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Students gain broadcast journalism experience working at Rebel Radio

Posted on: March 24th, 2017 by ldrucker

Rebel Radio is a student-run organization that broadcasts throughout much of North Mississippi and enables students to gain broadcasting experience by becoming volunteer interns.

Just like any other radio station, anyone can tune in and listen to sports, music, local or world events and news.

Hernando native Aaron Isom, a University of Misissippi junior majoring in broadcast journalism, is also a former Oxford Stories reporter. He is from Hernando and attended Northwest Community College two years before transferring to UM.

FullSizeRender (1)Isom became interested in broadcasting when he was young. “I always thought broadcasters had a cool job, even when I was little,” he said.

In high school, he was a part of the student news team. “The show came on every morning, and it proved to me that broadcasting was something I was very interested in,” he said.

Isom continued his journalism career at Northwest Community College, where he worked at the local newspaper distributed throughout Tate County while attending Northwest.
He became involved in Rebel Radio because of a family connection. “My brother’s girlfriend knew the manager, so she told him about my interest in radio,” he said. “I love to talk, so radio has just kind of seemed like a good fit for my personality.”

On Mondays at 5 p.m., Isom is on the air for an hour. On Thursdays at 8 p.m., he works for two hours.

“I do enjoy working at Rebel Radio, especially on Mondays, because that is when I get to talk,” he said. “During Thursday’s broadcast, I pretty much just play music. I mostly play a wide variety of hiphop on Thursdays.”

Isom said he’s not sure a lot of people realize how far-reaching Rebel Radio is. The station even airs in the Memphis metro area.

Although one cannot see Isom’s face when he is on air, he believes working at Rebel Radio will lead to bigger broadcasting opportunities. Isom said he wants to become a broadcaster at a big sports network.

Jackson Maddox, 21, is originally from Houston, Texas. He worked at Rebel Radio last semester and  switched his major to broadcast journalism before the beginning of the fall semester of 2016. Maddox discovered Rebel Radio last summer.

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Jackson Maddox. Photo by Jack Newsom.

“I am glad that I worked at Rebel Radio last semester,” he said. “It was a great experience, and I would definitely be open to being involved with Rebel Radio again.”

Maddox had two segments each week at Rebel Radio on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“On Tuesdays, I had a co-host, and we would talk about current events and pop culture,” he said. “I really wasn’t too knowledgeable about pop culture, and I don’t think she was that interested in current events, so sometimes it made for an awkward combination.”

On Thursdays, Maddox played his own music. “I really loved picking music for people to listen to,” he said.

Maddox said he didn’t have time to work at Rebel Radio this semester. “My schedule is kind of hectic this semester,” he said, “so I just didn’t want to commit to anything and then have to back out later. Even last semester, it could be hard to come to work, but that was because I worked both days at two in the afternoon, so it was sort of in the middle of the day.”

Maddox said he job was fun, and he would encourage any student to become involved.

Story by Jack Newsom, Oxford Storiesjsnewso2@go.olemiss.edu.

David Crews’ Mississippi quotes featured in next Overby Center program Monday, March 27

Posted on: March 22nd, 2017 by ldrucker

Oxford resident David Crews will be the next featured speaker at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. During the event set for 6 p.m. Monday, March 27, Crews will speak about his collection of intriguing and sometimes odd quotes from Mississippians.

In a conversation with the center’s chairman, Charles Overby, Crews will elaborate on his recently published The Mississippi Book of Quotations in the fourth of a spring series of programs dedicated to Mississippi during the celebration of its 200th anniversary of statehood.

“David collects quotes the way some guys collect baseball cards,” said Overby. “Mississippians are great at talking, and David has put together comments that are inspiring, outrageous and funny. The stories he tells behind the quotes are fascinating.”

The event, which will be held in the Overby Center Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus, is free and open to the public. A reception will be held afterward, and arrangements for parking have been made for the lot adjacent to the auditorium.

Over the years, Crews saved quotes from politicians and writers, as well as musicians and athletes, dozens of which have become favorites, such as: “It’s hard to remember the truth when there’s so much truth to remember.”

“It was uttered by a witness during a federal trial in my court,” said Crews. “That is a line that is simultaneously true, amusing, and bordering on perjury. What’s not to like about a line that incorporates truth, humor, and perjury.”

Crews is now the chief clerk for the U.S. District Courts in North Mississippi, but enjoys a statewide reputation as a raconteur and an authority on many things “Mississippi.”

After graduating from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., he taught American history for a year and worked for two years as a newspaper reporter. In the early 1980s, he was a young, yet valuable aide to Gov. William Winter while informally doubling as an adventurous traveler and student of literature. He developed friendships with most of the prominent writers in Mississippi’s modern history.

While living in Jackson, Crews made stealthy deliveries of the daily New York Times to the doorstep of Eudora Welty to save her the trouble of finding the newspaper at her neighborhood grocery. (Determined to find who was responsible for the magic, she caught him in the act one morning.) As a child, he even encountered William Faulkner – after the Nobel Prize-winning novelist spotted him stealing apples from an orchard.

Crews was a buddy of the late Willie Morris. He was also part of a cast of characters who banged about China and beyond 30 years ago. Fellow Mississippian, Stuart Stevens, a travel writer and political analyst, wrote about their trip in his book, Night Train to Turkistan.

Crews has hiked all 450 miles of the Natchez Trace and climbed the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. More recently, he produced a documentary that won a regional Emmy Award.

His father, the late John Crews, was a popular English literature professor at Ole Miss. His wife, Claire, is a teacher in the Oxford School District. They are the parents of twins.

To round out his unconventional profile, he carried a gun for nearly eight years while tracking down fugitives as the chief U.S. marshal in North Mississippi during the Clinton administration.

Of his varied background, Crews says: “My brother contends all of this is evidence that I can’t hold a job.”

Meek School set to welcome magazine industry leaders to the ACT 7 Experience April 25-27

Posted on: March 22nd, 2017 by ldrucker

Speakers during the ACT 6 Experience last year.

If you are a magazine leader who is still publishing like you did 10 years ago, you should rethink your business strategy.

“I tell people if you are still publishing your magazine as if it is still 2007, there is something wrong with the picture,” said Samir Husni, Ph.D. “We have to reinvent our content. We don’t have a problem with magazines or newspapers as an income paper entity. We have a problem with what we are putting in those entities and the business model.”

That is one of the issues the ACT 7 Experience will address this year. The 2017 theme is Magazines Matter, Print Matters.

Husni, who is known internationally as “Mr. Magazine™,” is a professor with the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media and director of the Magazine Innovation Center

The MIC was founded in 2009 at UM. It is an international collaboration linking the best thinkers in publishing, marketing, printing, advertising and distribution. The MIC works to ensure a thriving future for magazines, magazine media and the print industry. It also introduces future industry leaders (students) to  current industry leaders (magazine and magazine media makers).

Future and current industry leaders will meet April 25-27 during the ACT 7 Experience at UM. ACT stands for amplify, clarify and testify about the future of print in a digital age. The number of attendees is limited to 100 in addition to speakers and students who are part of the Experience. One student will individually shadow each speaker and sponsor during the entire event.

The ACT 7 Experience will feature a variety of speakers who will discuss three major themes: magazine launches, magazine reach and power, and the future of magazine distribution.

Panelists and speakers will share stories of new magazine launches. Information will be provided for those who want to start a magazine, and organizers will offer a look at magazine launches throughout history.

The Experience will also focus on ways to ensure that magazine leaders continue to make money in print. The third theme will imagine magazine distribution and newsstands in 2020. Industry leaders will discuss the old ways, new ways, what is working, what is not and offer solutions.

Husni

“Some magazines are still making a lot of money,” Husni said, “and they are finding new ways to make money. We know the business model is broken. We know the distribution model is broken. So what can we do?”

Despite the fact that many magazine leaders have been forced to rethink business strategies, Hunsi said print is not dead.

“Some of them are still publishing as if it’s 2007,” he said. “And that’s why we hear that their sales are going down, and that they are dying. But you know how many television programs have come and gone? Did you ever hear anybody saying ‘TV is dead.’ If a magazine dies, no matter how big the magazine is, it doesn’t necessarily mean the industry is dead or there is something wrong with the platform.”

The first ACT Experience was held in 2010 just after the MIC’s 2009 creation. Husni, who is responsible for organizing the entire event with assistant Angela Rogalski, said the first ACT Experience was a great success and continues to be.

“We have more magazine media and industry leaders in one place paying their own way than any conference I know of,” he said. “That’s why we don’t call it a conference. We call it an Experience because of the engagement with current industry leaders and future industry leaders. What differentiates this conference from all other conferences and experiences is to integrate the two groups of industry leaders – the students and the ones who are actually working.

“I’ve heard from more than one CEO telling me the reason they enjoy this conference more than anything is that when they see these future industry leaders, they let down their guard, and they start telling people things that they don’t talk about when they go to other industry conventions.”’

Throughout the year, Husni works to secure funds for the ACT event and the MIC. When magazine executives come to Oxford, Husni said they experience magazines, Mississippi and music.

“We go to the Delta for half a day, and the students have an opportunity of a lifetime sitting next to a CEO on a charter bus for an entire half a day,” he said. “I tell the students if you can’t leave an impression on a magazine publisher, editor, advertising director, or CEO of a marketing group in two and a half days, you should quit the industry. You don’t belong.”

Husni said the ACT Experience usually results in many jobs and internship opportunities for students. It’s also about finding solutions for magazine industry issues. One of those is a shift from an advertising-driven business model, where 90 percent of the revenue comes from advertisers, to a circulation-driven business model that depends on paid subscribers.

“The majority of the new magazines that are coming to the marketplace are charging a very high cover price for them to get money from their customers rather than the advertisers,” Husni said. “We see now that the norm in new magazines, the average cover price, is almost $10. As you know, for $10, you can get a whole year from some of the established magazines.”

In the process of reinventing the business model, Husni said he’s seeing much creativity among industry leaders. He’s also noticed a trend in recent years with the popularity of food, crafts and hobby magazines.

“There has been a steady increase in the number of titles devoted to food,” he said. “Food has become the sex of the 21st century. There are so many titles out there.”

Husni said Brian Hart Hoffman, of Hoffman Media, will talk about his new magazine Bake from Scratch. Husni also recently interviewed the editor and chief of Cooking Light magazine that has been published for 30 years.

“I tell all of my clients ‘audience first,’” he said. “Do not fall in love with the platform. Fall in love with the audience. We are all about the audience. The minute we forget about our audience, the minute it’s our downfall …

“The first assignment I give students in any of my classes is to humanize your magazine. If you tell me you are in the content business, that’s not enough because anybody who can put out 140 characters can be in the content business. We have to go beyond content and become experience-makers. The journalist of the future must be an experience-maker.”

Husni said journalists must give their audiences a reason to read a publication.

“How are you going to engage me?” he said. “A lot of our magazines have no content. Are you kidding me? You are asking me to pay $12, and you don’t give me anything to chew on. You want to fill me up with the appetizers and desserts.”

The ACT 7 Experience will begin Tuesday evening, April 25, with a gala opening dinner in the Ole Miss Ballroom.

On Wednesday, three CEOs will talk about adding value to your brand before you sell it, and they will discuss making more money for magazines. In the afternoon, the group will travel to the Delta and visit sites including the B.B. King Museum, Dockery Farms Historic District, the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, and they’ll dine at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.

Thursday is devoted to distribution. Speakers will talk about new ways to put magazines in the hands of the audience. Many people who started new magazines last year will speak Thursday.

“Whether you are a CEO, whether you are a publisher or an editor, the ACT Experience is not an appetizer or a dessert,” Husni said. “The ACT Experience is the whole meal.”

Husni said his ultimate goal is to help students secure an internship or a job. “I don’t care what they take away, as long as they actually create a relationship that will lead them to a job,” he said. “… I tell the students, this is their golden opportunity. This is their golden ticket in the Wonka’s chocolate bar.

“Even if you are working for Hearst, chance are you are not going to be able to speak with the president. Chances are you’d never interact with that person, yet you have access to that person for two and half days. If you don’t use this and benefit from it, you don’t belong in our business.”

Husni offers the following tips to students who plan to attend the ACT 7 Experience:

  1. Research the speakers and industry leaders.
  2. Be yourself. Be honest with them. Tell them you are seeking advice. Tell them you are a future industry leader in the making. Ask them for tips.
  3. Make the other person feel more important than you, and make sure you are appreciative that they are offering their time.

Space is limited to 100 people. All the lectures are free for students on a first come, first serve basis. Meals and other activities are not. You must be a registered or invited guest.

“I’ve never looked at my job as a job,” said Husni. “I’ve never looked at my students as students. They are journalists. I don’t care if you are in journalism or IMC, you have to learn everything from a journalism point of view. And the first thing you learn as a journalist is audience first. Falling in love with the audience is what we need to do.”

To see the full schedule of the ACT 7 Experience, visit http://www.maginnovation.org/act/agenda/ 

It Starts with MEek: Journalism Competition

Posted on: March 19th, 2017 by jheo1

Meek School students are invited to use their skills while spreading a message of acceptance, respect and inclusion for a campaign the Meek School will host in April.

The “It Starts with (Me)ek” campaign will launch April 19-25. During those days, programs will cover topics ranging from race relations and LGBT issues, to religion and mental and physical health challenges.

Prior to those days, though, students are asked to submit entries for several competitions that utilize the talents of both journalism and IMC students. Deadline for the competitions is April 7 at 8 a.m.

“The campaign’s theme asks students to just pause before assuming they understand a person based solely on that person’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness or other factor,” said Robin Street, senior lecturer in IMC who is chairing the campaign. “One factor does not define who a person is.”

Journalism students can submit a feature story, essay, photo or video package about a person or topic related to diversity, stereotypes, inclusion and respect. The work should not be about the campaign itself. It might be about a person who has fought stereotypes, a person or organization who champions diversity, a personal experience or a lesson learned about stereotyping.

Students may enter original work in four categories: Best Print Feature Article, Best Broadcast Package Story, Best Editorial/Column/Personal Essay, and Best Photo (include an AP style caption).

Rules include: Print submissions should not exceed 1,000 words and should be submitted as an attached Word document. Photos should be sent as an attachment. Broadcast packages should not exceed two minutes. Upload videos to YouTube and send the link. Be sure your video is not marked private.

IMC students can create entries for two categories: a print advertisement and a Snapchat Geofilter. Entrants are encouraged to use the campaign theme color of purple and the existing logo, which they can obtain at https://www.itstartswithmeek.com/competition.

The ad can announce the campaign or convey the key points of the campaign.  It should be in full color and sent as a PDF or JPG file.

For the Snapchat filter, download a template from the Snapchat website.

All winners will be announced at the opening ceremony April 19 at 10 a.m. Winning entries will be on the campaign’s website and possibly displayed in Farley Hall. The winning print and broadcast stories will be submitted to The Daily Mississippian/Newswatch for possible use.  Students may be eligible for a possible prize to be determined.

The due date for all entries is April 7 at 8 a.m. Late submissions are not accepted. Send IMC submissions to Bess Nichols as an attachment at lenicho1@go.olemiss.edu. Send journalism entries to Robin Street at rbstreet@olemiss.edu. For more information, contact Street.

Download (PDF, 310KB)

 

Mississippi Scholastic Press Association State Convention set for March 31 at UM

Posted on: March 19th, 2017 by ldrucker

High school journalism students are among the smartest students in their schools. They are the creatives, intellectuals and critical thinkers. They question everything around them, and high school journalism teaches them life skills that are transferrable to any other career.

R.J. Morgan, left.

That’s why R.J. Morgan, Mississippi Scholastic Press Association director, is passionate about his job and the MSPA State Convention set for Friday, March 31, on the University of Mississippi campus.

UM will soon welcome 500-600 high school students. The convention will be held in Farley Hall with breakout sessions in Lamar, Yerby and Brevard Halls. The event will begin with breakfast and registration in the Grove from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and an opening welcome. Students will attend three breakout sessions at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. They will break for lunch in the Grove at 12:15 p.m., and the afternoon events will begin at 1 p.m. in the Ford Center with the keynote speaker and awards program. The deadline to register is March 20.

The keynote speaker is essayist and Jackson native Kiese Laymon, who attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College, a private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio. He earned a master’s degree in fine arts in fiction from Indiana University and is now a professor of English and African American studies at the University of Mississippi.

Laymon is author of the novel Long Division and a collection of essays called How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016. He has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony and Guernica, according to his bio at kieselaymon.com. He has two books in the works, including a memoir called Heavy and a novel called And So On, expected in 2017 from Scribner.

“He’s a native Mississippian, who has gone on to be a highly respected and published voice,” Morgan said. “He’s so nuanced and really does a good job of articulating a point of view. That’s what I think he’s going to talk about. He was a high school journalist. When we can, we like to find people who were high school journalists.”

Morgan said the MSPA includes about 80 high school member publications. Web only is a small part. Most are newspapers, yearbooks or broadcasts. He said high school journalism teaches students how to organize their thoughts and express them clearly and concisely. It teaches them how to communicate, talk to their peers and strangers, and interview someone.

“It teaches them the importance of deadlines, the importance of design, and the way you structure things for maximum utility,” Morgan said. “High school journalism teaches them to question society, to look at things around them, and to look at what is being presented to them on the surface and critique it, whether that is their school policy on dress code or whether that is a bigger community issue.”

Oxford High School recently published a story about homelessness in Oxford. The student journalists identified and interviewed 93 members of their school district who are homeless in Oxford, Morgan said.

“Now there are groups and community organizations that are donating and trying to help those people,” he said, “and so it’s an extremely valuable learning experience that those kids take with them.

“To use education terminology, high school journalism is a really good exercise in the project-based learning theory. You give students an outlet, whether that is tomorrow’s broadcast or next week’s newspaper. You teach them the base skills that are required of that, and then you let them innovate, develop and create their own process to get from point A to point B, and that type of learning is really advanced and really challenges them as individuals.”

MSPA is the high school journalism organization in Mississippi. The association works with high school staffs all across the state in four areas – school newspapers, including online-only publications, print publications and news magazines; yearbooks, which almost every school has; broadcasts, which have doubled in the last two years; and awards and sessions for literary magazines for creative writing students.

“Our state convention offers skills workshops and education to help students better serve the communities in which they live and work,” Morgan said. “We also run a number of contests to honor and validate people in those four areas.”

The convention always offers basic interviewing, newswriting skills and yearbook design sessions. This year, they’ll also hold sessions on press rights and censorship in schools.

“We’re going to do a session on the current climate around media in our country, and the way we’ve been labeled, and how students can go about dealing with that,” Morgan said. “We have several different specialty sessions I’m excited about.”

Robby Donoho, a sports anchor from WCBI in Columbus, will lead several sessions.

“We really try to gather speakers in the industry and those who are teachers of journalism from across the state and beyond,” Morgan said. “I have a photographer coming from Forsyth County News in Atlanta. He is a photographer and also a content director for the non-daily newspaper, and student publications are essentially non-dailies. They might publish once a month if they are lucky. Usually, it’s more like twice or three times a semester, and so I think having the ability to hear some professional non-daily workflow information will be really neat.”

Robby Donoho at #MSPA16

Morgan said they also try to bring in marketing speakers because the University of Mississippi has an integrated marketing communications program. They try to teach students how to market their publications and better develop their brand identity.

When MSPA started in 1947, Morgan said the convention was similar to a camp. The role of school publications has changed a lot in the past 70 years, and the convention has been a one-day event since the 1970s.

“We are one of the older scholastic press associations and one of the best attended scholastic press associations in the country,” said Morgan. This is his fourth year to direct the convention, and he said students teach him more than he teaches them regarding language evolution and technology.

Twitter photo of #MSPA16

“This generation – they are really innovative storytellers,” he said. “I don’t think they necessarily see themselves that way, but the way they communicate with themselves and their peers through social media and print – through broadcast, shorthand, longform – there are so many different ways they can communicate and get information to their audience. They really just amaze me.”

Morgan’s goal for every conference is to give students seeds of knowledge in new areas.

“When they get back to their schools,” he said, “it is then up to them, their communities and their teachers to foster the growth of those seeds, to the extent that we, in five and six hours, can open their mind to a new way of doing things, a better or more professional way of handling themselves, covering an event or telling a story.”

Morgan said he hopes the MPSA is a factor in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s growing enrollment. It is one of the fastest growing programs at UM.

“Anytime you can get 500 of the best and brightest high school students from the state on your campus, and on a campus as beautiful as this, they can’t help but take something away from it,” Morgan said. “Anytime you can get them in a facility interacting with professors that are as engaging and as interactive as ours, I don’t see how that doesn’t spark their attention.”

Morgan said the MSPA is not a recruiting arm, and they do not try to indoctrinate students about UM. They are a statewide organization focused on developing high school journalists.

“But a rising tide lifts all boats, and you can see the quality of students coming to Ole Miss begin to rise,” said Morgan who believes high school journalism is an important part of education in a media-saturated world.

“I talk to high school administrators all the time who have cut the school newspaper, or who have cut the journalism program from the school because there’s so much pressure at that level for state testing and core curriculum, etc.,” he said. “I had a school administrator tell me one time, ‘Yeah. We don’t do a school newspaper anymore because nobody reads those. Newspapers are kind of a dying thing.’

“And after I calmed down, I challenged his point of view, and I said, “So your position is that a student living in 2017 needs to know less about how media works and media literacy than they did in 1985? We are such a media society now. We are over-saturated with media, stimuli everywhere you look – on our phones, on our television screens, 24 hour news, Twitter, the barrage of bits of information that are coming to us all the time. So by teaching students journalism skills, by teaching them to be better thinkers, it also teaches them to be media consumers.”

If you plan on attending the convention or following it, the event hashtag is #MSPA17.

Contact R. J. Morgan for more information at morgan@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7146.

Miss University dreams of becoming Miss Mississippi, Miss America and a broadcast journalist

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi senior, also known as Miss University, is studying to become a broadcast journalist, but dreams of becoming Miss Mississippi and Miss America.

Leah Gibson grew up cheering, singing and doing community service work, such as working with the organization Teens for Jeans to collect 100 pairs of jeans for the charity.

Gibson was part of the broadcast journalism program in high school. As one of a five-member staff, she helped create a newscast during her lunch hour, and she became became a features writer for her high school newspaper in 10th grade.

Gibson tried several majors before deciding on journalism. She first considered studying to be a lawyer or psychologist until she thought about the time those degrees required.

Instead, she wanted to do something that allowed her to be more creative and didn’t want to sit behind a desk daily. Gibson soon realized she loved being in front of the camera, going out and getting stories, and finding different angles for stories that have been told thousands of times.

Before deciding what college she wanted to attend, she initially had Mississippi State University in mind until she met former Chancellor Robert C. Khayat in Washington, D.C. while she was a Al Neuharth Conference scholar. He convinced her to look into the Meek School of Journalism and New Media program, and she decided on UM based on information she received from each school.

Gibson said she loves the Ole Miss sense of unity. She believes Ole Miss accepts its past and that the community wants to move forward.

“Every time something bad happens in the media, Ole Miss faces it head on, puts together focus groups, put out new policies, and ensures that everyone feels safe,” she said.

Gibson has volunteered as a cheer coach for Upward Basketball and cheerleading in Oxford, and believes this has made her a stronger person. She said she liked the idea of sharing something she was passionate about with other girls and hopes they will participate in competitive cheer.

She also volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club for a year and a half and started a mentoring program called GLAM squad. GLAM stands for Giving Learning Achieving Maturing, and focuses on teaching girls to accept who they are. She also focused on her pageant platform, highway safety.

Gibson has been active on campus for four years, but she is now involved with the Black Student Union, her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., being the Rebel Radio station manager, and fulfilling her duties as Miss University.

Some may wonder why Gibson wanted to be Miss University. It’s a dream she had many years ago. When she first began competing in competitions, they were small beauty reviews. She did the National American Miss Distinguishing Women Competition in high school, and did not win, but she wasn’t ready to give up.

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Gibson spends a lot of time in the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center.

Determined to win a title, her mother found the Outstanding Teen program within the Miss America organization. As a teen, Gibson placed within the Top 10 her first year, but soon realized she had aged out and could no longer compete because she was a graduating high school senior.

She then competed in Miss University and did not win, but her talent for singing did. She still felt like she wasn’t finished with competitions and went on to win Miss Meridian. She loves to compete because, for her, competitions are more than just pageants. She thinks about people from her hometown or little girls she might inspire in the process.

“You have to go through hurdles to get to where you’re trying to go for your ultimate goals to come to life,” she said. “I want people to remember me, not as someone who had potential, but as someone who always went after their biggest goals.”

What makes Gibson stand out? After working with her during the UM Apex leadership summit for rising high school seniors in 2012, Chad Knight said they didn’t talk much in college. However, they later both became orientation leaders and were Lucky Day residential community assistants.

A relationship formed, and he said Gibson is a vibrant individual, happy at all times, and has genuine care and concern for others. During her Miss University campaign, he watched her disconnect from everyone to focus, and that showed her passion and drive.

“Leah stands out from other Miss Universities in the past because of her drive and commitment to the title,” he said. “I believe she knows she is representing something bigger than herself. She is living up to the work of the title and not just the name.”

Gibson’s dream is to become Miss Mississippi, then Miss America. If that does not work out, she plans to take a year off after graduation and study abroad, because she believes traveling and culture is something you cannot teach, but something someone has to experience.

The author of this article, Lydazja Turner, 18, is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. Her dream is to become a radio host or vlogger. She has studied ballet most of her life and dabbles in yoga. Her schedule is packed with schoolwork and involvement in the Black Student Union. She wrote this story for a Journalism 102 class, and she is a writer for Oxford Stories. Read more stories about Oxford and North Mississippi people at OxfordStories.net.

Students get career advice at Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by ldrucker

When Abbie McIntosh was in 8th grade, her mother demanded that she finish her homework before watching her favorite football team play.

“I was a huge Texas fan,” said the Houston native. “I had to finish my homework before I could watch Texas. And that night at dinner, my mom was like, with how much you love sports, I think you should look into being a sports broadcaster.

“I thought about it, did some more research, and I really liked it. I did print (journalism) in high school, because we didn’t really have anything broadcast, but I wanted to do broadcast.”

Today, the University of Mississippi sophomore is preparing for a future in broadcast journalism. She attended Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media Tuesday in the Farley Hall on the University of Mississippi campus to have her resume critiqued and seek career advice from industry professionals.

McIntosh said she has learned a lot about broadcast journalism at the Meek School.

“I’ve just learned different techniques,” she said, “like how to do the proper standup.”

McIntosh said she’s also learned how to create a broadcast package, how to shoot B-roll, proper interview techniques, and how to use cameras and equipment.

“I’ve learned so much in my two very short years here,” she said. “I just wanted to get feedback on my work to improve myself.”

UM senior Lynecia Christion, 22, is also studying journalism.

“I’m basically just trying to get some advice and criticism,” she said Tuesday. “I brought my resume so I could tweak it a little bit. I didn’t realize how fast the year was going to go by, and now it’s really kicking in, and you go to places like this and realize graduation is about to be here.”

Christion said she’s trying to get her name and brand out to future employers.

“Right now, I’m not so big on being in front of the camera,” she said. “I like the background scene in producing, editing and directing. I am willing to report if I need to just to get to a background spot.”

Nancy McKenzie Dupont, Ph.D., organized Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day.

“It’s everything I hoped it would be,” she said, referring to the event. “I’m always nervous before this event every year because there are so many moving parts, and everything has to come together, but the broadcasters of the state have supported our students, and many students get internships and actual jobs every year.”

A journalism or integrated marketing communications degree can lead to a job in public relations, marketing, sports promotion, creative services and many other categories.

Dupont said the event teaches students how to succeed in broadcast journalism and marketing jobs at broadcasting stations. It involved portfolio critiques in the morning, a meeting with faculty, and small group discussions in the afternoon. The public was not invited. It was only for students and faculty only. Dupont said said 15-20 broadcasters attended.

“Broadcasters want to come to the Meek School because they believe it’s the best program in the state,” she said. “They want to help students during their time here. It would be a mistake for students to miss this opportunity to get a professional critique of their work and advice on how to land the job they want.”

Dupont said many students start out with the goal of becoming newspaper and broadcast reporters, but because many jobs have changed, there are many more career options for students. Her advice: Develop as many skills as you can—writing, video shooting, editing, social media, etc.—and intern at more than one place to gain experience.

For more information about the event or the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s broadcast journalism program and and classes, contact Dupont at ndupont@olemiss.edu.

Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day speakers offer advice

Posted on: March 6th, 2017 by ldrucker

A journalism or integrated marketing communications degree can lead to a job in public relations, marketing, sports promotion, creative services and many other categories.

That’s why the University of Mississippi annually hosts the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day. It will be held Tuesday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nancy McKenzie Dupont, Ph.D., is a professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media and coordinator of the event that will be held in the Overby Center in Farley Hall on the UM campus.

“This event is for students to learn how to succeed in broadcast journalism and in marketing jobs at broadcasting stations,” Dupont said. “The day consists of portfolio critiques in the morning, a meeting with faculty, and small group discussions in the afternoon. The public is not invited to any of the events. It’s just for students and faculty.”

She said 15-20 broadcasters will attend.

“Broadcasters want to come to the Meek School because they believe it’s the best program in the state,” she said. “They want to help students during their time here. It would be a mistake for students to miss this opportunity to get a professional critique of their work and advice on how to land the job they want.”

Dupont said many students start out with the goal of becoming newspaper and broadcast reporters, but so many journalism jobs have changed, and there are many more career options for students.

“I hope students will learn what skills they need to be developing right now to make themselves ready for careers at broadcasting stations,” she said.

Her advice: Develop as many skills as you can—writing, video shooting, editing, social media, etc.—and intern as much as you can to gain experience.

For more information, contact Dupont at ndupont@olemiss.edu.

Internet Marketing Class Gets Real

Posted on: February 23rd, 2017 by drwenger

Photo by Jennifer Sadler.

Students in Prof. Jennifer Sadler’s internet marketing class held a standing exhibition in the Meek School of Journalism to bring awareness to the issue of affordable housing in Oxford.

As housing prices increase and affordable complexes for low income families, such as Riverside Apartments, are torn down, it creates a struggle for some residents to both live and work within the community.

Students were tasked with conducting interviews to produce community profiles. They printed flyers with interview highlights and stood throughout the school for one hour to encourage all who spoke with them to visit the Facebook page and become a part of a collective community voice.

Students are managing the We Say: Voices of LOU page as part of the class. The goal is to introduce social journalism and community responsibility to young adults.

“This whole thing is in partnership with the sociology and history departments,” said Sadler. “I’m working with faculty members there as they research archived data and take interviews from residents with their students. We are tasked with compiling that data and giving it to the public in an engaging way via social media.”

The project will conclude at the close of the semester and all are asked to follow the Facebook page to keep up with student news on the community.

Ole Miss students win 18 awards, first for Public Service Journalism at Southeast Journalism Conference

Posted on: February 20th, 2017 by drwenger

Photo courtesy Oxford Conference Center.

University of Mississippi students earned 18 awards at the Southeast Journalism Conference awards ceremony Friday night, including a first-place honor for Public Service Journalism for The Daily Mississippian’s “The Red Zone” special edition.

Daily Mississippian Editor-in-Chief Clara Turnage led the award-winning project during fall 2016. It highlighted the issue of sexual assault, which Turnage said she felt was under-reported on campus. She said many of the editors and reporters she worked with wanted to tell the stories of sexual assault that happened in their own college town.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive this award, and I couldn’t be prouder of my staff,” Turnage said. “They are so talented, and I am so blessed to work with them.”

The Best of the South contest honored work published or aired between mid-November 2015 and mid-November 2016. There were entries from 29 universities across seven Southeastern states.

Turnage won second place in the prestigious College Journalist of the Year category. She was awarded a plaque and $500.

Daily Mississippian Managing Editor Lana Ferguson won first place for magazine writing, and DM Lifestyles Editor Zoe McDonald won first place for feature writing.

Second-place awards included: Hayden Benge, page design; Billy Rainey, radio reporting; Lauren Veline, journalism research paper.

Third-place awards included: Lauren Layton, TV feature reporting; Daniella Oropeza, TV hard news reporting; Clara Turnage, special event reporter; Lana Ferguson, news writing; Marisa Morrissette, graphic design; Jake Thrasher, editorial artist.

Other individual winners included: Julia Grant, fourth place, op-ed writing; Ellen Spies, fourth place, advertising; Brian Scott Rippee, eighth place sports writing.

The Daily Mississippian, the only daily newspaper in the contest, won fifth place as best newspaper, and theDMonline.com won third place for best website. NewsWatch Ole Miss, a daily live newscast, won fifth place as best TV station.

The Southeast Journalism Conference also includes onsite competitions, where students competed in 15 categories to produce content with tight deadlines. Georgia State University took first place in the Grand Championship Team Category. Belmont University placed second, and Southeast Louisiana University claimed third place. As the host university, Ole Miss could not participate in onsite competition.

Conference speakers included Meek School faculty and journalists- including alumni- from The New York Times, Clarion-Ledger, ESPN’s The Undefeated, the Associated Press, Mississippi Today, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, E.W. Scripps, the Miami Herald, and other media companies.

Middle Tennessee State University tied for fifth place in the Grand Championship Team Category this year. Faculty adviser for the MTSU paper Sidelines Leon Alligood said his students have been to five SEJC conferences together.
“We come every year,” Alligood said. “My expectations were high, and I’m happy to say they were met.”

Bryce McNeil, assistant director of student media at Georgia State University, hosted the conference two years ago in Atlanta.

“I was especially overwhelmed by how positive the speakers were in spite of so many clashes in the media,” McNeil said.

He said this year he brought 29 students to Oxford, which is the biggest group yet to represent Georgia State at SEJC. He said these conferences have a lot to offer to journalism students.

“First, the camaraderie is invaluable,” McNeil said. “And they leave knowing their profession really does matter.”

Harding University will host the next SEJC in 2018. Faculty adviser Katie Ramirez said this was her program’s first time visiting Oxford.

“I think they’re all ready to move here,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

The University of Mississippi Student Media Center hosted this year’s conference. Its theme was “Spotlight on Storytelling: Watchdog Journalism in a Mobile World.” Meek School Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson was this year’s SEJC president.

Will Norton, dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, said he was truly proud of the Ole Miss students who participated in the conference.

“Assistant Dean Thompson and her staff and the students of the Student Media Center provided a wonderful weekend for those attending and communicated excellence to everyone who attended,” Norton said.

Thompson said among the highlights for her during the conference were Jerry Mitchell’s keynote banquet speech, the support and help from Meek School faculty and other departments on campus, and the recognition of Ole Miss students’ work.

“They are full-time students who work as journalists for hours every day and night because they care about our campus and community,” Thompson said.

This story was originally published on thedmonline.com.