The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

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Archive for the ‘Student News’ Category

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 than 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 drwenger@olemiss.edu.  

 

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.”

30thLogo2 (1)

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 theDMonline.com. 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, had an internship last summer at WAPT-TV in Jackson. She is a correspondent this semester for NewsWatch, the Student Media Center’s student-run daily, live newscast. She will work this 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 wordsofjulia.wordpress.com. 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 theDMonline.com 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.

OxfordStories.net gives students opportunities to publish their work

Posted on: February 5th, 2016 by ewrobins
Class 1. Front row, from left: Allison Fazio, Ashley Gambrel, Hannah Simmons, Lana Ferguson; middle row, from left, Shelby Nichols, Jac Bedrossian, Chloe Riley, Elizabeth Wilks Parry, Kara Knapik; back row, from left, Herbert Moore, Connor Heitzmann, Tyler Bullard, Rachel Anderson and Carson Horn.

Class 1. Front row, from left: Allison Fazio, Ashley Gambrel, Hannah Simmons, Lana Ferguson; middle row, from left: Shelby Nichols, Jac Bedrossian, Chloe Riley, Elizabeth Wilks Parry, Kara Knapik; back row, from left: Herbert Moore, Connor Heitzmann, Tyler Bullard, Rachel Anderson and Carson Horn.

In the fall of 2014, Oxford Stories, at OxfordStories.net, was launched as part of a Journalism 271 class in the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. A course was designed incorporating the website to enable multimedia journalism students to publish their work and share it via social media. After the first semester, the site ended with approximately 5,000 page views.

Last semester, two classes of Journalism 271 multimedia news reporting students teamed up to contribute to Oxford Stories with a goal of reaching 20,000 page views. Students not only exceeded their goal, they doubled it. The fall semester of 2015 ended with 48,720 page views.

There were also new course developments. Adjunct journalism instructor LaReeca Rucker, who created the course, worked with Stephanie Rebman, editor of The Oxford Eagle; HottyToddy.com editor Callie Daniels; and Ed Meek, namesake of the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media, to publish student stories in their publications.

Meek, who was also a UM assistant vice chancellor for public relations and marketing, an associate professor of journalism, and the owner of Oxford Publishing Inc., is the creator of HottyToddy.com, a website geared toward Ole Miss fans and alums.

Class 2. Front row, from left: Meagan Robinson, Ariel Cobbert, Haley Renschler, Elizabeth Darcey; middle row, from left, Lynecia Christion, Bryce Dixon, Olivia Morgan, Austin Ivy, Brian Romski, Alice McKelvey, Dominique McGhee; back row, from left, James Lott, Desmen Ison, Nate Larkin, Austen Derrick, Emily Schrimsher and Kennedy Johnson.

Class 2. Front row, from left: Meagan Robinson, Ariel Cobbert, Haley Renschler, Elizabeth Darcey; middle row, from left: Lynecia Christion, Bryce Dixon, Olivia Morgan, Austin Ivy, Brian Romski, Alice McKelvey, Dominique McGhee; back row, from left: James Lott, Desmen Ison, Nate Larkin, Austen Derrick, Emily Schrimsher and Kennedy Johnson.

Last semester, students were asked to turn in their work on OxfordStories.net with the possibility of having it additionally published in The Oxford Eagle or on HottyToddy.com. OxfordStories.net functioned as a news distribution service with editors from The Oxford Eagle and HottyToddy.com selecting content from the website to republish in their respective publications.

Almost every student had one or multiple stories published by the local media, and some of the student stories published in The Oxford Eagle were picked up by the Associated Press and distributed to newspapers across the country.

Last semester, students wrote a variety of stories about the homeless, nutrition, healthcare, Syrian refugees, UM athletes, student business owners, bullying, the impact of social media, the UM Gospel Choir, and the use of students as confidential informants.

Other topics included UM’s decision to lower the state flag on campus, construction developments on Old Taylor Road, college tuition, adoption, parking woes, cultural appropriation, the environment, religion, racism, Black Lives Matter, the Ku Klux Klan on campus, and local musicians and artists.

“When I initially began designing the class, I knew I wanted to find a way to work with local media,” said Rucker. “Once the local editors got on board, everything seemed to work symbiotically. We are grateful that the editors of The Oxford Eagle and HottyToddy.com have been so cooperative and supportive of UM students. Because of them, many students have been able to obtain professional news clips.”

Rucker said one of the class goals was to create a real-world environment for student journalists so they can understand how the news gathering and writing process works.

“In this interactive setting, they were able to learn as students and become professional writers earning bylines in a real newspaper,” she said. “Some were even lucky enough to have their work recognized and picked up by the Associated Press, an impressive student feat. That was evidence that we were on to something with Oxford Stories.”

Students are assigned 5-10 stories over the semester, a video package and a column.

“Oxford Stories is also a way for students to learn about the power of social media, while taking the content they produce more seriously,” Rucker said. “Their name is on every story published, and in an Internet and new media age, their stories have almost as much power to travel the globe as a story written by a large daily newspaper. It also gives them an incentive to do good work. Otherwise, their stories will not make it on the Oxford Stories site.”

Not every story makes the cut – only the best ones with all of the required elements. Rucker said using the website is also a way for students to easily turn in their work, and it encourages them to stick to deadlines, because the website records the exact time and date stories are entered into the system.

“Students are taught the basics of WordPress so that they may submit their work,” she said, “and since WordPress is a popular blogging and website tool, they learn how to work with multimedia using a content management system.”

The class is also designed to be fun.

“Students are part of a staff, and teamwork is encouraged,” Rucker said. “At the end of the year, we hold an awards ceremony, and students are rewarded with certificates, ribbons and medals for a semester of hard work.”

For motivation, students are told an awards ceremony will be held on the last day of class modeled after the Mississippi Press Association’s annual awards ceremony. Awards were given out last semester based on WordPress website statistics and analytics of the students’ most well-read stories. Each student received an award for their best work, with some students taking home top honors as reporters and writers of the year.

Last semester’s winners were:

Rachel Anderson – 2015 Oxford Stories Social Justice Reporter of the Year
Chloe Riley – 2015 Oxford Stories Reporter of the Year
Dominique McGhee – 2015 Creativity Award
Alice McKelvey – 2015 Music Writer of the Year
Olivia Morgan – 2015 Oxford Stories Reporter of the Year
Brian Romski – 2015 Social Media Reporter of the Year
Bryce Dixon – 2015 Best Feature Reporter Award
Elizabeth Wilks Parry – 2015 Social Media Reporter of the Year
Jac Bedrossian – Best Business Story
Tyler Bullard – Best Video Story
Ariel Cobbert – Best Photographer Award
Allison Fazio – Best Health Features Writer
Lana Ferguson – Best In-Depth or Investigative Reporting
Ashley Gambrel – Best General Interest Column
Connor Heitzmann – Best Visual Artist and Photographer Award
Carson Horn – Best Student Stories Reporter
Kara Knapik – Best Business Feature Story
Chandler Lewis – Best General Interest Column
Herbert Moore – Best Business Feature
Shelby Nichols – Best Religion Columnist
Molly Randles – Best Crime Story
Hannah Simmons – Best Environmental Story
Lynecia Christion – Best Sports Columnist
Elizabeth Darcey – Best Student Feature Reporter
Austen Derrick – Best Multimedia Feature Story
Desmen Ison – Best Campus Stories Reporter
Austin Ivy – Best Multimedia Story
Kennedy Johnson – Best Arts Reporter
Courtney Kamm – Best Video and Broadcast Story
Nate Larkin – Best Religion Reporter
Kailen Locke – Best News Reporter
James Lott – Best UM Athletics Reporter
Haley Renschler – Best News Reporter
Meagan Robinson – Best General Interest Column
Emily Schrimsher – Best Student Feature Story

Meek School student wins logo design contest for international music competition

Posted on: January 11th, 2016 by drwenger

When pianists from around the world are tickling the ivories in Oxford at the 2016 World Championship Old-time Piano Playing Contest this spring, student Rachel Gholson should be tickled about playing a role in the competition’s success.
Gholson designed the festival logo as part of an assignment in her Creative Visual Thinking class, taught by Emily Bowen Moore.

“Ian Hominick from the music department approached me earlier in the semester about having my students design a new logo identity system,” said Moore.  Dozens of students submitted logos, but Gholson’s stood out for Hominick.

“What I liked best about Rachel’s logo was the simplicity and effectiveness of her design.  It was not overly ornate, possesses a striking layout with font and gets the message across in a simple manner.  It is also versatile and can be reworked for different concepts,” he said.

Bowen says the design will be used for promoting the contest across all of their multimedia platforms.

The international piano contest is in its 43rd year, but this is the first time it will be hosted in Oxford.  The festival is set for Memorial Day weekend and will include the university and Oxford communities.