Beginning in April, one of the Bay’s oldest families takes the reins of the popular digital publication. We've got the backstory, of course!
It appeals to locals, second homeowners, business owners, visitors and those seeking to relocate here.
To continue expanding the Shoofly’s reach while maintaining the quality, hometown content readers depend on, Ellis is now working with Wendy McDonald and her daughter Jessica Rupp Bilotta, of MAC Media, LLC, which has acquired the publication.
Beginning in April, Wendy and Jessica will be become co-publishers and co-owners of The Shoofly Magazine. Ellis will continue as managing editor.
What changes will you notice?
As far as content and presentation of the magazine, there’ll be no changes in the foreseeable future. Our entire veteran Shoofly team will continue creating the fine quality stories and photographs our readers have come to expect. Later this summer, look for the launch of a fun, Shoofly-branded product line!
In addition to her publishing and editing duties at the Shoofly over the past decade, Ellis has pursued her writing career (she authored the award-winning Under Surge, Under Siege: The Odyssey of Bay St. Louis and Katrina, published in 2010 by University Press of MS). In December 2021, she graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans, where she’s been working on a second book manuscript. In late 2020, Ellis began exploring avenues that would allow her to focus more on her writing.
Enter Wendy McDonald and Jessica Bilotta.
Wendy McDonald, a sixth-generation Bay St. Louis native, was working as Dean of Arts and Technology at Lone-Star College Cyfair near Houston when Katrina devastated her hometown in 2005. She moved back to help the community rebuild, eventually helping found and then directing Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland (HFHBW).
The powerhouse organization worked for years with volunteers from across the nation, ultimately building 200 houses and renovating hundreds more. Wendy pioneered the push for energy efficiency in Habitat homes, repeatedly garnering the highest recognition for her efforts – Habitat Bay-Waveland (BWHFH) was named Small Affiliate of the Year by Habitat International for four years running.
In 2009 Wendy was elected to the Bay St. Louis City Council and served for two terms, focusing on recovery projects like the harbor and revitalization of the Old Town commercial district. In addition, she continued volunteering with other community recovery efforts while completing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration.
During this period, HFHBW was a client of Ellis Anderson Media. Ellis worked closely with Wendy, producing both a newsletter and a website for the organization. Ellis was so inspired by Wendy’s leadership that she wrote a profile about the dynamo and included it in Under Surge, Under Siege. During the past 15 years, the two women have remained close friends and continued working together on various community projects.
In the spring of 2021, Ellis first approached Wendy about the possibility of taking a leadership role at the Shoofly. Her stellar administrative abilities, her vision for Bay St. Louis and her in-depth knowledge of the community made for a perfect fit. Wendy came aboard last June as the magazine’s Community Relations director.
Wendy’s daughter, Jessica Rupp Bilotta, also brings a unique set of qualifications to the table. Many of you know Jessica from her work at the Hancock Chamber, but you may not know her career has focused on print and digital media, marketing, and publishing. Since 2005, she has worked in business development for home, lifestyle, and travel publications, both in print and digital platforms. She has collaborated with businesses to develop content marketing for blogs and social media, along with newspapers, magazines, and travel guides.
In addition, Jessica has been a marketing strategy consultant since 2007, working with clients on branding and content marketing. She also has over 20 years teaching marketing, social media, and digital media at the university level.
Together, this dynamic mother-daughter team have created digital marketing and media company MAC Media, LLC, which acquired the Shoofly Magazine from Ellis Anderson Media, LLC.
Our Mission – still the same!
The Shoofly Magazine was created with a fivefold mission:
Our entire team remains deeply committed to these goals. Thank you for helping make it all possible!
All the best,
Ellis Anderson, Wendy McDonald and Jessica Bilotta