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Archive for the ‘Student News’ Category

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. 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, 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; 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, 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 with the possibility of having it additionally published in The Oxford Eagle or on functioned as a news distribution service with editors from The Oxford Eagle and 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 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.

Meek School student writes about flag controversy for NBC

Posted on: October 29th, 2015 by cjoyce

Ann-Marie Herod writes about flag removal for NBC BLK The recent decision to remove the MS state flag from campus thrust Ole Miss once more into the national media spotlight — but this time it was students leading efforts for change, as well as leading media coverage of the events.

In a powerful essay written for NBC News, “Your Heritage is Hate: Take Down the State Flag at Ole Miss,” Meek School student Ann-Marie Herod lamented what the flag has meant for her personally as an ambassador for the university:

“There was a time where we were not wanted at this University. To some that may have been fifty years ago, to others that may have been just a few years ago, and for me it was just last week…every week I face the challenge of convincing students why they should come to Ole Miss. It makes my job ten times harder when I have to convince minority students to see beyond the confederate flags that are literally in every tent during home games.”

Read the full essay here.


Mary Elizabeth Kakales and Heather Nielson experience life on the Hill

Posted on: October 28th, 2015 by ewrobins

By Marlen Polito

Neilson and Kakales 2015

Mary Elizabeth Kakales and Heather Nielson

Mary Elizabeth Kakales, Miss Ole Miss 2015, and Heather Nielson, 2015 Homecoming Queen, share more than a love for the University of Mississippi. Kakales, a public policy leadership major, and Nielson, an integrated marketing communications major, both had the opportunity to intern on Capital Hill in Washington D.C., last the summer.

“It is not every day that you get to see the people leading our nation in action,” said Nielson, a native of Oxford, Mississippi.

Nielson worked for Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker. Her internship consisted of giving tours, answering phone calls, and meeting presidential candidates. One of the many things Nielson enjoyed at the Hill was hearing the concerns of Mississippians and the issues people faced on a daily basis.

“Working there this summer really made me appreciate what all our senators do for our state,” Nielson said.

Kakales, who is from Memphis, Tennessee, worked for the U.S. House of Representatives and Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher.

“It is so fast paced. There’s so much to do, so much to see,” Kakales said. “I learned more than I ever anticipated about how our government works and about current events.”

Kakales had the opportunity to go to briefings, receptions and different events.

“It was crazy. I walked outside and saw the Supreme Court during a major court hearing,” Kakales said. “We got to experience history.”

Nielson said that several experiences helped prepare her for her internship, including watching briefings and hearings online, attending her communications law class, and learning how to write and format a press release.

“The thing that prepared me the most for my internship was being involved with Associated Student Body on campus,” Nielson said.

Nielson’s favorite part was being able to meet so many influential people.

“I rode the senate subway with the Majority Leader of the Senate, got to meet presidential candidates and make new friends that I keep in touch with everyday,” Neilson said.

Multimedia student team covers Katrina Anniversary on Gulf Coast

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by drwenger
Ji Hoon Heo and Maggie McDaniel cover the recovery of the seafood industry in Mississippi on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Ji Hoon Heo and Maggie McDaniel cover the recovery of the seafood industry in Mississippi on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Some opportunities for learning are just too good to pass up; that’s why six Meek School students and two profs packed up their bags and loaded up with gear for a trip to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and the Hurricane Katrina 10-year anniversary.

“On the Ole Miss campus, we’re recognized as students covering Ole Miss events, but here we had to get credentials, figure out logistics and work under the same constraints and with the same expectations as professionals,” said student Brittany Clark.

The student team included Clark, Payton Green, Sereena Henderson, Ji Hoon Heo, Maggie McDaniel and Quinton Smith. They covered stories from President George Bush’s visit to thank local first responders, to the resilience of one coastal church to the comeback of the area’s casino and seafood industries.

“It’s astonishing that people fought to rebuild; they stayed because this is their home and they love the place so much that they’re willing to take the risk that this could happen again,” said McDaniel.

For professors Deb Wenger and Nancy Dupont, it was a chance to help students learn strategies for reporting in unfamiliar territory and on tight deadlines.

“These Katrina stories are emotional, and it’s important that our students learn to cover people with painful memories, “ Dupont said. “They’ve learned that this weekend, and they exceeded my expectations.”

Student Quinton Smith ended up on crutches right before the trip, but he refused to stay home.

“I just realized how good of an opportunity this kind of reporting trip is,” Smith said. “Hurricane Katrina is not something that affected my family personally, but we were all broken up about it and we would watch video from the coverage every night, so I just wanted to be a part of it.”

For graduate student Ji Hoon Heo, it was a chance to learn more about Southern culture.

“It also gave me an opportunity to work with other students in the Meek School,” said Heo. “The journalism graduate program is small, so every time I get a chance to work with other students, it’s a pleasure.”

Sereena Henderson is from Pass Christian, Mississippi – a small town that hit Katrina particularly hard.

“It meant a lot of me to be able to be down here during the 10th anniversary and be able to talk with people who shared similar experiences,” Henderson said. “Listening to people’s stories helped me remember some of my own; it was an emotional time for me.”

The student stories aired on the student-run NewsWatch99 and on the DMOnline. Payton Green is the NewsWatch99 news director, who is also from the Mississippi coast.

“I was a kid when it happened so there wasn’t anything I could do to help back then; now, this is my way to do something, to report on the recovery that we’ve made,” said Green.

Wenger says anyone looking to hire terrific young journalists should look no further than this crew.

“Every one of these students worked hard and produced professional quality work. If there are employers on the hunt for solid multimedia journalists, this is a great list to pull from.”

L-R: Sereena Henderson, Brittany Clark, Nancy Dupont, Quinton Smith, Maggie McDaniel, Deb Wenger, Payton Green, Ji Hoon Heo.

L-R: Sereena Henderson, Brittany Clark, Nancy Dupont, Quinton Smith, Maggie McDaniel, Deb Wenger, Payton Green, Ji Hoon Heo. Meek School students and professors cover Hurricane Katrina Anniversary in Biloxi, Aug. 28-30, 2015.

Big wins in Vegas for Meek School

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by drwenger

SuduWinThe Meek School of Journalism is flying high for a couple of different reasons.  First, the student-produced NewsWatch 99 broadcast took home an honorable mention at the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) competition in Las Vegas this week.  According to NewsWatch 99 advisor Dr. Nancy Dupont, a 4th place showing in the national contest is the highest ranking the program has ever received.

In addition to the broadcast honors, Dupont and Prof. Deb Wenger presented in multiple sessions at the conference, moderating or participating in panels on topics such as using audience analytics in teaching and job hunting for broadcast students.

Journalism students and NewsWatch 99 managers Browning Stubbs and Sudu Upadhyay also traveled to Vegas for the conference.  BEA meets annually with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) because that group attracts more than 100,000 attendees who showcase products and demonstrate techniques affecting radio and television industries.

Upadhyay and Stubbs evaluated the latest in broadcast technology, which they hope to leverage in an effort to bring home a first-place award for student newscast in 2016.