Nick Kotz reflects on writing “The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas.” Read the article at nickkotz.com. Kotz is married to Mary Lynn Kotz, a Meek School graduate.
Students in two advanced public relations classes taught by Robin Street traveled to Memphis Nov. 5 to meet with PR professionals at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and FedEx.
At FedEx, seven public relations professionals are Ole Miss graduates. Five of them talked with the students and provided insight into working for a global corporation, as well as career guidance.
Pictured here are, left to right, FedEx employees Ed Coleman, communications principal, Services Communications; Steve Barber, senior communications specialist, Global Engagement and Events; Jenny Robertson, manager of global media; Street; Alex Shockey, senior communications specialist, Digital & Social Media; and Natashia Gregoire, manager of reputation management. Scheduled to meet, but unable to attend were Ole Miss grads Rose Flenorl, manager of corporate citizenship and Cindy Conner, director, Global Citizenship and Reputation Management.
At St. Jude, students toured the hospital and learned what it is like to work in non-profit public relations. They learned that St. Jude must raise enough in donations to fund its operating costs of $1.9 million dollars a day. Here they pose in front of the hospital with the statue of St. Jude.
The chief executive officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Bill Johnson, joined three other specialists in the field of energy and development from North Mississippi in a discussion of “The Future of Energy and Economic Development in the Region.”
The special program, designed to take advantage of a meeting of the TVA board of directors in Oxford, was moderated by Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center.
Johnson, who became president and CEO of the TVA in January, is responsible for leading the nation’s largest public utility. TVA provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors in parts of seven states across the southeastern United States. A summa cum laude graduate of Duke University with a law degree from the University of North Carolina, Johnson developed an impressive background in the energy field in North Carolina before taking the TVA position.
Others on the panel from North Mississippi – which is served in many areas by TVA – are:
- David Copenhaver of Tupelo, a retired vice president, administration, for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. With more than a quarter-century’s experience in economic development in the Southeast, Copenhaver had a major role in establishing the Toyota plant at Blue Springs, near Tupelo.
- J.R. (Josh) Gladden, associate professor of physics and director of the National Center for Physical Acoustics at Ole Miss. Gladden conducts research on energy-related materials and served last year as the university’s representative to the SEC Symposium on Renewable Energy.
- David Rumbarger, the president and CEO of the Tupelo-based Community Development Foundation. Rumbarger has more than 20 years experience in economic development and focuses on creating project partnerships and local incentive packages.
Watch the program on YouTube.
Jonathan Woods, senior editor of photo and interactives at TIME, visited the Meek School of Journalism last week as a guest lecturer. Woods, who oversees the photography and interactive components published on TIME.com, visited with journalism students in JOUR 101, 271, and 375 classes on Thursday and Friday, and also conducted a workshop at the Student Media Center.
Recently, Woods spearheaded “Timelapse,” in partnership with Google, Landsat, and Carnegie Mellon University, a 30-year-long time-lapse of satellite images showing global climate change. The project garnered more unique views than any story TIME has published in 2013.
Prior to joining TIME, Woods spent three years with nbcnews.com as a multimedia producer and six as a photojournalist for newspapers ranging from the Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. You can follow him on Twitter: @jonwoods
Robin Street, APR, was named PR Professional of the Year by the Oxford chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi recently.
Street, lecturer in journalism at the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media, specializes in teaching public relations.
The award is given for career and professional achievements, as well as involvement in PRAM. Street co-founded the local chapter of PRAM and has served as president, vice president,and secretary-treasurer.
Local PRAM president Kelly Graeber presented the award to Street.
“Robin was chosen for the award because she is a role model and mentor to all her current and former students, as well as others in the profession,” Graeber said. “As a teacher, she has prepared hundreds of students to become the PR professionals they are today. In addition, her own work is award winning. She is truly a shining example of what a PR professional should be.”
Street now becomes the Oxford PRAM chapter’s nominee for the state professional of the year award. Previously, in 2009, Street was named Educator of the Year by both PRAM and the Southern Public Relations Federation.
Randall Pinkston, winner of three national Emmys and one Edward R. Murrow Award as a network correspondent, accepted the 2013 Sam Talbert Silver Em Award from the University of Mississippi in a ceremony at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.
Pinkston is a native of Yazoo County. He retired in May after 33 years with CBS and in September joined the new Al Jazeera America team as a freelance journalist and national correspondent.
“Whether he was on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement or in the press room at the White House, Randall Pinkston reported with clarity and courage,” said Sharyn Alfonsi, Pinkston’s colleague who is now with “60 Minutes Sports.” “He is an intrepid reporter, a gifted story teller and always a true gentleman. I was honored to call him my colleague and proud to call him my friend.”
Pinkston was joined at the ceremony by his mother, Mrs. Clementine Davis, a retired school teacher, and other members of his family. In a brief acceptance speech, Pinkston traced the roots of his interest in news and reporting as a young man growing up in the shadow of the Mississippi Capitol and in an era when black voices were excluded from mainstream media. Watch Pinkston’s comments on YouTube.
The Silver Em dates to 1958 and is the highest award in journalism presented by the University of Mississippi. The criteria limit recipients to Mississippians with notable journalism careers, journalists with notable careers in Mississippi or both, which is the case with Pinkston.
He is a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson whose first television work was three years with WLBT-TV. That was followed by two years with WJXT-TV, followed by a move to Hartford, Conn., where he worked four years as a reporter, anchor and producer for public affairs programs and specials while also earning his juris doctorate from the University of Connecticut.
In 1980, Pinkston joined WCBS-TV in New York, where he covered New Jersey for 10 years. Pinkston then joined CBS News as White House Correspondent covering the presidency of President George H.W. Bush and traveling with the president. At the end of the Bush presidency, Pinkston was reassigned to New York and covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. intervention in Haiti, the Unabomber story, the standoff with the Montana Freemen and the trial of Susan Smith, accused of killing her children. Pinkston covered the early developments in the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida and, notably, among his last interviews for CBS was with Myrlie Evers Williams, a fellow Mississippian and widow of Medgar Wiley Evers who was assassinated when Pinkston was 12 years old.
Now in its sixth year, the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics has become a leading center for civil discourse on issues facing Mississippi, the region, nation and world.
Programs have ranged from second generation Chinese Americans sharing their stories of growing up in the rural South to the only debate between Democratic contenders for governor to a call for journalistic truth and fact-checking by the cousin of Emmett Till, whose 1955 murder triggered the American Civil Rights Movement.
To continue the exploration, the University of Mississippi Foundation has launched an initiative to endow a speaker series. Proceeds from the endowment will cover travel and expenses for guests invited to be part of presentations at the center, which have averaged about one per week during the fall and spring semesters. When fullly funded, the endowment will be the largest for a speaker series at Ole Miss.
Programs have included the well-known — Myrlie Evers Williams, Tom Brokaw, Shepard Smith and Harold Burson — as well as those, such as Till’s cousin Simeon Wright and Stuart Stevens, a manager of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, whose stories are behind the headlines.
“The quality of speakers the Overby Center hosts each semester is a huge asset for the university,” said Chancellor Dan Jones, who is often in the audience at the center’s 225-seat auditorium.
The center was created through a gift from the Freedom Forum, the foundation created by the Gannett media company to support freedom of expression as an essential element in American Society and around the world. A major project of the Forum is the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
It was named in honor of Charles L. Overby, a Jackson native who, after serving as editor of the Daily Mississippian at Ole Miss, worked in politics and journalism, earning a Pulitzer Prize, before becoming chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum.
The center is adjacent to the newly renovated Meek School of Journalism and New Media, the fastest-growing academic unit at the university. In addition to the auditorium, the center features display areas, a 100-seat conference area and a boardroom for up to 24 people. Media technology is on display throughout the center, including a news wall with nine large-screen monitors showing 20 front pages of newspapers around the South as well as live news programs.
“The center has become a focal point for attracting knowledgeable and interesting speakers with diverse points of view,” Overby said. “Inside the center, we have benefitted from our ongoing partnership with the Newseum, through exhibits and technology.”
Gifts to the Overby Center Speaker Series Endowment may be made in a range. A gift of $50,000, payable over five years, will provide a named speaker series. Gifts of $25,000 each may be given for a paired-name series.
Gifts of $5,000 will endow a premium seat, which is commemorated with a permanent nameplate on the seat. Gifts of $1,000 will endow the remaining seats, which will also have a permanent nameplate.
More information is available from Director of Development John Festervand (firstname.lastname@example.org/662-915-1757). Donations may be made through the Giving link on the Meek School website, www.meek.olemiss.edu.
Watch CBS Legal Analyst Jack Ford’s interview about his new novel based on the 1955 unsolved murder of a civil rights activist in Mississippi at cbsnews.com. Ford, an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist, is scheduled to speak at The University of Mississippi School of Law, on October 10, 2013, at 3 p.m. Visit the School of Law’s website for more information.
Students and faculty were honored on Sept. 26 with the college journalism award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. The awards ceremony was at the Newseum in Washington, and D.C. alumni showed up to support the winners. The winning multimedia project focused on University of Mississippi students engaged in service learning work in Belize. Pictured are (left to right): Lee Sanders (Jour ’85), Anna Scott (Jour ’78), Patricia Thompson (director of student media and faculty leader on the winning project), Jesse Holland (Jour ’94 and former Daily Mississippian editor in chief), Margaret Ann Morgan (Jour 2013 and a student on the winning project), Steve Riley (Jour ’80 and a member of the team that won the RFK domestic print award and the grand prize award for a joint project of The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer); student project winners Aubry Killion (Jour ’12), Katie Williamson (current student) and Cain Madden (Jour 2013); Christine Burgeson (Jour ’92), Dennis Moore Jour ’75), John Hall (Jour ’83), John Festervand, director of development. The winners had a wonderful time networking with alumni and with journalists from NBC News, PBS Frontline, CNN and with Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner for economics who was awarded the RFK Book Award.
Students and faculty who traveled to Washington to accept the award have all been active in student media. They are (left to right): Katie Wiliamson, who graduates in December; Cain Madden, who graduated in May 2013 and is managing editor of a newspaper in southern Virginia; Patricia Thompson, assistant professor and director of student media, holding the bust of Robert F. Kennedy; Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy; Margaret Ann Morgan, May 2013 graduate and former Miss Ole Miss who works as a correspondent for WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg; Aubry Killion, who graduated in 2012 and works as a correspondent for 5News in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Others who helped produce the project but weren’t at the awards ceremony are Meek School grad Jajuan McNeil, and assistant professors Mikki Harris and Darren Sanefski.
Terry Ewert (’73) has had a successful career in media production during the last 40 years. The Emmy Award-winning producer was back in Oxford during September, teaching a five-week sports television production class.
Under his direction, journalism students have partnered with Ole Miss Athletics for the first time, to produce live coverage of the women’s volleyball match against Arkansas. Ewert also worked with Dr. Bradley Schultz, a long-time broadcast journalism professor.
Senior Morgan White, a student in the class, said, “Mr. Ewert has been amazing, and I’ve learned a lot… and I’m going to use it in the future. ”
“Now, I feel like I have a better foundation if I do feel like I want to go into production or even on air. The live webcast of the game was streamed on RebelVision at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27.
Ewert answered a few questions about Ole Miss and his career:
What is your favorite memory of your time as a student at Ole Miss?
I had a lot of them. Coming out of high school then coming to a university was bizarre for me. I was in a fraternity, and I have 120 or so automatic friends. Some are friends, some are not friends, but they’re the kind of people who look out for you, and that’s just something that I wasn’t used to.
When I was a freshman, it was Archie Manning’s junior year, his phenomenal year! I think all of us in the class that came in were caught up with the great football and national attention that we were getting with Archie that football season.
I think the fraternity, working at the sorority house and certainly my classwork were my best memories. Oh yeah, and the football season that freshman year.
So, how did you end up at Ole Miss?
When I was in high school looking for a place to go to college, I had been appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy. I wasn’t sure at the point that I wanted to be a career officer in the military. I was always a service brat; we moved from place to place; my father was in the Air Force. I promised him that if I got a scholarship to Ole Miss I would take ROTC. Indeed, I did get a scholarship, and I ended up at Ole Miss and took ROTC at least for the first year (laughs).
As an alumnus of the University of Mississippi, what kind of advice would you give to a soon-to-be graduate from the university?
You should explore where you want to be. I think this school of journalism has a very good reputation, and I think the best thing to do is choose your steps wisely and reach out to every different media outlet, newspaper or whatever direction you want to go in. Try to find your niche. If you really want to stay in journalism, the opportunities are there if you really strive and want to get noticed or hired.
How often do you come back and visit?
Not very often, unfortunately. I travel a lot on my job. I have my own production company where we have to do a certain amount of hours and certainly the Big Ten Network keeps me busy as well. I live in the New York area, and I always enjoy coming back. I’m always impressed with how the university has grown and how it’s more diverse. I think that’s the important step this university made years ago, and it continues to this day. I think it’s getting to be what Dr. Robert Khayat called it, “A Great American Public University.”
What advice would you give to Terry Ewert the freshman?
I probably would’ve taken more courses in broadcasting when I was here. I really only took one. My very first job was in broadcasting. I was an on-air anchor and on-air sports director for KALB-TV in Alexandria, La. I should have concentrated more in broadcasting so that the learning curve wouldn’t have been so high. I was a political science major, but I also was in speech and theater. I took Broadcasting 101, and I wish that I had pursued that another semester or even further. There were very rudimentary courses at the time, and eventually that whole system moved to where it is now, a school of journalism. I probably could have gotten a lot more out of Ole Miss at the time in the world of broadcasting.
With working in such a deadline-oriented and sometimes stressful business, how do you balance out your life when you’re not working?
I have a wife and family. My children have always been an inspiration. They’re grown now, but to spend time at home and watch my children grow up was always my recreation — just being a dedicated family man.
Could you describe some of the biggest highlights of your career that were the most exciting to you?
I was a senior production executive for three Olympic games, two for NBC sports and one for the Atlanta Olympics. My former executive producer Don Ohlmeyer said, “If you ever wonder how good you are, do an Olympics,” and I did three of them. The first one was the Olympics in 1988, and I did the broadcast side. In 1992 for Barcelona I did the cable side. Lastly for 1996 I did the overall. I actually worked for the Olympic Committee. I got to experience all sides of Olympic coverage, and I think that was fulfilling, but I think working as an executive producer at CBS sports for six years and doing the Master’s, NCAA basketball tournaments, SEC Championship games, doing a multitude of other things with the NFL and doing the PGA tour were really the highlights of my career.
What was your first job after graduating from Ole Miss in 1973?
It’s funny because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had worked the year before between my junior and senior year at WJTV in Jackson, Miss. I needed a summer job and they had cameramen positions open for those who were on vacation relief, so that is what I first did.
That was kind of the seed, and I went back to the station after I graduated. They had a sister station in Louisiana. As fate would have it, they were looking for a sportscaster. I talked a lot of SEC football with them, and they liked that. They auditioned me, and I got hired. So my first job was being an on-air anchor and sports director at KALB.
Were there any risks that you ever had to take in your career?
Moving to New York. I was at the KALB station for a year, and I also was an actor while I was at Ole Miss. I was into speech and theater as well, so I did a lot of the plays. A group of theater friends were moving to New York, and they asked me to come with them. I quit the job at KALB and, with $600 to my name, moved to New York. That’s all I had. I ended up on the streets of New York. I hated it while I was there because I was struggling, and within three months I got a commercial, and I thought it was easy, and for six months after that I didn’t even get another callback.
That’s when I decided to become an NBC page and from an NBC page, I just worked my way up through NBC to NBC Sports. I was there for 18 years. The biggest risk I took was quitting everything and moving to New York City.
What did you learn at Ole Miss that has helped your career get to where it is today? Was there a specific professor or experience?
The biggest thing most individuals learn in college is how to live with other people. You lived with your family your whole life through high school, and that’s kind of a sheltered existence because there’s someone that’s always looking out for you. When you come to any university or college, you have to get along with other people, and it’s a great social experiment that you don’t even know that you do. You have all this freedom, but you have to go to class. You have to get all your work done. You’ve got to get good grades, and you’ve got to progress through the four years. So, the great social experiment of living with other people and being around other people was the greatest takeaway from this university because this university was very nurturing with the staff and the teachers.
A version of this story was originally published on HottyToddy.com.
Author Charles Graeber paid a visit to Meek School students this week to discuss his best-selling book “The Good Nurse,” about the serial killer Charles Cullen, the so-called “Angel of Death” who, before his arrest in 2003, murdered as many as 300 patients over the course of a 16-year nursing career.
Graeber explained how his six-year investigation into Cullen — and into the broken health care system that allowed him to continue undetected for so long – all started with the bizarre news clipping he’d been carrying around in his pocket, about a serial killer who wanted to donate a kidney against the wishes of his victims’ families. That clip inspired Graeber to write a letter to Cullen, asking if he would talk with him. Despite having turned away dozens of reporters in the past, Cullen agreed.
“At that point,” Graeber said, “I had the football.”
“It’s a little counter-intuitive to think that good story ideas often come from other news sources – it might seem like that story has already been told,” Graeber told students in Assistant Professor Cynthia Joyce’s JOUR 271 News Reporting classes on Tuesday. “But that’s not always the case – there was another story here that wasn’t being told.”
His initial investigation led to a feature story in New York magazine, “The Tainted Kidney.” That story, in part, launched a book deal, and the book became the basis of a two-part “60 Minutes” segment.
Curious about his reporting techniques, Meek students asked Graeber whether spending so much time with a serial killer required “psychological counseling.”
“In the middle of working on “The Good Nurse,” I was sent by Business Week to write a story about a family in Kamaishi, Japan, who survived the 2011 tsunami,” he said. “This was one month after [the tsunami] – and the fact that I was actually eager to go and sit around a campfire with the survivors was probably a pretty good indication of my mental state.”
That story – “After the tsunami: Nothing to do but start again” – earned the Overseas Press Club’s Ed Cunningham Award in 2011.
Although Graeber is obviously drawn to “big” stories, he emphasized the importance of sweating the small stuff — getting every single fact right, down to the tiniest detail.
“Never mind that for more than 15 years a killer was allowed to work in nine different hospitals — if the guy had been wearing brown shoes, and I’d said they were black, no one was going to believe anything else about the story.”
Graeber will be signing copies of “The Good Nurse” at Square Books on Wednesday, September 18 at 5:00PM
Honors students at the University of Mississippi no longer have the opportunity to enroll in a class led by the famed and now retired Jere Hoar — but they may get the opportunity to be at Ole Miss due to the journalism professor’s legacy.
Inspired by his teaching, Hoar’s students created a scholarship in his honor a few years ago. They are launching an initiative this fall that will both record history and make history.
Alumni and friends invited to log onto a dedicated link on the University of Mississippi Foundation website to share their memories of the professor so that the stories are not lost to time. Also, if the goal of increasing the existing endowment by $100,000 is met, an anonymous donor has pledged another $100,000 to make the fund among the largest available to students in UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
Journalism at Ole Miss began in the years immediately after World War II. Since then, dozens of the students have become leading national and international practitioners in newspapers and broadcasting.
One of them is Curtis Wilkie, now senior fellow at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics (named in honor of a Pulitzer winner and fellow alumnus, Charles Overby). Wilkie’s career culminated with many years covering presidential politics and the Middle East for The Boston Globe, but it began in the presence of Jere Hoar.
“I was a callow high school senior considering journalism at Ole Miss, and he was a young professor willing to spend time advising me,” Wilkie said. And he added a confession about arriving late for a class during his senior year: “As I handed over my papers, Dr. Hoar had the look of a man confronted with an unpleasant odor.” Wilkie failed the class, the same class he now teaches in the Meek School — and he tells students about it on their first day every semester. “The story demonstrates Jere Hoar’s strong commitment to the highest standards,” and “it taught me a valuable lesson about meeting deadlines as a newspaper reporter.”
Greg Brock, now senior editor for standards at The New York Times, came to the University of Mississippi a generation after Wilkie. A leader in the effort to honor Hoar and preserve his legacy, Brock says his initial take on Hoar was that he was “demanding, overbearing and totally unreasonable.” Brock’s viewpoint has moderated. “I understand why he pushed us so hard to do our best. He is the professor I remember most fondly and appreciate the most.”
Students who receive the Jere Hoar Scholarship in Journalism will be selected from journalism majors who are also members of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi. It will be a perpetual endowment, with scholarships limited to the fund’s annual earnings.
Hoar is a native of Tennessee who continues to live and work on his farm in Oxford. Before and after graduating from Auburn, he worked in weekly and daily journalism and for trade publications.
He is a veteran, having served in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. Later, Hoar earned a master’s at Ole Miss and a doctorate from the University of Iowa. He also completed a preceptor program, passed the legal examination and became a licensed Mississippi attorney.
Hoar also continued to write short stories and novels, but says teaching was his passion. Too, he is as happy about students who “chose to do good work in small places” as he is those who have had more notable careers.
The “tell your story” portal can be found at www.umfoundation.com/jerehoar, where donations can also be made.
Mailed donations should be sent to The University of Mississippi Foundation, Jere Hoar Scholarship Endowment, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677-0249.
The Meek School of Journalism and New Media is the newest academic unit at Ole Miss. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and in integrated marketing communications. The school website is www.meek.olemiss.edu.
Due to her background in public relations and wellness, Lecturer Robin Street was a source for Mississippi Public Radio in reporting on a new federal grant. Listen to the interview.
Think Web first. A sign with those three simple words hangs in the Raycom-owned WDAM-TV newsroom in Hattiesburg, Miss. The idea is to remind reporters, producers and everyone else to push to Web, and smartphones make that job much easier.
Reporter Rachel Beech is perhaps the best example of someone who thinks Web first, and by extension, she goes mobile. A quick look at her Facebook posts (which she has automatically linked to her Twitter account) shows that she is always plugged in- and so are her followers.
“My online presence is important, because I see great value in communicating with others while keeping them informed about happenings around the Pine Belt,” says Beech. “People want an accessible avenue for information, and there’s no better place to access info than the Web.”
Perhaps Rachel’s “star moment” was during a mayoral election uproar, which has just recently been taken to a trial. With this constant coverage, Beech has learned the importance of not only immediate updates but also updates that are factual.
“Receiving information straight from the source quickly is critical,” she says, “and I try to do that as soon as news breaks.”
Her live updates boost her online presence, and she says it could not be done without having that mobile access in the field. “After receiving info, I relay it to the public- straight from my iPhone- as efficiently and objectively as possible.”
Here’s what the expectations are for making mobile newsgathering part of the reporter’s day:
- Each reporter is supplied with a smartphone and is expected to use that for reporting in the field. As a reporter rushes out the door, equipment and coffee in hand, they are (or at least should be!) sending out a tweet and posting to Facebook to let their followers know what they are covering. While on the scene, several social media updates are expected, which should include both pictures and video. The quality of camera in the phones is high enough to allow the use of pictures and videos on the Web, as well as in television cut-ins.
- Pictures are sent with a two paragraph story summary that is immediately posted to the Web, Twitter and Facebook. In addition, the reporter also sends back a ten-second tease that is used as a cut-in prior to the newscast. This is also posted to the Web. While the reporter is in the field, the Web producer back at the station is posting the content. But when a reporter returns, it is his or her responsibility to post a Web story along with a video to the website.
The goal is to create a news organization that keeps viewers in mind, every minute of the day.
This story was contributed by Margaret Ann Morgan, a 2013 graduate of the Meek School and a reporter for WDAM-TV.
When Mary Frances Stephens signed up for her first journalism writing class, she probably had no idea she would spark a round of academic research. The journalism major’s video project evaluates the benefits of recycling glass and was featured on a website that focuses on environmental news.
“This video explains how the recycling/re-use of glass can help improve our safety on the roads in our community, as well as reduce the heat island effect that is common in most urban areas,” wrote Stephens.
One of the people she interviewed, Dr. Waheed Uddin, is a professor in the engineering school at Ole Miss. Her story got him thinking more deeply about the topic.
“I have written a paper with my Ph.D. student Fahmi for 2013 IJPC international conference in São Paulo, Brazil where we were motivated by Ms. Stephens’s video project. Our recommended approach involves minimal consumption of energy, lower GHG emissions, as well as, reducing “heat-island” effects,” wrote Uddin.
Stephens did her story for Dr. Kristie Swain’s JOUR 102 class; Swain has long been involved in reporting on environmental issues.
The need for journalists to have strong social and mobile media skills has skyrocketed in the past three years, but the need for basic journalism skills remains critical, too. The bottom line is that journalism educators must prepare their students to do more than ever before.
Those are the findings of an award-winning paper co-authored by Meek School Associate Professor and head of the journalism program, Debora Wenger. One of Wenger’s co-authors, Dr. Lynn Owens, heads the journalism program at William Peace University; the two have been replicating this study since 2008 in order to track the needs of the journalism industry.
This year’s paper took third place at the World Journalism Education Congress in Mechelen, Belgium on July 5 — the only U.S. paper to place in the competition. The Meek School’s Darren Sanefski and Pat Thompson are also involved in the project — Sanefski is interpreting the results graphically and Thompson and Wenger are working on a piece that more fully explores the findings about mobile news skills.
The paper examines job postings from the Top 10 newspaper and TV companies in the U.S. and also looks at online-only positions. The researchers break down the results by medium and by job category to give educators a better idea of the industry’s expectations of journalism graduates.
You can explore the list of skills and attributes by news medium in the graphic below or read the paper online (registration required).
Five students and three faculty produced the project, titled “M-Powered: University of Mississippi students learn through service in Belize.” It included a print depth report, television series and videos documenting the interdisciplinary work of dozens of University of Mississippi students and faculty in Belize over the past few years.
The five students – Aubry Killion, Cain Madden, Jajuan McNeil, Margaret Ann Morgan and Katie Williamson – traveled to Belize during Winter Intersession January 2012 for their reporting. They were accompanied by Student Media Director/Assistant Professor Patricia Thompson, editor and faculty leader for the project, and Assistant Professor Mikki Harris, photography/video Editor. They spent part of spring semester finishing their work. Assistant Professor Darren Sanefski was design editor for the print depth report. Students wrote articles, took photographs, wrote scripts for the television series, produced videos and other online content, and did all the production and on-air work for the television series.
The multimedia course was a partnership with the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. Students received scholarship support.
Key to the project’s success were the assistance and support of former Ole Miss social work professor Kim Shackelford and the many University of Mississippi students and faculty who have performed service-learning work in Belize. The major effort in Belize has been an empowerment project in the tiny community of San Mateo, which needed roads to link residents to basic services.
The RFK Center honors books and journalism. The awards recognize outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy’s dedication to human rights and social justice, and his belief in the power of individual action. The Meek School won the only college award.
Other 2013 winners include NBC News for international TV, PBS/Frontline for domestic TV, the New York Times for international print, the Los Angeles Times for new media and CNN for photography. The book award goes to Joseph E. Stiglitz, author of “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Society Endangers Our Future.”
The awards ceremony is Sept. 26 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Honorees receive a cash gift and a bust of Robert F. Kennedy by Robert Berks.
This is the second RFK national award for the Meek School in recent years. In 2011, a depth report, led by Bill Rose and titled “The Roads of Broken Dreams: Can a New Delta Arise from the Rot of the Old South?” won a college print RFK award.
Four of the five students on the Belize project have graduated. Killion and Morgan are working as television journalists, and Madden is a newspaper editor; all three were actively involved at the Student Media Center during their Ole Miss years. McNeil, who has a bachelor’s degree from the Meek School and graduated in May with a master’s from the IMC program, is a marketing professional. Williamson, a journalism and art double major working this summer as Daily Mississippian photography editor, graduates in December.
Harold Burson, who came to the University of Mississippi from Memphis and graduated in 1940, visits his alma mater when his schedule permits. On one recent visit, he asked Ed Meek to snap a photo of him in front of the dorm where he lived while a student and correspondent for The Commercial Appeal.
Here are some highlights of his career: He was described by PRWeek magazine as “the century’s most influential PR figure.” This recognition was a culmination of more than 50 years of serving as counselor to and confidante of corporate CEOs, government leaders and heads of public sector institutionsin a survey conducted by PRWeek.
In 1953, Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller co-founded Burson-Marsteller, which is the largest public relations agency in the world today—and ushered in the concept of integrated marketing which became an industry standard.
Burson has contributed to the public relations industry and worldwide community as a member and leader of several organizations, among them: Presidential appointee to the Fine Arts Commission, Washington, 1981-1985; Chairman of the National Council on Economic Education; trustee of The Economics Club of New York; Chairman of the USIA Public Relations Advisory Committee, and board member of the World Wildlife Fund (Geneva). He was elected to the Horatio Alger Society in 1986 and is an Executive Council Member of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.
Burson is founder of the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund, Washington, D.C., a director of Kennedy Center Productions, Inc., and a trustee and founder of the Fortas Chamber Music Fund. He is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts, the New York Academy of Medicine, the President’s Advisory Board of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Advisory Board of the Business Council for International Understanding. He was Chairman of the Public Relations Seminar in 1984.
Burson has received numerous honors and awards, including The Public Relations Society of America Gold Anvil Award (1980), and the Arthur W. Page Society Hall of Fame Award (1991). He was named Public Relations Professional of the Year by Public Relations News (1977 and 1989). He received the Alexander Hamilton Medal from the Institute of Public Relations (1999); the Athena Award from the Partnership for Women’s Health at Columbia University School of Medicine (2000); PRSA Atlas Award for International Achievement (1998); the John W. Hill Award for Leadership from the New York Chapter of PRSA (1993). He also received the Millennium Award, University of Florida, College of Journalism (2000), and was the First Executive-in-Residence at the University of Kentucky, College of Communications (2000). Recently, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin (2002) and the Alumni Hall of Fame (2002) Award from the Memphis City Schools.
Boston University honored him with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree (hon.) in 1988. He was tapped for the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame in 1986. He is a veteran of World War II with service as a combat engineer in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. As an Army news correspondent for American Forces Network, he covered the Nuremberg Trial of leading Nazi war criminals.
Burson is currently the author of a blog focused on the ever-changing role of public relations today.
“The architect of the largest public relations agency in the world today, Harold Burson’s contribution is immense in many other ways besides. He started practicing the concept of integrated marketing decades before the term was even invented. His development of training programs set the benchmark that other agencies have only recently caught up with. His mentoring of talent has spawned a whole wave of ex-Burson PR agency start-ups. He created a unique Burson culture that still unites former employees.”
Ryan Moore of The Hattiesburg American, who graduated from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, has been selected to receive the Mississippi Photo of the Year for 2012 by The Associated Press.
His image showed Hattiesburg Police Department’s Stephon Harris closing in to apprehend escaped Forrest County jail inmate Thomas Julian Lopez on Thursday, June 7, 2012, in downtown Hattiesburg. Lopez was jailed for grand larceny.
Moore’s photo was made available to all AP members nationwide.
Ole Miss journalism and integrated marketing communications students and their families packed the Ford Center on Saturday, May 11. Doing the honors as the keynote speaker was Sharyn Alfonsi, a 1994 journalism graduate from Ole Miss. Alfonsi is now a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes Sports,” which airs on Showtime.
Alfonsi’s speech delighted the crowd and offered advice on how to succeed with both life and making a living.
The following is a transcript of the speech; a video version is also included:
Dean Norton, parents, faculty and friends and graduates. Good afternoon and congratulations. To be clear, I know exactly why I was given the amazing opportunity to speak to you on such an important day.
It is not because of any impressive journalism awards; it’s not because you want to hear stories from war zones; it is not even because of my terrific head of hair on an oppressively humid day. I know the one and only reason I am here is because Shepard Smith was clearly not available.
Still, let me thank you for this tremendous honor. I graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in journalism, roughly 104 years ago today.
There was no journalism school at that time. It wasn’t a popular choice.
It was believed that the smart students went to the School of Pharmacy because clearly it takes a genius to count pills and hand out ointment for angry looking rashes. Those who were especially talented pursued fine arts degrees because you need to spend tens of thousands on college before you can pursue your dream to make pottery. And then there were the kids from the School of Engineering. I actually didn’t ever hang out with anyone from that school, but neither did anyone else; you get the idea.
Still, it was believed that journalism students were the misfits — the odd ones. Looking at you all today, and at this gorgeous new journalism school, I am delighted to see, nothing has changed.
It looks a little like Scooby Doo’s Mystery Van got lost and you all popped out the back.
I see the Velmas, sporting glasses or comfortable shoes, with dreams of working at NPR or the Economist.
The Freds, who hope their good looks and smart ascots might lead to a seat at the anchor desk at the local TV station.
And of course the Shaggys, those who spent a little too much time in the smoke-filled booth at “Rebel Radio,” emerging only for “Scooby Snacks.”
Parents, if you fear your child is a Shaggy — and a tip off is they may be wearing flip flops or TEVAs today with their caps and gowns — don’t worry. The good news is you will be seeing a lot of them. They’ll be living in your basement for the next 10 years, emerging every time they have a problem with the Wi-Fi.
But I am here to deliver good news to you all today. As you all know the economy is pumping, high paying journalism jobs are everywhere and as a person who has lived in New York City for the last decade, I am delighted to report that the “Media Elite” have absolutely no preconceived notions about people from Mississippi.
And that story about the Elvis impersonator, who may or may not have been set up by a karate instructor, who may or may not have tried to poison the president, really helped things.
I am here to tell you everything I know. So this should take roughly 23 seconds.
When I was applying for jobs my senior year, I sent my resume tape to two dozen television stations. Most of them did not call or write back, but one news director did write back. Here’s what he wrote — this is an excerpt from the actual letter:
Dear Ms. Alfonsi,
Thank you for your application for the news reporter position. Unfortunately, we have hired a qualified applicant. (The word qualified was underlined).
I know you are beginning your career, so please allow me to give you a bit of feedback.
Your reporting skills show some promise however, you need a lot of work. Your hair is too big, your accent too thick and overall, you look a little equine on camera.
Now for those of you who didn’t catch that, he just called me equine. He said I looked like a horse. A horse.
He went on.
Best of luck with your career in television; I look forward to seeing more of your work.
And then he signed his name, which side note: looks like the writing of a serial killer.
Now, a normal person would have finished a bottle of Maker’s Mark and started filling out applications at the racetrack, but I was actually encouraged by this letter. He said he wanted to see more of my work.
This leads me to my first piece of advice: Do not take NO for an answer.
Not when you’re applying for jobs; not when you actually get a job.
People will tell you, “No, were not hiring.” “No, I don’t want to do an interview with you.” “No, you may not sleep on my porch and use my cat as a pillow until I change my mind.”
Keep pressing. You are applying for work in journalism, not trying to get hired as a social secretary. The people who may hire you respect grit. They respect tenacity, and in my experience, I have found they are generally unlikely to issue a restraining order.
If you, like me, were raised by a beautiful, genteel mother with exceedingly good manners, being pushy will make you wildly uncomfortable, but keep at it. Prove that you want it.
The food court at the mall is littered with journalism students who didn’t fight for it. Fight for it.
And if you somehow get an offer to do any job, no matter how small or insignificant in the field you want to work in, take it. There is no job too small.
Yes, it is true, if you do the math (or since you’re a journalism graduate, if you have your roommate do the math) you would likely make more working at a Cracker Barrel than in your first job in journalism.
And if you worked at Cracker Barrel you get to eat your weight in delicious fried apples and get discounts on sock monkeys, but take the journalism job. It will pay off, eventually.
You will never work harder; you will never have more fun. It will not be easy. You will want to quit. I’ve wanted to quit a dozen times over the last decade.
“Really? I have to come in at 2 am and turn a story for Good Morning America because Lindsay Lohan forgot her underpants…. again?
“Really?! I’m eight months pregnant and there’s no one else at this entire network you can send to cover the hurricane?”
“Seriously, After I spent five hours in the driving rain covering the hurricane, you’re going to complain about my hair?! Really?”
For every one of those crappy days, you’ll have ten great ones.
“Really, I’m going to the White House today?”
“Really, I’m going to spend the day watching the Yale Crew team workout? And I am getting paid for this? Fantastic!”
And while those great days may make you feel great, on top of the world almost, you might even think, “Hey, I’ve made it!” and relax a little and get comfortable. Here’s my next piece of advice.
Don’t get comfortable. Ever.
I recently got a job at “60 Minutes Sports.” The show is entirely produced and presented by the “60 Minutes” team you’re used to seeing every Sunday nigh, but it appears on Showtime so technically we could cuss. I won’t. But we could. It is the job I always dreamed of.
Actually, when I was little I dreamed of being Mrs. George Michael, but it became pretty clear when he married a man that wasn’t a great option. So, I set my sights on CBS, specifically “60 Minutes.”
I wanted to be a great reporter — not an anchor, a reporter. In my mind, Mike Wallace’s blistering interviews were art. No one was cooler than Ed Bradley. But I set my sights on “60 Minutes” after watching a young Meredith Viera go head to head with casino magnate Steve Wynn. I can’t remember what she asked him, but he ripped off his mic and at one point threatened to strangle her. It was delicious. I knew in that moment, i wanted to do that — not get strangled, the other part.
Working my way up the ladder in local news, news directors, displaying bouts of seriously impaired judgment, offered me jobs to anchor the news.
For those of you who don’t know, anchoring in a local market generally means you get more money, have some editorial control and best of all you’d get your face on the side of a bus or a billboard right next to an advertisement for check cashing or a gentleman’s club. In a word, prestige.
It would be a more comfortable life, I was sure. But I had my eye on being a reporter and knew that anchoring would take me off the streets. So, to the bewilderment of my bosses, I passed the jobs up.
If you’re not too comfortable, it’s always easier to leave, to move on and hopefully, move up.
So, now that I have my dream job, you’d think I might relax a little, get comfortable. You’d be wrong. See the thing is when you have your dream job, especially when people like Scott Pelley, Leslie Stahl and Morley Safer work down the hall, you’re pretty sure you’re the admissions’ mistake.
I am fairly confident that I am. This isn’t false modesty; it’s a fact. I am not the smartest person who ever worked in a newsroom. I don’t have an Ivy League pedigree or an exotic accent that makes me sound worldly, but I am scrappy as hell, and in Journalism, scrappy counts.
So dream big, but work hard and believe me when I tell you this…there are no shortcuts.
I used to work for ABC News. Disney owns ABC News, in case you didn’t know. When I arrived there they called me a quote, “cast member,” and told me that I got special perks at the theme parks.
One of my colleagues later informed me that at Disney, you can pay extra money to get a pass that allows you, essentially, to get to the front of the lines for rides.
I found this appalling and then immediately asked, “Where do I get one?”
But it turns out, the thing is, if you cut to the front of line, you just don’t enjoy the ride as much. Really. You need to sweat with the masses. You need to watch the weaker, or perhaps wiser, people who can’t handle it, quit. It’s fun to make friends with people along the way. Not the guy wearing an “I’m with Goofy” t-shirt and bedazzled denim short, but the other people.
Along the way you will meet people you will never forget, characters like no other. I can’t remember half the stories I did, but I remember just about every fantastic photographer or producer along the way.
They acted as my teachers, my psychiatrists and often, my parole officers. They still do.
One of my favorites, Danny Marotta, a veteran photographer from South Boston. He fought in Vietnam and reminded me whenever I got stressed, “It’s just TV, pal; it’s just TV.”
Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else will. You work in journalism. You’re not performing heart surgery.
On a good day, you will tell somebody something they don’t know. I have taxi drivers who do that regularly and they don’t get awards for it.
On a great day, you’ll dig deeper, tell a story so well it gets attention, changes lives, policy or conversation. Those days, I’m not going to lie, are golden. Strive for them.
And if you don’t know exactly how to do that right now, don’t’ sweat it.
You have made your way through what I believe is honestly the of the best journalism schools in the county. Still, most of the important lessons about journalism you have yet to learn. Your professors are passing you on to a new set of teachers: Newspaper editors with nicotine patches, guys carrying a camera in one hand, and a Dunkin Donuts coffee in the other and office secretaries who know more than you’ll ever forget.
So listen to them, be humble and be nice to everyone. It is great to have an important or interesting job but I am telling you that in the long run, it is more important than almost anything you do to be nice.
Now, since we are in the South, and most people are already nice, I feel I should clarify. Don’t confuse “nice” with what I call “stupid nice.”
“Nice” is carrying a tripod for a photographer whose already loaded down with equipment.
“Stupid nice’ is saying to him, “Don’t worry you don’t need to carry a light kit too, I’m a natural beauty.”
“Nice” is congratulating a colleague when they did a good job.
“Stupid nice” is later saying to that same colleague, “You did such a good job; why don’t you just go ahead and do this interview with the president instead of me?”
Don’t be stupid nice. Be nice. There will be days when this will take everything you’ve got.
I have met some honestly horrific people along the way, awful, wretched individuals and right now I would like to take the opportunity to name each one of them.
(No one’s recording this, right?)
There was one senior producer I worked for who was so nasty she went out of her way to try and make me miserable. Often, she succeeded. She made me want to quit.
Then, I remember something my father used to tell me before every track meet.
Well first, he’d say, “Make sure you tie your laces, Einstein.” Then, he’d say. “Ignore the competition and just run your race.’
Throughout your career people will try to distract you. Some will scream at you, others will say things behind your back, and a few feral animals will literally try to throw their stiletto heel in in your lane and trip you. Keep your eyes straight ahead and just run your race.
Don’t worry what others are doing; they are nothing more than a distraction. Drown out the critics. Don’t engage in office politics or gossip. Don’t worry about the guy next you. Run your race.
Now, I am the first to admit I am a cautionary tale here.
I was running so hard, working so much, I looked up one day and realized, suddenly, “Oh crap, I forgot to have kids!” It was literally like that. I was opening Christmas cards from friend and suddenly their babies were teenagers.
The good news? I was married and had been for 15 years to a man who is a saint, and fortunately, we keep the house stocked with wine, so we quickly remedied the situation. I now have two toddlers.
But I am 40 years old and have two toddlers! I am exhausted.
So, can you have it all? Yes, yes you can. But can you have it all at once? Not so much.
Sometimes it will be all about your career, other times more about your family or your kids. Expect it to shift, expect it to change. And that is okay. That is life.
Your life will have chapters, complete with crazy characters, villains and a plot you can’t even imagine as you sit here today.
It’s a lot like a Scooby Doo episode.
You’re gonna see things you can’t believe. Surround yourself with good friends. Keep your eyes on the road ahead. The haunted mansion is a not a great short cut. Ask questions. Be scrappy. Break up the plots of villains. And don’t worry about Scooby Snacks, you’re an Ole Miss grad, grab a bourbon and enjoy the ride.
Thank you all, kiss your parents, hug your mothers, good luck and congratulations.
By Paige Williams
Still cleaning out files, and just came across this, from college, when I started writing newspaper stories for Tommy Miller and under the deanship of Will Norton and in the great big shadow of the incomparable Neely Tucker. Miller was an old UPI hand and a Houston Chronicle deputy managing editor, and we revered and adored him. He gave us many things, this among them:
On Being A Reporter
In order to be a reporter you must be more than a writer. You learn to adopt the personality of the reporter. Your whole approach to everything must be to portray the picture you hope to portray. The primary factors? Objectivity, seriousness, thoroughness, compassion, interest, accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.
Traits and characteristics you never thought important now are, especially if you’re covering a beat. You must wear well. You cannot afford to irritate. You must learn how to size people up and react accordingly. At the same time, you must adopt a code that is strong, professional, unswerving.
You will be evaluated by two factors: the impression you leave and the impression your stories leave.
Nothing will turn off a contact quicker than ignorance, unless it is uninterest (not disinterest). I emphasize that as a reporter you ought to be interested in everything. Everything. You should never even consider that there are things in this world that don’t interest you.
More important, you have to accumulate facts, figures, situations, etc., that allow you to be expressive in several fields — and that allow you to ask questions and understand answers on the level of the people who are making news.
The point is attentiveness. You should begin to assimilate information daily, all the time, until you can make the gaining of such information a part of your normal existence. Then you’ll begin to think in terms of news — what’s important, what’s worthwhile, what’s incidental, what’s interesting, what it takes to become a reporter.
This involves reading, reading, reading, listening, listening, listening, watching, watching, watching.
Develop a code of honor:
1. Be completely honest. Make this a reflex action. Don’t ever consider that you should shade or cloud things. You’ll get yourself entangled if you do. You’ll have a clean conscience and a good reputation if you don’t. Admit when you’re wrong and move on.
2. Be frank with everyone, especially yourself. Don’t be constantly apologetic. At the same time, don’t regard yourself too highly. Find the medium. Understand your strengths and limitations.
3. Adopt a high ethical standard of fairness, objectivity, and compassion in your reporting and writing. Don’t do anything for anybody. Don’t adopt a state of mind that is anti-anybody. Don’t reveal your personal feelings and attitudes about issues — in the field and especially in your work.
Emily Roland, Editor-in-Chief, The Daily Mississippian
By Casey Holliday
As Emily Roland walked across the stage of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts to be awarded a place in the Hall of Fame, a laundry list of achievements were rattled off: editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, president of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter, choir member, recipient of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson Scholarship.
From a young age, Roland, a senior print journalism major, was interested in music and travel. Her dad, a musician, told Emily to avoid the field and instead combine those passions with her interest in English and writing and become a journalist.
“I had never thought about working for a newspaper until my dad suggested it,” Roland said. “It just kind of stuck. The more I got into it, the idea of journalism really attracted me.”
Roland walked into the Student Media Center on the third day of her freshman year to ask to be a writer for The Daily Mississippian. It was then that she would meet Alex McDaniel, the editor-in-chief at the time.
Sitting behind McDaniel at the editing desk almost every day, Roland would question every change and edit to improve her own writing and lay the groundwork for what was to come. (Read more)
Elizabeth Beaver, Editor-in-Chief, The Ole Miss
By Jane Lloyd Brown
With The Ole Miss yearbook heading to print and final touches completed, one would expect Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Beaver to enjoy a break from the Student Media Center’s hectic buzz.
Instead Beaver, a senior journalism major and art minor, hustles around the center giving direction on design projects and offering advice to student writers.
The editors on Beaver’s staff include Miriam Taylor, design editor; Alex Edwards, photo editor; Jake Thompson, sports editor; and Callie Daniels, writing editor.
“It’s madness all the time,” Beaver said of working with her team in the SMC. “We’re like a big rolling circus.”
The yearbook process naturally works at a slower pace than the other media components because the staff do not have daily deadlines.
This year, the staff wanted to get the book done early so that they would have time to fix any mistakes before the publication went to print.
With Beaver also juggling schoolwork with a barista job at High Point Coffee and getting engaged this year, finishing the yearbook before deadline was difficult. (Read more)
Stewart Pirani, Manager, NewsWatch
By Kayleigh Webb
It’s 3:30pm on a Wednesday afternoon, and sitting confidently in the control room of the Student Media Center behind a computer editing video is Stewart Pirani. Pirani, an Ole Miss junior pursing a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in cinema studies, is the manager for NewsWatch, a live, student-run news program that airs on channel 99 at 5 p.m. on weekdays.
His love of television and producing started earlier. It began in high school, where Pirani took a class in television production. The class emphasized producing a live news program.
“I got there on the first day and I walked into the studio and the control room,” Pirani said. “I saw everything: the technology, the lights, the buttons, the monitors. I just knew that what I wanted to do for the rest of my life was television.”
After four years of the class, Pirani had his sights set on Ole Miss because of the broadcast journalism program.
Pirani began working in the Student Media Center at Ole Miss during his freshman year. His first projects were with Chatterbox, a comedy show that was produced in the media center studio.
“It helped me step my foot into NewsWatch,” Pirani said. “I started doing it that second semester my freshman year and I’ve not left since.” (Read more)
Lindsey Malley, Manager, Rebel Radio
By Mary Ashton Nall
Lindsey Malley answers each question her staff asks with kindness and expertise as she looks up from making adjustments to her calendar. Malley, an Ole Miss senior from Long Beach, Miss, is the manager of Rebel Radio — possibly the only student-run, commercially licensed radio station in the nation.
The station provides an array of popular music and news updates for the Oxford area. Rebel Radio also invites bands, Ole Miss ASB officers, administration, and athletic coaches and players on air weekly to talk about ongoing campus and community activities.
The station is open to the entire student body for auditions. Malley tried out for a position as a DJ her sophomore year. As a pharmacy major, she believes the station is an opportunity for every student, not just journalism majors. She encourages more students to become involved.
“Rebel Radio is a creative outlet for anyone with a strong personality,” Malley said. “If you have that, we want you here.” (Read more)
Bill Miles, an early Journalism graduate who went on to a career in reporting, publishing, consulting and two terms in the Mississippi Legislature, has donated his political papers to the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi.
The gift was made official in an April 29 ceremony, featuring former House Speaker Billy McCoy of Rienzi and Rep. Steve Holland of Plantersville as keynote speakers.
Dr. Ed Meek, for whom the Meek School is named, commented that Miles was ahead of him in classes. “Just watch Bill Miles and do what he does,” Meek quoted early professor and chairman Sam Talbert as saying. “I did, and I have been doing it since,” Meek said.
The event also showcased several vintage campaign commercials produced by the Bill Miles Associates firm for north Mississippi candidates.“We’re also opening the Bill Miles Collection to researchers,” said Leigh McWhite, political papers archivist and associate professor at UM. “Among the current holdings of the Modern Political Archives, the Miles Collection is quite unique.”
Contained within the collection are documents, photographs and recordings on the campaigns of several north Mississippi candidates as well as Miles’s own files from his 12 years in the Legislature. The collection also includes diaries that he kept while it was in session.
“I feel very humbled to be included in an illustrious group of individuals whose accomplishments have impacted Mississippi’s history,” Miles said. “By the luck of the draw, I was fortunate, in most instances, to be an observer and, sometimes, a participant in some unusual events.”
While Miles had considered the possibility of Ole Miss being the custodian of anything worthwhile for future researchers, it was not until he was contacted by key players in the 50th anniversary observance of James Meredith’s enrollment that he made a commitment.
“Dr. Ed Meek and Dr. Andy Mullins pressed me hard by flattering me that my stuff might be worthwhile,” Miles said. “Ole Miss has meant a lot in my own education, and for my children and grandchildren. When I was shown the extent of the archives – where it is housed and its documentation – I was very impressed. And the university is a place where scholars can use ordinary collections, such as mine, for extraordinary benefits for the future.”
After working briefly as a journalist, Miles formed the advertising/public relations firm Bristow-Miles Associates Inc. in 1963 in Tupelo. After later becoming Bill Miles Associates, the firm often represented local political candidates. In 1996, voters of Itawamba and Monroe counties sent Miles to the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he remained for 12 years.
“The most meaningful period in my career probably was during my legislative service, where my friendship and relationship with Speaker Billy McCoy resulted in my appointment as chairman of transportation and as a key adviser to him during very turbulent times,” Miles said. “I certainly enjoyed the association I had with the late Congressman Jamie Whitten, as he attained his high rank in the U.S. Congress. As one back home in his First Congressional District on whom he might rely for counsel, I had the unusual perch on which I observed and sometimes helped him get programs and projects which benefited Mississippians.”
For more information about the Bill Miles Collection at the University of Mississippi, visit http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/miles/.
The Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards competition receives more than 4,500 entries each year from hundreds of journalism programs around the country.
This year, broadcast journalism students Margaret Ann Morgan and Stephen Quinn have been awarded first place honors for their breaking news television coverage of Hurricane Isaac. Their stories aired on the student-produced newscast NewsWatch 99 and were part of a multimedia coverage effort surrounding this major storm on the Mississippi coastline.
In addition, The Flood of the Century magazine was one of two national finalists in the best student magazine category, and student Jared Burleson was a national finalist for his feature photography.
SPJ Is the country’s largest and oldest professional journalism organization in the country. The winners will be honored at the national convention in Anaheim, Calif. on August 25.
Five broadcast journalism students put their multimedia skills to the test during Oxford’s 18th Annual Double Decker Festival. Under the direction of professors Nancy Dupont and Deb Wenger, the team went to work for both WTVA-TV in Tupelo and HottyToddy.com in Oxford, covering events that began as early as 7:30 a.m. and working well past the end of the 6 p.m. newscast on WTVA.
The students also felt the pressure of real-time reporting with additional requirements to tweet story updates and photos, as well as to write text pieces for the Hotty Toddy website.
This is the second year in a row that Meek School students have covered the festival for WTVA. C.J. LeMaster, who anchors and produces the WTVA weekend shows, says the station is happy to work with the students and he enjoys helping them get the experience they’ll need to succeed on the job.
“It’s a humbling experience for me. Not that long ago, I was in their shoes, trying to learn as much as I could. No matter how young or ‘green’ you are as a journalist, you have to start somewhere, and someone has to give you that break, that chance to prove yourself,” said LeMaster. “It’s an honor and a privilege to help these students get some real feedback and experience in the industry.”
Graduating senior Stephen Quinn woke up before the sun to cover the Double Decker Spring Run. He found dozens of participants dedicating their miles to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Students Brittani Acuff and Stewart Pirani focused one story on festival food for the HottyToddy website and another on a Tupelo artist for the WTVA Sunday newscast.
Brandon Rook found out why so many people come back to Double Decker year after year for his piece which aired on WTVA’s 10 p.m. show on Saturday night.
But it may have been Bracey Harris who had the most fun covering the Square Fair for Kids where the younger set had a blast with the space-themed amusements.
Harris appreciated the chance to learn about working under deadline pressure.
“Today gave me experience that can only be gained outside of the classroom. I am fortunate to have guidance from Meek School faculty even when the week ends,” said Harris. “I found myself challenged and even frustrated at times, but the lesson was worth it. Field work is organized chaos, but I survived and am better prepared for the future because of it.”
It took four platoons of ROTC cadets, about a dozen Arabic-speaking students and a team of ten Meek School reporters to pull off Operation Rebel Charge on April 25. Ole Miss ROTC took over the Whirlpool Trails on the edge of campus in their final field exercise of the year.
Four students from Prof. Deb Wenger’s advanced TV reporting class embedded with the platoons and learned something about what it’s like to rely on the very people you’re covering, not only for information, but for safety.
“I think the journalism students also got an entirely new perspective on how much preparation it takes to effectively cover stories about war and issues of national security,” said Wenger. “Students got a crash course in how essential research is when it comes to conducting good interviews.”
For their part, the cadets learned how to handle tough questions from the media — getting practice in how to share information without over-stepping their bounds as representatives of the military and without giving away details that would put troops at risk.
The ROTC’s Lt. Col. Nate Minami spearheaded the effort to bring in, not only journalism students, but also student studying Arabic at Ole Miss. The Arabic language students played the role of villagers with whom the cadets had to work to secure an area within the fictional land of Atropia. The cadets learned how to work through an interpreter and the Arabic students got to practice both their speaking and translation skills.
The exercise was made as real as possible, featuring mock explosive devices, enemy combatants and a race against time. Journalism students also got a chance to explore some of the issues facing today’s military, such as the move to allow women to take part in combat someday soon.
Even some of the first-year journalism students got a chance to get involved. Students in Wenger’s multimedia writing course took part in the news conference that wrapped up the exercise.
“It was actually kind of fun,” said Katie Lovett.
For the second year in a row, NewsWatch won first place in Student TV Newscasts at the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters (MAPB) banquet held Saturday, April 20 in Jackson.
Stephen Quinn won second place in TV News Reporting for his story on the 50th anniversary of integration at Ole Miss. Norman Seawright won third place in Student TV Documentaries for his series on Togo.
NewsWatch also took home third place in Student TV Weathercasting.
For the past year, Nancy Dupont has been serving as the President of MAPB. She will continue to serve as a board member during 2013-14.
The Newseum, a museum devoted to journalism and the First Amendment, recently opened two exhibits on President John F. Kennedy leading up to the 50th anniversary of his death. The artifacts include restored photographs, Abraham Zapruder’s camera, and the shirt worn by Lee Harvey Oswald on the day he was arrested. View coverage of the exhibits at cbsnews.com, msnbc.com, and nytimes.com. The Newseum is located in Washington, D.C.
Lewis DVorkin, chief products officer for Forbes, recently joined Adam Penenberg of PandoDaily to talk about the state of the media business. Watch the interview at pandodaily.com.