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1962 Ole Miss riot and news media’s vital role, then and now

Posted on: September 10th, 2017 by ldrucker

It was 55 years ago this month that the University of Mississippi campus was engulfed in a riot when James Meredith sought to enroll in the state’s flagship university.

Segregationists from around the South had descended on the campus and a riot ensued. More than 300 reporters traveled to Oxford to cover the story.

Some were beaten; others had their equipment damaged or set on fire. Agence France-Press reporter Paul Guihard was murdered, the only reporter killed during the civil rights era.

The issues then were as stark as they are today – as demonstrated by protests and demonstrations occurring in Memphis and across the nation regarding the existence of Confederate memorials on public grounds.

Screen grab from The Commercial Appeal of Dr. Kathleen Wickham’s guest column.

In today’s climate the emotions on both sides are as raw as when the monuments were installed, the beliefs as rigid and the hate as repulsive.

But at a time when claims of so-called “fake news” are used to undermine the press’s credibility, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the role of the press in reporting riots, protests and disturbances.

That role – granted by the First Amendment – is to monitor the actions of government and powerful people and institutions by providing a reliable source of information about how law enforcement, public officials and citizens react to events and protect people and property.

Attacks on the press for performing this work are an affront to democracy. Journalists report the news without fear or favor on behalf of the people.

The reporters who descended on Oxford in 1962 were doing just that. They were driven to seek the truth and inform the public about what was happening.

In my new book “We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss“, I explore the crisis through the words and experiences of journalists who were there.

They include Sidna Brower, the Memphis reared editor of the student newspaper; Claude Sitton of The New York Times, known as the dean of the civil rights press corps, Dorothy Gilliam, also a Memphis native who was the first African-American woman hired by The Washington Post; Michael Dorman of Newsday, who explored the town’s attitudes as evidenced by the Faulkner family; and Tupelo-native Neal Gregory of The Commercial Appeal, who wrote about the mood of Oxford’s religious community.

Guihard’s unsolved murder is also a significant aspect of the book. Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, another reporter who came to Oxford in 1962, spoke at the 2010 dedication of a memorial marker for Guihard.

Rather observed that the job of a reporter is to bear witness and “be an honest broker of information. To take the viewers to the scene …to get as close to the truth as you possibly can, recognizing that most of the time you can’t get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Journalism is viewed as the first draft of history. It is through such drafts that truth emerges. Journalists speak for their communities and create public conversations, emboldened by the belief that their stories shed light on public affairs and can change the world.

Dr. Kathleen Wickham, a former Memphian, is a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi. She is scheduled to sign copies of her new book at 5 p.m. Sept. 12 at Square Books in Oxford, and at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Novel bookstore in Memphis.

This column was originally published in The Commercial Appeal.

Join the Meek School family in the Grove on three special game days

Posted on: August 29th, 2017 by ldrucker

Football games are kind of like a family reunion, and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is part of the University of Mississippi family.

This fall, game days will offer an opportunity for Meek School students, alumni and faculty to reconnect and network during three themed events.

“We thought it would be fun to bring smaller groups of our graduates and students together so they could network, reminisce and reconnect with each other and some of their favorite professors,” said Debora Wenger, assistant dean for innovation and external partnerships, and associate professor of journalism.

The events include specific days for alumni from the Meek School’s integrated marketing communications program, the broadcast journalism program, and The Daily Mississippian and yearbook staffs. They will be held on the following dates:

Saturday, Oct. 14 – Rebels vs. Vanderbilt – IMC Alumni Day

The IMC program saw its first graduates walk across the stage in 2013. IMC Alumni Day is a chance for everyone with an IMC degree to come help celebrate the growing IMC program and alumni success.

“We hope the IMC event brings some of our alums back to campus, helps them connect with current students, and gives us a chance to highlight some of the new things happening with our program,” said Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment, and assistant professor of IMC.

Saturday, Oct. 21 – Rebels vs. LSU – DM/Yearbook Alumni Day

The Daily Mississippian and The Ole Miss yearbook have been part of the university for more than 100 years. Event organizers hope to see anyone who has ever worked on these publications join others in the Grove before the game.

“Many of our recent graduates return to the Student Media Center to visit us on football weekends, but this will be the first official alumni event since we celebrated The Daily Mississippian’s 100th anniversary in 2011,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media, and assistant professor of journalism. “We’re proud of our graduates’ accomplishments, and our current DM and The Ole Miss yearbook students look forward to networking with them.”

Saturday, Oct. 28 – Rebels vs. Arkansas – Broadcast Alumni Day

UM broadcast journalism graduates are working in TV, radio, movies and many other exciting careers. They are invited to come back to campus to talk about what they’re doing and meet and encourage other students who want to follow the same path.

“For the broadcast event, in particular, Dr. Nancy Dupont and I are hoping to catch up with some of our amazing graduates and to introduce them to current students,” Wenger said. “The plan is to have NewsWatch reporters using Facebook Live to cover the event for grads who can’t be there for the game, too.”

The events are open to everyone, including prospective students who want to stop by to inquire about the journalism and IMC programs. For more information about the programs or events, email meekschool@olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7146.

Meek & Greet event encourages UM students to get involved with journalism and IMC programs

Posted on: August 24th, 2017 by ldrucker

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media hosted a Meek & Greet event from 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, welcoming students to campus. The event featured music, snow cones, a Snapchat Meek & Greet geofilter, photo props, representatives from student organizations and local employers.

It was a great opportunity for students to interact with other Meek students and faculty. Those interested in majoring or minoring in journalism or integrated marketing communications could inquire about how to become involved in the Meek School’s journalism and IMC programs.

Hannah Humphreys, who is interested in the Society of Professional Journalists, said she wants to become more active on campus. “I’ve been looking for new ways to get involved,” she said.

Humphreys volunteered to run the SPJ table at the Meek & Greet event, selling T-shirts and helping register other interested students for the organization. If you’re interested in becoming involved in SPJ, email LaReeca Rucker at ldrucker@olemiss.edu.

The editors of HottyToddy.com, The Oxford Eagle and other local media members were on hand to provide information. HottyToddy.com editors Water Lyle, Steven Gagliano and Adam Brown handed out information to those who approached their table. Alex McDaniel, editor of The Oxford Eagle, was also present.

Leaders of the Student Media Center, including Lana Ferguson, editor of The Daily Mississippian, answered questions about how to work for the award-winning campus newspaper. In addition to DM representatives, in the photo above are Meek School student leaders representing The Ole Miss Yearbook (Editor-in-Chief Marisa Morrissette and Photo Editor Ariel/Cobbert) and Rebel Radio (Music Director Thomas DeMartini and News Director DeAndria Turner). NewsWatch representatives could not attend the event because the event was scheduled for a time that conflicts with newscast production of their live show, but they had materials available about auditions.

Student Amanda Hunt helped sell adorable Meek School of Journalism and New Media T-shirts featuring the name of the school and Farley Hall.

Outside, there was a Meek & Greet jam session with Dr. Jason Cain, a Meek School professor, and HottyToddy.com. There was also a pretty long line of students waiting for a snow cone, perfect for a warm day.

And students Alexis Lee, Caroline Goodwin, Natalie Reed, Katie Baique and Addy Berry posed for a photo with an Instagram photo prop.

 

Meek students and faculty attend NABJ convention in New Orleans

Posted on: August 13th, 2017 by ldrucker

Meek School students and University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists officers Terrence Johnson and Brittany Brown, and Assistant Dean Pat Thompson attended the National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans Aug. 8-13.

While there, they spent time with UM alumni, including Fred Anklam, Jared Boyd, Lynecia Christion, Jesse Holland, Rose Jackson Flenorl, Dennis Moore, Ashley Norwood, Norman Seawright III and Kayleigh Skinner.

Terrence and Brittany also participated in NABJ’s Day of Community Service helping to rebuild homes destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

Harold Burson, ‘Father of Public Relations,’ Named to SPR Hall of Fame

Posted on: July 25th, 2017 by ldrucker

Harold Burson, a University of Mississippi alumnus known as the “Father of Public Relations,” was inducted Friday (July 21) into the Southern Public Relations Hall of Fame in recognition of his decades as a giant figure in the industry he helped invent.

Burson, a 1940 Ole Miss graduate who has been described by PRWeek as the 20th century’s “most influential PR figure,” founded the powerhouse public relations firm Burson-Marsteller with Bill Marsteller in 1953. The firm created the concept of total communication strategies, which became the industry standard for decades.

Will Norton, dean of UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, was among those who wrote a letter supporting Burson ’s nomination to the Hall of Fame. Norton notes Burson has had a long and exceptional career and brought honor to the profession. He’s also made enormous contributions to the success of the Ole Miss journalism school.

“We have worked with Harold to initiate the integrated marketing communications degree program at Ole Miss that now attracts nearly 1,100 majors to the Meek School,” Norton said. “His sage advice in developing the curriculum and his interaction with faculty and students have been crucial for the program’s gaining recognition from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.”

“Without the guidance of Harold Burson, the Meek School would not be what it is.”

A Memphis native, Burson was an exceptional student, so much so that he entered Ole Miss at age 15. When he was 19, he served as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, and in 1945, he worked as a reporter for the American Forces Network and was assigned to cover the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

After leaving the military, he used a connection he had forged with an engineering firm, which became the first client of his new PR company. Later, Burson-Marsteller was born.

The PR business grew from there and for many years, Burston-Marsteller was one of only two major PR firms in the world. In 1969, Burson’s firm was making about $4.4 million a year, according to PRWeek, but by the early 1980s, revenue was about $64 million, and Burson was head of a firm with 2,500 employees in 50 offices worldwide.

In 1983, it officially became the world’s largest PR firm, with regional headquarters in New York, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and London.

His firm handled several major accounts.  For example, it  help ed Johnson & Johnson with its response to the deaths of  eight  people who had taken Tylenol in 1982. The company was not faulted, but it assumed responsibility and took the product off the market and halted advertising.

Representatives showed complete transparency and openness and made themselves available at all times to answer questions. The  response to the Johnson & Johnson case led to Burson being credited with creating the template for crisis management.

The British government called on Burson-Marsteller ’s help  during  an epidemic of mad cow disease. He also counseled Union Carbide, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant after a famous meltdown in 1979 and BP after its Torrey Canyon oil tanker sank .

The Southern Public Relations Hall of Fame is co-sponsored by the Southern Public Relations Federation and Mississippi State University’s Department of Communications. The names of the Hall of Fame members adorn the walls in the Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU.

Inductees must have 25 years of professional experience that brings honor to the profession and show strong contributions to their organization, city, state or region, among other criteria.

Burson’s son, Mark, is an adjunct instructor in integrated marketing communication at UM. He accepted the recognition on behalf of his father, who could not attend the ceremony Friday.

Scott Fiene, director of the school’s integrated marketing communications undergraduate program, said it’s fortuitous for Ole Miss that the “father of public relations” got his start here.

“He’s counseled royalty and shaped the image of many top global brands , but he’s always remained involved and partnered with the university on so many projects,” Fiene said. “His influence on the profession isn’t just what he has accomplished, but on the lives he has touched and the students he has mentored.

“The seeds he has sown will live for generations to come.”

Rick Dean and Kristie Aylett, agency principals with The KARD Group, a PR and marketing firm based in Mississippi, also  were among those writing letters in support of Burson’s nomination .

“Kristie and I have studied and respected Harold’s contributions to our industry since we were students and, as professionals, we continue to use things learned from him,” Dean said. “To have played a role in Harold’s well-deserved nomination and induction into the Hall of Fame was our honor.”

Story by Michael Newsom

 

Student Media Center celebrates successful year of work

Posted on: May 5th, 2017 by ldrucker

As graduation nears, many University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism students who are enrolled in the journalism and marketing programs will be leaving us to pursue careers in their chosen fields. They will be missed.

To show our appreciation for their hard work and dedication this year, the Meek School held a Student Media Center end-of-the-year celebration Tuesday, May 2. The group photo is of graduating seniors, many of whom have worked in Student Media all four years.

Taylor Grocery catered the event. All photos were taken by The Daily Mississippian photo editor Cameron Brooks, an integrated marketing communications major.

ACT 7 Experience at Meek School is a magazine industry success

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by ldrucker

John Harrington @nscopy shares what he learned in his 40 years of single copy sales #MICACT7.

The magazine business has changed radically over the past two decades, and John Harrington has learned a lot.

Harrington, a partner of Harrington Associates, and the former editor/publisher of The New Single Copy, spoke Thursday afternoon in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s Overby Center auditorium on the topic: “Why I’ve Learned: A Personal Perspective.”

“Everyone here knows that magazines (industry) have undergone a shocking transformation in the last decade,” he said. He said leaders who work in traditional magazines now seem focused on developing new forms of media other than print.

“Their mission is to find ways to exploit, leverage .. their valuable magazine brands on these new media formats, and or platforms, such as mobile, video and other forms of apps,” he said. “Truthfully, as indicated, I am unqualified to offer predictions or guidance in any of those areas. However, all of these expanded magazine extensions will contain content, editorial, and hopefully that content will contain journalism.”

Harrington was one of more than 50 speakers who shared his thoughts about the magazine industry during the ACT 7 Experience at the University of Mississippi.

The conference, hosted by the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media from Tuesday to Thursday (April 25-27), focused on the revival of the magazine industry in terms of publishing, advertising, creating content and distribution. The event also allowed students to network with industry professionals.

Inside the Act 7 Experience.

Posted by Meek School of Journalism and New Media on Thursday, April 27, 2017

Created in 2010 by Samir Husni, Ole Miss journalism professor and Magazine Innovation Center director, the conference featured more than 50 speakers and 50 other attendees, including CEOs of major magazine and marketing companies, publishers, editors-in-chief and other industry leaders. Students were paired with industry professionals throughout event to learn directly from them.

Harrington addressed students at the conference:

“To the students, as your careers unfold, many of you will not necessarily be involved in writing in journalism contained in the future’s many multimedia formats, whether it be print publications like magazines and newspapers, or internet, … sites, apps or even presently unimaginable platforms,” he said. “However, whether you are in sales, in production, or in audience development, a.k.a. circulation and distribution, you will still be involved in journalism, which is what I always felt I was involved in for the past 40 years – first as the leader of a trade group, then as a publishing consultant, then as the publisher of a newsletter about the business.

“An ethical journalist acts with integrity and ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists,” he said. “The guidelines should not just be the goal of those who are essayists, writers, novelists, or writers of any kind. It should be a standard of all of you to be part of the machinery that produces the journalism and makes it available to the public.”

In this age of challenges, such as the blurring of church and state, political spin, alternative facts and fake news, Harrington said future journalists face enormous challenges.

“I would like to think that I followed this concept during my 40 years involved in magazines, but I also admit that it is not always easy,” he said. “The pressures and choices are not always clear. Often, they are very subtle. And few of the veterans of this experience can say we were always pure.

“However, let me praise the Magazine Innovation Center, the ACT 7 Experience, and magazine journalism students,” he said. “ACT has done much more than educate future generations of journalists. By exposing me to the creativity and energy of its students, it has given me a greater recognition of the significant role that our business, no matter what our contribution to it is, plays in a free society in our democracy, and in our responsibility to be true to its values. For that, I think the school and the students as well.”

Husni said there is no other event that involves this collection of experts with future industry leaders, our students.

“When they see students in the audience, they tell us stuff from the heart, and it creates an intimate atmosphere,” Husni said in a news release. “CEOs and freshmen students are on the same level of communication.”

All conference lectures were in the Overby Center Auditorium. They were free and open to the public, thanks to the support of industry leaders and their sponsorships.

Husni tells his students to leave an impact on the industry professionals they shadow, and some have.

At last year’s conference, Austin Dean, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Hammond, Illinois, shadowed Jim Elliott, president of the James G. Elliott Co. By the end of the conference, Dean was offered an internship at the company and spent his summer in New York working in the industry.

“For me, the benefits have been spending one-on-one time with publishers, editors and distributors, getting to know them and making reliable connections with them,” Dean said in a news release. “Dr. Husni does a great job at putting together this collective group of people and makes sure each of his students have someone they want to shadow.”

Ashlee Johnson, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Monticello, Arkansas, enjoys the intimate aspect of learning from both the guest speakers and Husni.

ACT 7 Experience attendees talk before the next presentation begins.

“Even people that work with these professionals don’t get to know them like we do,” Johnson said in a news release. “It’s a great opportunity and it’s good for professional development.

“Another great part of this conference is watching Dr. Husni interact with the speakers. He is so well-respected in the industry. He’s a hidden gem in Mississippi, and we’re lucky to have someone who cares so much about their students as a mentor.”

Students accompanied guest speakers on a trip through the Delta to experience magazines, music and Mississippi. The group traveled to the B.B. King Museum, Dockery Farms Historic District and Delta Blues Museum before ending the evening with dinner at the Ground Zero Blues Club.

Dinner on the Meek School grounds #MICACT7 serving the famous Taylor Grocery catfish.

“When I started the Magazine Innovation Center, it was at a time when everyone was saying print is dead and new media is in,” Husni said in a news release. “It’s not an either/or situation. Print, broadcast, digital, mobile, social media – it’s all journalism. The necessity will never change, regardless of the platform.”

“When magazines hire, they want writers,” he said. “The other stuff is great, but journalism is still what’s important.

“Magazine industry leaders are experience-makers. Reading a magazine is unlike reading something online. It’s an experience packaged together in your hand.”

To see a Storify of some of the event’s social media activity visit: https://storify.com/lareecarucker/act-7-experience/ 

UM Association of Black Journalists welcomes media professionals

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists sponsored “Guidance Matters” on Saturday, April 22, at the Overby Center. Professionals and UM faculty critiqued student work and led a workshop for students about careers, resumes and portfolios.

Participating were: Toni Avant, director of the UM Career Center; Kym Clark, WMC-TV Memphis; Don Hudson, executive editor, Decatur Daily; Amicia Ramsey, WTOK-TV Meridian; Evangeline Robinson, IMC professor; Alysia Steele, UM multimedia journalism professor; Bobby Steele, UM IMC support faculty; Andrea Williams, WTOK-TV Meridian; and Patricia Thompson, UM Assistant Dean for Student Media and UMABJ adviser.

Terrence Johnson and Alexis Neely are the student co-presidents of UMABJ.

Dennis Moore awarded Silver Em and Best of Meek journalism students honored

Posted on: April 6th, 2017 by ldrucker

From left, Debora Wenger, Dennis Moore and Will Norton Jr.

In 1975, the Memphis Commercial Appeal asked the University of Mississippi to nominate two students for potential internships. Dennis Moore was one. He traveled to Memphis and survived an odd interview with the managing editor, who asked a variety of strange questions, such as “Name the countries you fly over when traveling from Memphis to Antarctica?”

“Despite the bizarre nature of the interview, he demonstrated an ability to be removed from the chaotic nature of questioning and keep his wits,” said Will Norton Jr., Ph.D., professor and dean of UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “He has followed a similar pattern throughout his career. His achievements demonstrate that, while the Meek School has more prominence today than it had 40 years ago, its graduates have always had national stature.”

Moore was honored Wednesday night as the 58th recipient of the Samuel S. Talbert Silver Em award at the Inn at Ole Miss on the UM campus. The Silver Em is UM’s highest award for journalism. Recipients must be Mississippi natives or have led exemplary careers in the state.

Moore began his journalism career as an intern at The Germantown (Tennessee) News. He later directed breaking news coverage for USA Today, the nation’s largest circulation newspaper, on stories such as the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; the spread of Ebola from Africa to the United States; and the trial of one of the Boston Marathon bombers.

Earlier at USA Today, he was managing editor of the Life section, which put him in contact with Mick Jagger, John Grisham, Steven Spielberg and and many other notable people.

Moore said his favorite entertainment interview was with Octavia Spencer, who won an Oscar for her role in “The Help,” a book that became a movie written by fellow UM graduate Katherine Stockett set in Jackson, where Moore began his professional reporting career at The Clarion-Ledger.

Moore is now co-editor of Mississippi Today, a news website, with Fred Anklam, also a USA Today and Clarion-Ledger veteran, Ole Miss graduate and Silver Em recipient.

“When I found out I was going to receive the award, I thought I don’t measure up to the previous recipients,” Moore said Wednesday during his acceptance speech. “I don’t think my accomplishments are as stellar as theirs.

“I’ve never endangered myself and my family for editorializing about a social issue. I’ve never revealed government malfeasance. I’ve never helped the community overcome a major natural disaster. I spent most of my career covering entertainment, movies, television, music, and the slightly higher respectability chain, books.”

However, Moore said he believes the staffs he’s worked with over the years have applied the same enthusiasm, vigor and aggressive newsgathering that people on other beats did while covering the entertainment industry.

“We just had more fun,” he said.

Moore said he likes to think he’s helped people understand the importance of critical thinking. “I believe if you look insightfully, if you look aggressively at popular culture, you can find out as much about society as if you write a news story,” he said.

Moore said he’s concerned about the lack of critical thinking in modern journalism. He said journalists must present facts and provide information to defend them because, in a “fake news” era, the public questions the media.

“They don’t have the confidence,” he said. “I believe we can do that by reporting and providing context. By context, I don’t mean let’s interpret for people. Let’s get enough facts so that we can speak confidently, authoritatively and can address issues in a way that can’t be questioned.

“If there’s a problem, we can possibly offer alternatives. We can treat the people we deal with on our beats with respect. Hold them accountable, but don’t present them with our agenda. I think that’s what a lot of news organizations are starting to do now.”

While Moore is concerned about the state of journalism today, he said he’s also encouraged, because he thinks journalists are on a good path.

“We have to report with depth, insight, and then we may be able to affect change,” he said.

Moore credited several people with his success, including Norton, who he described as “inexhaustible” and a “genius.”

“He will very humbly describe himself as making connections, when actually what he does is he creates character and careers,” said Moore. “The Meek School would not be the Meek School without Dr. Norton.”

Norton said he went through issues of The Daily Mississippian from 1973 to 1975 to look at some of Moore’s work as a student journalist. He found several stories, including one titled ‘Dorm Hunting, the night I kicked my leg through the wall, I decided it was time to move.’ Moore wrote light and serious pieces for the college newspaper, including stories about UM applying again for a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and voting issues.

“Whether it was about shoddy campus housing, lack of freedom for faculty members or voting rights, tonight’s honoree always seemed to focus on important news,” said Norton, who gave attendees an update about the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

“During the 1974-75 academic year, the Department of Journalism had fewer than 100 majors, and an accreditation team made its first site visit to the campus,” he said. “The endowment of the department was less than $50,000.

“Today, the Meek School has more than 1,500 majors in Farley Hall and the Overby Center, and is raising funds for a third building that will be situated in the parking lot between Lamar Hall and the Overby Center, and the accreditation team called the Meek School a destination – and one of the elite programs in the nation.”

Norton said the endowment today is more than $13 million with a major estate committed to the future.

“The Meek School is prominent nationally now, if not globally,” he said. “Clearly, media education at Ole Miss has gained a great deal of exposure. Several times over the last few weeks, the chancellor has called the Meek School one of the two best schools on the campus. That exposure is based on the strong foundation established in 1947 by Gerald Forbes, the founding chair. He was joined by Sam Talbert and Dr. Jere Hoar. They produced outstanding graduates.”

Hoar was one of the event attendees Wednesday night, and he was recognized for his contribution to the school.

The Silver Em award is named for Talbert, the professor and department chairman, who believed a great department of journalism could be an asset to the state of Mississippi. An “em” was used in printing. In the days of printing with raised metal letters, lines of type were “justified” by skilled insertion of spacing with blanks of three widths – thin, en and em. The Silver Em blends the printing unit of measure with the “M” for Mississippi.

“The award has been presented annually since 1948 as the university’s highest honor for journalism,” said Debora Wenger, associate professor of journalism. “The requirements are that the person selected be a graduate of the University of Mississippi, who has had a noteworthy impact in or out of the state, or if not a graduate of Ole Miss, a journalist of note who has been a difference-maker in Mississippi.”

Meek journalism students were also honored during the event, which featured the Best of Meek awards ceremony.

Students who received Taylor Medals include Rachel Anderson, Katelin Davis, Hannah Hurdle and Ariyl Onstott.

The Kappa Tau Alpha Graduate Scholar was Stefanie Linn Goodwiller.

The KTA Undergraduate Scholar was Ariyl Onstott.

Graduate Excellence winners were Mrudvi Parind Vakshi and Jane Cathryn Walton.

The Lambda Sigma winner was Susan Clara Turnage.

Excellence in Integrated Marketing Communications winners were Austin McKay Dean and Sharnique G’Shay Smith.

Excellence in Journalism winners were Maison Elizabeth Heil and John Cooper Lawton.

Who’s Who winners were Rachel Anderson, Ferderica Cobb, Austin Dean, Elizabeth Ervin, Leah Gibson, Madison Heil, Cady Herring, Rachel Holman, Amanda Hunt, Hannah Hurdle, Amanda Jones, John Lawton, Taylor Lewis, Ariyl Onstott, Meredith Parker, Susan Clara Turnage, Sudu Upadhyay and Brittanee Wallace.

The Overby Award was given to Susan Clara Turnage.

Kappa Tau Alpha inductees include Brandi Embrey, Elizabeth Estes, Madison Heil, Rachael Holman, Hannah Hurdle, Tousley Leake, Taylor Lewis, Jessica Love, Hailey McKee, Olivia Morgan, Ariyl Onstott, Alexandria Paton, Natalie Seales and Zachary Shaw.

Dean’s Award winners include Madeleine Dear, Lana Ferguson, Kylie Fichter, Jennifer Froning, Dylan Lewis, Emily Lindstrom, Sarah McCullen, Dixie McPherson, Anna Miller, Rashad Newsom, Hannah Pickett, Kalah Walker, Brittanee Wallace, Kara Weller and Anna Wierman.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media was founded in 2009 with a $5.9 million gift from Dr. Ed and Becky Meek, Ole Miss graduates with a long history of support. It is housed in Farley Hall, with a wing for the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. Today, the Meek School has 1,570 students in undergraduate and graduate studies working toward degrees in journalism and IMC.

For more information, email meekschool@olemiss.edu.

  • Story by LaReeca Rucker, adjunct journalism instructor

New Course: ‘Documentary and Social Issues’ offered at Meek School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: March 29th, 2017 by ldrucker

One the areas that the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media takes pride in is its history of race, civil rights and social justice reporting.

Meek School professor Joe Atkins will be offering a new journalism course in the fall called “Documentary and Social Issues.” J580 will be offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 10:50 p.m. as a graduate elective course, but undergraduates in their junior and senior year are welcome to register for the course.

Atkins said the course “will look at the history of documentary making and its impact on major social issues of the day.”

“From Robert Flaherty’s “Nanook of the North” in 1922 and Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” in 1935, to Michael Moore’s films today, the documentary has brought important issues to the public’s attention and produced intense controversy,” Atkins said. “This course explores its central role in our media world past, present and future.”

Atkins said the course looks at the role – in print, broadcast, film or social media – the documentary has played in exploring and bringing light to key social problems and issues. Students will gain fuller insight into the role journalism and documentary film can play in the discussion and possible resolution of social problems and issues.

The course will improve their ability to think critically about journalism and documentary film and to write analytically, persuasively, and comparatively about film and related texts. Some of the films that may be shown in the course include:

“Nanook of the North,” by Robert Flaherty, 1922

“Triumph of the Will,” by Leni Riefenstahl, 1935

“Inside Nazi Germany,” by Jack Glenn, 1938

“Harlan County USA,” by Barbara Kopple, 1976, about coal miners.

“The Uprising of ’34,” by Stoney, Helfand and Rostock, 1995, about the bloody suppression of striking textile workers in South Carolina.

“I Am A Man,” by Jonathan Epstein, 2008, about the 1968 sanitation workers strike in Memphis.

A yet-to-be-determined film by Michael Moore.

Atkins has taught at the University of Mississippi since 1990. He teaches courses in advanced reporting, international journalism, ethics and social issues, media history, and labor and media.

He is the author of Covering for the Bosses: Labor and the Southern Press, published by The University of 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 of 2003. A statewide columnist and 35-year veteran journalist, Atkins was a 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. Atkins is also author of the novel “Casey’s Last Chance,” published by Sartoris Literary Group in 2005.

  • Story by LaReeca Rucker, adjunct journalism instructor