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Spotlight on 2016-2017 Student Media Leaders

Posted on: October 7th, 2016 by jheo1

Rebel Radio Manager: Leah Gibson

Upon meeting Leah Gibson at a conference in Washington, D.C., former Chancellor Robert Khayat and Meek School Dean Will Norton knew she would be an asset to the University of Mississippi. Gibson was a high school student at the time, and they recruited her.

“After meeting them at the conference and learning about the programs available here, I then visited Ole Miss and fell in love with the station and all the opportunities I’d be able to have,” Gibson said.

leahgibson1Gibson, a senior from Starkville, is majoring in broadcast journalism. In her freshman year, she auditioned for Rebel Radio and was hired as a DJ. She auditioned for NewsWatch and landed a role as a correspondent. Last year, she was a news correspondent for Rebel Radio. This year, in addition to serving as student manager for Rebel Radio, she is also a NewsWatch anchor.

Gibson worked at Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson as a radio news reporter this summer. She covered Mississippi current events, race relations, education and politics.

“I’m excited to see where Leah will take Rebel Radio in her year as station manager,” said Roy Frostenson, student media assistant director and adviser for the radio station. “She is a terrific leader, very organized and detail-oriented. She has a great amount of energy and enthusiasm and a lot of great ideas for the station. She does a good job of sharing her vision for the radio station and it’s easy to get excited about the future listening to her talk about Rebel Radio.”

Gibson’s plans for this year include more big events, talk shows, and much more.

“I want to do a campus spotlight where I have interviews coming in every week, giving people direct connection to the station,” Gibson said. She is creating a training manual for her staff, and she produced a training video for the DJs.

Gibson is passionate about music, saying that the right song can change a person’s mood, and she wants to be sure Rebel Radio gives that to its listeners.

“I really want 92.1 Rebel Radio to be a hot topic on campus. I want people to know exactly who we are, what we play. I want people to have a favorite show that they listen to, for people to be excited about everything that we do.”

Gibson manages to do her radio and TV work in addition to her many other activities on campus, such as serving in the Columns Society and as an orientation leader. She was Miss Meridian in this year’s Miss Mississippi pageant, where she placed in the top 15 and won a talent award and was a finalist in the quality of life competition.


Leah Gibson and other Meek School students and faculty follow a guide across a bridge near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, during a Winter Intersession 2015 multimedia project.

Gibson will pursue a career in broadcast journalism or radio, and thanks the SMC for preparing her for her future.

“The SMC has provided me with numerous opportunities to meet people, to learn, and to better my craft. It gives you experience in the field which I feel is much more valuable than sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture.”


NewsWatch Ole Miss Manager: Payton Green

Payton Green had no idea what he was getting himself into when he joined NewsWatch his freshman year.

“I assumed it was a fun after-school activity. I didn’t realize that this was kind of a big deal. I first heard about NewsWatch in Journalism 101, and then I heard about it again in Freshman Convocation, so I decided to join. I figured it was just a bunch of kids putting on a news show.”

Now a senior, the broadcast journalism major from Pascagoula says he quickly realized that it was much more than that.

“I was so scared on my first day,” he said, laughing.


Payton Green and NewsWatch adviser Nancy Dupont on the set of WLOX-TV during Green’s internship in summer 2016.

Fast forward a few years. Green recently traveled to New Orleans to accept a first-place national award for multimedia reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists. Green was part of a team of Meek School students who won the award for their coverage of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.

“Payton has a great future, and we’re so privileged to have him with us this semester,” said Nancy Dupont, professor of journalism and NewsWatch adviser.  “In many ways, Payton is the ideal student news manager because he is more concerned with developing his staff than he is with promoting himself. He’s assembled a great team, and he’s already showing strong leadership skills.”

Green worked as an anchor for NewsWatch for two years before becoming News Director, and fell in love with producing and “the behind-the-scenes thing.” He is serving as NewsWatch manager, in charge of the entire newscast, for fall semester 2016.

Among the improvements Green has already made this year: new titles and job descriptions for his staff, an emphasis on more social media interaction, more local news and campus coverage, and more live shots from the field and the newsroom.

Green’s favorite part of the SMC is seeing his student colleagues’ hard work pay off in a dream job. But he points out that it is not all hard work and no play at the SMC. Some of the goofiest moments end up giving them more insight into new ways to branch out on their show, he says.

“When people audition at the beginning of the year, we are there until late at night working long hours which really allows us to bond. During a break one night we began blasting an EDM (electric dance music) song that has a really great drop, and began dancing around and decided to Facebook Live film it. The video got 700 views! We had already been planning on starting to do Facebook Live videos, which are great because you are really able to see how well we are doing.”


Payton Green interviews Biloxi Public Affairs Officer Jerry Creel during coverage of the 10thanniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August 2015.

Green interned at WLOX-TV on the Gulf Coast this past summer. When he graduates in December 2016, he plans to get a job as a TV producer in local news. He would love to someday be a producer for Dateline or 60 Minutes. He is grateful to the SMC for giving him the skills to pursue his dreams.

“If I hadn’t come here, I don’t know what I would be doing. If I hadn’t been producing this newscast, I wouldn’t have gotten those internships. It’s helped me learn what I want to do. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet and work with very talented people.”



The Ole Miss Yearbook Editor: Cady Herring


Photo courtesy Lindsey Lissau Photography.

As she embarks on her year as Yearbook Editor, Cady Herring is no stranger to the SMC.

Herring began as a freshman photographer for The Daily Mississippian, and later became DM photo editor. Last spring semester, she was co-photo editor of the yearbook.

“I love news journalism and storytelling, and I believe that the yearbook is the perfect platform to creatively and eloquently document this year,” Herring said.

Herring, a senior from Memphis, is a double major in print journalism and international studies, with a minor in Spanish. She has participated in several multimedia journalism projects during her years at the Meek School, in the Mississippi Delta and in Ethiopia. She has studied abroad twice in Africa and once in South America.

This summer Herring spent a month in Tanzania in East Africa as the media intern for UM professor Laura Johnson’s National Geographic Society grant, Faces of the Mountain.

“We circumnavigated villages around Mt. Kilimanjaro to finish the grant by conducting surveys and project videos,” Herring said. “I was in charge of setting up African-style movie theaters, making sure all the equipment worked, and shooting photos and video.”

She is currently communicating with the media team in Tanzania to edit final videos and working with National Geographic editors to submit content.

“Working in Tanzania forced me to think innovatively to accomplish tasks that would be easy in the U.S., but almost impossible there,” Herring said. “The cultural and linguistic barriers were onerous, but I loved the challenge. I carry duct tape with me everywhere now!”


Cady Herring photographs the Mweka village presentation for the Faces of the Mountain project in Tanzania in summer 2016.

Student Media Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson noted that Herring has won national and regional awards for her photography and writing, including placing in the prestigious Hearst national journalism competition.

“Cady is one of those students who can do everything well, which makes her a natural for a job as yearbook editor,” Thompson said. “She is one of the most creative journalists I have ever met. Her photography in the Ethiopia depth report was stunning. I can’t wait to see the yearbook she leads her staff to produce.”

Herring wants to use the yearbook to bring students together this year.

“The Student Media Center has provided me with such an invaluable education that I wouldn’t be able to receive anywhere else,” Herring said. “It’s my plan to structure our staff like a team to foster that experience for other ardent students, so that this book will be a celebration of the amazing talent UM has to offer.” She and her staff are hard at work creating their theme and cover design, and they are planning events to reveal the theme later this fall.

“I want to make this yearbook extremely literary and artistic to highlight our campus, our students, and really show who we are as a University today, and I have an amazing staff to do it,” Herring said. “This year, we’re pushing the limits by redesigning the website to use unexpected technologies to more comprehensively present stories. We’re searching for contributors from every area of campus to have frequent content that ranges from high fashion to campus politics, so that it will be an information hub to keep up with the campus and Oxford. This yearbook will be for everyone.”

Herring graduates in May 2017, and is applying for internships and fellowships. She’s doing research this fall for her thesis about the relationship between the  media and migrants, and hopes to continue using her storytelling skills in a career as an international documentary journalist.

Overby Center Senior Fellow and Meek School instructor Bill Rose is a writing coach for the yearbook staff. He has worked with Herring on several Meek School in-depth projects.

“Cady Herring is a young woman with a big heart for the less fortunate and a big talent for photos that capture people’s souls,” Rose said. “Her work in Africa, South America and the Delta demonstrate a strong sense of empathy and understanding for people of other cultures.”


Advertising Sales Manager: Ben Napoletan

Making the decision to give the top advertising job this year to Ben Napoletan was easy.

“Ben was one of our top sales account executives last year and so he was a natural choice for sales manager this year,” says Roy Frostenson, student media assistant director in charge of advertising. “He earned his spot with his great work last year.”


Ben Napoletan at his summer 2016 Nissan internship in Atlanta, with the company’s regional chief marketing and marketing analytics manager.

Napoletan is a senior majoring in finance with a minor in marketing. He is from Alpharetta, Georgia.

“Managing and growing account lists is the main duty of the job,” Napoletan says. “Since I am the manager this year, I mainly focus on providing my team with leads, organization, and maintaining my current accounts. Contacting my accounts and presenting them with current promotions and convincing them to advertise more is my goal with those accounts.”

This summer, Napoletan interned with Nissan Motor Company in its southeast regional headquarters in Atlanta. He worked on analytical projects ranging from after-sales forecasting to dealership incentive programs.

He says his favorite part of his SMC manager job is meeting monthly and annual sales goals. If they aren’t met, it just gives him even more motivation to work harder for the next month.


Ben Napoletan meets with Oxford attorney Dwight N. Ball, one of his Daily Mississippian advertising clients.

“Sales has a scorecard, so the only thing that matters is how much revenue we bring in. It doesn’t matter if it is from one business or 100 businesses, as long as we earn the most money possible, that is the goal,” he says.


Napoletan and his staff are creating video advertisements this year for the first time. And he is making his team work more efficiently by using call lists, which help his team avoid calling the same people twice.

“Ben is extremely organized and he’s brought that mindset to his job as sales manager and is working to make our sales operation more efficient and productive,” Frostenson says. “He’s a hard worker who puts in the time necessary to be successful and sets a great example for our sales team.”

Napoletan plans to seek a sales job when he graduates in May 2017. Long term, he wants to be VP of sales for a Fortune 500 company.


Daily Mississippian Editor in Chief: Clara Turnage


Clara Turnage

Clara Turnage knew on the first day of her freshman orientation in 2013 that she wanted to be involved with the Student Media Center. And even then, the persistence that makes her an outstanding reporter was evident.

“I remember hearing about the DM at the first day of orientation, so I went by that day but no students were there. So I went back again and told them that I wanted to write and get involved,” Turnage recalls.

The Sunday before the first day of classes, Turnage got a call from the DM editor in chief, giving her an assignment. Two days later, Turnage had a front-page byline. She was hooked.

Turnage is a senior from New Hebron, majoring in print journalism. Her minor is an unusual one for a journalist: computer science.

“ I became interested in computer science when Professor Deb Wenger asked if I would like to be in an Engineering Honors class that focused on the history of media systems,” Turnage says. “The class doubled as a computer science elective and the professor told me I should consider CS as a minor. I enjoyed what little coding we did in that class, and I valued the marketable skill I would receive with a computer science minor. So I decided to go with it.” It’s a skill she uses frequently to create timelines, website designs and other graphics.

Turnage says she loves seeing her staff of writers and editors grow as journalists. She started at the DM as a writer and photographer her freshman year. In her sophomore year, she was promoted to lifestyles editor. She was promoted to managing editor at the end of her junior year, and that summer she also served as news editor and designer.

Patricia Thompson, DM adviser and assistant dean for student media, has worked with Turnage every day for several years. Turnage is one of the best young journalists she’s ever seen.

“She is a fearless reporter, a gifted writer, a strong leader,” Thompson says.  “On the outside, she seems sweet, and she IS kind and fair and thoughtful, but make no mistake, when it comes time for toughness, she has the ‘fire in the belly’ that I always see in the best journalists. I have seen her doggedly pursue stories others would have given up after a few rejections. Clara’s work and influence and commitment have been a major reason for The Daily Mississippian’s success in recent years.”

For the past two years, The Daily Mississippian has been named by the Society of Professional Journalists as one of the top three daily campus newspapers in the nation.  In addition, Turnage has won several awards for her writing.

This past summer, Turnage was a copy editor intern for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock. The newspaper has one of the most sought-after internships in the country, receiving hundreds of applications for just a few spots.

So far this year, Turnage has led a major redesign of The Daily Mississippian, and increased its social media and digital media presence. In mid-August, she led a new training program for her staff.

It’s her last year at Ole Miss, and Turnage reflects on her time at the Student Media Center as a blessing.

“I spend a great deal of my time here. It is because of the SMC that I’ve had every internship and job that I’ve had. If you put in a little here, I promise you’ll get a lot out of it.”


Clara Turnage at work in the Daily Mississippian newsroom.

At the start of fall semester, Turnage bought an air mattress sofa and often can be found sitting or lying on it, discussing stories with her staff or just hanging out with them as they wait for stories and photos to arrive for editing.

While they have fun in and out of the newsroom, Turnage says that she and her team work hard to tell the University’s story in full – the good and the bad. They take seriously their mission to serve as campus watchdogs and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.

“The University is going through a time that is very stressful,” Turnage says. “There’s a lot of change happening on campus. I want to cover that to the best of my ability, while being as unbiased as possible. That is something we struggle with constantly. I am looking forward to continuing to cover in-depth stories that make our writers better and our newspaper better. “

Turnage will graduate in May 2017. Like most other students, she is applying for jobs and internships at media companies in many states, but she adds: “There’s a lot of opportunity for news gathering in Mississippi. I’m very interested in that, too. I think Mississippi is one of those states that would benefit most from skilled reporters staying where they are.”

By Mary Ruth Womble

Ole Miss student media leaders offer advice to high school journalists at regional workshop

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by jheo1

On Saturday, Sept. 3, the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association partnered to host a free workshop for journalism students and teachers in Mississippi and surrounding states. The event was at Lafayette High School, and featured Ole Miss student media leaders in a panel discussion about working for college media. Pictured, left to right: Sarah Nichols, vice president of the Journalism Education Association; Lana Ferguson, managing editor of The Daily Mississippian; William Wildman, yearbook writing editor; Ariel Cobbert, Daily Mississippian photo editor; Marisa Morrissette, yearbook and Daily Mississippian designer; Payton Green, NewsWatch manager; and Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media.


How four weeks of an internship turned into a job offer

Posted on: August 22nd, 2016 by drwenger

FullSizeRender (10)By Madi Van Zile, May 2016 Graduate

Graduating from college is a mixed bag of emotions.

On one hand, you are relieved to be finally done with school. No more final exams, no more term papers, no more last-minute assignments due before 3 p.m., that’s all over.

The other end of that spectrum is a sense of dread. Most graduates have been in school from the time they were 5-years-old until the day they walk across the stage. What does one do after college?

For most graduates, the first thing on their minds is getting a job. Personally, that is what I wanted, but because I had made it to my senior year with no prior internship or journalism work outside of a school publication, I had limited qualifying experience to put on a resume.

Fortunately, I got a summer internship through the Ole Miss Producer Internship Program and started work at WTVA-News in Tupelo, Mississippi, just days after graduation.  Doing a post-graduate internship does mean a little extra schoolwork, but it gives you a chance to actually experience the industry you hope to join. Summer internships usually last anywhere from six to eight weeks, but in that time frame an intern may gain enough viable information to get a job.

One of the first tips I would offer to any intern is to ask as many questions as possible. It sounds like one of the most obvious things to do, but it is also one of the things students sometimes overlook. By asking a ton of questions, an intern looks like he or she truly wants to be there and is ready to start a career.

Another tip I can offer is to ask for as many hours as you can get. For my internship, I had to put in a minimum of 20 hours per week. I chose to work 40 hours a week, a full-time shift Monday through Friday, and I would not have traded it for anything in the world. The reason I made myself available for that much time is that an internship is one of the only opportunities students have to gain experience that could lead to a job. Working an 8-hour day gives an intern a chance to learn what it feels like to work there, too.

I also did not want to be classified as that intern who sat around on her phone and just waited for the time to fly by. I wanted to do what the other reporters and producers did, no matter the task. I saw another intern who was there for just a couple of hours a day who, for the most part, was on the phone the entire time while a videographer was trying to teach that person how to edit.

I constantly kept myself busy by looking up potential news stories, writing some simple stories for the newscasts, stacking shows and asking constantly, “Is there anything else you guys need me to do?” I would not leave until I made sure there was not another thing I could do for the day.

The news director I worked under for WTVA said that when I walked in on the first day, he felt like I was just a regular staff member for the station. I wanted to jump in and feel like I was part of the crew, and I did. I observed everything my producers did, and after a while, I was left alone to do some of the newscasts (granted, the night-side producer got married three weeks into my internship so I had to do the shows by myself, but I digress).

If an intern goes into it thinking that it is just for college credit, he or she will gain less from the experience. I wanted to be a part of the news industry, and I came across that way to the staff at WTVA. The headline does say it took four weeks for me to get a job. Well, I was fibbing a little bit; it took four weeks and one day. Four weeks after my first day, I did my first live shot ever on TV. After that, I received the job offer. The news director said it felt like I was already a part of the station, all he had to do was make it official.

Students in the broadcast journalism emphasis at the Meek School are required to do an internship, and all other majors are encouraged to gain internship experience.  If you are interested in learning more about the Ole Miss Producer Internship Program, feel free to contact Prof. Deb Wenger at  


Design students learn by doing and doing good

Posted on: August 12th, 2016 by drwenger
Meek School student Ryan Grover developed an award-winning logo under the direction of his design instructor Emily Moore.

Meek School student Ryan Grover developed an award-winning logo under the direction of his design instructor Emily Moore.

There’s nothing like learning by doing, and that’s why the Meek School of Journalism & New Media emphasizes instruction in the skills that students can put to use immediately.  For example, media design instructor Emily Bowen-Moore has partnered with organizations on campus and in the community to help her students get practical experience in creating logos.

“I like for the students to be involved in designing for local community events and organizations. It creates a connection between the university students and local/regional population. In addition, the goal is to give the students an opportunity for actual experience in the industry of designing and marketing for business,” said Bowen-Moore.

Student Ryan Grover competed with dozens of other students in the Meek School in a contest to select the top logo design for the Oxford School District Foundation (OSDF).  For 30 years, the organization has raised money to support innovative teaching within Oxford classrooms and this year it is in the middle of a year-long birthday celebration.  Grover developed an anniversary logo that will be used on posters, T-shirts, social media and in other OSDF publications.

“I’m really grateful to have had the chance to work with the Oxford School District Foundation. It was a great opportunity to practice the things we learn in class with a real world project,” said Grover.

He also valued the chance to get outside the classroom to make a difference.

“I’ve always been interested in graphic design and have really enjoyed taking this class with Mrs. Bowen-Moore. It was awesome that OSFD considered our class to be involved with the design process, and I hope we students can have more opportunities like this to work with the Oxford community.”

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2015-16 Student Media Leaders

Posted on: May 14th, 2016 by ewrobins

By Taylor Morton

As their time as managers ends, we say farewell and thank you. They are headed to jobs and internships in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Orlando.

Amy Hornsby (Rebel Radio)

Amy Hornsby meets with sports DJs in the Rebel Radio studio

Amy Hornsby meets with sports DJs in the Rebel Radio studio

Amy Hornsby climbed her way up at Rebel Radio, from DJ, to marketing director, to interim station manager, to station manager.

WUMS-FM 92.1 Rebel Radio is one of the few college student-run commercial FM radio stations in the country. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and boasts a signal stretching nearly 40 miles across North Mississippi.

Hornsby is a junior integrated marketing Ccmmunications major from Starkville.

“Delegation has been the greatest challenge in this role,” Hornsby says. “You have to learn how to ask for and accept help from the people you work with. I’m proud of the things we do all the time, both on and off the air.”

Hornsby says the Student Media Center has been a gift to her.

“The Student Media Center has guided me. It helped me make new friends, get used to campus and meet older students who became my mentors and got me on track to find the best major for me.”

Additionally, Hornsby says she learned vital professional skills, such as teamwork, delegation and time management through her role as station manager.

“Amy Hornsby has just done a terrific job with radio this year,” said radio adviser Roy Frostenson. “She’s organized, dedicated and enthusiastic, all great traits for a radio station manager. She has assembled a great staff and they all work together very well which is a testament to Amy as a leader.”

Hornsby will spend fall semester 2016 in Orlando as a merchandising intern with the Disney College Program. After graduation in May 2017, she hopes to get involved in marketing for theater. Her ultimate goal is to combine the things she knows best: marketing, theater and radio.


Logan Kirkland (The Daily Mississippian)

Logan Kirkland on assignment in Lalibela, Ethiopia

Logan Kirkland on assignment in Lalibela, Ethiopia

Logan Kirkland didn’t start Ole Miss as a journalism major.

The senior from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, says friends encouraged him to take a journalism course. He realized how much he enjoyed interacting with people and telling their stories. He began writing for The Daily Mississippian, and remembers being excited when he saw his first byline in print.

Kirkland was a DM news editor during his junior year. After covering major stories on campus, he decided he wanted to take what he loved to the next step, and applied to be editor in chief for 2015-2016. He graduates this month with a bachelor of journalism degree.

He says his greatest challenge this past year has been making decisions about whether or not something should be published. “The subject matter can be touchy,” he says. “You want reaction, but you want it to be tasteful.”

Kirkland says he is most proud of his staff this year for the role it played in covering the campus controversy over taking down the state flag.

Patricia Thompson, director of student media and faculty adviser for The Daily Mississippian, praised Kirkland for his leadership of his staff and his individual work. The Society of Professional Journalists, for the second year in a row, has named The Daily Mississippian as one of the Top 3 best all-around student newspapers in the nation. Kirkland has won first-place awards in several contests for his writing and photography, including a multimedia project he produced from a journalism trip to Ethiopia.

“Logan is an ambitious, talented young journalist with a variety of skills that make him very marketable in this digital age,” Thompson says. “In addition to his editorial strengths, he has been an outstanding leader for the DM. There’s never a dull moment when Logan is in the newsroom. We will miss him, and we know he will have a successful career.”

This summer, Kirkland will work as a photo assistant at Harper’s Bazaar in New York. He said he would ultimately like to be a conflict photographer, working to document topics like conflict, war and poverty.

“I’m going to miss this place a lot,” Kirkland said. “I’m going to miss the staff and what we did on a daily basis.”


Mallory Lehenbauer (The Ole Miss yearbook)

Mallory Simerville Lehenbauer with the 2016 The Ole Miss yearbook

Mallory Simerville Lehenbauer with the 2016 The Ole Miss yearbook

Mallory Lehenbauer’s interest in the yearbook began when she applied for a position as yearbook writer her freshman year at Ole Miss. While she was a graduate assistant in the Student Media Center last year, her passion for the yearbook recurred.

Lehenbauer, a second-year graduate student in the Meek School’s integrated marketing communications program, received a bachelor’s degree in English and Southern Studies from Ole Miss in 2014. As an undergraduate, Lehenbauer worked in several writing and editing positions at The Daily Mississippian – including a summer as DM Editor in Chief.

“Mallory has been a valued member of student media for several years,” says Patricia Thompson, director of student media. “I was delighted when she applied to be yearbook editor. I knew that with her talent as a writer, editor, designer and leader, the yearbook would be in good hands and that she would lead her staff to produce a beautiful publication. She also used her IMC training to create branding and social media marketing for the yearbook.”

Published for the first time in 1896, The Ole Miss annual is the student yearbook that provides a permanent record of each year as seen and told by student staff.

The 2016 yearbook was distributed to students in late April.

Lehenbauer attributes much of The Ole Miss’ success to her staff. “They’re all amazing people and they make my job really easy,” she says.

“On a personal level, the Student Media Center has given me relationships with my peers that are forever. On a professional level, it has taught me to work in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines and take criticism,” Lehenbauer says. “It is a mini professional environment hidden on the Ole Miss campus.”

Lehenbauer graduates this month, and is interviewing for jobs in Chicago.


Evan Miller (Advertising)

Evan Miller

Evan Miller

Evan Miller is a senior integrated marketing communications major from Decatur, Illinois. Evan’s father is a salesman, so he grew up knowing all about the demands and rewards of the career.

As the advertising manager for the past year and a half, Miller is most proud of hitting staff sales goals. He said the most rewarding part of his job has been helping new employees make their first sales.

“The Student Media Center has provided me with the opportunity to get real-world sales experience in a part-time setting,” Miller says. “It has been great for me.”

Roy Frostenson is the SMC assistant manager in charge of advertising. “In sales you’re only really measured one way and that’s by performance and the sales staff has performed extremely well under Evan’s leadership,” Frostenson says. “Our ad sales are up this year over last year and that’s to Evan’s credit. Evan does a good job working with our staff and making sure our advertisers are getting value for their investment with us.”

Miller graduates this month and has accepted a full-time sales job with Yelp in Chicago.


Browning Stubbs (NewsWatch)

Browning Stubbs interviews Athletics Director Ross Bjork in the NewsWatch studio

Browning Stubbs interviews Athletics Director Ross Bjork in the NewsWatch studio

Browning Stubbs, a senior broadcast journalism major from Memphis, is well acquainted with the Student Media Center. He has worked in almost every platform of the Student Media Center, and has worked his way up at NewsWatch.

Stubbs loved the arts from a young age, but his passion for live television began in high school. He started an online sports network that broadcast more than 50 sporting events throughout the year. He would give play-by-play commentary on-air.

“From that moment on, I knew I wanted to do TV,” Stubbs says. “I had acted in films and in plays, but I just really liked being live. There is so much hard work and pre-production, and when you can turn that into something live, it’s just magical.”

NewsWatch Ole Miss is the only live, daily, student-produced newscast in Mississippi, and the only local television news broadcast in Lafayette County. The 30-minute program airs live 5 p.m. on channel 12, the university’s cable station, and is live streamed on A repeat broadcast airs at 10 p.m. on channel 12.

Stubbs worked his way up at NewsWatch from sports anchor, to sports director, to newscast manager.

“As I moved up with NewsWatch, I got to learn everything about it. I learned how to break a news story, how to put graphics together, how to edit video, how to produce a show, how to make sound, how to operate cameras. I just wanted to broaden my knowledge and learn everything I could.”

Stubbs also worked as a sports DJ for Rebel Radio, and as the basketball beat writer for The Daily Mississippian. He even has an article in the 2016 yearbook.
Stubbs says the most challenging part of his job was covering controversial topics, making sure everyone was ready to go at 5 p.m., and working to change the name of the show to NewsWatch Ole Miss. He added more sports coverage to NewsWatch by creating a Friday show called RebelWatch.

Stubbs and his NewsWatch staff have been honored this year with awards in several contests. NewsWatch, for the fifth year in a row, was named best college newscast in the state by the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters organization.

“The Student Media Center is my second home. It has gotten me job offers, won me awards and made me really happy. I love this place,” Stubbs says. “Because of the Student Media Center, I feel like I’m qualified for a lot of jobs. The Student Media Center has given me opportunities in every field.”

Nancy Dupont is faculty adviser for NewsWatch. “Browning’s dedication to TV journalism is obvious to anyone who meets him,” she says. “He throws himself, heart and soul, into every newscast. He knows how to lead a team to get the best result possible. He’s a wonderful student to work with.”

Stubbs graduates this month, and has a production internship with ESPN in Los Angeles.

Stubbs plans to use what he has learned at the Student Media Center in his career. “I hope I have a successful career and can give back to this place one day,” he says.

President Obama answers Meek School student’s question at College Reporter Day briefing

Posted on: May 3rd, 2016 by ewrobins
Daniella Oropeza.Briefing Room

Daniella Oropeza in the White House Briefing Room

When Juan Oropeza came to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant 25 years ago, he couldn’t have imagined that his daughter would one day ask the president about immigration policies. But that’s what happened in the White House Briefing Room last week when Daniella Oropeza, a junior in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, raised her hand and was called on by President Obama.

Oropeza reporting from outside of the White House

Oropeza reporting from outside of the White House

“We weren’t supposed to meet the president, so I was shocked he came into the room and shocked that he called on me, “ Oropeza said. She was chosen as one of 50 college journalism students to participate in the first White House College Reporter Day.

President Obama answered a few questions from students, and called on “the young lady right there in red.” When Oropeza began her question, her first words were, “Hey, I’m Daniella,” which prompted President Obama to teasingly interrupt by saying, “Hey.” He gave a lengthy answer to her question about whether his administration will make any further changes in its Mexican immigration policy.

Oropeza’s question got attention. Immediately after the press conference with the president, Oropeza was interviewed by CBS News. She then received emails from Univision and Telemundo, the two Spanish-language networks, asking her for interviews, which she conducted in Spanish and English.

“It was very exciting. I didn’t expect to see President Obama and I didn’t expect what came after with the interviews,” Oropeza said. “It was the experience of a lifetime.”

Oropeza in the White House Briefing Room

Oropeza in the White House Briefing Room

Oropeza, of Clinton, Mississippi, had an internship last summer at WAPT-TV in Jackson. She worked last summer as a sales and marketing intern at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Oropeza traveled to D.C. with her mother and grandmother. They drove 14 hours from Mississippi to the nation’s capital and stayed for two days. On their way back to Oxford, they stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in a small town in Georgia. While paying for their food, the waiter asked: “I’m sorry, but I just have to ask, were you on the news a couple of days ago?”

“I was speechless,” Oropeza said, “but my grandmother was quick to say, ‘Why yes, she was!’ After paying our check, our waiter came back with his phone in hand and showed us a clip of my question to the president from the White House account on YouTube. That lunch still feels like a dream.”

White House College Reporter Day was on April 28. It was designed as an opportunity for student journalists to talk to senior administration officials about issues as varied as sexual assaults on campus and student loans. Students were selected based on applications they submitted, and they had a full day of events and briefings at the White House, including sessions with Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the White House Press Corps, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education John King.

Near the end of the day, President Obama walked in, saying, “I hear there’s some hotshot journalists here.” USA Today reported that you could hear “audible gasps and freak-outs from the unsuspecting students.”

At 3:28 p.m. that day, Oropeza tweeted: “When your Mom is so excited that you spoke with the POTUS that she can’t even type.”

Oropeza’s coverage of College Reporter Day aired on NewsWatch.

Students cover Double Decker Festival for two-state region

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by drwenger
Oxford's Double Decker Festival 2016 is showcased on TV in the region, thanks to Meek School students.

Oxford’s Double Decker Festival 2016 is showcased on TV in the region, thanks to Meek School students.

As many as 65,000 people poured into Oxford for the 2016 Double Decker Festival, and tens of thousands more got to look in on the fun thanks to a team of Meek School broadcast journalists.

Leah Gibson, Payton Green, Sereena Henderson, Maggie McDaniel, Lacey Russell and Sudu Upadhyay produced stories on the music, the art and the food for WMC-TV in Memphis and WTVA in Tupelo.

“This partnership is a win-win for everyone involved — the university, the students, the community and WTVA. It gives the students valuable, real-world experience, theuniversity one more tool to offer its students, and provides exposure and coverage to the community and the Double-Decker Festival,” said Steve Rogers, news director at WTVA.

Friday night’s story aired on WTVA’s 10 p.m. show and was published on the WMC-TV website with student video airing in that station’s evening broadcast. “We are very excited to work with the next generation of journalists, in our own backyard. We have been very impressed with the students at Ole Miss…their work ethic, their passion, and their love for the industry,” said WMC-TV News Director Tammy Phillips.

Professors Deb Wenger and Nancy Dupont have been working with the students to cover the festival for the past four years, but this year the students coordinated the process all on their own.

“It makes us especially proud to see how well these students handled the whole stressful and complicated process of producing stories on deadline for much bigger audiences than is typical for them,” said Wenger.

Both WMC-TV and WTVA have indicated that they hope to work more with the school’s top students, partnering on additional projects throughout the year.

Student Profile: Chandler Morgan

Posted on: April 11th, 2016 by ewrobins

Read Julia Martinez’s profile on NewsWatch anchor Chandler Morgan at Watch the accompanying audio slideshow on YouTube. Martinez is a student in Dr. Kristie Swain’s JOUR 377 class.


Meek faculty and students work with industry leaders to facilitate SND Creative Competition

Posted on: March 2nd, 2016 by ewrobins
UM students Caroline Callaway and Morgan Oberhausen with Rolling Stone art director Joe Hutchinson

UM students Caroline Callaway and Morgan Oberhausen with Rolling Stone art director Joe Hutchinson

It may have been -23 degrees outside, but the creative juices were flowing earlier this year at the Society for News Design’s “Best of News Design™” Creative Competition in Syracuse, NY. Newspaper, magazine and media designs from all over the world, categorized into World’s Best, Features, Long Form, Visuals, News, and Combination Print/Digital Presentation, were judged by an impressive team of creative professionals representing publications ranging from Rolling Stone to The Los Angeles Times.

Caroline Callaway watches "The Displaced," which won the coveted "Best of Show." The New York Times presented this in-depth story through virtual reality, print and digital media.

Caroline Callaway watches “The Displaced,” which won the coveted “Best of Show.” The New York Times presented this in-depth story through virtual reality, print and digital media.

Helping with the judging process this year were Meek School faculty, Darren Sanefski and Stefanie Goodwiller, and students, Caroline Callaway and Morgan Oberhausen.

“What an amazing experience!” Morgan shared. “It broadened my perception of what publication design can be. It is more than just ‘news.’ It is an art form that takes words and makes them more than just type on paper. One of the most interesting parts of the competition was listening to the judges discuss the entries eligible for a medal. To hear their opinions about what is innovative and exceptional in the world of design was truly enlightening. I couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable and inspiring opportunity.”

UM student journalists receive 28 awards at conference

Posted on: February 22nd, 2016 by ewrobins

SEJC Awards 2016University of Mississippi students left the annual Southeast Journalism Conference with two of the top prizes: Grand Championship Team for the on-site competitions, and College Journalist of the Year.

Sudu Upadhyay, a junior journalism major, won first place and $1,000 in the prestigious Best of the South College Journalist of the Year contest. Upadhyay was NewsWatch Manager in the 2014-2015 academic year. His entry included several examples of his campus and international television reporting, a resume, an essay about his commitment and responsibility in journalism, and letters of recommendation.

The entire Student Media Center team won the grand championship for its performance in 16 on-site competitions. Points are based on how many first, second and third places each university wins.

The conference was hosted by Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and attracted 324 students and faculty from 27 colleges.

University of Mississippi students won a total of 28 awards in the two contests sponsored by SEJC, including eight first-place awards, nine second-place awards, and two third-place awards.

Logan Kirkland, Daily Mississippian editor-in-chief, won two first-place awards, one for special event reporter/editor in Best of the South, and one for sports photography in the on-site competition.

ON-SITES: In addition to Kirkland’s first-place win for sports photography, other students who won first-place awards were Caroline Callaway, for newspaper design, and the public relations team of Tori Olker and Victoria Lanza.

Second-place winners were Drew Jansen, for news writing; Tori Wilson, for copy editing; Holly Baer, for op-ed writing; and the multimedia team of Brittany Clark, Dylan Rubino and Kelly Savage.

BEST OF THE SOUTH: Best of the South includes entries for student work produced from mid-November 2014 through mid-November 2015. This year, there were 441 entries from 35 universities. UM student media won 20 awards.

First places were won by Logan Kirkland, for special event reporting/editing, for his spot news and enterprise coverage of the IHL board decision to not renew Chancellor Dan Jones’ contract; Dylan Rubino, for his sports writing and profiles in The Daily Mississippian; Kelly Savage, for television news reporting, for packages that aired on NewsWatch; Jake Thrasher, for his Daily Mississippian cartoons; and Sudu Upadhyay as College Journalist of the Year.

Second place awards went to Steven Gagliano in the radio journalist category, for reports that aired on Rebel Radio; Anna McCollum, in the journalism research paper category, for a paper she wrote in the The Press and the Changing South class; Riley Mueller for radio feature reporting, for reports that aired on Rebel Radio; Kelsey Shumate for advertising, for commercials that aired on Rebel Radio; and Clara Turnage for feature writing, for a series of articles published in The Daily Mississippian throughout the year.

Other Best of the South awards: Browning Stubbs, third place in the television journalist category; Cady Herring, third place for magazine writing; fourth places for Caroline Callaway, for newspaper design, and Morgan Burger, for radio feature reporting; fifth place for Zoe McDonald, for arts and entertainment writing; seventh place for Madisen Theobald, for design; eighth place for Logan Kirkland, for press photography; ninth place for Brittany Clark for television feature reporting; and 10th place to in the website category.

The Daily Mississippian won fourth place in the Best Public Service Journalism category for its coverage of the controversy over removing the state flag from campus.

Student Media Director Patricia Thompson and 19 Ole Miss students attended this year’s conference. Next year’s SEJC conference will take place in February at Ole Miss. Thompson is president of SEJC for the next year, and DM Managing Editor Clara Turnage is student president of SEJC.