The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

SND course offers fresh look at digital design

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ewrobins
SND Boot Camp

Yuri Victor instructs book camp participants. Photo credit: Samantha Mitchell

By Samantha Mitchell

 Web design continues to be an element that is avoided by many due to its perceived complexity. Digital designers Chris Courtney and Yuri Victor set out to change this perception and in the process change the outlook on digital design during the “SND Digital Boot Camp” course that was offered in Farley Hall November 14-15.

The course laid out the basic concepts and framework to digital design in the hopes of empowering people with the knowledge of utilizing the web. Victor and Courtney outlined the use of different code names for the web, such as HTML and discussed user-friendly websites that can be used to put together codes for basic website layouts.

SND Instructors

Chris Courtney and Yuri Victor. Photo credit: Samantha Mitchell

“These guys are great instructors,” said Darren Sanefski, assistant professor of multiple platform journalism. “What could be so complicated, they are able to reduce so quickly. This is a great opportunity for all of the attendees to be apart of.”

The course was free to Meek School students and faculty and Society of News Design members. It has been offered across three different countries, including Canada, China, and the United States. The designers are in the process of attaining a course placement in South America, as well.

“We’ve been traveling for three years now and we want a better web,” Victor said. “That’s when we realized that we can also move to improve it.”

Both Victor and Courtney came from non-digital design backgrounds and demonstrated the web as a series of boxes and lists.

SND Participants

Boot camp participants. Photo credit: Samantha Mitchell

Courtney discussed the mental block some may have when attempting to construct a website layout for the first time.

“People are intimidated by the web, when they should feel empowered to use it instead,” Courtney said. “They can then further understand the very devices they carry around every day.”

Empowerment and knowledge seemed to be the key concept of the course. Participants learned how to construct websites from their own devices and see it relayed back to them in real time. The course offered visual, hands-on, and tactile learning throughout the two days.

“Journalism is once again reinventing itself, which is why I want everyone to stop avoiding code just because it’s a scary thing,” Victor said. “You’re only going to get left at the sidelines if you don’t get into it.”

Meek School’s namesake donates unique historic photo collection to library

Posted on: November 17th, 2014 by ewrobins
Ed Meek 2010

Ed Meek

The J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi soon will be home to a unique collection that includes never-before-seen photos of James Meredith attending his first classes at Ole Miss and what are believed to be the last photographs made of William Faulkner at his Oxford home, Rowan Oak.

Ole Miss alumnus and journalism school namesake Ed Meek has donated a collection of his images taken as a student photographer to the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and Department of Archives and Special Collections at the library.

The 1,600 images include many photos that show Oxford and the university during the 1960s, including the riots that occurred the night before James Meredith was admitted to and integrated Ole Miss on Oct. 1, 1962, and then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s visit to Ole Miss.

Ed Meek as college student

Meek as a student

Meek said as a student journalist with an office in the Lyceum, he had access to “both sides of the lines” during the riots.

Many of the never-before published images of that time have been kept secret for decades. Included in the collection is a string of eight photos that show James Meredith, accompanied by U.S. marshals, attending one of his first classes as a student. As Meredith takes his seat, students bolt from the class, followed by the instructor, leaving Meredith seated in the classroom alone.

“(President John F.) Kennedy made it clear that nobody was to get pictures of Meredith in the classroom,” Meek said. “So I tucked my camera under my raincoat and took pictures. I just could not allow that historic moment to pass without it being photographed.”

Faulkner 080

William Faulkner

Will Norton, dean of the Meek School, described Meek as having “a wonderful eye for a good photo. This collection of hundreds of photos brings back the horror of those weeks on this campus, the memory of which tends to fade with time.

“Dr. Meek demonstrated great photographic skills and entrepreneurial journalism amid great danger,” Norton said. “It was a violent time, and when journalists like Bob Schieffer and Dan Rather come back to campus, they are amazed at what this campus has become despite that tragic weekend.”

Meek is thought to have been the last person to photograph William Faulkner alive, and at least 10 of the images show Faulkner riding his horses. He also did a series called “Campus Cuties,” where he photographed the prettiest women on campus for the student newspaper. Many of those women have become very prominent in business, politics and social circles, Norton said.

Meredith On Campus

James Meredith on campus

More than 100 of the images will be published in a book called Riot: Witness to Anger and Change by Yoknapatawpha Press and the Meek School. Publisher Larry Wells said Meek is the only photographer who has an entire body of work of the riots on campus because many photographers had their cameras destroyed.

“No one photographer told the entire story, which makes this collection unique,” Wells said. “We want this book to be an experience for young students who don’t know much about the riots or James Meredith.”

Assistant Professor Robert Magee publishes persuasion text

Posted on: November 11th, 2014 by ewrobins

Magee Text CoverDr. Robert Magee published Persuasion: A Social Science Approach, a textbook designed to help advanced undergraduate students and beginning graduate students become able practitioners of persuasion.

The book provides an overview of influential theories of persuasion and social influence with the goal of helping the reader understand the many ways in which people can be influenced. Along the way, the concepts are amply illustrated with practical examples from a number of fields, including health, politics, the environment, and integrated marketing communications.

People can be influenced through careful consideration of persuasive appeals or by making snap judgments of a speaker’s appearance. At other times, people’s behavior can be influenced by subtle cues in the environment, such as scents or colors, without even being aware of it. Other persuaders have harnessed the power of stories to change people’s opinions and behavior. These and many other evidence-based approaches are described in the text.

The publication is available for purchase as an electronic text from Thuze and is priced more affordably than the vast majority of texts in the field, which for Magee was important consideration in the choice of publisher. Readers can access the text on the web, smartphones, and tablets, and any notes made on one device are instantly available in any version.

Magee, the interim director of the M. A. in integrated marketing communications, has published peer-reviewed research in journals such as Media Psychology, Marketing Letters, Journal of Interactive Advertising, and Journal of Health Communication.


Journalism Innovation class experiments with Google Glass

Posted on: November 10th, 2014 by drwenger

KendricksGlassTechnology keeps changing the way journalists tell stories and that has students in Professor Deb Wenger’s Journalism Innovation class experimenting with Google Glass this semester.  The Web-enabled eyewear has been used by professional journalists to cover breaking events such as the Ferguson, Missouri, riots and feature stories such as NBA Draft Day through the eyes of Victor Oladipo.

Students were challenged to come up with stories that took advantage of the unique “point of view” video that Glass wearers can provide.  For example, Ashleigh Culpepper and her partner Sarah Douglass had USA pole vault champion Sam Kendricks wear Glass during a practice session.

“The Google Glass story was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” said Culpepper, “being a pole vaulter myself I never have seen pole vaulting in slow motion. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”

Journalism students Nicole Bounds and Gabriel Austin asked a dancer with RIOULT Dance NY to wear Glass during a rehearsal at the Ford Center with somewhat dizzying results.

“The most challenging thing is explaining to someone how to work Glass,” said Bounds. “I think it is especially hard because you can’t see what they are seeing on the Glass screen, which makes it hard to explain what to do next. With Glass, only the person wearing Glass can see the screen.”

Wenger says the class is designed to expose journalism students to the latest trends in journalism practice and hopes these experiments will help students understand what’s possible, as well as what’s effective, when it comes to the use of new technologies.

“You have to play around with tech and think through its applications before you can use it as an effective storytelling tool,” said Wenger. “These stories aren’t perfect, but producing them contributed to the learning process that every good journalist has to go through these days.”

3 Things Bleacher Report did to rebrand

Posted on: November 10th, 2014 by drwenger
Photo by Gabriel Austin.

Photo by Gabriel Austin.

When the sports website Bleacher Report first started in 2007, it was considered something of a joke in the world of sports journalism. Just about anyone could sign up and be a “reporter” for the then upstart site.

“Bleacher Report began as a platform — give us your email and you start writing,” said Bleacher Report writing program manager King Kaufman. Kaufman says the founders were simply looking for a way to give diehard fans a way to get more information about their individual teams than ESPN and other sports sites were providing.

Now, seven years later, Kaufman, who came to the Meek School to recruit writers, says Bleacher Report has made three key changes:

1.  Better Writing

Since Bleacher Report let almost anyone with a keyboard and Internet access write for the site at first, the content wasn’t very strong, nor was it very reliable. As the years have progressed, Kaufman says Bleacher Report has moved on from focusing on website traffic alone to increasing the amount of quality material that’s being posted on the website.

Along the way, the path to becoming a contributor to Bleacher Report has become much more difficult.  According to its website only 15 percent of applicants are hired, but Kaufman says not everyone has recognized the change.

“Your reputation lags behind reality. You’re not going to convince anyone that you’re awesome; you just have to show them. People will figure it out. There are influencers who catch on…it’s a slow process,” said Kaufman.

2.  More Training

Many of the most popular writers for Bleacher Report are not trained journalists, so Bleacher Report has instituted an in-house training program. “Newsroom education” is how Kaufman describes it.

3.  Rethinking the Numbers

“On the other side, we used data to learn what people wanted to read about,” Kaufman said. By catering to exactly what people are talking about, Bleacher Report has continued to have high volume traffic on their website and mobile app.

Kaufman says the goal now is to get people to come back more often and to give them the the best reader experience possible when they do.

Today, Bleacher Report is one of the top sports sites around. Bleacher Reports now ranks second, only to ESPN, in both unique desktops viewers and unique mobile viewers.

Kaufman was at the University of Mississippi to promote Bleacher Report’s Advanced Education Programs.  The paid programs in sports writing and editing are open to undergraduate and graduate students.

This story was contributed by Gabriel Austin, a broadcast journalism major.

5 Questions with Assistant Professor Evangeline Robinson

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by mpolito
Photo by Marlen Polito

Photo by Marlen Polito

Assistant Professor Evangeline Robinson is a native from Rolling Fork, Mississippi and teaches Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in the Meek School. You can read more of her work experience, but here are 5 reasons to get to know Robinson.

What class do you most like to teach and why?

I most like to teach IMC 204, because it’s the introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication. I really enjoy being able to help students understand the basics before they get into the other classes. For me, it’s an opportunity to share my knowledge and to help them get to the part where they are ready to move on and pursue their interest in the field.

Describe your favorite type of student?

My favorite type of student is one that is really engaged with what we are talking about and who participates actively in our discussions.

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

I’m actually in the Ph.D. program in history; I’m really enjoying having the opportunity to further my interest in that area. It is giving me the opportunity to not only advance myself in my academic pursuits, but really to open up some other areas in history that I had an interest in and am now able to pursue. Hopefully that will make me stronger as I work with my students in IMC. As I’m learning, it’s giving me new ways to teach them, which is a really good benefit of being a student as well. 

Describe what type of student you were.

I’ve always been a very studious student; my grades were always important to me. I think that certainly throughout my various degrees it’s been important that I do the things that I need to and accomplish all the things that I need to.

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

I am most thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to impact the lives of others in some way.  From the work with nonprofits I’ve done that has helped make scholarships available or has helped grant the wishes of children with a life-threatening illness to now being able to help my students reach their career goals, I’m thankful for being able to do those things.

Professor Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni keynotes the Third Annual Magazine Forum Day in Madrid, Spain

Posted on: October 30th, 2014 by ewrobins

Husni.Mag Forum Day 10.14Dr. Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center, was the keynote speaker at the Third Annual Magazine Forum Day hosted by both consumer and business magazine associations in Spain ARI and Coneqtia in Madrid, Spain.  The event took place on Tuesday Oct. 28.  Professor Husni’s topic was “Audience First:  The Marriage of Print and Digital.” The event took place at the newly renovated Casa Del Lector.

Scholarship honoring Joe F. Williams, Jr. established at Meek School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: October 24th, 2014 by ewrobins

When Joe F. Williams, Jr. first stepped onto the Ole Miss campus in 1974, he was one of fewer than 40 students in the Journalism program. As an undergraduate, Joe would solidify his reputation as a talented student who loved his school, and transitioned to a job with the University Public Relations department following graduation. During his time on campus, Joe helped produce such radio and television shows as Ole Miss Today, Ole Miss Football and The Coach Steve Sloan Show. He was also tapped to be the announcer at home football games, serving as “The Voice of Vaught Hemingway” for several years.

A scholarship honoring this Ole Miss Broadcast pioneer has been endowed at the University of Mississippi. Established as an academic award under guidelines of the Ole Miss Department of Financial Aid, recipients of the Joe F. Williams, Jr. scholarship will be full-time students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Anyone interested in contributing to the Joe F. Williams, Jr. scholarship can do so online by visiting the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s website ( Select the “Giving” tab, and scroll down to the “Joe Williams Scholarship Fund” designation box. Alternatively, donors can call 800-340-9542. All gifts are tax-deductible.

About Joe F. Williams, Jr.
Joe was born in Holly Springs, MS in 1955 and moved to McKenzie, TN fourteen years later, where he graduated from McKenzie High School. His father, Joe F. Williams, Sr., was high school principal and superintendent of the school systems in both Holly Springs and McKenzie. After leaving Ole Miss, Joe moved to Memphis, TN, where he worked in a variety of television news and public relations roles, most recently as Director of Public Relations for Pinnacle Airlines. His career included service on several not-for-profit Board of Directors, including Make-a Wish Foundation and Volunteer Mid-South.

Joe died August 6, 2013. He is survived by his mother, Holly Springs native and McKenzie resident Elaine Seale Williams, his wife Kathy Kelley of Memphis, his two sisters, Elaine Brown of McKenzie and Laura Williams of Ocala, FL, and his daughter DeeAnn Williams, who is currently a graduate student at the University of Mississippi.

Assistant Professor Robert Magee conducts workshops in Bolivia

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by ewrobins
Dr. Robert Magee with audience at one of his sessions.

Dr. Robert Magee with audience at one of his sessions.

Dr. Robert Magee, assistant professor in the Meek School, led a series of workshops on persuasion for media professionals in Sucre, Bolivia, October 17 and 18.

The Stromme Foundation, of Kristiansand, Norway, and NLA University College, of Bergen , Oslo and Kristiansand, Norway, sponsored the workshop at the University of San Francisco Xavier, one  of the oldest universities in the Americas.

“I am so happy to hear from my people in Sucre that the workshop with Robert went so well,” said Geri Magnus Nyborg, a professor at NLA. “They want him back next year.”

Magee offered four sessions: Culture and communication: Implications for journalism and persuasion; Effects of format on verbal and nonverbal information; Cognitive processes in persuasion; and Narratives and persuasion: Changing attitudes through stories.

Saint Francis Xavier is The Royal and Pontificial Major University of Saint Francis Xavier of Chuquisaca.  It  was founded in 1624.

In the western hemisphere, only the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru, chartered in 1551, is older.  In comparison, Harvard, the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S., was established in 1636.

Founded with the wealthy gentry of South America in mind, the University of San Francisco Xavier’s role and reach gradually expanded during the next 150 years.

By the turn of the 19th century USFX became a focal point for revolutionary thought in the region and later had a direct role not only in Bolivia’s independence, but in that of most of the former Spanish colonies as well.

In 1825 when Bolivia gained independence, it became the nation’s main university and remained an important institution on the continent, particularly for its law faculty which attracted students from throughout the region.

NLA University College is in Bergen, Norway.  It is a private Christian University College, accredited by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education.  It  offers  bachelor degrees, master degrees, pre-school teacher education, teacher education and continuing education.  It has  about 1600 students and 150 faculty and staff.

Topics of the workshops include the way narratives can be used as a means to inform and persuade, and the significance of the effects of culture on communication.  The workshops are geared toward professionals and academics with interest in journalism, advertising, and public relations.

Professor Samir Husni speaks at Distripress Congress

Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by ewrobins
Husni leading a panel discussion about integrating print and digital with leading magazine and newspaper editors. Left to right, Husni, Diane Kenwood, Editor, Woman's Weekly, London, Franska Stuy, Editor, Libelle, Amsterdam, Matt Bean, Editor, Entertainment Weekly, New York and Morten Wickstorm, Director of Sales and Analysis, Verdens Gang, Oslo.

Husni leading a panel discussion about integrating print and digital with leading magazine and newspaper editors. Left to right, Husni, Diane Kenwood, editor, Woman’s Weekly, London; Franska Stuy, editor, Libelle, Amsterdam; Matt Bean, editor, Entertainment Weekly, New York and Morten Wickstorm, director of Sales and Analysis, Verdens Gang, Oslo.

The annual Distripress Congress is the international meeting point for everyone involved in distribution and marketing of newspapers and periodicals. This year the Congress took place in Cannes, France. Dr. Samir Husni, professor and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School, moderated the executive Forum Day Sept. 29 and spoke at the Congress.

Husni being interviewed for Radio Monocle in the U.K.

Husni being interviewed for Radio Monocle in the U.K.

Husni speaking at the Distripress Forum Day in Cannes, France.

Husni speaking at the Distripress Forum Day in Cannes, France.