Will Norton Jr.
Title: Professor and Dean
Will Norton Jr. is dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He has been a visiting lecturer at Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He was a board member of the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communication, Pristina, Kosovo.
He served as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (2000–01) and as president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications (1989–90). He was vice president of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and is chair of the Accrediting Committee of ACEJMC. He has made more than 90 campus visits as a consultant, a member or chair of site teams of ACEJMC or as a state board program evaluator.
Norton is a partner in ownership of The South Reporter, Inc., Holly Springs, Miss., a corporation that publishes two newspapers and a total market publication. He was publisher of The Daily Iowan. He previously was on the staff of the Chicago Tribune and was sports editor of The Daily Journal, Wheaton, Ill. Norton is a trustee of the Freedom Forum, the Diversity Institute and the Newseum.
He was dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1990–2009) and interim chair and chair of the Department of Journalism at The University of Mississippi (1977–1990). He was awarded a B.A. with honors in history from Wheaton College, a M.A. in mass communications from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Iowa. Read Dean Norton’s blog.
Charles D. “Charlie” Mitchell
Title: Assistant Dean
Charlie Mitchell is assistant dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and an assistant professor. He is a 1975 graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a 1986 graduate of The University of Mississippi School of Law with a juris doctorate. He worked for The Vicksburg Post from 1975 until 1983 as a reporter and photographer and then as managing editor and executive editor from 1986 until August 2010. He was on the journalism faculty at the University of Mississippi from 1983 until 1986. He is a past president of the Mississippi Press Association and is a past president of the Mississippi-Louisiana Associated Press Managing Editors Association. His weekly column, Conversation, has won state and regional awards and also appears in more than 20 newspapers statewide. He also won awards for his reporting from Iraq and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He is a member of the Warren County and Mississippi bar associations and is admitted to practice in state and federal courts.
Title: Associate Professor and Executive Director, Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information
Jeanni Atkins completed her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Since joining the faculty in 1986, she directed the graduate program for 15 years, has served on more than 60 thesis committees and has taught courses that reflect her broad interests in media law, history, public opinion, ethics, research, theory and copywriting. While working at the Missouri Freedom of Information Center she developed a passion for media law and FOI, which led to a job in Washington, D.C. editing and writing about FOI and privacy. She helped found the Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information and serves as executive director. Her columns and editorials appear in state newspapers and have been cited by media outlets and blogs in other states. She is writing a book on freedom of information. She enjoys traveling and has presented papers at international conferences in Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Israel and Wales as well as at national and regional journalism conferences.
Joseph B. Atkins
Joe Atkins, professor of journalism, has taught at The University of Mississippi since 1990. He teaches courses in Advanced Reporting, International Journalism, Ethics & Social Issues, Media History and Labor & Media. Atkins is the author of Covering for the Bosses: Labor and the Southern Press, published by The University Press of Mississippi in 2008, and editor/contributing author of The Mission: Journalism, Ethics and the World, published by Iowa State University Press in 2002. He organized an international “Conference on Labor and the Southern Press” at Ole Miss in October 2003. A statewide columnist and 35-year veteran journalist, Atkins was congressional correspondent with Gannett News Service’s Washington, D.C. bureau for five years. He previously worked with newspapers in North Carolina and Mississippi. His articles have appeared in publications such as USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Progressive Populist, Southern Exposure, Quill and the Oxford American. View list of publications.
Title: Operations Supervisor
Shannon L. Dixon is operations supervisor of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She is chief of all administrative functions and her job responsibilities include supervising student workers, processing departmental scholarships, processing payroll and processing accounts payable.
Mark K. Dolan
Title: Associate Professor
Mark K. Dolan earned his Ph.D. in journalism and mass communications from the University of South Carolina in 2003. His teaching interests include new media, narrative journalism, photography and media law. He has worked with students on feature packages for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun Herald (2006) and, most recently, on a Web documentary. His research areas include new media, cultural studies and literary journalism. Dolan’s work has appeared in the music issue of Southern Cultures and has been published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill. He is writing a book about blues in the black press to be published by the University Press of Mississippi. He has written for several daily newspapers, including the Savannah Morning News, the Naples Daily News and The (S.C.) State. Highlights from his newspaper work include interviews with novelists Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie.
Nancy McKenzie Dupont
Title: Associate Professor
Nancy McKenzie Dupont joined the faculty in 2006, after spending 17 years as a broadcast journalist and 13 years as a journalism educator. She has served as chair of the Radio-Television Journalism division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and chair of the news division of the Broadcast Education Association. In 2010, she was selected to be part of the inaugural class of academic fellows of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. She has published extensively about 19th-century Mississippi newspapers and other topics in journalism history. Dupont earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997.
Title: Program Director and Assistant Professor
Scott Fiene is assistant professor and the director of the undergraduate Integrated Marketing Communications program. Before joining the Meek School faculty in January 2012, he was owner of MagnaStar Marketing Group, a Des Moines, Iowa-based consulting firm specializing in marketing communications research, strategy and customer relationship building programs. He also has nearly two decades of corporate public relations and marketing communications experience, including a role as vice president of marketing with global insurance and financial services company Principal Financial Group. He has taught marketing and sales courses at the collegiate level for more than 15 years. Immediately before Ole Miss he taught in the College of Business at Drake University.
He is a member of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, past president of the Iowa Chapter of the American Marketing Association and has served on the board of the International Association of Business Communicators.
He majored in English and minored in journalism at the University of Iowa. He received his graduate degree in journalism and mass communications from Drake University, where his research was focused on integrated marketing communications.
Title: Assistant Professor
Vanessa Gregory began teaching at the University of Mississippi in 2010. She is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in a number of regional and national publications, including The New York Times, Afar,National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal and Outside. In 2010, she was awarded a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism. Previously, she worked as a newspaper reporter at The Bakersfield Californian. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also participated in News21, an in-depth reporting program funded by the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.
Paula Hurdle has a degree in business administration from UT Martin and is certified to teach business classes in grades 7-12 . She taught school for 21 1/2 years. Her responsibilities include maintaining the phone system, completing travel authorizations and reimbursements for faculty, and facilitating other day-to-day office activities. Paula is married to Troy Hurdle, and they have twin daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth.
Samir A. Husni
Title: Director, Magazine Innovation Center, Professor and Hederman Lecturer
Phone: 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247
Samir A. Husni is “the country’s leading magazine expert,” according to Forbes ASAP magazine; “the nation’s leading authority on new magazines,” according to min:media industry newsletter; and “a world-renowned expert on print journalism,” according to “CBS News Sunday Morning.” The Chicago Tribune dubbed him “the planet’s leading expert on new magazines.” Husni holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. Read Samir Husni’s blog.
Title: Director of Academic Advising/Instructor of Journalism
Deidra Jackson is director of academic advising and an instructor of journalism. She began her career at UM in 2000 as a communications specialist in Media & PR and joined the journalism faculty in 2005. Before returning to Ole Miss, she was editor of the Triangle Tribune in Durham, N.C. and a reporter for the News & Observer in its Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C. bureaus. A print journalist and broadcast personality for some 20 years, she writes a column for the Oxford Eagle and has been a blogger for AOL’s popular ParentDish.com.
She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and serves as adviser to its student affiliate, the UM Association of Black Journalists.
She majored in journalism and minored in broadcasting at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, where she cemented her love for the printed word, and received her graduate degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi.
Title: Chief Engineer
Darrel B. Jordan is the Chief Engineer for the School of Journalism and the Student Media Center at the University of Mississippi. He has worked in television and radio since 1983. Prior to coming to Ole Miss he worked as Chief Engineer for KLAX-TV in Alexandria, Louisiana and as Assistant Chief Engineer at WXEL-TV and FM radio in West Palm Beach, Florida. He received his BS in Electronic Engineering Technology from Northwestern State University in 1982. Darrel joined the Ole Miss family in 1991.
Title: Assistant Professor
Cynthia Joyce has been a writer, editor, and web producer for more than 15 years and has contributed to several regional and national publications, including The Washington Post, Newsday, NPR.org, Entertainment Weekly, and MSNBC.com, where she was a senior producer from 2007-2011; Nola.com, where she worked briefly as a producer post-Katrina; and Salon, where she was arts and entertainment editor from 1995-2000. She received her BA from Duke University in 1991, and her Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University in 1993. She joined the Ole Miss faculty in 2011.
Title: Assistant Professor
James Lumpp is an assistant professor and director – also one of the designers and founders – of the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program. He teaches primarily Outreach courses that are transmitted via compressed video to regional campuses.
Jim is an IMC veteran with more than 30 years’ experience on both client and agency sides of the business, and he insists he’s still innovating! He spent two years in advertising management with Du Pont, and a total of eleven years as vice-president of research with agencies near Kansas City and in Atlanta. In 1994, he formed his own marketing research consulting business; two years later, he also began teaching part-time at Ole Miss.
Specializing in qualitative techniques, he has moderated 1,700 focus groups and conducted personal interviews with thousands of people from diverse walks of life. He has served 300 clients nationwide – including several Fortune 100 companies: AT&T, Costco, GE, Georgia-Pacific, Honeywell, Intel, and Motorola.
He has a B.A. from Knox College, an M.S. from Illinois, and a Ph.D. at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, in addition to post-graduate work at Maryland (Viet-nam), Delaware and Illinois State.
Ellen Meacham is a 1990 graduate of The University of Mississippi’s journalism department. She has worked as an award-winning newspaper reporter in North Mississippi and for the Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier, where she covered the courts and legal issues. In 2003 Meacham earned a master’s degree in Southern Studies, examining the impact of Southern culture on domestic violence legislation in South Carolina for her thesis. She returned to Ole Miss in 2003 to teach reporting and was one of only 20 journalism educators from across the nation selected in 2005 to participate as a fellow in the American Society of Newspaper Editors Institute for Journalism Excellence. As part of the fellowship, she worked at the Baton Rouge Advocate.While at Ole Miss she has twice served as advisor to The Daily Mississippian. In 2009 was honored with the Thomas Frist Award for Outstanding Service to Students. Her research is focused on Robert Kennedy’s 1967 visit to the Mississippi Delta.
Ronnie “R.J.” Morgan
Title: Instructor and Director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association
Ronnie “R.J.” Morgan received his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Mississippi State University. He was previously teaching at Starkville (MS) High School, where he received honors including STAR Teacher, Third Congressional District Teacher of the Year, the Paul Cuicchi Innovative Educator Award and MSPA Teacher of the Year (three times). His media experience includes writing for The Associated Press, Sporting News, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and The Commercial Appeal.
Mykki Newton produces documentaries and videos for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Mykki has a BA in Communications, a MFA in Theater and studied at both The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and The Actor’s Studio in New York City. With more than 30-years professional experience as a broadcast journalist, actor and filmmaker, Mykki is available to assist all journalism students with everything from anchoring to videography. Contact Mykki’s office if you need video equipment for your class projects.
Evangeline W. Robinson
Title: Integrated Marketing Communications Professional in Residence
Evangeline W. Robinson was appointed to teach as an integrated marketing communications professional in residence starting in the fall of 2012. She has 17 years of experience in fundraising and nonprofit marketing communications. She received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a master’s degree in history from Jackson State University. She received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi.
Title: Adjunct Instructor
Bill Rose joined the journalism faculty at the University of Mississippi after a 40-year career as a professional journalist. Much of that time was spent with The Miami Herald, where Rose covered city and county government and the governor’s race before going to Atlanta for five years to cover the South. Upon returning to the Miami newsroom, Rose became deputy city editor, then national editor, directing bureaus in Atlanta, Washington and New York as well as coverage of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, the Atlanta prison riots and national politics. He then became editor of Tropic, The Herald’s Sunday magazine, which won two Pulitzers. Rose closed out his career as managing editor of The Palm Beach Post, where his staff produced two Pulitzer finalists and sent two county commissioners to prison for corruption unearthed by the newspaper. A graduate of The University of Mississippi, Rose got his start as a reporter for the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, where he covered local government, federal courts and politics. He served as a Pulitzer juror in 2007-2008. Rose won a Green Eyeshade award for coverage of a deadly coal mine disaster in Tennessee, a Paul Hansell FSNE Award for the best work by a Florida newspaper reporter and a Best of Cox award for coverage of Hurricane Lili. Rose runs The Delta Project, a course in which students report on poverty in the Delta and produce magazines documenting their findings.
Title: Assistant Professor of Journalism
Darren Sanefski has an extensive news design and marketing background. He received his master of arts (interactive design) from the State University of New York at Oswego and a bachelor of fine arts (visual communication) from Syracuse University.
He was on the faculty at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University from 2005 until 2011 and has been an adjunct during summers 2012 and 2013. During his time at Newhouse his 2011 Military Visual Journalism class won an AEJMC Best of the Web, Second Place.
Sanefski worked for The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, NY. Most recently, he was the paper’s sports design editor and designed interactive sports graphics for its sister website, Syracuse.com.
He runs a freelance marketing and graphic design business, DMS Design Studio, where he designs for national and regional companies on a variety of projects. His current and past clients include, Boeing, Pacificare, Syracuse University, Blue Highway Inc., LeMoyne College, the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, Perimetek Pest Management and Neilson’s Department Store.
Sanefski is often hired to consult and/or present at design and/or marketing seminars and workshops. He has won numerous national and international awards for his images and designs.
He serves on the board of The Society of News Design Foundation as education director.
Bradley E. Schultz
Title: Associate Professor of Journalism
Dr. Brad Schultz is an Associate Professor specializing in broadcast and television news. He has written five books on broadcasting and/or sports, and authored nearly two dozen scholarly articles. Dr. Schultz has produced two sports documentaries, both of which have appeared on Mississippi Public Television. “The Season: Oxford Chargers” won a national Aurora award as best sports documentary. Dr. Schultz is the creator and former editor of the Journal of Sports Media, and in 2011 was elected Vice Chair of the Sports Interest Group of AEJMC. He lives in Oxford and is a campus lay minister and deacon at Peace Lutheran Church. View list of publications.
Chris Canty Sparks
Chris Canty Sparks is an Integrated Marketing Communications Professional in Residence, teaching several courses in the IMC curriculum. Sparks received her Master of Business Administration degree from the Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt University and bachelor’s degrees in both Marketing and in Management at the University of Mississippi.
Most recently, she has been a senior manager for new business development for the Atlanta Regional Office of Ogilvy & Mather, where she has also been management supervisor and senior account director for the No. 3 worldwide communications and integrated marketing creative agency. She has successfully led 360 marketing campaigns for clients including Coca-Cola, Honest Tea, AMC Theatres, Royal Caribbean and Reimagine Recycling. Canty’s career also includes 17 years with the Coca-Cola Company managing brand marketing campaigns and leading new brand introductions into the U.S. market.
Title: Lecturer in Journalism
Robin Street has been a lecturer in journalism and public relations at the University of Mississippi for 20 years. She primarily teaches public relations and feature writing.
Street is president and co-founder of the Oxford/Ole Miss chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi. (PRAM). Her public relations works have won more than 20 awards from PRAM and the Southern Public Relations Federation. In 2011, a campaign she and her students put on called “Diversity Rocks” won best in show at both PRAM and SPRF. It is was the runner-up for Silver Anvil award given by the Public Relations Society of America. The Silver Anvil is considered the Oscar of the PR business.
Street was named “PR Educator of the Year” by both PRAM and SPRF in 2009.
In 2006, she won the “Strong Woman” award for mentorship from Baptist Women’s Services.
Street is also a freelance journalist specializing in writing about fitness, preventive health, nutrition and mental health. She holds both a M.A. degree in journalism and a M.S. degree in wellness from Ole Miss.
She has published more than 75 health articles in The Clarion-Ledger. In addition, her articles have appeared in leading national magazines such as Woman’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Cooking Light, Writer’s Digest, & Golf for Women.
Kristen Alley Swain
Title: Assistant Professor
Kristie Swain teaches reporting, media ethics, theory, and public opinion. With a professional background in print journalism, she has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, the Oxford (Miss.) Eagle, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, Miss., and the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News and served as a managing editor for the world’s first university-based online newspaper at University of Florida. Her research focuses on science communication with an emphasis on effective health communication campaign design and risk framing in news. As part of her health campaign research about the role of black churches in HIV prevention, she served as strategic communications consultant for the 16-county North Central Florida AIDS Network. Her recent projects examined news coverage of the anthrax attacks, environmental justice, Sub-Saharan AIDS, and sea-level rise. Her work has appeared in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Risk Analysis and Crisis Response, and other international journals and books. The recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Service Award in Sustainability at Ole Miss, Swain has served in leadership roles on NIH and national security grants, coordinated student video production for PBS Planet Forward, and served as the director of a science journalism center and on the Ole Miss STEM Innovation Task Force. She has a Ph.D. from University of Florida, an M.A. from University of Alabama, and a B.A. from Ole Miss.
Title: Director of Student Media/Assistant Professor of Journalism
Patricia “Pat” Thompson oversees the editorial and advertising students and staff who produce The Daily Mississippian, The Ole Miss yearbook, NewsWatch Ch. 99, Rebel Radio WUMS 92.1 and several websites. She is faculty adviser for The Daily Mississippian, and teaches writing and editing courses. She led a multimedia journalism project that won the 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Award for college journalism. She has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning journalist — as a staff writer at The Washington Post and as a senior editor at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the San Jose Mercury News. She was part of the Mercury News staff awarded the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for general news reporting. She was an assistant professor of journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where she taught classes and directed programs. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She was a Presidential Scholar, a Curators Scholar, and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha and Mortar Board honor societies. She has been actively involved with ACEJMC journalism accreditation work for many years, and served on the national accreditation committee for six years and on accreditation appeals boards.
Title: Adjunct Instructor of Journalism
Michael Tonos has spent nearly 40 years in the media and communications business, primarily newspapers. Over his 35-year newspaper career, he has served as executive editor of The Sun Herald in Biloxi-Gulfport and managing editor at The Sun Herald, the Vicksburg Post and, most recently, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo. He also owns JMT Consulting, a public relations firm. A native of Greenville, Tonos has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Mississippi and a master’s degree in public relations from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as president of the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors and as a board member for the Mississippi Press Association. He and his wife, Jane, live in Tupelo.
Debora Halpern Wenger
Title: Associate Professor
Deb Halpern Wenger, a 17-year broadcast news veteran, is an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in journalism at the University of Mississippi. Prior to her academic appointments, Wenger was assistant news director at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Fla. Wenger conducts multimedia training in newsrooms around the country and is coauthor of the broadcast, online and multimedia journalism curricula for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Newsroom Training Program. She is also co-author of the book, “Advancing the Story: Broadcast Journalism in a Multimedia World.” Her thoughts about new media can be found at www.advancingthestory.com. Listen to a recent podcast from Sage Publications on what her research suggests for broadcast journalism programs. View list of publications.
Kathleen Woodruff Wickham
Title: Associate Professor
Dr. Wickham teaches Advanced Reporting, Media Ethics, Feature Writing Press & Civil Rights and Honors 101 &102 while also serving as a faculty fellow at the South Residential College and primary academic adviser for Honors College journalism majors. Dr. Wickham is a former newspaper reporter from New Jersey who joined the faculty in 1999 after teaching at the University of Memphis for more than a decade. In 2008 the Society of Professional Journalists named her the national Outstanding Faculty Adviser for her work with the campus SPJ chapter. Other honors include being invited to help judge the National Headliner Journalism Awards for the last four years, serving as chair of the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and on the editorial board of Newspaper Research Journal. Dr. Wickham has published four books and numerous academic articles and is currently researching the lives of the reporters present on campus during the 1962 integration crisis for a book under consideration by a university press. Her research in this area led to SPJ naming the Ole Miss campus a national historic site in journalism in honor of the 300+ plus reporters on campus during the crisis. View list of publications.