanced voices that live there,” she said. “But in a state with only nine women to ever serve on the State Senate, a state with bottoming maternal health rates and nearly the worst place to be for poor black pregnant women, we need to be heard.
“I want to make sure women in Alabama are represented and their voices laced with nuanced understanding,” Abbey said.
The MJ Bear Fellowship Selection Committee said, “This is meaningful work for women’s rights. She’s engaging her audience and looking for nuance. It’s clear that she is passionate about her work and getting it right in a fair and balanced way.”
Said Abbey’s recommender Kelly Ann Scott, vice president of content for the Alabama Media Group, “She became the country’s go-to source for information and a voice for the diversity of women in our state. While the country sought to label women here and, in the South, Abbey sought to find the nuance and explain that to the rest of the country…(Her work on the newsletter) “illustrates her vision, tenacity and grit in executing a detailed effort.”
Before joining Alabama Media Group in April 2018, Abbey was a news assistant at the Wall Street Journal and Assistant Editor at The Daily Meal, a website covering food and drink.
Abbey is a graduate of the University of Alabama where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Journalism with a minor in Art.