The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

A week we’ll never forget

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by ewrobins

A 20-page Daily Mississippian on Oct. 3, published on deadline the night before. NewsWatch 99 full of content produced on Friday and live feeds during the show.

DMfrontpage 10.6

The Daily Mississippian

The football Rebels weren’t the only star team on campus last week. Meek School students taking classes and working at the Student Media Center created professional-level content for the lead-up to the Big Game.

NewsWatch produced six complete news stories during the day on Friday, including the run into the Grove at 9 a.m., a report from businesses on the Square and the ESPN news conference. Correspondent Brittany Clark did a field anchor segment from the Grove that included a live interview with Hannah Chalker, a 2011 Meek School graduate who is now a sideline reporter for ESPN3.  In the interview, Chalker credited NewsWatch for giving her a start in the business.

NewsWatch adviser Nancy Dupont said she learned something about the NewsWatch crew last week: Don’t caution them to play it safe.

“Station manager Sudu Upadhyay and his staff want to shoot for the moon,” Dupont said. “They were right on target, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

NewsWatch pic

NewsWatch 99 Team

Daily Mississippian students had planned to publish a 16-page DM including a sports preview for Friday. But when student Sales Manager Matt Zelenik and his staff saw advertising requests surge early in the week, Editor-in-Chief Lacey Russell and her staff made the decision to aim bigger: 20 pages.

With more than 100,000 people expected in Oxford for the weekend, this was a great opportunity to showcase their work. The staff scrambled to call in a few extra hands Thursday night to make sure the DM would be as perfect as possible. The result: a strong newspaper that Meek School Dean Will Norton said was one of the best ever “because it focuses on the reason for this weekend and because of the quality of the articles.”

“Great job,” Dean Norton said. “It makes me proud that the Student Media Center is in the Meek School.”

Cady Herring.Alabama Game

DM Photo Editor Cady Herring shooting on the field during the game

On Saturday, a team of journalists worked throughout the day covering ESPN’s GameDay – in the Grove for the first time ever – as well as tent setup and tailgating, the game, and the celebration and craziness afterward. At one point, yearbook Editor-in-Chief Phillip Waller could be spotted on the roof of the Student Union, taking crowd overview photos. DM and NewsWatch students were in the press box and on the field. Celebrity photos – Katy Perry, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson – were posted to social media. DM Multimedia Editor Thomas Graning’s photograph of students on the goal posts was quickly retweeted hundreds of times.

Clark and Chalker

NewsWatch correspondent Brittany Clark interviews Meek School alumna and ESPN reporter Hannah Chalker

Following the parties and a bit of sleep, Daily Mississippian and NewsWatch students and their advisers were back at work on Sunday, working on Monday evening’s NewsWatch broadcast, and a much-awaited DM front page.

Student Media Director and DM faculty adviser Patricia Thompson called the DM publishing company to request higher-quality newsprint for Monday’s souvenir edition, and the plant manager was happy to comply. The result: A stunning poster-quality front page and two full color pages of photographs inside, all produced on deadline Sunday night. Allison Moore designed the front page.

Alumni had flooded the staff with advance requests for copies, and even more requests poured in on Monday morning.

Thompson said that there is nothing better than watching students rise to the occasion when a big story hits campus.

“Somehow, they create this amazing content while they are full-time students,” Thompson said. “Imagine what they will accomplish when they are full-time professionals. Our only regret about these past few days is that we didn’t have more camera equipment available for students to use.”

“Wearables” next big thing for journalism

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by drwenger
Oculus Rift device used to experience Des Moines Register's virtual reality farm tour.

Oculus Rift device used to experience Des Moines Register’s virtual reality farm tour.

When it comes to news gathering, USC’s Robert Hernandez says mobile phones just aren’t fast enough. Hernandez, who says he “hijacks tech for journalism,” is looking to wearables as a catalyst for the next big change in the news business.

“It’s not the device, it’s the content,” said Hernandez. “It’s actually the content optimized for the device. We were slow for mobile, before that it was social media; I’m trying for us to be proactive because this is a new form factor.”

As director of the undergraduate journalism Deb Wenger found out at the Online News Association conference in Chicago, it’s certainly a good time for journalists to be talking about these devices and new content forms with this month’s debut of the Apple Watch and more types of wearables popping up every day.

“I think the wrist wearable is the transition before we get over wearing technology on our face,” said Hernandez.

So, how do you define a wearable? He says it has six attributes.

  • Hands-free
  • Always on
  • Environmentally aware
  • Connected to the Internet
  • Gets attention without disruption
  • Open to third party developers

Hernandez says Google Glass is the “most mature of the wearables,” but points to the Oculus Rift as an indicator of what the future may hold. The system’s virtual reality goggles offer a dual-screen, full immersion experience, making you feel like you are there.

The Des Moines Register is one of the first news organizations to develop a project specifically for the Oculus Rift. According to the Washington Post, the Register’s “Harvest of Change” is an “interactive view of a farm in Iowa that was created to accompany a multi-part series of articles about the changing world of modern farming. In short, it’s what happens when you transform the news experience into a virtual reality gaming experience.”

Changing the experience of newsgathering and news consumption with wearables seems to be focused right now in these two areas:

  • News organizations are using them for new methods of video and image gathering. Wearables can be less obtrusive, creating opportunities for more intimate views of news events. Opportunities for live streaming what the journalist or another witness is seeing may make for dramatic breaking news coverage, as it did when Tim Pool of Vice used Glass to cover events in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • The hands-free aspect of wearables make alternative interview styles easier. They facilitate recording audio or video of an interview subject demonstrating, giving the audience a different point of view. Glass has also been used to document first-person experiences in a unique way, such as Victor Oladipo’s NBA draft day.

On a smaller scale, perhaps, the video translation or real-time mapping features of Glass and other wearables can become more useful to journalists in the field. CNN’s Victor Hernandez also speculates wearables could be the “next-gen IFB for feeding on-air talent information on the fly.”

Robert Hernandez says it’s too easy for journalists and newsrooms to avoid embracing technology trends, hating tech because in the beginning, it’s generally not perfect. But he says the profession will make a mistake if it doesn’t push to see the possibilities of wearable devices.

“We need to not fight this.”

5 Questions with Assistant Professor Robert Magee

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by drwenger
Photo by Marlen Polito.

Photo by Marlen Polito.

Robert Magee was born in Fort Worth, Texas and is an assistant professor of Integrated Marketing Communications, who just joined the faculty in August 2014.  Before coming to Ole Miss, he taught at Virginia Tech.  You can read all about his awards and education, but here’s what students will want to know:

1. What class do you most like to teach and why?

I enjoy teaching several classes; I enjoy teaching branding relationships, as well as consumer behavior, and also I enjoy teaching research methods and hands-on projects as well.

2. Describe your favorite type of student.

My favorite kind of student is the one who is not afraid to ask questions because that’s how we learn.

3. What are you working on outside the classroom that you really enjoy?

I really enjoy writing up some experiments that I am working on in IMC. I’m working on a project that tests how website colors can affect the way people think. I’m also working on a study of how nonprofit organizations’ social media content might influence the way followers respond.

4. Describe what type of student you were.

I was a curious student because I’m always interested in a variety of things.

5. Of all the things you’ve done in your career, what makes you most proud?

Oh, actually I think I would be most proud of being a husband and a father more than anything I’ve done in my career. Those are the things that really last!

Story contributed by multimedia journalism graduate student Marlen Polito 


Meek School faculty member and graduates receive top honors from PR association

Posted on: September 19th, 2014 by ewrobins

Robin Street receives award for lifetime achievement; UM Communications Office wins Best in Show for PR projects

Robin Street, a lecturer in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, received the Professional Achievement Award, the highest professional honor given for lifetime achievement in the profession, from the Southern Public Relations Federation. SPRF president Kristina Hendrix (right) presented Street with a framed certificate and medallion. As the winner of Mississippi’s Professional Award, Street then competed with nominees from several other states. (Photo credit: Leo Ridge, Big Top Photo Booth)

Robin Street, a lecturer in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, received the Professional Achievement Award, the highest professional honor given for lifetime achievement in the profession, from the Southern Public Relations Federation. SPRF president Kristina Hendrix (right) presented Street with a framed certificate and medallion. As the winner of Mississippi’s Professional Award, Street then competed with nominees from several other states. (Photo credit: Leo Ridge, Big Top Photo Booth)

A faculty member from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media was presented the highest award for lifetime achievement given by the Southern Public Relations Federation.

In addition, graduates of the Meek School working in the University of Mississippi Communications office won Best in Show, the top award in the competition for public relations projects, along with multiple other awards.

Robin Street, APR, lecturer in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, was honored with the Professional Achievement Award. The recipient is chosen from among professionals representing SPRF-member states. Each nominee had previously received his or her state association’s Professional Award. Street represented the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.

In 2009, Street was named Educator of the Year by both PRAM and SPRF and it is rare for an educator to receive the professional award. However, the judges, who remain anonymous, commented, “Ms. Street’s achievements are stellar. She is innovative in her field. She is continually engaged in professional development. Her awards and accomplishments are well above what would be outstanding.”

Toni Richardson, SPRF vice president for professional development, oversaw the competition. “As I read through each of the nominee biographies, I was impressed with each of them,” Richardson said. “However, my thoughts kept coming back to Robin and what an incredible teacher, educator, mentor, friend and inspiration she is. Our judges scored Robin a perfect 100%.“

SPRF President Kristina Hendrix, APR, said Street is a “charismatic and determined public relations practitioner who truly embodies the qualities for which this awards stands.”

Will Norton, Jr., professor and dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, has watched Street’s career evolve.

“For decades, Robin Street has been demonstrating the best practices of public relations and teaching those practices in the classroom,” Norton said. ”It is only appropriate that her uncommon excellence should be recognized in this way.  Clearly, students in the Meek School have long recognized the quality of Ms. Street’s professionalism.”

Hendrix presented the award to Street at the association’s annual conference in New Orleans Sept. 16. Also presented at the banquet were the Lantern Awards for public relations projects in multiple categories. Awards are given at three levels. A Lantern is the highest award, followed by an Award of Excellence, then a Certificate of Merit.

The University of Mississippi Communications office, led by Meek School graduate Danny Blanton, director of public relations, won Best in Show chosen from all categories, and a Lantern in their category for their communications program on parking changes at Ole Miss. Graduates Lindsey Abernathy, former communications specialist; Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy; and William Hamilton, public relations assistant, were key in creating that program.

Abernathy also won a certificate of merit for the Inside Ole Miss newsletter. Communication Specialists Edwin Smith and Michael Newsom each won a Certificate of Merit and an Award of Excellence, respectively, for news releases.

Street won a Lantern in her category of communication programs, as well as an Award of Excellence for writing, and a Certificate of Merit for PR tactics.

For more information on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit their website at or email

Hota Kotb says it only takes one person to change your life

Posted on: September 18th, 2014 by ewrobins

Hota KotbRead Charlie Adams story on award-winning “Today Show” co-host Hota Kotb at

Samir Husni interviews Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by ewrobins

Husni and Ripp.TimeRead Meek School Professor Samir Husni’s interview with Joe Ripp, chairman and CEO of Time Inc., at Husni is director of the Magazine Innovation Center.

Becky Jones West among 2014 “Super Women”

Posted on: September 10th, 2014 by ewrobins

Meek School alumna Becky Jones West was chosen by Memphis Business Journal as one of its 2014 “Super Women in Business.” West is CEO of WestRogers. Read the story at

Historic Zoning board honors Jay Sheridan

Posted on: September 10th, 2014 by ewrobins

Meek School graduate Jay Sheridan was recognized for his service on the Historic Zoning Commission in Franklin, Tennessee.  Read the story at

Ronnie Agnew featured on “Mississippi Arts Hour”

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by ewrobins

Listen to Tom Pearson’s “Mississippi Arts Hour” interview with Meek School alumnus Ronnie Agnew at Agnew is executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

5 Questions with Assistant Professor Alysia Steele

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by drwenger

Photo by Marlen Polito, September 8, 2014.

Asking questions is the way to Assistant Professor Alysia Steele’s heart.   Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Steele has been a part of the Meek School for more than two years.  You can read all about her awards and education, but you’ll get a sense of her as a teacher right here.

1.  What class do you most like to teach and why?

I really enjoy teaching Jour 375, which is the photojournalism class. I’ve been a photographer for 27 years and it’s my life; I can’t imagine doing anything else. Most of my passion is teaching students how to take good, sound photographs with strong compositions and beautiful light.

2. Describe your favorite type of student.

My favorite type of student is someone who is communicative. Someone that likes to talk in class, that offers their opinion, that is not afraid to speak their mind. I love someone who is always challenging me and asking questions and wanting to learn more. I really enjoy students who develop a passion in photography.

3. What are you working on outside the classroom that you really enjoy doing?

I just finished one book that was so much fun and it didn’t feel like work, it’s called Jewels in the Delta. I interviewed, photograph, and collected oral histories from 50 Mississippi Delta church mothers. They’re women that are leaders and belong to Baptist churches in the Delta. I had a lot of fun and had my own private history lessons with these 50 women.

4. Describe what type of student you were.

I was a model student; my grades were very important to me; I was an over achiever. Life lessons when I was over 25 made me a better student.

 5. Of all the things you’ve done in your career, what makes you most proud?

Wow, that’s a really hard question. I’m in a new chapter in my life right now, I would have to say that when students show enthusiasm, and when they get something and they have a passion for it, that’s such a fulfilling feeling. I am really proud of when students do exceptional work in our field and come back and show it to me. In my personal life, the work that I am most proud of would be Jewels in the Delta. I think I have become a better human being; I’ve become a more patient and more understanding person.

Story contributed by multimedia journalism graduate student Marlen Polito.