The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Archive for the ‘Alumni News’ Category

Alumni Update: Selena Standifer (’01)

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by jheo1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Careers in Non-Profit Communications

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by jheo1

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

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

non-profit-panel

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

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

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

Posted on: November 1st, 2016 by jheo1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

clancy-and-robin

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

By Taylor Lewis

Alumni Update: Laura Beth Lyons Strickland (’08)

Posted on: September 22nd, 2016 by jheo1

laura-beth-lyons-stricklandMeek School graduate Laura Beth Lyons Strickland, communications manager at the Vicksburg, Mississippi Convention and Visitors Bureau, was named Mississippi Tourism Association Member of the Year for 2016 recently.

Strickland has been an integral leader in the rebranding of Vicksburg as The Key to the South, says a news release from the MTA. She has overseen the building and design of Vicksburg’s new responsive design website, launched a weekly blog and grown social media platforms to record levels. She also served as chair of the 2015 Mississippi Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Her former public relations instructor, Robin Street, fondly recalls Strickland in the classroom and has kept up with her as a public relations professional.

“Laura Beth is a special young woman who puts her heart into her work, whether it was in the classroom or now in her professional work,” Street said. “It also says a lot about her that she remained in her Mississippi to put her talents to use in bettering her hometown and home state.”

Strickland graduated in 2008 with B.A. in both journalism and English, along with a specialization in public relations. She joined the Vicksburg CVB in 2009 and has worked there ever since.

Her work has been recognized multiple times with awards for websites, special events and branding from the Public Relations Association of Mississippi. She has also been named to the Vicksburg Post’s list of the “Top 20 under 40.”

Alumni Update: Alex Cox Shockey and Rachel Hammons (’10, ’14)

Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by jheo1

robin-and-students-one

Just who is behind all those clever social media posts from FedEx? Two Meek School alums, of course. Alex Cox Shockey (pictured left ) and Rachel Hammons (pictured right), both communication specialists with FedEx, plan, create and oversee much of the social media for that company.

The two graduates returned to campus on Sept. 13 to speak to the same public relations techniques class they took with Robin Street, senior lecturer(pictured, center).
Shockey graduated with a degree in print journalism with an emphasis in PR in 2010. She joined FedEx in 2012 after working as a digital communications specialist for Pinnacle Airlines,  now called Endeavor Air,  for two years.

Hammons earned a degree in IMC in May 2014, then completed a master’s degree in IMC at Northwestern while also interning at FedEx.  Following her graduation from Northwestern, she began working fulltime at FedEx in January 2016. (photo credit: Hailey Heck)

Alumni Update: Madisen Theobald (’16)

Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by jheo1
madisen-theobald

Madisen Theobald at Condé Nast corporate headquarters.

Madisen Theobald is coordinator for digital advertising and product monetization for Condé Nast Publications in New York City. She works on all 16 of the company’s brands: Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Allure, Glamour, The New Yorker, Pitchfork and nine more. Her day-to-day duties include working with the corporate team’s directors and managers to execute and create digital advertisements and grow overall digital revenue. She also facilitates video interviews and production work for Condé Nast’s The Scene.

Madisen graduated Magna Cum Laude in May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a minor in graphic design and an emphasis in magazine services. While at the Meek School, she was Ole Miss Yearbook Design Editor, Daily Mississippian designer, and president of the Society for News Design chapter.

“It has been my dream to work for Condé Nast for as long as I can remember,” Theobald says “But it didn’t come easy. During my senior year at the Meek School, I worked five journalism-related jobs, strived for straight As, joined as many clubs in the Meek School that I could, found life-long mentors that saw my strengths when I saw weaknesses, and took classes that I didn’t even need to graduate just so I could learn more. The Meek School was more than the school that gave me an education and my dream job. It was my family that pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

Alumni Update: Ashley F. G. Norwood (’16)

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by jheo1

ashley-norwoodI was awarded a masters in journalism last May. The next month, I was hired as a beat reporter for Mississippi Today, the state’s only non-partisan and non-profit digital news organization.

What began as a Master’s thesis project has now earned national attention receiving more than 15,000 views since its summer debut online. It will now continue as a documentary series that details the black experience.

“The Fly in the Buttermilk,” a short documentary on the history, perception, and purpose of black Greek-lettered organizations at Ole Miss is now airing in the national Capitol, Washington, DC, on DCTV.

The film has screened in Detroit during the inaugural African World Film festival last month. I was among 15 filmmakers, and the only one from Mississippi. I joined filmmakers from South Africa, London, Cameroon and other nations.

The “fly in the buttermilk” will be screened in New York this October at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora’s Annual Film Festival and Lecture Series. Films by women directors of color known around the world will be screened.

The lecture will feature the short film, and I will lead a panel of researchers in comparing the roles of BGLOs on college campuses during the Civil rights and black lives matter movements.

View the project here: https://vimeo.com/167185018

Alumni Update: Browning Stubbs (’16)

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by jheo1

browning-stubbsBrowning Stubbs, former NewsWatch Station Manager, Daily Mississippian Writer, Rebel Radio Sports Host, and 2016 Meek School Graduate, recently accepted a position with ESPN at its headquarters in Bristol, CT. He is in the production department. During the summer, Browning interned with ESPN Los Angeles, where he helped produce SportsCenter. Browning had the opportunity to produce segments, edit sound bites and video content, write graphics and scripts and create the top plays of the night. Browning also received experience in the field, helping to produce the ESPYS, the Golden Spikes Award, the CrossFit Games, and a Rams vs. Cowboys NFL Preseason game. In Bristol, Browning will continue to produce content that will air on all of ESPN’s digital and television platforms.

Alumni Update: Clancy Smith (’15)

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by jheo1

clancy-smithClancy Smith (’15) is House Information Officer for the Mississippi House of Representatives. Smith will provide information to members of the Capitol Press Corps, respond to local news outlets on matters relating to legislation, set up news conferences for representatives and write weekly summaries of legislative proceedings.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with leaders of the state of Mississippi to help facilitate the legislative process and keep the public informed,” Smith said. “The Meek School of Journalism gave me the tools I needed to be ready for this position and great mentors who helped me believe I could get there.”

Smith, a native of Saltillo, Miss., earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science and an emphasis in public relations from The University of Mississippi before earning a master’s degree in public relations from The University of Alabama in 2016.

Alumni Update: Mark Ray (MA, ’90)

Posted on: March 2nd, 2016 by ewrobins

Mark Ray HeadshotThis July will mark my 18th year of fulltime freelancing—mostly writing but also some editing and a little project management. It’s been quite a run, especially considering that I’ve been able to thrive on referrals and a small amount of networking.

Over the years, I’ve done regular work for The Cobb Group/Element K Journals, Humana, the Courier-Journal, Culler Media, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church (USA), but the Boy Scouts of America has become my major client. Especially recently, the BSA has kept me extremely busy (although I think that work is going to level out some going forward). In the last two years, I’ve edited/rewritten the Bear Handbook, the Webelos Handbook, and the Boy Scout Handbook, edited a new three- volume resource called Program Features for Troops, Teams, and Crews, and written the new two-volume Troop Leader Guidebook, among other projects. I also continue to sell a couple of self-published titles for Scout leaders, The Eagle Court of Honor Book and The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook.

I haven’t abandoned magazines, however! Since 2009, I’ve written the Roundtable section for Scouting magazine (circulation 1 million), which includes six articles per issue and has a strong service-journalism component, as well as contributing the occasional feature to the magazine. Since 2005, I’ve also written most of the National Eagle Scout Association magazine, now called Eagles’ Call (circulation 138,000), typically including one or two features and 10 or 12 briefs. The strong focus in Eagles’ Call is on profiles, and I’ve profiled everyone from astronauts and Olympians to politicians and CEOs. (It’s interesting to go from interviewing a 16-year-old Eagle Scout who doesn’t answer questions in complete sentences to interviewing a 78-year-old member of the Baseball Hall of Fame!)

Although I lost my pica pole somewhere along the way, the skills I developed in the master’s program at Ole Miss continue to pay dividends. With my books, I’ve done everything—writing, editing, design, layout, production, and marketing—and on other projects I’ve been able to effectively edit both my own work and the work of other people.