The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Archive for the ‘Student News’ Category

Getting that job in TV news: Advice from experts

Posted on: May 8th, 2014 by elwalke1

Anne-Conner Dickerson doesn’t have to much to worry about at graduation on Saturday.  Even before she walks across the stage she knows her career is underway.

wtvaDickerson took advantage of the Ole Miss Producer Internship Program in the Meek School last summer.  She learned how to be a newscast producer at WTVA in Tupelo, and the station liked her so much, they hired her full-time during the spring semester.

Though there are other students like Dickerson who already have jobs by the time they graduate, most are deep into the job hunt right now.  Dickerson spent some time talking to her colleagues at WTVA to get their best advice for getting work in TV.

     “Home work – do your home work. You should research the station and whom you are   applying to. If I get a resume that says ‘to whom it may concern’ it goes right in the trashcan, but someone who says ‘To Dave Beech’.. who knows how to spell my name correctly… that shows me that they have taken initiative on their end to do some homework, to go out of their way to find out a little bit about me, about this station, and who we are and what we are. This industry rewards self starters and if you can’t take the time to do a little bit of homework then I won’t want you in my newsroom.

-       Dave Beech, WTVA News Director


    “I would tell people that you have to put together a great resume reel with no mistakes in it and be confident. Always have your reason why you want to be a reporter ready because news directors will ask. Make sure your reason is unique. And, of course… You have to be ready to move far from home.”

-       Jessica Albert, WTVA Reporter


“Persistence. If you know you’re qualified for the job then always follow-up. If you send a tape don’t wait for them to call you. Follow-up with a phone call. Then follow-up your phone call with another call. Use each opportunity to self-promote and tell them how you’re ready to get right to work. I’ve noticed that most News Directors always stall making decisions while waiting for something better. Make them think you’re the better choice they’ve been waiting for.”

-       Dave Bauer, WTVA Producer

“In one word: networking.  I got my first job in television by passing along my resume’ to a friend who put in a good word for me.  In the TV positions following, my news directors made personal calls on my behalf to news stations for where I had applied.  Never be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone, ask a favor, or hand out a resume’.  Because a friend said, ‘Give this girl a call’ I was given a shot.  Always seize the opportunity to meet people in your field and make connections.”

-       Riley Koppa-Eversull, WTVA Producer


   “The first question you need to ask is which area of television you want to work in, and in what capacity. The requirements for different vocations are varied, so you need to plan your training path according to your particular ambition. On the other hand, it’s also a good idea to keep your options open. Many people find that they end up with a very different job to the one they had originally wanted. This is one advantage of beginning your training with a general media studies course – it will give you a good grounding in many different disciplines and may help you decide which you prefer. Put your application in with a resume and wait for someone to call. Be patient….”

-     Alvin “AI” Ivy, WTVA Photojournalist

Of course, one of the best pieces of advice is to get “job ready” while you’re still at school.  If  you’re interested in the job of a newscast producer, consider applying for the Ole Miss Producer Internship Program.  In addition to earning up to 3 credits, you receive a $500 scholarship and the experience you’ll need to get a job in television news.  Contact Deb Wenger at for more information.

Ole Miss journalism students cover tornadoes for national, regional media

Posted on: April 30th, 2014 by elwalke1
Meek School of Journalism and New Media students cover the destruction of a tornado in Tupelo, Miss., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Photo by Mikki K. Harris

Meek School of Journalism and New Media students cover the destruction of a tornado in Tupelo, Miss., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Photo by Mikki K. Harris

Meteorologists had been warning anyone who would listen about the potential for deadly storms in Mississippi and across the South, and on Monday afternoon, their predictions came true for our area.

“At the Student Media Center, students started planning for storm coverage on Sunday, and went into high gear via social media all afternoon Monday. This was the first big test for the brand-new DM staff, and they rose to the occasion,” said SMC Director Pat Thompson.

Broadcast journalism professor and interim NewsWatch 99 advisor Deb Wenger also had video journalists on standby.  Shortly after 2 p.m., all the preparation proved its importance.  An EF-2 tornado hit Tupelo, damaging as many as 500 businesses and 200 homes.

“Our students were amazing.  They did what professional journalists do on a regular basis — cancel previous plans, gear up and go,” said Wenger.

Broadcast journalism senior Ian Cowart produced a story within hours of the touchdown.

Online, DM Photo Editor Cady Herring used photos from Thomas Graning and Ignacio Murillo to compile a photo gallery that quickly garnered hundreds of page views.  Herring also quickly put together a map showing the wide path of the tornado destruction.

“New DM Editor in Chief Lacey Russell anchored the coverage throughout the night,” Thompson said. “Alli Moore got a quick baptism as new Design Editor, and Sierra Mannie contributed to the DM’s online presence. Students were tired as deadline approached Monday night, but spent time planning follow-up coverage for Tuesday.”

On Tuesday, Newswatch 99 produced extraordinary coverage of the storms in Louisville and Tupelo for the 5 p.m. newscast.  Led by manager Miriam Cresswell, the show also included a graphic explainer of how tornados form, as well stories about the ways in which Mississippi  residents were coming together to help the victims.  Students Leah Gibson and Gabriel Austin were on the road by 6 a.m. Tuesday to cover the Louisville damage.

Russell, Graning, Herring and News Editor Logan Kirkand spent all day Tuesday in the field reporting, taking photographs and shooting video.  Photojournalism professor Mikki Harris accompanied the students to help guide their multimedia reporting.

“I was so encouraged by the professional approach and demeanor the students used yesterday,” Harris said. “Logan was in people’s homes and yards not only conducting interviews, but helping. Logan said, ‘I didn’t really do that much. I helped carry a bin full of things to their car and tied a rug to the top of their car.’ Logan may not see that as doing much, but it is. He was there on assignment, interviewing, recording audio, capturing stills and video. Logan taking the time to move his focus away from a story, and focus on the people, shows tremendous skills as a journalist.”

In addition to all the work for student media outlets, former DM Editor Adam Ganucheau wrote the lead story for the New York Times’ U.S. page online.  Graning’s work was used by the Associated Press throughout the day on Tuesday.  Journalism student Jared Senseman’s photos were included in a slideshow produced for the Weather Channel on

Photo by Jared Senseman, April 28, 2014.

Photo by Jared Senseman, April 28, 2014.



Big broadcast wins for Meek School students

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by elwalke1

For an unprecedented third year in a row, NewsWatch 99 won the Best Student Newscast award at the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters banquet held in Jackson Saturday night. The winning newscast featured stories previewing the LSU-Ole Miss football game and a historical perspective on the rivalry. NewsWatch 99 also won second place in Best Student Newscast for its coverage of a double murder in Lafayette County. Miriam Cresswell and Bracey Harris accepted the awards on behalf of NewsWatch.

Student awards

Featured L-R: Nice Andrews, Miriam Cresswell, Bracey Harris.

Rebel Radio won Best Student News story for coverage of the Colonel Reb/Mr. Ole Miss controversy. Nick Andrews took the honors and was awarded a scholarship by the AP Broadcasters.

Other students received Awards of Excellence in Best Student TV Sports reporting, including graduates Sid Williams and Anna Ellingburg, who also placed in Best Student TV News Story. Kelly Scott received the award in Student Weather Reporting and Kells Johnson, Jon Monteith and Stewart Pirani placed in Student Documentary or Series. On the radio side, Nick Andrews received additional honors in Best Student Sportscast.

Ole Miss Journalism alumni Margaret Ann Morgan and Chris Harkey, both at WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg, took home six first place professional awards in Small Market TV. Harkey won for Best TV Videographer and Best Feature Story, Morgan won for Best Investigative Report and Best TV Reporter. Alumnus Wilson Stribling, news director at WLBT-TV in Jackson, won Best Feature Story in Large Market TV.

The program featured a tribute to the late Medgar Evers who was named a Pioneer of Broadcasting for Breaking the Color Barrier. Former CBS correspondent Randall Pinkson, a visiting professor at Ole Miss earlier this year, introduced Myrlie Evers-Williams who accepted the award.

Associate Professor Nancy Dupont serves on the Mississippi AP Broadcasters Board and is the adviser for NewsWatch 99.


Featured L-R: Photos: Andrews, Morgan, Pinkston, Dupont and Harkey.

Broadcast students cover Oxford for local NBC affiliate

Posted on: April 26th, 2014 by elwalke1

For two days in late April, the Ole Miss Student Media Center became a news bureau for WTVA in Tupelo.  Led by journalism professors Deb Wenger and Nancy Dupont, a team of 5 students covered the annual Double Decker Festival.

Gabriel Austin and Natalie Wood focused their Friday story on the artists of Double Decker.

The art story and another on festival music aired on WTVA’s 10 p.m. show.

“They did a terrific job,” said Wenger. “The started shooting at about noon, produced four versions of the story — one for WTVA, one for NewsWatch, one for and one for the DMOnline.  Gabe anchored NewsWatch and then he and Natalie went back out for another round or reporting.”

On Saturday, a second team picked up the reporting baton at 7 a.m. to cover the Double Decker 10K.  Ian Cowart and Jillian Clifton worked hard to capture the flavor of the festival’s biggest day.

Clifton says she was willing to give up her Saturday to get this kind of experience.

“It makes me feel proud to be a journalism student and to know that my work actually means something and people are actually watching it,” said Clifton.

WTVA’s news managers were so pleased with the students’ efforts that they asked to expand from two days of reporting to three.  Miriam Cresswell and Gabriel Austin were tapped to cover a fundraiser for Good Food for Oxford Schools on Sunday; however, that event was postponed due to storms in the area.

The weekend reporting experience is part of the advanced TV reporting class, which is taught by both Dupont and Wenger.

Meek PR students among top to watch

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by elwalke1
Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen

Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen

Wil Yerger

Wil Yerger

Meek School students Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen and Wil Yeager are featured in PR blogger Arik Hanson’s  list of “17 PR students to watch.”  Read the post at


Harris produces newscasts during fellowship

Posted on: March 17th, 2014 by elwalke1

braceyHarrisMeek School journalism senior Bracey Harris received hands-on experience as a producer recently when she participated in the CBC-UNC Diversity Fellowship Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Harris is one of 12 students chosen from across the country to participate in the intensive workshop led by UNC journalism faculty and professionals at Capitol Broadcasting Company’s WRAL-TV in Raleigh. The program is geared toward seniors and graduate students finishing their programs and pursuing careers as producers, reporters, photojournalists and Web editors. View the shows she produced at

Harris is multimedia editor at The Daily Mississippian, a former NewsWatch anchor, and was named Best Magazine Writer by the Southeast Journalism Conference for articles published in “The Flood of the Century” depth report. Her internships include print and television work in Jackson.



CBS Sports takes journalism students behind scenes of broadcast

Posted on: March 3rd, 2014 by elwalke1

GrantEvery camera is placed with precision, every graphic discussed in detail and every shot is studied before CBS Sports puts a game on the air.  For a group of Ole Miss journalism students who went behind the scenes of the Rebels-Gators basketball game, this was an eye-opener.

“To be honest, I had no idea. That’s the whole reason I wanted to do this whole thing. I always wondered where they go, talking about going from camera to camera,” Ole Miss senior Pete Porter said.

CBS Sports Director Mark Grant gave the students a tour of the production trailers, where he and his staff work up to 16 hours to prepare before the game.  The group also went inside the Tad Smith Coliseum to see exactly where Grant and his crew strategically place all the cameras they utilize during the game.

According to Grant, he works in unison with 35-40 people for college basketball games, but the staff could increase depending on the magnitude of the game. To make it all work, each person inside the production trailers and arena have to communicate effectively with Grant to correctly time what people see on television.

“I’m Mark’s right-hand man, whatever Mark wants to see, visuals or full-screen graphics I put that up,” technical producer David Saretsky said.

Grant says he tries to direct the game to his own satisfaction and take into account what his bosses in New York would like to see.

“The most stressful part of my job is the pressure, the pressure of network television, millions and millions of people are watching,” Grant said. “The expectations are high with our bosses…there is zero tolerance for mistakes.”

Several of the students volunteered their time on Saturday morning to act as runners for Grant and his staff. They also got a chance to watch the live production of the Ole Miss-Florida game.  For senior Ashleigh Culpepper, the opportunity now has her thinking about additional career options.

“Because of the behind the scenes experience I could honestly see myself behind the camera now as opposed to in front of it.”

UM students honored at Best of the South

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by elwalke1

in Lafayette, La., Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. (Photo/Thomas Graning)University of Mississippi students won 20 awards — including four first places — at the annual Best of the South contest banquet on Friday night Feb. 21, and on Saturday they won first place as Onsite Championship Team for their performance in contests held during the Southeast Journalism Conference convention in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Friday night was a big night for Daily Mississippian Editor in Chief Adam Ganucheau. He won three Best of the South awards:

  • Special Events Reporter/Editor first place, for his coverage of the “Laramie Project” disturbance and its aftermath;
  • Best News Writer second place for articles from The DM and his Daily Journal internship;
  • College Journalist of the Year second place. Adam’s College Journalist of the Year award came with a plaque and $500. The College Journalist of the Year competition requires an essay about responsibility and commitment, letters of recommendation and published work.

John Monteith won first place as Best Television Hard News Reporter for several NewsWatch segments.

Virginia England won first place as Best Magazine Page Layout Designer, for her design work in the “Land of Plenty” depth report.

Tim Abram won first place as Best Opinion-Editorial Writer for a series of DM columns.

Our other Best of the South winners:

  • Casey Holliday, second place for Best Arts and Entertainment Writer;
  • Ignacio Murillo, third place for Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer;
  • Lauren McMillin, third place for Best Magazine Writer;
  • Phil McCausland, third place for Best Feature Writer;
  • Kristen Saltzman, third place for Best Advertising Staff Member;
  • Brittani Acuff, fourth place for Best Television News Feature Reporter;
  • Ellen Graves, fourth place for Best Journalism Research Paper;
  • Thomas Graning, sixth place for Best Press Photographer;
  • Sudu Upadhyay, sixth place for Best Television Journalist;
  • Jonece Dunigan, sixth place Best Feature Writer for articles from her internship in Illinois;
  • David Collier, eighth place for Best Sports Writer.

NewsWatch won second place for Best Television Station and third place for Best College Video News Program. won fourth place for Best College Website.

There were 440 entries from about 35 universities in Best of the South. The contest year covered mid-November 2012 through mid-November 2013, and most categories required three entries from each student. In large categories with many entries, awards were given for first through 10th place.

This year’s conference was Feb. 20-22 at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. About 300 students attended the conference. SEJC includes 40 universities in seven states.

A second highlight of the conference each year is the onsite competition in which students participate in categories under deadline pressure. This is the third time in four years that University of Mississippi students won the grand championship award for the onsites. UM students were named conference champions based on points accumulated for the following awards:

First places:

  • Phil McCausland, feature writing;
  • Phillip Waller, news photography;
  • Thomas Graning, sports photography.

Second places:

  • Ignacio Murillo, page design;
  • Sudu Upadhyay, television reporting;
  • Caty Cambron, Olivia Rearick and Katie Davenport, public relations team

Third place:

  • Sarah Parrish, copy editing

Bracey Harris selected for national journalism fellowships

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by elwalke1

Bracey HarrisMeek School journalism senior Bracey Harris has been awarded two prestigious national journalism fellowships this semester: The New York Times Student Journalism Institute and the CBC-UNC Diversity Fellowship. Both programs provide hands-on training from some of the best journalists in the country.

In March, Harris heads to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for an intensive workshop led by UNC journalism faculty and professionals at Capitol Broadcasting Company’s WRAL-TV in Raleigh. The CBC-UNC program is a competitive fellowship for only 12 top students from across the country. The program is geared toward seniors and graduate students finishing their programs and pursuing careers as producers, reporters, photojournalists and Web editors.

In late May, Harris travels to Dillard University for the New York Times institute. Students work as journalists supervised by New York Times editors and reporters. They work as reporters, copy editors, photographers, Web producers, print and Web designers and video journalists. Many alumni of the program now work at major news organizations.

“During the institute at Dillard, I will be responsible for writing an enterprise story about New Orleans,” Harris said. “By the end of the program, we will produce a newspaper. I have seen copies of past publications and can tell the expectations are high. What’s really exciting is that the paper will contain The New York Times masthead. I’m really looking forward to utilizing the skills I’ve gained from the Meek school, SMC and internships.”

Harris is multimedia editor at The Daily Mississippian, a former NewsWatch anchor, and was named Best Magazine Writer by the Southeast Journalism Conference for articles published in “The Flood of the Century” depth report. Her internships include print and television work in Jackson.

In the summer of 2012, Dean Will Norton and three students traveled to South Africa to work on a reporting project with students from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Harris was one of the Meek School students on that trip.

Dean Norton noted that at the end of one of her essays for the South Africa publication, Harris wrote: “Although separated by the Atlantic Ocean, Mississippi and South Africa often fight the same struggles. How to look forward to the future without denying the past poses a challenge. However, the battle can be won.”

Dean Norton added: “That expression of optimism in the face of enormous challenges is who Bracey is for me.”

Daily Mississippian wins MPA advertising awards

Posted on: February 4th, 2014 by elwalke1
DM Winning MPA Ad 2014

Winning entry for best advertising promotion

The Daily Mississippian won several awards in the Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest advertising division annual competition. The Daily Mississippian competes against professional newspapers in the state in this contest, not other college newspapers.

Kristen Saltzman, an education major, won 1st place for best advertising promotion, competing against all daily newspapers in Mississippi. The winning entry was a house ad for yearbook class portraits that featured students in the 1983 yearbook. Saltzman has worked on the creative staff at the Student Media Center for several years.

The Daily Mississippian won second place for best niche publication in the state, for its 2013 orientation guide. Emily Roland, last year’s DM editor in chief, was in charge of the editorial content and designed the cover. LeAnna Young was student sales manager, and students Kristen Saltzman and Nate Weathersby were the creative design staff for the publication.

An ad for the Ole Miss Quarterback Club, by Creative Services Manager Debra Novak, won third place for best black and white institutional advertisement in a category that includes newspapers with daily circulation higher than 9,000.