Monica Amie Drum was born January 1, 1972, in Kent, Ohio, the only daughter of Frank and Carol Drum. Frank Drum, then an assistant history professor at Kent State University, met associate professor of cooperative education Carol Klegner in 1970, and the couple were married in December of that year. Now aged 69, Frank Drum continues to teach one course per semester in semi-retirement. Carol Drum, now 70, retired from academic life in 1990 when she was appointed to the Ohio State Board of Education. She has remained active in legislative issues since then, acting as a consultant to governors and lieutenant governors as well as state legislators.
Monica grew up in a liberal environment where her parents treated her as an equal from infancy onwards. Both Frank and Carol Drum strongly opposed the Vietnam War and encouraged Monica to question conventions and authority, so much so that Monica's second-grade teacher wrote that Monica was "wasting her intelligence on uncooperative capers that distract the entire class." After Monica finished the 8th grade, she and her parents decided to enroll her in independent study for high school. At age 17, she applied for admission to Kent State University and was accepted. She matriculated in the fall of 1989 and concentrated on history and philosophy, using her co-op work time to explore several different work environments, including park ranger work at a nearby state park and a term as a legislative aide in the Kent mayor's office.
But it was when Monica took an internship at the local newspaper during her third year of college that she found her calling. She joined the staff of the Daily Kent Stater, and upon completion of degree requirements at Kent State in the spring of 1994, Monica was accepted to the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. Monica spent one semester at Berkeley before dropping out to accept a position as a general assignments reporter at the Cincinnati Post in the spring of 1995. She was promoted to the city bureau in 1997, where in addition to reporting duties, she was also involved in Newspaper Guild activities. At the Post, she met and was briefly engaged to deputy managing editor Tommy Green. At the end of their reputedly tumultuous romantic relationship in 2003, Monica resigned, claiming she had been unfairly passed over for a promotion.
Monica worked as a freelance writer based in Ohio from 2003 to 2005, when she applied for a position as a crime reporter for the Oxford Eagle. She moved to Mississippi in September of 2005, working as a reporter from 2005 to 2008 until she became news editor in 2008. She was promoted to the position of managing editor in 2009. Since then, under Monica's leadership, the newspaper has collected a number of awards for spot reporting and investigative journalism, including the Southern States Newspaper Association's award for General Excellence in 2010 and 2011. As managing editor, Monica Drum, who has remained unmarried, has become a prominent member of the community and is an honorary member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and Soroptimists International.