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Meek School professor wins Paragon Award

Posted on: April 17th, 2015 by ewrobins
Deb Wenger (right), associate professor of journalism, won the 2014 Paragon Award for Excellence from the Office of Online Design and E Learning (ODeL) for her JOUR 102 class. Rich Gentry, assistant professor of management in the School of Business, and Robin Street, lecturer in journalism, received honorable mentions. 

Debora Wenger (left), associate professor of journalism, won the 2014 Paragon Award for Excellence from the Office of Online Design and E Learning (ODeL) for her JOUR 102 class. Rich Gentry, assistant professor of management in the School of Business, and Robin Street, lecturer in journalism, received honorable mentions.

Debora Wenger, an associate professor in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, is this year’s winner of the Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Education.

UM’s Department of Online Design and eLearning gives the award annually. Wenger, who was honored for her journalism 102 class, said she’s grateful for the help she’s received from UM Online Design and eLearning to make the course successful.

“I am honored and thrilled to receive this award,” Wenger said. “I have loved the challenge of figuring out how to make this writing intensive course meaningful for the students who take the class online. Frankly, I think I get more excited when their stories get published in the Daily Mississippian or HottyToddy.com than the students do.”

The Paragon Award recognizes UM faculty members who use technology to transcend traditional classroom instruction. The award recipient receives a $1,000 reward and a trophy. Their name is engraved on a plaque listing previous winners, which is on display in the J.D. Williams Library. Wenger was honored at the Online Design and eLearning Recognition Luncheon April 15 at noon at the UM Jackson Avenue Center.

The class is a key component of a journalism minor, which is a big help to students majoring in other fields, Wenger said. Several Meek School faculty members have developed online versions of their courses so anyone enrolled in the university can get a journalism minor without having to visit campus. Will Norton, dean of the Meek School, said distance learning courses are crucial for universities like UM.

“I think distance learning courses are vital, particularly for universities that are not situated in metropolitan areas,” Norton said. “That Professor Wenger is so facile at developing a required course that teaches basic skills is a reflection on her talent as a teacher and her understanding and ability to manipulate technology.”

Anne M. Klingen, director of Online Design and eLearning, said Wenger’s students in the online class receive lots of feedback and attention from her.

“Deb’s commitment to students is evident; she has an extraordinarily high level of interaction with the students in her online courses,” Klingen said. “Her course is designed so each assignment builds on another, and she gives them guidance and feedback throughout the process. She also requires the students to produce stories that will be submitted for possible publication to media outlets, which motivates and challenges the students to constantly improve.”

Robin Street, a journalism lecturer, also received a Paragon Award honorable mention for her public relations distance learning class. Street’s journalism 391 class introduces students to the public relations profession, which involves  being a communicator for an organization. She said the recognition is especially meaningful to her.

“This recognition is especially meaningful to me because when I first heard I was going to teach an online class, I was worried that I would not be able to learn how to build the course,” Street said. “Then I worked long and hard to learn the skills and techniques that go into creating a successful online class. To go from that initial worry to being honored for the class is very gratifying.”

Rich Gentry, assistant professor and director of the Center for Innovation and Entrpreneurship, was also recognized with an honorable mention. Gentry’s professional master of business administration 613 course is the capstone for the online MBA program at UM. The class helps them connect the information they’ve gathered over the prior two years and apply it to critical decision making problems.

“For me, being recognized as a member of a cohort of strong online instructors is very meaningful,” Gentry said. “Laboring for hours constructing a blackboard site or meticulously going through each element of the course to ensure that it is intuitive and helpful can be a very unpleasant experience. It is nice that the award committee recognizes the people who put in that kind of effort and encourages them to keep improving.”

Big wins in Vegas for Meek School

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by drwenger

SuduWinThe Meek School of Journalism is flying high for a couple of different reasons.  First, the student-produced NewsWatch 99 broadcast took home an honorable mention at the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) competition in Las Vegas this week.  According to NewsWatch 99 advisor Dr. Nancy Dupont, a 4th place showing in the national contest is the highest ranking the program has ever received.

In addition to the broadcast honors, Dupont and Prof. Deb Wenger presented in multiple sessions at the conference, moderating or participating in panels on using audience analytics in teaching to job hunting for broadcast students.

Journalism students and NewsWatch 99 managers Browning Stubbs and Sudu Upadhyay also traveled to Vegas for the conference.  BEA meets annually with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) because that group brings in more than 100,000 attendees who showcase products and demonstrate techniques affecting the radio and television industries.

Upadhyay and Stubbs hit the convention floor to evaluate the latest in broadcast technology, which they hope to leverage in an effort to bring home a first-place award for student newscast in 2016.

Future of journalism focus of Ole Miss New Media Conference

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by smitche3
Lewis D'Vorkin of Forbes opens the Ole Miss New Media Conference

Lewis D’Vorkin of Forbes opens the Ole Miss New Media Conference

Industry professionals and students gathered at the Overby Center recently to gain insight on the present and future of journalism at Innovate 2015, the Ole Miss New Media Conference, hosted by the Meek School.

The conference featured industry experts Lewis D’Vorkin chief product officer, print and digital platforms for Forbes Media; Hank Price, president and general of the WVTM-TV in Birmingham; and Fred Anklam, senior editor for USA Today.

D’Vorkin discussed the business and content model that Forbes has adopted for content development for both the website and magazine.

“The key to any successful company is a unique identity, an identity that works for both your audience and business,” D’Vorkin said.

D’Vorkin also discussed how Forbes is attempting to change the culture of publishing by finding more contributors that know about a specific field in great detail.

Hank Price started his presentation with the question, “Is your organization innovated?”

Price discussed the changing landscape of television and the 1970’s model of newscasts. He stated that not much has changed, just the make up of the people involved in the newscast. He made it clear that it is fundamental for anyone in the industry to start with the basics and to not be afraid of taking risks to the benefit of the industry.

Fred Anklam spoke after lunch and went into detail about the future of print in the digital world. The 1977 Ole Miss alumnus discussed the importance of both print and digital in the ever-changing world of technology and communication. Anklam also discussed the importance of relating the news to the readers of USA Today and how this has remained an important part of their corporate culture throughout the years.

“You want to be available to your audience, wherever they are, whenever they’re there,” Anklam said.

Professor Deb Wenger and instructo R.J. Morgan closed the conference with “Tech Talk.” The Meek school faculty members discussed new technologies in the field that might change the landscape for journalists and marketers alike, such as Google Glass, Apple watch, and drone journalism.

– Samantha Mitchell

 

 

 

 

 

Meek School of Journalism and New Media students sweep PR competition; faculty member and graduates also honored

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by ewrobins
Public relations students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media won every one of the awards presented in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition at the PRAM state conference April 10.  Award winners pictured here, standing, from left to right, are Cody Fullinwider, an integrated marketing communications major from Denver, Colorado; Courtney Richards, a journalism major from Austin, Texas; Nancy Hogan, a journalism major from Atlanta, Georgia; Alex Kohl, an IMC major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Bridge Leigh, an IMC major from Hernando; Mara Joffe, a journalism graduate from Biloxi; Robin Street, lecturer in journalism who taught the students and also won a professional award; Lauren Raphael, an IMC major from Madison; and Clancy Smith, a journalism major from Saltillo.  Kneeling: Lindsay Langston, a journalism major from Dallas, Texas; Lauren Walker, an IMC major from Madison; Sydney Hembree, a double major in journalism and marketing and corporate relations from Kennesaw, Georgia; and MarKeicha Dickens, a journalism major from Olive Branch. Not pictured: Journalism graduate Melody Skinner of San Diego, California; and Mary Frances Tanner, an English major with a journalism minor from Mobile, Alabama. Photo credit: Stan O’Dell

Public relations students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media won every one of the awards presented in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition at the PRAM state conference April 10.  Award winners pictured here, standing, from left to right, are Cody Fullinwider, an integrated marketing communications major from Denver, Colorado; Courtney Richards, a journalism major from Austin, Texas; Nancy Hogan, a journalism major from Atlanta, Georgia; Alex Kohl, an IMC major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Bridge Leigh, an IMC major from Hernando; Mara Joffe, a journalism graduate from Biloxi; Robin Street, lecturer in journalism who taught the students and also won a professional award; Lauren Raphael, an IMC major from Madison; and Clancy Smith, a journalism major from Saltillo.  Kneeling: Lindsay Langston, a journalism major from Dallas, Texas; Lauren Walker, an IMC major from Madison; Sydney Hembree, a double major in journalism and marketing and corporate relations from Kennesaw, Georgia; and MarKeicha Dickens, a journalism major from Olive Branch. Not pictured: Journalism graduate Melody Skinner of San Diego, California; and Mary Frances Tanner, an English major with a journalism minor from Mobile, Alabama. Photo credit: Stan O’Dell

Meek School of Journalism and New Media public relations students won every one of the awards presented in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition recently, including the prestigious Student Best In Show.

In addition, in the professional competition, faculty member Robin Street won the top award in her category, and Meek School graduates working in University Communications brought home four awards. All awards were presented during the PRAM state conference in Tupelo April 9 & 10.

“We set two records in this competition,” said Street, a lecturer in journalism and public relations. “First, our students were the only university students in the state to be honored. Second, the sheer number of awards we won surpassed all previous years. That is a real tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the Meek School.”

Journalism major Clancy Smith of Saltillo won both Student Best of Show and the top award in her category, called a Prism.

“Winning the Prism awards more than reassured me that my classes and projects have helped me develop the skills I will need for a career in public relations,” Smith said. “I am so grateful for the instruction I’ve received from all the Meek School faculty members.”

The students, all seniors except for two recent graduates, entered the public relations campaign they created as a final project in the advanced public relations class taught by Street. Each campaign required multi-media journalism skills including writing news articles, creating photos and video, and developing online and social media.

Five other students won Prisms in their categories including Nancy Hogan, a journalism major from Atlanta, Georgia; MarKeicha Dickens, a journalism major from Olive Branch; Mara Joffe, a journalism graduate from Biloxi; Lauren Raphael, an integrated marketing communications major from Madison; and Lindsay Langston, a journalism major from Dallas, Texas.

A step below the Prism is the Excellence Award, followed by the Merit Award. The seven students winning Excellence included Alex Kohl, an IMC major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Cody Fullinwider, an IMC major from Denver, Colorado; and Melody Skipper, a marketing and corporate relations graduate now living in San Diego, California.

Also winning Excellence were Sydney Hembree, a double major in journalism and marketing and corporate relations from Kennesaw, Georgia; Mary Frances Tanner, an English major and journalism minor from Mobile, Alabama; Bridge Leigh, an IMC major from Hernando; and Lauren Walker, an IMC major from Madison. Journalism major Courtney Richards from Austin, Texas, won a Merit Award.

In the professional categories, University Communications staff members won five awards. A Prism award went to Assistant Director for Social Media Ryan Whittington and Producer Win Graham. An Excellence award went to PR Assistant Will Hamilton and Communications Specialist Dennis Irwin. Merit awards went to Communication Specialists Michael Newsom and Edwin Smith. Whittington, Hamilton, Newsom and Smith are all Meek School graduates.

For more information on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit their website at http://meek.olemiss.edu or email MeekSchool@olemiss.edu.

Morgan becoming ‘drone commander’ at Ole Miss

Posted on: April 14th, 2015 by ewrobins

By Larecca Rucker

Oxford Eagle Staff Writer

Morgan and Drone

R.J. Morgan and “Farley”

If you’re a tech geek or someone who is always first in line to acquire the latest innovative product that hits the market, chances are you’ve considered buying a drone.

R.J. Morgan, a journalism instructor and director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, is the University of Mississippi’s “drone commander.” Thanks to a $3,000 donation by The Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s namesake, Ed Meek, the university purchased a drone for journalism experimentation, and Morgan is its pilot. He calls it “Farley,” named after the building that houses the journalism school.

Morgan demonstrated how the drone works last week during the Ole Miss New Media Conference Innovate 2015, and gave participants the opportunity to go outside and fly it themselves.

“These drones will go up to about 500 feet in the air, and you can get them about a half mile away from your person, although the current rules right now say the drone should always be in sight of the person who is using it,” he explained to an audience. “But they have pretty incredible range. We have been playing with this drone, which is one of the top models. It is fairly durable. I know because I have crashed it into a variety of settings. I’ve crashed it outdoors. I’ve crashed it indoors. And so far it has taken a licking, but it keeps on ticking.”

Morgan said an HD camera is attached to the drone, which produces a steady shot, even though the drone may be traveling at 30 miles per hour, stopping in one direction, and returning.

“You do not see that in the video,” he said. “The video remains incredibly stable, unless you are adjusting the camera.”

The drone can be connected to your smartphone and operated using an app. Morgan logs into a network and connects to the drone.

“I have on my smartphone exactly what the drone is seeing,” he said.

Drone operators with this model don’t have to worry about losing their drone if they become disconnected. Using a GPS sensor, the drone locks its ground coordinates into place before it takes off.

“It records the GPS coordinates of the piece of ground you are sitting on,” Morgan said, “and then, if at any point during flight it loses connection with the control, … it will return automatically to the space it took off from.”

Morgan said a sensor on the operating screen tells him the elevation of the drone.

“If I elevate it to 200 feet and let go of the joy stick, it will move around a little bit because of the wind, but it will pretty much hover in that exact spot at 200 feet until I tell it to do otherwise,” he said.

The drone has a short battery life. You can only film about 15-20 minutes before the battery dies.

“So you’re talking about a real short amount of time to get to where you’re going before you can film,” Morgan said.

Using your smartphone screen, you can view exactly what the drone is recording. You have the option of taking a still shot or a video. The photos and footage are stored on a micro SD card in the drone as MP4 files.

Journalists, photographers and tech geeks who have made the purchase are finding a variety of interesting ways to use drones, including capturing brilliant fireworks displays; shooting aerial views of fires, traffic, weather and other news events; photographing and filming concerts and festivals; and using drones to shoot real estate photographs.

“There are a few legal restrictions that we are still working out the kinks with,” said Morgan, who noted drone uses are still being explored.

High school purchases

Several high schools have purchased drones, including Pearl, Tupelo, New Albany and Jackson Prep. Morgan said they use it to cover football games on Friday nights.

“I believe it was Pearl who said the first couple of times they flew the drone during football games, it was a competitive advantage,” Morgan said. “They had been flying it to get football practice shots, so all of their players were used to seeing the things, but the other team couldn’t help but keep looking up, and so they were distracted.”

Debora Wenger, associate professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, said there are challenges with drones. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates drone use.

“Their preference is that you have a commercial pilot’s license in order to use one of these for any kind of commercial purposes,” Wenger said, adding that the use of drones also raises ethical concerns about privacy. “It certainly has its challenges right now, but as journalists or marketers, we need to be talking about how this technology may affect our jobs and our careers.”

Hank Price, the owner of a Birmingham, Alabama, television station, was a presenter at the conference. During the session, he talked about how FAA drone regulations have affected business.

Commercial use

“We are not allowed, as a news organization, to shoot with drones right now,” he said, “and we would be in a lot of trouble if we did. But if (the footage) comes to us from somebody else, and it’s newsworthy, we can use that. If one of our employees owns a drone (as a private citizen) and they happen to get news footage, we can use that. … But if they are shooting something commercial, we can’t use it. It’s crazy, but it’s the law.”

Price believes the law should be amended. He said it would save television stations a lot of money that they would have otherwise spent to purchase or rent helicopters for aerial shots.

“When you think about it, helicopters are going to run at a minimum of $450 an hour, more like $750,” he said. “… If you’re going to get a helicopter, the camera and pedestal mounts are about $600,000. The helicopter is $1.5 or $2 million.”

You also have to pay a pilot, and Price said insurance costs around $30,000.

“You compare all of this to a drone, even if you were going to pay $10,000 so that it could do everything,” he said. “So this has to be solved.”

Wenger also talked about wearables during the conference. The Apple watch released last week is one example of a new line of tech products that may change or impact society.

“Wearables are the second type of communications technology that’s going to affect your lives, and certainly our lives as educators,” she said.

Published April 13, 2015, by The Oxford Eagle. Posted with permission.

Daily Mississippian wins SPJ best student newspaper award; 14 awards go to students

Posted on: April 13th, 2015 by ewrobins
SPJ OM By Damn.Graning

Winning sports photo by Thomas Graning

The Daily Mississippian was named best daily student newspaper, and University of Mississippi students won 14 individual awards in the 2014 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Region 12 competition.

UM students placed first in seven categories, and were named finalists in seven categories.

Region 12 includes universities in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. There are categories for small and large colleges, and UM students compete against students at other large universities. Entries are judged by professional journalists.

All first-place winners advance to judging for national awards, competing against first-place winners in the other 11 regions. National winners will be announced in late spring and recognized at the national SPJ Excellence in Journalism conference in September in Orlando.

The Best All-Around Daily Newspaper category required each publication to enter three newspapers from dates selected by SPJ in March, October and December 2014.

UM first-place winners are: 

Winning general news photo by Cady Herring

Winning general news photo by Cady Herring

Ian Cowart, television breaking news reporting (Tupelo tornado aftermath);

Adam Ganucheau, general news reporting (coverage of James Meredith statue incident);

Thomas Graning, sports photography (front-page DM photo after the Alabama game);

Cady Herring, general news photography (front-page DM photo from Tupelo tornado last spring);

Ji Joon Hoo, online feature reporting (grad student, children using poetry to reach elderly patients in Charleston, MS);

Jessi Hota, online in-depth reporting (grad student, Trans Mississippi on being transgender at Ole Miss);

Sudu Upadhyay, TV feature reporting (series from Togo, West Africa).

One winner and up to two finalists are selected for each category. UM finalists are:

Nicole Bounds, online in-depth reporting (depression increasing on campuses);

Ian Cleary, editorial cartoonist (DM cartoons);

Emily Guess, in-depth reporting (Shopping center displaces families);

Sierra Mannie, general column writing;

Dylan Rubino, sports writing (Just Bo, profile of Bo Wallace);

Lacey Russell, feature writing (Remembering fallen brothers, 10th anniversary of ATO fire);

Natalie Wood and Wiley Anderson, television general news reporting (cyberbullying in Oxford schools).

The awards were announced on Saturday, April 11, during the Region 12 conference at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Kendyl Noon, an officer with the UM SPJ chapter and active in student media, represented the Meek School at the conference.

We are proud of our students, and grateful to the many faculty who worked with students to produce award-winning work.

Silver Em/Best of Meek Awards Night

Posted on: April 9th, 2015 by ewrobins

The Focus Group wins 39 Addy Awards

Posted on: April 1st, 2015 by ewrobins

Buchanan Addy Awards 2.15 croppedMembers of The Focus Group, an integrated marketing, advertising and PR firm in Gulfport, pose with the 39 Addy Awards they received after they swept the show at the Miss. Gulf Coast Advertising Federation’s “Totally Awesome Addys” 80’s-themed awards gala at the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi. The Focus Group is led by Allison Brown Buchanan (B.A. Journalism/PR 1982). Among the 39 awards, they received gold Addys for Best of Show, Art Director of the Year, the Judges’ Choice Award, Best of Interactive, two integrated campaigns, two photography campaigns, two websites, an illustration campaign, a trade publication ad, a television spot :30, a digital advertising campaign and two brochures. The remaining awards were silver Addys for a variety of work ranging from copywriting and brochures, to digital campaigns, TV and illustration. The gold awards will automatically advance to the regional competition.

Left to right: Thomas Broadus, director of interactive and new media; Tara Gerald, lead graphic designer; Samantha McCain, PR and contentmanager; Jamie Gryder, accountant. (back row) William Colgin, photographer; Brenna Aplin, multimedia designer; Brynn Joachim, advertising operations manager; Allison Buchanan, general manager; Cecelia Shabazz, creative director; and Tyler Johnson, web developer.

Posted on: March 26th, 2015 by ewrobins

Brandenberg and ZelenyKarson Brandenburg, senior majoring in journalism in the Meek School, and Jeff Zeleny, senior correspondent with CNN at National Newspaper Association dinner at the National Press Club in Wasington, DC.

Posted on: March 25th, 2015 by ewrobins

AMA Banquet NOSix students from the Ole Miss chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) attended the 37th Annual International AMA Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, March 19-21.  More than 1,400 students from 98 colleges and universities attended. Students heard from top leaders in the marketing profession, networked, attended workshops, and participated in a marketing strategy competition. Pictured at the banquet on the final evening of the event are:  (front) Lauren Rogers, Kara Weller, Shea Gabrielleschi (current Ole Miss AMA President), and Alex Rannochio; and (back) Taylor Morton, Scott Fiene (faculty advisor) and Catherine Goshorn (next year’s AMA President).

AMA New OrleansThe students also enjoyed dinner in New Orleans.  The group is pictured with Meek School alum Brittany Duhon (far left, who graduated with an IMC Master’s in 2013), and now lives in New Orleans, where she manages social media for the Sheraton Hotel.  Brittany was co-president and one of the founding members of our AMA student chapter.