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Posts Tagged ‘It Starts With (Me)ek’

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith speaks about his Meek School of Journalism roots and life

Posted on: May 3rd, 2017 by ldrucker


As the chief news anchor and managing editor of Fox News Network’s breaking news division, Shepard Smith has seen it all. He covered the 1997 death of Princess Diana. He was on the scene five minutes after planes deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center on 9-11.

He covered the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire on their classmates before taking their own lives. He was there when Hurricane Katrina destroyed parts of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, making sure the nation understood the severity of conditions that ravaged the region, transforming the lives of its residents.

At one time, Smith worked the Pentagon, the White House, Los Angeles and London, all in the same week, and he has been on the frontlines of American and international news helping write a first draft of history.

Smith is a Holly Springs native, a New Yorker of 20 years, a Mississippian, a former University of Mississippi journalism student, and a devoted Ole Miss Rebels fan.

Because of all of those factors, he was a featured speaker at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s “It Starts With MEek” conference last week, an event that promotes diversity and inclusivity. He is also gay. Smith believes his sexuality is a piece of his personal story, but not the most defining factor.

In the fall of 1979, broadcast journalism was added to UM’s journalism program. Meek School Dean Will Norton said the department was filled with print professors, but after three years of searching, they hired the late professor Jim Pratt, Ph.D., who had spent 40 years with CBS.

“He was a great man who worked hard with students outside and inside of class, and one of his first students was Shepard Smith,” Norton said. “He immediately identified Shep as this young guy who would have a great future.”

Smith left Ole Miss during his junior year of college for a Florida internship. When the school year began again in the fall of Smith’s senior year, he made a decision that caused Pratt to remark to Norton: “Shep decided to stay in Florida and take the job. He’s not going to graduate.”

“So my immediate response was: ‘Well, he’ll never amount to anything,’” Norton said.

The crowed laughed Friday afternoon as Norton spoke about Smith’s career, a journey that took him to Gainesville, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando and Los Angeles before establishing himself in New York City.

“His reporting has been a trademark of the Fox News channel,” Norton said. “He anchors most primetime news presentations provided by Fox News. He was like so many of you (journalism students) in the 1980s. He was this energetic young guy carrying equipment around everywhere, thinking that he could make a difference, and he has.

“Through the years, we have watched him develop into this smooth, sophisticated television personality who represents the best of the profession. In the process, we have become so proud of the journalism values that Shep Smith espouses and truly grateful for his promotion of his roots on this campus.”

Smith said he’s carried many fundamental lessons learned in Mississippi throughout his career. Some came from working at a fast food restaurant, one of the most important things he said he ever did.

“I really learned about little things,” he said. “Like if you (give customers) two and three napkins instead of two napkins, you’re just screwed if that happens over, and over, and over again,” he said. “If you give them three ketchups for every (order of) fries, you’re going to go broke. So you learn these little things in life. They really translate to everything else.”

He also learned fundamental journalism lessons at Ole Miss and took a job in Panama City, Florida, in 1987 without graduating from the UM journalism program, citing an economic recession as his reason for staying with the company.

“All the time, I’m just kind of chasing ambulances and trying to find out what is going on, going to city council meetings and trying to make it relatable at a time when television is how people are getting their news,” he said. “It felt important to me at the time … I wanted to operate in the public interest … and I wanted to be their eyes and ears, and let them know what’s happening, so they could decide what they think about what’s going on in the world.”

Smith was bitten by the news bug as a child while sitting at the breakfast table. His family often disagreed about the Vietnam War.

“All that time, I was thinking, if I could just get over there and find out what’s happening, and let mom and dad know, we could avoid these discussions,” he said. “You know? (I was a) little kid.”

He was also influenced to become a reporter by Memphis news media. At the time, Smith said Channel 5 had the first live truck in Memphis.

“Memphis is the greatest, biggest city in the world if you are coming from Holly Springs,” Smith said, as he recalled watching the live broadcast of Elvis Presley’s funeral. “We had never ever, ever, ever seen this (a live truck broadcast.) No one had ever seen this. I mean, we’d seen something from somewhere with Eric Sevareid or someone, but nobody local had ever been live in my world.

“And I’m immediately like, ‘Oh s—. Now I can actually do this. I might be able to get over there and find out what’s happening in Vietnam, and let the parents know about it. I really might. And that’s when I decided this is what I want to do.’”

Smith said Pratt helped professionally mold him. One of his first assignments – investigating how long the burgers were left sitting out at the Union Grill. “I think some heads rolled over that, if I remember,” he joked.

After working in Florida, he landed a job at “A Current Affair,” a self-described “disaster.” Overwhelmed by work and never home, he rarely spent a night in his apartment for a year and a half after moving from Los Angeles to New York.

“I was still getting carded when I came into my own building,” he said. “So I’m just traveling, traveling, traveling and popping up all over the world, because we didn’t have enough people. And other people needed to get home. They needed to get home to their dog, or their children, or their wife, or their husband. And I didn’t need to do that. I needed to sort of escape what my own reality might have been, because I wasn’t answering my own questions, or even posing my own questions to myself about what it is that is different about me.

“I’m really not different. I really like all the same stuff y’all boys like. All of it. But I am different.”

Smith hadn’t questioned his sexuality at the time.

“That’s sort of how I rolled,” he said. “And that’s why it wasn’t until seven, or eight, or nine years ago, I started living my truth. I grew up in Holly Springs. I went to the First Methodist Church. I went to Ole Miss. You know what we do. We wear khakis and startched white shirts, and we all do what everybody else does. And Hotty Toddy!

“That’s exactly what we do. Y’all wear dresses. We wear khakis. We are drunk by 10 p.m.,” he joked. “‘I’m not making that 8 o’clock (class). What are you doing on Friday?’ I didn’t get it. And on top of that, I was also trying to avoid what having a normal social life is. I didn’t need to go home and find my girlfriend or boyfriend, I just cut it off (and said): Where do you want me? Next plane?”

Because of that, Smith witnessed much of modern history. He even missed his sister’s wedding to cover convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s execution by lethal injection.

“Nobody was going to outwork me, and no one did,” he said. “If they wanted me to shoot it, I’d grab the camera and shoot it. I worked hard and kept going, and going, and going.

“I really hit it hard, and I was crushing everybody. My bosses were really so astounded. They were like how can you do this? … At one point, they were like: ‘You have to sleep. You can’t continue to stay up.’”

Smith said he never hid his sexuality. He just avoided the question. There were too many consequences.

“A. You’re going to hell for it,” he said, listing the reasons he avoided the subject. “B. You’ll never have any friends again. C. What are you going to tell your family? And by the way, you’re on television on the craziest conserative network on Earth,” he joked.”That will probably put you in front of a brick wall. Of course none of that was true, but that’s how it felt.”

One day, he decided to confront his fears. He talked with his closest friends, and began to live his truth.

“Someone asked me if Roger Ailes (founder and former chairman and CEO of Fox News and the Fox Television Stations Group, who resigned in July of 2016 following allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues) had been abusive to me, and I said, ‘No. He was always good to me,’ and that was the truth. And when I told the truth, I guess it was considered that I outed myself. I didn’t even think about it, because I didn’t think I was in.”

Smith said his sexuality is both important and a non-issue.

“I don’t think about it,” he said. “It’s not a thing. I go to work. I manage a lot of people. I cover the news. I deal with holy hell around me. I go home to the man I’m in love with. I come home to my family.”

He joked that he’s moved on to more important battles, like Ole Miss sports.

“Now, I just want to win on Saturdays,” he said, receiving applause from the audience. “That’s all I want to do. I don’t even care about the bowl. I just need to beat LSU. ‘Go to hell LSU.’ My dad likes that,” said Smith, whose father was sitting on the front row in the Overby Center auditorium.

Because diversity and inclusivity is the focus of “It Starts With MEek,” Smith addressed the issue of stereotyping others.

“The big black guy in the back is not always the criminal, and the little white girl in the front is not always the victim,” he said, again receiving applause from the audience. “That’s really ingrained in us.”

He said goth kids who wore trenchcoats were unfarily stereotyped after the Columbine shootings.

“Dylan and Eric,” he said. “They were different kids who were stereotyped. I am in no way making excuses for them. They ruined lives. They changed my life … But a lot of kids who kind of like the goth thing or might think it’s cool to wear a trenchcoat, had to suffer after that.”

Muslims are now being stereotyped because of 9-11.

“They didn’t do that,” he said. “People who bastardized that religion brought that thing down, and started this conflict. It’s not about religion, but we’re turning it into that because that’s what they want us to do.”

Smith rejects any personal stereotypes people may assign him. On the weekends, he said you’ll find him at Vaught Hemmingway.

“I’m not playing your stereotypes,” he said. “I’ll be there. And later, I need to watch ESPN the rest of the day. And tomorrow, I need to think about it.”

Concerned about Jackson’s leadership, Smith said he’s glad UM is setting a progressive example for the state. “We have a special responsiblitiy as people from this place to go out and show the world with our deeds and our actions that we are very inclusive, and we want everyone who is good to be here, and the rest of y’all can go,” he said, receiving applause. “…We’ve done a fantastic job. It’s not easy. This place is littered with landmines. Yet, they’re getting it done.”

He’s embarrassed by the Confederate emblem on the state flag and believes the flag should be retired to a museum.

“You can’t be much of an activist when your job is to report the news,” he said, “but you can remind people what happened under that flag. … So it’s got to go. Put it in the museum. Don’t get rid of it. Make it part of your curriculum. Talk about it. But get it out of the stadium. Get it out of the grove. Get it out of my state.”

Smith later answered audience questions, including what’s your best advice for getting a job in New York City. His answer: Get a job somewhere else first, because New York City is different.

“We operate faster, and we speak different,” he said. “… Everything about life has a way, and no one tells you what it is. And if you’re real polite, (they) hate you, because it gets in the way. There’s no time for it … ‘No, I’m not going to look you in the eye.’”

Those are foreign ideas to most Mississippians and Southerners, he said.

“You have to work somewhere else where they don’t care about you first,” he said. “… It’s not that we don’t like each other. We’re just very busy, and in a really big hurry. We’ve got to get to that train. We’ve got to get to that elevator. Back on that train. Back on the elevator.”

He believes there are advantages to living in Mississippi.

“There are plenty of things that we’re just ruling on,” he said. “And that’s one of the reasons I’m so proud of this place. Because one of the things that Ole Miss has done through all their struggles is give our kids a chance. We’re educating our children here, and some of our children are willing to stay here and make our state a better place. And I think I can say really without bias, more as an observation, people who come out of this place tend to do really well.”

Smith said he wrote in his high school yearbook that he wanted to have a journalism career in Nashville, but they kept turning down his audition tape. He had never been west of Texas or north of the Carolinas when he graduated high school, but his inexperience didn’t hinder or confine him. It gave him a unique life perspective.

“I felt like my Holly Springs upbringing … we had it great,” he said. “But it wasn’t like we were rolling in dough or traveling around the world anymore than anyone else was … I didn’t realize it until I got to New York that all my friends were Ivy League kids, and they’re all millionaires, and they all know governors and … I was like: ‘Holy crap. I’ve led a deprived life,'” he laughed.

He said never let a small town limit your dreams.

“If you are from Eupora, or Iuka, or Mount Pleasant, or Hickory Flat – you can do whatever you want, and what you’re supposed to do is go do it and bring some of it back here, because this really is our only hope,” he said. “Our institutions are our only hope. Our government is regressive, and our institutions are progressive.”

Smith has accomplished a lot in his journalism career, but he said he’s always been grounded by Mississippi.

“I sort of kept my Mississippi/Ole Miss sensibilities about myself,” he said. “I didn’t (think) I had become something because I moved away from here. I think I was something because of the foundation I got here … (There’s) something about … home … that we kind of know that other people don’t. Right? I think we get that in ways other people don’t.”

You can also read The Clarion-Ledger version of this story here.

 – Story by LaReeca Rucker

Opinion: What the ‘It Starts With MEek’ campaign taught me

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by ldrucker

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It Starts With MEek is a campaign that affects every student on and off campus. Behind each talk is an obstacle every human being faces at least once – racism, sexism, homophobia.

The first event I attended was led by Jennifer Stollman, who spoke about about how difference is good when building a healthy community. I was more than thrilled to hear about her talk of cultural difference, since I come from a mixed background.

Being from the Dominican Republic with an Italian mom and an American dad and ending up in Mississippi is not entirely easy. However, Stollman’s talk made me realize it is not supposed to be easy. Instead, it has to be challenging, and it’s an opportunity I am lucky to have.

What are we without culture? Without difference? These are questions I have never dared to ask myself until now. I realized that without diversity I am not myself. Diversity is what makes me, and I am what makes diversity.

Everybody on campus has difference in them. That can be in the way they talk, think, dress, and even eat. We are all different in different ways. Without it, as Stollman said, we become “bored, ill and depressed.” Imagine if everybody had the same ideas or thought the same? How boring would that be?

“Welcome to the world! Nobody is the same,” Stollman said proud and loud. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. “You interact with people different then you everyday,” she said.

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Jennifer Stollman giving her speech on cultural difference. Photo by Jessica Duffield.

I thought about these words for a long time. I came to the conclusion that we tend to not see this anymore because we have become such a selfish world where change scares us. We run away from people and things that don’t look, think and talk like us. We want everything to feel like home. Safe. Comfortable.

From my personal experience, nothing is going to feel like home, but that is OK. I can try as hard as I want to make Mississippi my home, but it is not. I, instead, adapt to it. I live it. I learn from it. And I promise, if you do this, you will survive, you will make it, and you will learn much more than you ever will in your home.

If it feels like home, you are doing it wrong.

The biggest challenge we face as a community is to listen. “How can we learn about difference if we do not listen?” Stollman asked.

If we do not listen to others about how they have lived, then we do not get to judge them.

I have been told,”You don’t have an accent,” or “You don’t look Dominican,” or even, “Are you sure you were born in the Dominican Republic?”

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MEek campaign slogan, photo by: Jessica Duffield

Listen to me. Don’t stereotype me. You listen to Spanish music. You eat Spanish food, but you don’t listen to me.

Stollman said: “Put yourselves in other people’s shoes, not your shoes on somebody else.”

We have to try to understand other people before they can understand us. Live their story, understand their thoughts, and most importantly, listen to them. If you do this, if you engage in other ways, then they will engage with you.

Stollman said that by sharing stories, people are “not trying to fix you, but share with you.” They are not trying to convert you to think the same way they do.

I am not trying to convert you to think the same way my culture taught me to. I just want to share with you. Don’t be afraid. It is not scary to realize that people live life differently from you. Stollman taught me that my culture, my difference, my language, is my power.

Jessica Duffield is Meek School student and a reporter for Oxford Stories. She can be reached at jfduffie@go.olemiss.edu.

Meek School of Journalism to host ‘It Starts With MEek’ diversity conference April 19-25

Posted on: April 13th, 2017 by ldrucker

UM public relations students, led by senior lecturer Robin Street (center), have planned It Starts with (Me)ek, five days of campus events celebrating inclusion and rejecting stereotypes. The committee includes (kneeling, from left) Emma Arnold and Brittanee Wallace, and (standing) Kendrick Pittman, Dylan Lewis, Street, Zacchaeus McEwen and Faith Fogarty. Photo by Stan O’Dell

Just pause. Just pause before you assume you know me. Just pause before you stereotype me.

That’s the message of an upcoming series of events April 19-25 called It Starts with (Me)ek, hosted by the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Shepard Smith, a UM alumnus and chief news anchor and managing editor for Fox News Network’s Breaking News Division, is among the keynote speakers.

The five-day conference open to all students, faculty, staff and community members is designed to encourage inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes. It will feature panelists and guest speakers discussing race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion. A diversity fashion show and a festival also are included.

“This campaign is particularly important to our Meek School students because as professional journalists, public relations specialists or integrated marketing communications specialists, students will be dealing with and working with many different kinds of people,” said Robin Street, senior lecturer in public relations.

“We all need to learn the value of waiting before we make assumptions about other people. However, we also hope that everyone on campus and in Oxford will consider joining us for the programs.”

The program, designed to remind participants that one single factor does not define a person’s identity, was created by a 31-member student committee under Street’s direction. Through each panel and lecture, Street hopes all attendees will learn to approach individuals with understanding, dignity, respect and inclusion.

Both alumni and students will participate in panels about their personal experiences on race, sexual orientation, mental health, religion and disabilities. Smith will moderate an alumni panel, as well as provide remarks on April 21.

Other guest speakers include Michele Alexandre, UM professor of law; Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement; Mary Beth Duty, owner of Soulshine Counseling and Wellness; Jesse Holland, an Associated Press reporter covering race and ethnicity; Shawnboda Mead, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement; Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion; Otis Sanford, political commentator and Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis; Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; and Ryan Whittington, UM assistant director of public relations for social media strategy.

Duty, Holland, Sanford and Whittington are all Ole Miss journalism alumni.

Student committee members enrolled in a course specifically to design the campaign. The group met weekly to plan events, promotional videos, communications, pre-campaign competitions and social media posts surrounding the five-day conference.

Rachel Anderson, a senior double major in broadcast journalism and Spanish from Chesapeake, Virginia, is co-chair of events and will moderate one of the panels.

“These events give students the opportunity to understand the experiences of people both similar and different from them,” Anderson said. “Understanding the experiences of others can help you learn more about yourself and the world around you.

“I hope attendees understand that we all have our differences, but at the same time, we also share so much in common. There is much more to people than outside appearances. One trait does not limit someone’s entire identity.”

Dylan Lewis, a senior broadcast journalism major from Mooreville, will serve on the LGBTQ student panel.

“The things we say or think about people affect everyone around us,” Lewis said. “Stereotypes hurt specific people or groups being stereotyped, but in reality it hurts all of us because our friends are part of those marginalized groups. When they hurt, we all hurt.

“While this campaign may not end stereotypes completely, it is a way to start the conversation, hence our campaign name ‘It Starts With (Me)ek.’ I hope students come to just see the perspectives of these individuals and realize that just pausing, our key message, can make a difference when trying to understand someone.”

The conference concludes with a festival April 25 on the front lawn of Farley Hall. Students are encouraged to wear purple to show their support, while faculty and staff will wear 1960s-inspired outfits to celebrate the many activist movements of the decade.

Students wearing purple will get a free treat from Chick-fil-A. If students have attended at least two events throughout the week and have their program stamped, they will receive a free T-shirt.

All events take place in Overby auditorium or in the front lawn of Farley Hall. For more information, visit https://www.itstartswithmeek.com/ or follow the campaign on social media at https://www.instagram.com/itstartswithmeek/ or https://twitter.com/StartsWithMeek.

The full schedule for the series features:

Wednesday, April 19

10 a.m. – Opening ceremony

11 a.m. – Lecture: “Other Moments: A Class Photography Exercise in Honoring Difference at Ole Miss,” Mark Dolan, associate professor of journalism

1 p.m. – Lecture: “Making a Difference by Engaging with Difference,” Jennifer Stollman, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

2 p.m. – Lecture: “Tell Me a Story: Using Personal Narratives to Navigate Cultural Difference,” Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement

Thursday, April 20

9:30 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “From James Meredith to Millennials: Race Relations at Ole Miss,” moderated by Shawnboda Mead, director of CICCE

11 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “Red, Blue and Rainbow: An Inside Look at Being LGBT at UM,” moderated by journalism major Rachel Anderson

1 p.m. – Lecture: “Building Trust Within Professional and Personal Communities: A Workshop,” Jennifer Stollman

2:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Sometimes I Feel Invisible: Living with a Disability,” moderated by Kathleen Wickham, professor of journalism

5:30 p.m. – Spoken Word Performance

Friday, April 21

10 a.m. – Lecture: “Race in America: A Journalist’s Perspective,” Jesse Holland, AP reporter

11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Panel Discussions: “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” black UM journalism alumni discuss their experiences, moderated by Jesse Holland

2 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Red, Blue and Rainbow Alumni,” LGBT alumni discuss their experiences, moderated by Shepard Smith

3 p.m. – Lecture: “My Journey from Farley Hall to Major News Events Around the World,” Shepard Smith, Fox News chief news anchor

4 p.m. – Reception for speakers and students

Monday, April 24

9 a.m. – Lecture: “Normal Does Not Exist, Mental Illness Does,” Mary Beth Duty, professional counselor

10 a.m. – Lecture: “From the Bible Belt to Baghdad: What Today’s IMC and Journalism Professionals Need to Know About the World’s Major Religions,” Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion

11 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “Keeping the Faith,” members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths discuss challenges they face, moderated by Dean Will Norton

1 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Mental Health and Me,” panelists discuss their experiences with mental health, moderated by Debbie Hall, instructor of integrated marketing communications

2 p.m. – Lecture: “Role of Individual and Institutional Accountability in Doing Diversity and Equity,” Michele Alexandre, professor of law

3 p.m. – Lecture: “Keeping it Real on Social Media: Guidelines for Handling Diversity Issues,” Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy

4 p.m. – Fashion Show: “Unity in Diversity,” entertainment on Farley Hall lawn

6 p.m. – Lecture: “Racial Politics in Memphis,” Otis Sanford, University of Memphis

Tuesday, April 25

10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – Farley Festival Day

  • Story by Christina Steube

It Starts With MEek week of events set for April 19-25

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by ldrucker

Just pause. That’s what we’re asking you to do for five days.

Pause before you assume you know everything about someone based solely on one factor, such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, age, etc.

Welcome to It Starts With MEek, five days of events from Wednesday, April 19 to Tuesday, April 25 designed to remind students that one factor does not define who we are.

“For example, women once were stereotyped as only being qualified for secretarial, teaching or nursing jobs,” said Robin Street, University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media, senior lecturer and It Starts With MEek chair. “Once we quit stereotyping women, look at how much has changed.

“Even Mississippians are often stereotyped by people from other areas of the country, and look at how many outstanding Mississippians we have.”

Street said we often fall into an easy trap of stereotyping people based on their outward presentation without bothering to discover the many things we share in common with that person.

“Please join us as we all seek to understand together how to approach each person with understanding, dignity, respect and inclusion. We all have more in common than you know.”

There’s also a journalism and marketing competition happening with an April 7 deadline. You can read more here.

Here’s a lineup of speakers and events for the week:

Wednesday, April 19
“It” Starts today!

10 a.m. Opening Ceremony

Welcome from Robin Street, senior lecturer in IMC.  Introduction of committee. Announcement of competition winners. Debut of video.

Welcome and remarks from:

Charlie Mitchell, Ph.D., associate dean and professor of journalism, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

Don Cole, Ph.D., assistant provost and associate professor of mathematics

Shawnboda Mead, director, Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement

Recognize: Katrina Caldwell, Ph.D.,vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement       

11 a.m Other Moments: A Class Photography Exercise in Honoring Difference at Ole Miss Mark Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism and new media, and his students.

1 p.m. Making a Difference by Engaging With Difference Jennifer Stallman, Ph.D., instructor and academic director of racial reconciliation, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

2 p.m.  Tell Me a Story: Mastering the Primary Building Blocks of Diversity and Inclusion Katrina Caldwell, Ph.D., vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement.


Thursday, April 20
A Day in My Life

The joys and challenges of the lives of students and faculty members in diverse publics at UM

Throwback Thursday: Faculty members will be posting throwback photos of themselves.

9:30 a.m.  From James Meredith to Millennials: Race Relations at Ole Miss

A panel of UM students discuss at the state of race relations on campus and their hopes for the future.

Moderator:  Shawnboda Mead, director, Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. Panel members:  Bianca Abney, IMC major; Brittany Brown, broadcast journalism major; Terrius Harris, outgoing president, Black Student Union; Tysianna Marino, president, UM chapter of NAACP.

11 a.m.  Red, Blue and Rainbow: An Inside Look at Being LGBT at UM

A panel of UM students, faculty and staff members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender discuss their life at Ole Miss.

Moderator: Rachel Anderson, journalism major and ISWM events co-chair.  Panel members: Danica McOmber, general manager, Gear Gaming; Dylan Lewis, IMC major; Mykki Newton, videographer/editor, Meek School; Susannah Sweeney-Gates, project coordinator, Center for Continuing Legal Education, with her spouse, Hayden Gates

1 p.m. Building Trust Within Professional and Personal Communities: A Workshop Dr. Jennifer Stollman, instructor and academic director of racial reconciliation, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

2:30 p.m. Sometimes I Feel Invisible: The Experience of Living with a Disability

Moderator: Kathleen Wickham, Ph.D., professor of journalism. Panel members:  Stacey Reycraft, director of student disability services; Adam Brown, sports editor, Hotty Toddy.com; and students Jessie, Trenton, Timber, Martha-Grace, Josh and Jeremy.

5:30 p.m. Spoken Word performance A relaxing night of spoken word expressing stories, thoughts, and aspirations on stereotypes, respect and inclusion from members of the Ole Miss community.

Friday, April 21
Bringing it All Back Home Day
Alumni return to share their perspectives

10 a.m. Race in America: A Journalist’s Perspective, Jesse Holland, Associated Press race and ethnicity reporter

11 a.m. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. A panel of Black Meek School  alumni discuss their experiences at Ole Miss and as professionals  (This panel repeats at 1 p.m. )Moderator: Jesse Holland, Associated Press race and ethnicity reporter. Panel members: Gabe Austin, video editor, Mississippi Today; Ashley Ball, communications associate, Siemens Corporations; Poinesha Barnes, news producer, WREG; Kim Dandridge, attorney, Butler Snow; Selena Standifer, deputy public affairs director, Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Noon:  Private luncheon for panel members, committee members & faculty

1 p.m. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Session II. A panel of Black Meek School alumni discuss their experiences at Ole Miss and as professionals.  Moderator: Rose Jackson, manager, Global Citizenship, FedEx Services. Panel members:  Gabe Austin, video editor, Mississippi Today; Ashley Ball, communications associate, Siemens Corporations; Poinesha Barnes, news producer, WREG; Kim Dandridge, attorney, Butler Snow; Jesse Holland, AP race & ethnicity reporter; Selena Standifer, deputy public affairs director, Mississippi Department of Transportation.

2 p.m. Red, Blue and Rainbow Alumni: A panel of LGBT Meek School  alumni discuss their experiences at Ole Miss and as professionals  Moderator: Shepard Smith, Fox News chief news anchor. Panelists: Martin Bartlett, PR strategist, Barracuda Public Relations; Hayes Burchfield, attorney, Burchfield Law Firm, PLLC; Kells Johnson, assignment editor, WZTV Fox 17 Nashville; Sid Williams, senior enrollment representative, SCAD.

3 p.m. My Journey from Farley Hall to Major News Events around the world Shepard Smith, Fox News chief news anchor.

4 p.m Reception for all speakers and Meek students.

Monday, April 24
Mind, Body & Spirit Monday

9 a.m.  Normal Does Not Exist, Mental Illness Does, Mary Beth Duty, licensed professional counselor and owner, Soulshine Counseling and Wellness, as well as an alumnus of the Meek School.

10 a.m. From the Bible Belt to Baghdad: what today’s IMC and Journalism professionals need to know about the world’s major religions.  Dr. Sarah Moses, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion.

11 a.m.  Keeping the Faith:  Members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths discuss their religion and the challenges they are facing in 2017. Moderator: Dr. Will Norton, dean, Meek School.  Panel members: Dr. Mahmoud A. ElSohly, research professor and professor of pharmaceutics; Dr. Richard Gershon, professor of law; Katherine Levingston, president, Hillel.

1 p.m. Mental Health and Me: Panel Discussion on Personal Experiences with Mental Health Issues  Moderator: Debbie Hall, instructor in IMC. Panel members: Lindsay Brett, doctoral student, School of Education; Mary Beth Duty, owner, Soulshine Counseling and Wellness; Justin Geller, child and youth outreach coordinator, Communicare; Hailey Heck, IMC major; Tysianna Marino, public policy major; Abby Vance, journalism major.

 2 p.m. Role of Individual and Institutional Accountability in Doing Diversity and Equity Michèle Alexandre, professor of law and Leonard B. Melvin, Jr., lecturer.

3 p.m. Keeping it Real on Social Media: Guidelines for Handling Diversity Issues, Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy.

4 p.m.  Unity in Diversity: Fashion show and entertainment. Weather permitting, fashion show will be in Farley front yard. Rain location: Overby Auditorium.

6 p.m.  Racial Politics in Memphis   Otis Sanford, former managing editor,  The (Memphis, Tennessee) Commercial Appeal, now holder of the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis.

Tuesday, April 25
Farley Festival Day

Journalism students are asked to wear purple and Journalism faculty and staff to wear ’60s outfits today to show their support for the It Starts with (Me)ek campaign.

10:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m Farley Festival.

Join us on the front lawn of Farley Hall for entertainment, information, prizes and fun. The festival celebrates the ’60s because of the many movements that gained strength that decade, such as civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights. Rain location: Inside Farley Hall.

Students wearing purple to the tent get a free Chick-fil-A treat. Students bringing a program stamped with at least two events they attended get a free T-shirt.

 During Diversity Rocks events, if you require special assistance relating to a disability, please contact Paula Hurdle at phurdle@olemiss.edu.  Some accommodations, such as ASL interpreting, will require advanced notice to arrange so please request such services at least one week before an event.

It Starts with MEek: Journalism Competition

Posted on: March 19th, 2017 by jheo1

Meek School students are invited to use their skills while spreading a message of acceptance, respect and inclusion for a campaign the Meek School will host in April.

The “It Starts with (Me)ek” campaign will launch April 19-25. During those days, programs will cover topics ranging from race relations and LGBT issues, to religion and mental and physical health challenges.

Prior to those days, though, students are asked to submit entries for several competitions that utilize the talents of both journalism and IMC students. Deadline for the competitions is April 7 at 8 a.m.

“The campaign’s theme asks students to just pause before assuming they understand a person based solely on that person’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness or other factor,” said Robin Street, senior lecturer in IMC who is chairing the campaign. “One factor does not define who a person is.”

Journalism students can submit a feature story, essay, photo or video package about a person or topic related to diversity, stereotypes, inclusion and respect. The work should not be about the campaign itself. It might be about a person who has fought stereotypes, a person or organization who champions diversity, a personal experience or a lesson learned about stereotyping.

Students may enter original work in four categories: Best Print Feature Article, Best Broadcast Package Story, Best Editorial/Column/Personal Essay, and Best Photo (include an AP style caption).

Rules include: Print submissions should not exceed 1,000 words and should be submitted as an attached Word document. Photos should be sent as an attachment. Broadcast packages should not exceed two minutes. Upload videos to YouTube and send the link. Be sure your video is not marked private.

IMC students can create entries for two categories: a print advertisement and a Snapchat Geofilter. Entrants are encouraged to use the campaign theme color of purple and the existing logo, which they can obtain at https://www.itstartswithmeek.com/competition.

The ad can announce the campaign or convey the key points of the campaign.  It should be in full color and sent as a PDF or JPG file.

For the Snapchat filter, download a template from the Snapchat website.

All winners will be announced at the opening ceremony April 19 at 10 a.m. Winning entries will be on the campaign’s website and possibly displayed in Farley Hall. The winning print and broadcast stories will be submitted to The Daily Mississippian/Newswatch for possible use.  Students may be eligible for a possible prize to be determined.

The due date for all entries is April 7 at 8 a.m. Late submissions are not accepted. Send IMC submissions to Bess Nichols as an attachment at lenicho1@go.olemiss.edu. Send journalism entries to Robin Street at rbstreet@olemiss.edu. For more information, contact Street.

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