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Miss University dreams of becoming Miss Mississippi, Miss America and a broadcast journalist

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi senior, also known as Miss University, is studying to become a broadcast journalist, but dreams of becoming Miss Mississippi and Miss America.

Leah Gibson grew up cheering, singing and doing community service work, such as working with the organization Teens for Jeans to collect 100 pairs of jeans for the charity.

Gibson was part of the broadcast journalism program in high school. As one of a five-member staff, she helped create a newscast during her lunch hour, and she became became a features writer for her high school newspaper in 10th grade.

Gibson tried several majors before deciding on journalism. She first considered studying to be a lawyer or psychologist until she thought about the time those degrees required.

Instead, she wanted to do something that allowed her to be more creative and didn’t want to sit behind a desk daily. Gibson soon realized she loved being in front of the camera, going out and getting stories, and finding different angles for stories that have been told thousands of times.

Before deciding what college she wanted to attend, she initially had Mississippi State University in mind until she met former Chancellor Robert C. Khayat in Washington, D.C. while she was a Al Neuharth Conference scholar. He convinced her to look into the Meek School of Journalism and New Media program, and she decided on UM based on information she received from each school.

Gibson said she loves the Ole Miss sense of unity. She believes Ole Miss accepts its past and that the community wants to move forward.

“Every time something bad happens in the media, Ole Miss faces it head on, puts together focus groups, put out new policies, and ensures that everyone feels safe,” she said.

Gibson has volunteered as a cheer coach for Upward Basketball and cheerleading in Oxford, and believes this has made her a stronger person. She said she liked the idea of sharing something she was passionate about with other girls and hopes they will participate in competitive cheer.

She also volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club for a year and a half and started a mentoring program called GLAM squad. GLAM stands for Giving Learning Achieving Maturing, and focuses on teaching girls to accept who they are. She also focused on her pageant platform, highway safety.

Gibson has been active on campus for four years, but she is now involved with the Black Student Union, her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., being the Rebel Radio station manager, and fulfilling her duties as Miss University.

Some may wonder why Gibson wanted to be Miss University. It’s a dream she had many years ago. When she first began competing in competitions, they were small beauty reviews. She did the National American Miss Distinguishing Women Competition in high school, and did not win, but she wasn’t ready to give up.

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Gibson spends a lot of time in the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center.

Determined to win a title, her mother found the Outstanding Teen program within the Miss America organization. As a teen, Gibson placed within the Top 10 her first year, but soon realized she had aged out and could no longer compete because she was a graduating high school senior.

She then competed in Miss University and did not win, but her talent for singing did. She still felt like she wasn’t finished with competitions and went on to win Miss Meridian. She loves to compete because, for her, competitions are more than just pageants. She thinks about people from her hometown or little girls she might inspire in the process.

“You have to go through hurdles to get to where you’re trying to go for your ultimate goals to come to life,” she said. “I want people to remember me, not as someone who had potential, but as someone who always went after their biggest goals.”

What makes Gibson stand out? After working with her during the UM Apex leadership summit for rising high school seniors in 2012, Chad Knight said they didn’t talk much in college. However, they later both became orientation leaders and were Lucky Day residential community assistants.

A relationship formed, and he said Gibson is a vibrant individual, happy at all times, and has genuine care and concern for others. During her Miss University campaign, he watched her disconnect from everyone to focus, and that showed her passion and drive.

“Leah stands out from other Miss Universities in the past because of her drive and commitment to the title,” he said. “I believe she knows she is representing something bigger than herself. She is living up to the work of the title and not just the name.”

Gibson’s dream is to become Miss Mississippi, then Miss America. If that does not work out, she plans to take a year off after graduation and study abroad, because she believes traveling and culture is something you cannot teach, but something someone has to experience.

The author of this article, Lydazja Turner, 18, is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. Her dream is to become a radio host or vlogger. She has studied ballet most of her life and dabbles in yoga. Her schedule is packed with schoolwork and involvement in the Black Student Union. She wrote this story for a Journalism 102 class, and she is a writer for Oxford Stories. Read more stories about Oxford and North Mississippi people at OxfordStories.net.

Internet Marketing Class Gets Real

Posted on: February 23rd, 2017 by drwenger

Photo by Jennifer Sadler.

Students in Prof. Jennifer Sadler’s internet marketing class held a standing exhibition in the Meek School of Journalism to bring awareness to the issue of affordable housing in Oxford.

As housing prices increase and affordable complexes for low income families, such as Riverside Apartments, are torn down, it creates a struggle for some residents to both live and work within the community.

Students were tasked with conducting interviews to produce community profiles. They printed flyers with interview highlights and stood throughout the school for one hour to encourage all who spoke with them to visit the Facebook page and become a part of a collective community voice.

Students are managing the We Say: Voices of LOU page as part of the class. The goal is to introduce social journalism and community responsibility to young adults.

“This whole thing is in partnership with the sociology and history departments,” said Sadler. “I’m working with faculty members there as they research archived data and take interviews from residents with their students. We are tasked with compiling that data and giving it to the public in an engaging way via social media.”

The project will conclude at the close of the semester and all are asked to follow the Facebook page to keep up with student news on the community.

Ole Miss students win 18 awards, first for Public Service Journalism at Southeast Journalism Conference

Posted on: February 20th, 2017 by drwenger

Photo courtesy Oxford Conference Center.

University of Mississippi students earned 18 awards at the Southeast Journalism Conference awards ceremony Friday night, including a first-place honor for Public Service Journalism for The Daily Mississippian’s “The Red Zone” special edition.

Daily Mississippian Editor-in-Chief Clara Turnage led the award-winning project during fall 2016. It highlighted the issue of sexual assault, which Turnage said she felt was under-reported on campus. She said many of the editors and reporters she worked with wanted to tell the stories of sexual assault that happened in their own college town.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive this award, and I couldn’t be prouder of my staff,” Turnage said. “They are so talented, and I am so blessed to work with them.”

The Best of the South contest honored work published or aired between mid-November 2015 and mid-November 2016. There were entries from 29 universities across seven Southeastern states.

Turnage won second place in the prestigious College Journalist of the Year category. She was awarded a plaque and $500.

Daily Mississippian Managing Editor Lana Ferguson won first place for magazine writing, and DM Lifestyles Editor Zoe McDonald won first place for feature writing.

Second-place awards included: Hayden Benge, page design; Billy Rainey, radio reporting; Lauren Veline, journalism research paper.

Third-place awards included: Lauren Layton, TV feature reporting; Daniella Oropeza, TV hard news reporting; Clara Turnage, special event reporter; Lana Ferguson, news writing; Marisa Morrissette, graphic design; Jake Thrasher, editorial artist.

Other individual winners included: Julia Grant, fourth place, op-ed writing; Ellen Spies, fourth place, advertising; Brian Scott Rippee, eighth place sports writing.

The Daily Mississippian, the only daily newspaper in the contest, won fifth place as best newspaper, and theDMonline.com won third place for best website. NewsWatch Ole Miss, a daily live newscast, won fifth place as best TV station.

The Southeast Journalism Conference also includes onsite competitions, where students competed in 15 categories to produce content with tight deadlines. Georgia State University took first place in the Grand Championship Team Category. Belmont University placed second, and Southeast Louisiana University claimed third place. As the host university, Ole Miss could not participate in onsite competition.

Conference speakers included Meek School faculty and journalists- including alumni- from The New York Times, Clarion-Ledger, ESPN’s The Undefeated, the Associated Press, Mississippi Today, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, E.W. Scripps, the Miami Herald, and other media companies.

Middle Tennessee State University tied for fifth place in the Grand Championship Team Category this year. Faculty adviser for the MTSU paper Sidelines Leon Alligood said his students have been to five SEJC conferences together.
“We come every year,” Alligood said. “My expectations were high, and I’m happy to say they were met.”

Bryce McNeil, assistant director of student media at Georgia State University, hosted the conference two years ago in Atlanta.

“I was especially overwhelmed by how positive the speakers were in spite of so many clashes in the media,” McNeil said.

He said this year he brought 29 students to Oxford, which is the biggest group yet to represent Georgia State at SEJC. He said these conferences have a lot to offer to journalism students.

“First, the camaraderie is invaluable,” McNeil said. “And they leave knowing their profession really does matter.”

Harding University will host the next SEJC in 2018. Faculty adviser Katie Ramirez said this was her program’s first time visiting Oxford.

“I think they’re all ready to move here,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

The University of Mississippi Student Media Center hosted this year’s conference. Its theme was “Spotlight on Storytelling: Watchdog Journalism in a Mobile World.” Meek School Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson was this year’s SEJC president.

Will Norton, dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, said he was truly proud of the Ole Miss students who participated in the conference.

“Assistant Dean Thompson and her staff and the students of the Student Media Center provided a wonderful weekend for those attending and communicated excellence to everyone who attended,” Norton said.

Thompson said among the highlights for her during the conference were Jerry Mitchell’s keynote banquet speech, the support and help from Meek School faculty and other departments on campus, and the recognition of Ole Miss students’ work.

“They are full-time students who work as journalists for hours every day and night because they care about our campus and community,” Thompson said.

This story was originally published on thedmonline.com.

 

“Mississippi Votes: Looking Back, Moving Forward” Documentary

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by jheo1

“Mississippi Votes: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” a documentary project of two reporting classes at the Meek School of Journalism & New Media, will debut at 1:00 p.m. December 1 in the Overby Center auditorium. The half-hour documentary looks at the recent 2016 elections from a Mississippi perspective, focusing especially on the key topics of immigration, voter ID and millennials.

The documentary is a combined project of JOUR 578 and JOUR 377 under the direction of Dr. Brad Schultz and Dr. Kathleen Wickham. Their students spent the semester interviewing dozens of figures around the state both before and after election night.

For more information, you can contact Dr. Schultz (bschultz@olemiss.edu) or Dr. Wickham (kwickham@olemiss.edu). There is a multitude of other in-depth stories available at:
http://election2016.olemiss.edu/

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

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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!”

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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.”

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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 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.”

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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 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, 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.