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“Mississippi Votes: Looking Back, Moving Forward” Documentary

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by jheo1

“Mississippi Votes: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” a documentary project of two reporting classes at the Meek School of Journalism & New Media, will debut at 1:00 p.m. December 1 in the Overby Center auditorium. The half-hour documentary looks at the recent 2016 elections from a Mississippi perspective, focusing especially on the key topics of immigration, voter ID and millennials.

The documentary is a combined project of JOUR 578 and JOUR 377 under the direction of Dr. Brad Schultz and Dr. Kathleen Wickham. Their students spent the semester interviewing dozens of figures around the state both before and after election night.

For more information, you can contact Dr. Schultz (bschultz@olemiss.edu) or Dr. Wickham (kwickham@olemiss.edu). There is a multitude of other in-depth stories available at:
http://election2016.olemiss.edu/

Alumni Update: Selena Standifer (’01)

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by jheo1

Meek School alumnus Selena Standifer, deputy director of public affairs at the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) in Jackson has been selected as one of the Mississippi Business Journal’s top “50 Leading Business Women.”

Standifer, a resident of Brandon, will be featured by the publication in the September 30 issue and profiled as one of Mississippi’s leading women making a difference in business and community. As a part of the Class of 2016, she will be honored in February at the “Business Women of the Year” luncheon at the Hilton Conference Center, Jackson.

“I am thrilled to see Selena representing MDOT through this important recognition,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “For someone who displays such strong professional character and commitment to the agency and the state she serves, this recognition is well deserved.”

standifer_selena_headshotIn her job with MDOT, Standifer works with employees throughout the state including District Engineers, the Mississippi Transportation Commission and Education Outreach Programs on litter prevention and safety. As Deputy Public Affairs Director, she assists with audits, budget, human resources and facilities management for the Public Affairs Division, and coordinates activities for Civil Rights and Emergency Preparedness.

A native of Smithville, Standifer is involved in planning and managing special events for the agency and works with other state agencies, businesses, cities and counties on collaborative projects and publications. She supervises three Public Affairs departments: Media Production, Map Sales and Customer Service.

“We are proud of Selena for receiving this career achievement and appreciate the Mississippi Business Journal acknowledging her hard work and service to the citizens of Mississippi,” said Jarrod Ravencraft, public affairs director.

Standifer received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Mississippi in Oxford and has 14 years of experience in communication, public relations and marketing. She has worked in tourism, health care, non-profit and state government. Her key career accomplishments include marketing a new $20 million Women’s Center in Amory and serving as a spokesperson on The Weather Channel for the American Red Cross, Washington, D.C.

Standifer has been honored with awards for her work from the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF), Public Relations Association of Mississippi(PRAM) and the Mississippi Hospital Association. She is a member of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Communications, SPRF, PRAM, Young Professionals Alzheimer’s Advocates and United Way.

For more information, visit http://msbusiness.com/digital-magazines/50-leading-business-women-in-mississippi-digital-magazin/.

Careers in Non-Profit Communications

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by jheo1

Four alumnae of Meek School classes spoke on a panel about their careers in non-profit communication to the PR Case Studies class taught by Robin Street on Nov. 3.

Pictured, left to right, are: (front row) Kate Rosson, communications manager for staff and volunteers with The American Cancer Society Global Headquarters; Laura Doty, marketing and communications manager for the Memphis Zoo; Susan Christensen, PR director for the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Miss.; (back row) Street; and Jane Lloyd Brown, liaison for strategic partnerships at ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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The women presented examples of projects they have worked on, then talked generally about their jobs. In the final portion, they answered questions from students on topics ranging from what salary they make to what challenges they have faced and what career advice they could offer.

Brown, Rosson and Doty are all Street’s former students. Rosson and Christensen have B.A. degrees in journalism. Rosson also has a master’s degree from Ole Miss in leadership in higher education. Brown and Doty hold B.B.A. degrees in marketing communications. Doty also has a master’s degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Alabama.

Election Eve Visit Brings Back Memories of Ole Miss Presidential Debate

Posted on: November 7th, 2016 by drwenger
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The executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Janet Brown, and former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat signed two of the debate banners that were flown on campus prior to the 2008 debate in Oxford.

Janet Brown, long-time executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates returned to the Ole Miss campus on November 7 to talk about one of the most exciting and challenging election seasons in American history. Brown shared her views on the importance of the debates to the democratic process and described how other countries are watching and learning from the U.S. political debate example.

Her visit also provided a chance for her to reconnect with former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat, who led the university’s successful bid to bring one of the 2008 debates to the Oxford campus.

The luncheon at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism & Politics brought together a number of faculty and distinguished visitors, including Susan Spencer of CBS and her husband Tom Oliphant, late of the Boston Globe and PBS News Hour.

Meek Prof Becomes First to Achieve Academic Honor at UK University

Posted on: November 7th, 2016 by drwenger

dr-wenger-web-5-meeksiteA love of learning and a willingness to try new things are two key characteristics of Dr. Debora Wenger’s approach to her life and career. For that reason, it didn’t come as a big surprise to the dean of the Meek School of Journalism & New Media when Wenger asked about getting her doctorate in journalism at Kingston University in London.

“Absolutely,” Norton said. “The European doctorate includes an option for PhD by Publication, enabling you to integrate your existing published scholarship and produce an accompanying dissertation that will both itemize your contribution – and probably set your research agenda for the rest of your career. This is truly important for the Meek School.”

Dr. David Rogers, formerly Head of the School of Humanities at Kingston University and now Director of the Kingston Writing School, first invited Wenger to consider applying for a PhD by Publication during a visit to Mississippi as part of his efforts to initiate the study abroad link that now exists between the two universities and to discuss ways in which their respective journalism departments might collaborate. Wenger made her application to Kingston’s doctoral program in early 2015 and will be officially awarded the Department of Journalism and Publishing’s first ever PhD by Publication in January 2017. According to the Kingston website, the degree recognizes applicants who have “undertaken and produced research, and developed their research skills and subject knowledge to doctoral level.”

Dr. Alison Baverstock, the chair of Wenger’s PhD committee, says that the scholarly validation of work that has a relevance to both the workplace and the academy, through PhD by Publication, has a particular significance.

“For profession-oriented disciplines such as journalism, and in my case publishing, the combination we offer students of professional practice at the highest level, along with academic thinking, is the ideal basis for seeking employment,” said Baverstock. “We teach students key practical skills that they can put into use immediately, but also develop their ability to think and plan – leaving them able to function in their chosen industry now, but also in future to work around, and hopefully solve, problems in the workplace that we don’t even yet anticipate.”

Dr Rogers adds that “it was a great pleasure to have the chance to work with Dr. Wenger and to learn more about her research. Like the University of Mississippi, Kingston University takes pride in its commitment to degree programs that combine traditional academic analysis with practice and professional-based skills. Having such a respected and widely published academic journalist such as Dr. Wenger, whose research focuses on the vital interface between the academy and industry necessary for pertinent curriculum development, choose to complete her PhD with us not only testifies to that shared commitment but also validates the PhD by Publication degree as a way to enhance it.”

Wenger, herself, found the process both challenging and rewarding.

“Getting a doctorate has allowed me to reflect on the nature and importance of scholarship,” said Wenger. “The process has made me more enthusiastic than ever about pursuing the answers to questions that are relevant to the profession and the academy.

Wenger’s thesis focused on the intersection between professional practice and university teaching. Her external examiner was Prof. Chris Frost, former head of the Association for Journalism Education in the UK and current director of the Centre for Responsible Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University. The internal examiner for Kingston was Prof. Normal Clarke, a widely published author on the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.  Baverstock, who co-founded the graduate publishing program at Kingston, said their evaluation of Wenger’s thesis is significant in adding validation of work that spans both the profession and the academy.

“Its complete acceptance – meaning no changes required at all, which is very unusual in the UK – confirms not only the influence she exercises in both her profession and her institution, but also the role model offers her students – in being willing to subject her work to scrutiny, and stand up for what she believes. We also think it’s highly significant that her work has been validated in the UK, and covers research carried out within the US and Europe; truly summing up the international contribution she has made.”

Wenger will attend Kingston’s graduation ceremony in January and says she will likely be thinking during the ceremony about something Baverstock once wrote to her in an email.

“Aged 87 Michelangelo wrote on a piece of work ‘Ancora imparo’ – which translates as ‘I am still learning’. It’s always good for students to see that their professors are learning too.”

 

Recent Graduate Clancy Smith Returns to The Meek School Shares Insights into Career in Government Relations

Posted on: November 1st, 2016 by jheo1

Communicating is hard enough. But try communicating on behalf of 122 different personalities.

That’s the situation facing Clancy Smith, a 2015 graduate of The Meek School of Journalism and New Media, in her new job as House Information Officer for the 122- member Mississippi House of Representatives.

Smith returned to campus Oct. 20 to speak on working in government communications to the Public Relations Case Studies class taught by her former instructor Robin Street.

 “Clancy is one the best students I have ever taught,” Street said.  “She excels in journalism and communication skills. The Mississippi Legislature is lucky to have someone with her talents.”

 Smith, who was a print journalism major with a PR emphasis, uses her journalism degree daily in her job. She may take a photo and send it to a representative’s local newspaper, write a news article, or compile a digital newsletter for the internal public of representatives.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t make use of the writing and communications skills I acquired at Ole Miss,” Smith said. “Applying those skills in my role as House Information Officer allows me to be more confident and effective in my job.” 

She provides information to members of the Capitol Press Corps, responds to local news outlets on matters relating to legislation, sets up news conferences for representatives and writes weekly summaries of legislative proceedings.

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Clancy Smith (left), a 2015 graduate of The Meek School, returned to campus to speak to Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s (right) public relations class about her job as House Information Officer for the Mississippi House of Representatives. Photo by Taylor Lewis.

By Taylor Lewis

UM Journalism Professor Presents Katrina Archive Work at UCLA

Posted on: October 19th, 2016 by jheo1

A professor at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media will present her work to discover and republish an archive of lost blogs, emails and other online writing from the years after Hurricane Katrina on Friday (Oct. 14) at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Cynthia Joyce is editor of “Please Forward: How blogging reconnected New Orleans after Katrina,” an anthology released Aug. 29, 2015, the 10th anniversary of the storm. The anthology mined blog posts and widely circulated emails from more than 75 blogs and online websites, many of which are no longer live. It weaves an intimate narrative of the first two years after the storm and the lives of the people who lived through it.

cynthiajoyce2-768x431“The contributors to this anthology were so generous in allowing us to resurface their reflections from such a difficult part of their lives,” Joyce said. “We pulled those up and put them into print.

“Those posts – and the original blogs they were excerpted from – also deserve to be discoverable in an online context. Working with Archive-It made that possible.”

Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005 near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, killed 1,833 people in five states, including 231 in Mississippi. It’s often referred to as the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history.

Joyce is participating in the “Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Online News” forum at UCLA’s Young Research Library, hosted by Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. She is part of the lightning round of participants, in which each panelist has three minutes to deliver their message.

Will Norton, dean of the Meek School, said Joyce’s colleagues are proud of her work.

“Cynthia Joyce is a first-rate journalist who brings years of work at the cutting edge of new media to her presentation at UCLA,” Norton said. “It says a lot about the Meek School that our faculty members are making presentations at prestigious institutions with other pioneering innovators.”

Joyce and the others involved in the anthology project used Archive-It, a web archiving service of Internet Archive used by more than 450 libraries, archives, universities, governments and researchers to collect, preserve and provide ongoing access to cultural heritage materials published on the web.

The anthology, which was published by University of New Orleans Press, will also be accessible and searchable online via the Internet Archive’s Archive-It database later this year. Jefferson Bailey, director of web archiving at Internet Archive/Archive-It, is also presenting at the conference.

“The web is the most significant publishing platform of our era, democratizing the ability to document our lives and communities for a global audience,” Bailey said. “Yet content on the web is highly ephemeral, often eluding the traditional process of historical preservation.

“We are excited to be able to collaborate with researchers like Cynthia Joyce, who bring local expertise and community knowledge, and work together to identify, archive and provide access to these historically valuable resources so that they remain available long into the future.”

Spotlight on 2016-2017 Student Media Leaders

Posted on: October 7th, 2016 by jheo1

Rebel Radio Manager: Leah Gibson

Upon meeting Leah Gibson at a conference in Washington, D.C., former Chancellor Robert Khayat and Meek School Dean Will Norton knew she would be an asset to the University of Mississippi. Gibson was a high school student at the time, and they recruited her.

“After meeting them at the conference and learning about the programs available here, I then visited Ole Miss and fell in love with the station and all the opportunities I’d be able to have,” Gibson said.

leahgibson1Gibson, a senior from Starkville, is majoring in broadcast journalism. In her freshman year, she auditioned for Rebel Radio and was hired as a DJ. She auditioned for NewsWatch and landed a role as a correspondent. Last year, she was a news correspondent for Rebel Radio. This year, in addition to serving as student manager for Rebel Radio, she is also a NewsWatch anchor.

Gibson worked at Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson as a radio news reporter this summer. She covered Mississippi current events, race relations, education and politics.

“I’m excited to see where Leah will take Rebel Radio in her year as station manager,” said Roy Frostenson, student media assistant director and adviser for the radio station. “She is a terrific leader, very organized and detail-oriented. She has a great amount of energy and enthusiasm and a lot of great ideas for the station. She does a good job of sharing her vision for the radio station and it’s easy to get excited about the future listening to her talk about Rebel Radio.”

Gibson’s plans for this year include more big events, talk shows, and much more.

“I want to do a campus spotlight where I have interviews coming in every week, giving people direct connection to the station,” Gibson said. She is creating a training manual for her staff, and she produced a training video for the DJs.

Gibson is passionate about music, saying that the right song can change a person’s mood, and she wants to be sure Rebel Radio gives that to its listeners.

“I really want 92.1 Rebel Radio to be a hot topic on campus. I want people to know exactly who we are, what we play. I want people to have a favorite show that they listen to, for people to be excited about everything that we do.”

Gibson manages to do her radio and TV work in addition to her many other activities on campus, such as serving in the Columns Society and as an orientation leader. She was Miss Meridian in this year’s Miss Mississippi pageant, where she placed in the top 15 and won a talent award and was a finalist in the quality of life competition.

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Leah Gibson and other Meek School students and faculty follow a guide across a bridge near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, during a Winter Intersession 2015 multimedia project.

Gibson will pursue a career in broadcast journalism or radio, and thanks the SMC for preparing her for her future.

“The SMC has provided me with numerous opportunities to meet people, to learn, and to better my craft. It gives you experience in the field which I feel is much more valuable than sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture.”

  

NewsWatch Ole Miss Manager: Payton Green

Payton Green had no idea what he was getting himself into when he joined NewsWatch his freshman year.

“I assumed it was a fun after-school activity. I didn’t realize that this was kind of a big deal. I first heard about NewsWatch in Journalism 101, and then I heard about it again in Freshman Convocation, so I decided to join. I figured it was just a bunch of kids putting on a news show.”

Now a senior, the broadcast journalism major from Pascagoula says he quickly realized that it was much more than that.

“I was so scared on my first day,” he said, laughing.

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Payton Green and NewsWatch adviser Nancy Dupont on the set of WLOX-TV during Green’s internship in summer 2016.

Fast forward a few years. Green recently traveled to New Orleans to accept a first-place national award for multimedia reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists. Green was part of a team of Meek School students who won the award for their coverage of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.

“Payton has a great future, and we’re so privileged to have him with us this semester,” said Nancy Dupont, professor of journalism and NewsWatch adviser.  “In many ways, Payton is the ideal student news manager because he is more concerned with developing his staff than he is with promoting himself. He’s assembled a great team, and he’s already showing strong leadership skills.”

Green worked as an anchor for NewsWatch for two years before becoming News Director, and fell in love with producing and “the behind-the-scenes thing.” He is serving as NewsWatch manager, in charge of the entire newscast, for fall semester 2016.

Among the improvements Green has already made this year: new titles and job descriptions for his staff, an emphasis on more social media interaction, more local news and campus coverage, and more live shots from the field and the newsroom.

Green’s favorite part of the SMC is seeing his student colleagues’ hard work pay off in a dream job. But he points out that it is not all hard work and no play at the SMC. Some of the goofiest moments end up giving them more insight into new ways to branch out on their show, he says.

“When people audition at the beginning of the year, we are there until late at night working long hours which really allows us to bond. During a break one night we began blasting an EDM (electric dance music) song that has a really great drop, and began dancing around and decided to Facebook Live film it. The video got 700 views! We had already been planning on starting to do Facebook Live videos, which are great because you are really able to see how well we are doing.”

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Payton Green interviews Biloxi Public Affairs Officer Jerry Creel during coverage of the 10thanniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August 2015.

Green interned at WLOX-TV on the Gulf Coast this past summer. When he graduates in December 2016, he plans to get a job as a TV producer in local news. He would love to someday be a producer for Dateline or 60 Minutes. He is grateful to the SMC for giving him the skills to pursue his dreams.

“If I hadn’t come here, I don’t know what I would be doing. If I hadn’t been producing this newscast, I wouldn’t have gotten those internships. It’s helped me learn what I want to do. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet and work with very talented people.”

 

 

The Ole Miss Yearbook Editor: Cady Herring

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Photo courtesy Lindsey Lissau Photography.

As she embarks on her year as Yearbook Editor, Cady Herring is no stranger to the SMC.

Herring began as a freshman photographer for The Daily Mississippian, and later became DM photo editor. Last spring semester, she was co-photo editor of the yearbook.

“I love news journalism and storytelling, and I believe that the yearbook is the perfect platform to creatively and eloquently document this year,” Herring said.

Herring, a senior from Memphis, is a double major in print journalism and international studies, with a minor in Spanish. She has participated in several multimedia journalism projects during her years at the Meek School, in the Mississippi Delta and in Ethiopia. She has studied abroad twice in Africa and once in South America.

This summer Herring spent a month in Tanzania in East Africa as the media intern for UM professor Laura Johnson’s National Geographic Society grant, Faces of the Mountain.

“We circumnavigated villages around Mt. Kilimanjaro to finish the grant by conducting surveys and project videos,” Herring said. “I was in charge of setting up African-style movie theaters, making sure all the equipment worked, and shooting photos and video.”

She is currently communicating with the media team in Tanzania to edit final videos and working with National Geographic editors to submit content.

“Working in Tanzania forced me to think innovatively to accomplish tasks that would be easy in the U.S., but almost impossible there,” Herring said. “The cultural and linguistic barriers were onerous, but I loved the challenge. I carry duct tape with me everywhere now!”

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Cady Herring photographs the Mweka village presentation for the Faces of the Mountain project in Tanzania in summer 2016.

Student Media Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson noted that Herring has won national and regional awards for her photography and writing, including placing in the prestigious Hearst national journalism competition.

“Cady is one of those students who can do everything well, which makes her a natural for a job as yearbook editor,” Thompson said. “She is one of the most creative journalists I have ever met. Her photography in the Ethiopia depth report was stunning. I can’t wait to see the yearbook she leads her staff to produce.”

Herring wants to use the yearbook to bring students together this year.

“The Student Media Center has provided me with such an invaluable education that I wouldn’t be able to receive anywhere else,” Herring said. “It’s my plan to structure our staff like a team to foster that experience for other ardent students, so that this book will be a celebration of the amazing talent UM has to offer.” She and her staff are hard at work creating their theme and cover design, and they are planning events to reveal the theme later this fall.

“I want to make this yearbook extremely literary and artistic to highlight our campus, our students, and really show who we are as a University today, and I have an amazing staff to do it,” Herring said. “This year, we’re pushing the limits by redesigning the website to use unexpected technologies to more comprehensively present stories. We’re searching for contributors from every area of campus to have frequent content that ranges from high fashion to campus politics, so that it will be an information hub to keep up with the campus and Oxford. This yearbook will be for everyone.”

Herring graduates in May 2017, and is applying for internships and fellowships. She’s doing research this fall for her thesis about the relationship between the  media and migrants, and hopes to continue using her storytelling skills in a career as an international documentary journalist.

Overby Center Senior Fellow and Meek School instructor Bill Rose is a writing coach for the yearbook staff. He has worked with Herring on several Meek School in-depth projects.

“Cady Herring is a young woman with a big heart for the less fortunate and a big talent for photos that capture people’s souls,” Rose said. “Her work in Africa, South America and the Delta demonstrate a strong sense of empathy and understanding for people of other cultures.”

 

Advertising Sales Manager: Ben Napoletan

Making the decision to give the top advertising job this year to Ben Napoletan was easy.

“Ben was one of our top sales account executives last year and so he was a natural choice for sales manager this year,” says Roy Frostenson, student media assistant director in charge of advertising. “He earned his spot with his great work last year.”

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Ben Napoletan at his summer 2016 Nissan internship in Atlanta, with the company’s regional chief marketing and marketing analytics manager.

Napoletan is a senior majoring in finance with a minor in marketing. He is from Alpharetta, Georgia.

“Managing and growing account lists is the main duty of the job,” Napoletan says. “Since I am the manager this year, I mainly focus on providing my team with leads, organization, and maintaining my current accounts. Contacting my accounts and presenting them with current promotions and convincing them to advertise more is my goal with those accounts.”

This summer, Napoletan interned with Nissan Motor Company in its southeast regional headquarters in Atlanta. He worked on analytical projects ranging from after-sales forecasting to dealership incentive programs.

He says his favorite part of his SMC manager job is meeting monthly and annual sales goals. If they aren’t met, it just gives him even more motivation to work harder for the next month.

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Ben Napoletan meets with Oxford attorney Dwight N. Ball, one of his Daily Mississippian advertising clients.

“Sales has a scorecard, so the only thing that matters is how much revenue we bring in. It doesn’t matter if it is from one business or 100 businesses, as long as we earn the most money possible, that is the goal,” he says.

 

Napoletan and his staff are creating video advertisements this year for the first time. And he is making his team work more efficiently by using call lists, which help his team avoid calling the same people twice.

“Ben is extremely organized and he’s brought that mindset to his job as sales manager and is working to make our sales operation more efficient and productive,” Frostenson says. “He’s a hard worker who puts in the time necessary to be successful and sets a great example for our sales team.”

Napoletan plans to seek a sales job when he graduates in May 2017. Long term, he wants to be VP of sales for a Fortune 500 company.

 

Daily Mississippian Editor in Chief: Clara Turnage

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Clara Turnage

Clara Turnage knew on the first day of her freshman orientation in 2013 that she wanted to be involved with the Student Media Center. And even then, the persistence that makes her an outstanding reporter was evident.

“I remember hearing about the DM at the first day of orientation, so I went by that day but no students were there. So I went back again and told them that I wanted to write and get involved,” Turnage recalls.

The Sunday before the first day of classes, Turnage got a call from the DM editor in chief, giving her an assignment. Two days later, Turnage had a front-page byline. She was hooked.

Turnage is a senior from New Hebron, majoring in print journalism. Her minor is an unusual one for a journalist: computer science.

“ I became interested in computer science when Professor Deb Wenger asked if I would like to be in an Engineering Honors class that focused on the history of media systems,” Turnage says. “The class doubled as a computer science elective and the professor told me I should consider CS as a minor. I enjoyed what little coding we did in that class, and I valued the marketable skill I would receive with a computer science minor. So I decided to go with it.” It’s a skill she uses frequently to create timelines, website designs and other graphics.

Turnage says she loves seeing her staff of writers and editors grow as journalists. She started at the DM as a writer and photographer her freshman year. In her sophomore year, she was promoted to lifestyles editor. She was promoted to managing editor at the end of her junior year, and that summer she also served as news editor and designer.

Patricia Thompson, DM adviser and assistant dean for student media, has worked with Turnage every day for several years. Turnage is one of the best young journalists she’s ever seen.

“She is a fearless reporter, a gifted writer, a strong leader,” Thompson says.  “On the outside, she seems sweet, and she IS kind and fair and thoughtful, but make no mistake, when it comes time for toughness, she has the ‘fire in the belly’ that I always see in the best journalists. I have seen her doggedly pursue stories others would have given up after a few rejections. Clara’s work and influence and commitment have been a major reason for The Daily Mississippian’s success in recent years.”

For the past two years, The Daily Mississippian has been named by the Society of Professional Journalists as one of the top three daily campus newspapers in the nation.  In addition, Turnage has won several awards for her writing.

This past summer, Turnage was a copy editor intern for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock. The newspaper has one of the most sought-after internships in the country, receiving hundreds of applications for just a few spots.

So far this year, Turnage has led a major redesign of The Daily Mississippian, and increased its social media and digital media presence. In mid-August, she led a new training program for her staff.

It’s her last year at Ole Miss, and Turnage reflects on her time at the Student Media Center as a blessing.

“I spend a great deal of my time here. It is because of the SMC that I’ve had every internship and job that I’ve had. If you put in a little here, I promise you’ll get a lot out of it.”

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Clara Turnage at work in the Daily Mississippian newsroom.

At the start of fall semester, Turnage bought an air mattress sofa and often can be found sitting or lying on it, discussing stories with her staff or just hanging out with them as they wait for stories and photos to arrive for editing.

While they have fun in and out of the newsroom, Turnage says that she and her team work hard to tell the University’s story in full – the good and the bad. They take seriously their mission to serve as campus watchdogs and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.

“The University is going through a time that is very stressful,” Turnage says. “There’s a lot of change happening on campus. I want to cover that to the best of my ability, while being as unbiased as possible. That is something we struggle with constantly. I am looking forward to continuing to cover in-depth stories that make our writers better and our newspaper better. “

Turnage will graduate in May 2017. Like most other students, she is applying for jobs and internships at media companies in many states, but she adds: “There’s a lot of opportunity for news gathering in Mississippi. I’m very interested in that, too. I think Mississippi is one of those states that would benefit most from skilled reporters staying where they are.”

By Mary Ruth Womble

Overby Center to Host Two Programs Next Week

Posted on: October 6th, 2016 by jheo1

The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics will host two dramatically different programs next week – an affectionate look back on the short history of a gadfly Mississippi publication in the 1960s and a visit with the author of a new book dealing with the work of U.S. diplomats and the international press during a civil war in Liberia in 2003.

The activity will start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, with a discussion with Lew Powell and Ed Williams who edited “Mississippi Freelance,” a free-wheeling monthly that critiqued the status quo in the state in 1969. The pair were working for the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville following their graduation from Ole Miss and recruited journalists and others around the state to offer commentary and news stories that could not be found elsewhere.

During its one-year existence the “Mississippi Freelance” exposed a case of plagiarism involving the president of the University of Southern Mississippi, lampooned the Sovereignty Commission, a state agency that spied on blacks and white liberals during the civil rights era, and published many biting reports on Mississippi politicians.

Powell, a native of Coahoma County, and Williams, who was editor of The Daily Mississippian at Ole Miss, both recently retired after long and distinguished careers at the Charlotte Observer. They will be joined on the panel by Charles Overby, chairman of the center who was a journalist in Mississippi at the time, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie, who was a frequent contributor to “Mississippi Freelance.”

“Lew and Ed were talented journalists when we were at Ole Miss together 50 years ago,” said Overby. “They had an amazing career and it will be fun to hear from them.”

A reception will be held following the program, which is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the Overby Center Auditorium.

At 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, Dante Paradiso, author of “The Embassy,” will be on hand to discuss his book and his recollections as a political officer at the embattled mission in Liberia during a period of violent upheaval in the West Africa nation that was founded in the 19th century by freed American slaves. Paradiso will talk of the efforts by U.S. diplomats clinging to maintain a constructive influence in the country as well as the role of journalists working under dangerous conditions to get news out to the rest of the world.

For the one-hour program Paradiso will be engaged in a conversation with Wilkie, who covered similar unrest in Africa as a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe.

“Paradiso’s book captures the drama of sudden violence in an unstable environment; the fighting in Liberia made life miserable for the people who lived there and created danger for diplomats and reporters who worked there,” said Wilkie. “The book offers some good lessons for aspiring journalists.”

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Meek School Faculty Members Honored at SPRF Lantern Awards 

Posted on: October 3rd, 2016 by jheo1

Two Meek School faculty members were honored recently for outstanding public relations projects during the 2016 Southern Public Relations Federation Lantern Awards program.

Lantern awards are presented at three levels in multiple categories. The highest award in each category is called the Lantern, followed by Awards of Excellence and Merit.

Both Andrew Abernathy (pictured left) and Robin Street (right) are faculty members in the Integrated Marketing Communications program, and members of Oxford/Ole Miss chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.

Abernathy, communications specialist for the UM School of Education, is teaching one class as an adjunct. He won a Lantern in the brochures category for Opportunity Starts Here, a view book for prospective education graduate students. Abernathy is also a Meek School alumnus, earning a B.A. in 2008 and M.A. in 2010.

Robin Street, senior lecturer, received two Awards of Excellence. One was for an opinion column she wrote titled The IHL gets an F in Public Relations, and the other was for a multi-media news release. Street has taught in the Meek School since 1990 and actually taught Andrews in introductory Journalism and Public Relations classes.

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