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UM students sweep awards from Public Relations Association of Mississippi

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi public relations students and recent graduates swept the awards in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition, with one student winning overall Best in Show.

Only 14 total students from around the state won awards, and UM students from the Meek School of Journalism and new Media won 12 of those.

In addition, a 30-member student committee led by Senior Lecturer Robin Street won an award of excellence in the professional category for the anti-stereotyping campaign called It Starts with (Me)ek they created for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

University of Mississippi public relations students and recent graduates swept the Public Relations Association of Mississippi Prism individual student competition recently, and some won, along with Senior Lecturer Robin Street, as a team in the professional category for the It Starts with (Me)ek campaign they created for the Meek School. Pictured from left, are some of those winners: (front row, kneeling) Kat Balmes, Addie Guida and Kendrick Pittman. Second row: Bianca Abney, Alexa Hart, Street, Parker Maloney, Alex Hicks and Kaitlin Childress. Back row: Zack McEwen, Clifton Carroll, Kayla Beatty and Kelly Zeidner. Photo credit: Stan O’Dell

The awards were presented at the PRAM state conference in Starkville on April 13.

“Entries submitted by students from the University of Mississippi highlighted their extraordinary skills, and I have no doubt that each of these students will be successful as a public relations professional,” said Christen Duhé, PRAM’s vice president of awards. “Their level of professionalism is very impressive.”

The students entered public relations campaigns they produced in Street’s advanced class during 2017. Each campaign required multi-faceted skills, including writing news articles, shooting video and photos, planning creative attention-getting events, conducting research and creating online and social media posts.

“I already knew how outstanding these students are, but I was delighted that the judges recognized that also,” Street said. “Our students demonstrated that they excel in the diverse set of skills needed in today’s public relations profession. That is a tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the Meek School.”

Awards were given at three levels, based on the number of points judges award each entry. The top award is the Prism, followed by the Excellence and Merit awards. Multiple students can win in the same category if they earn the required number of points. The entry with the highest number of points is named Best in Show.

Addie Guida, a public policy major and journalism minor from Gulfport, won Student Best in Show and the Prism in her category. The judges, who remain anonymous, praised her work highly.

“This campaign is planned extraordinarily well,” one judge wrote on Guida’s entry. “I was incredibly impressed by the level of detail provided. It’s clear a lot of time and effort went into this work, and it’s a shining example of a well-developed integrated communications plan.”

Dixie McPherson, an integrated marketing communications May 2017 graduate from Tupelo, also won a Prism award. The judge’s comment on her entry read, “Perfect! This is how it’s done.”

Excellence winners were Amanda Hunt, an IMC December 2017 graduate from Ocean Springs; Mike Haskins, an IMC major from Senatobia; Clifton Carroll, an IMC major from Yazoo City; and Alexa Hart, an IMC December 2017 graduate from Searcy, Arkansas.

Merit winners were Grace Bacon, an IMC May 2017 graduate from Fairhope, Alabama; Kat Balmes, a marketing and corporate relations major from Brandon; Kelly Zeidner, an IMC major from Fort Mill, South Carolina; Parker Maloney, a marketing and corporate relations major from Clinton; Alexa Arguedas, an IMC May 2017 graduate from Madison; and Kaitlin Childress, an IMC major from Brandon.

Childress was also a member of the 30-student team winning a professional Excellence award for the It Starts with (Me)ek campaign. Also representing the team were Bianca Abney, an IMC graduate student from Moss Point; Kayla Beatty, a journalism major from Ocean Springs; Alex Hicks, an IMC graduate student from Meridian; Zach McEwen, an IMC major from McComb; and Kendrick Pittman, an IMC major from Kosciusko.

For more information on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit their website at http://meek.olemiss.edu or email MeekSchool@olemiss.edu.

Confronting the opioid crisis in Mississippi event set for Friday, April 20 in Overby auditorium

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ldrucker

Four policy experts will confront the ongoing opioid crisis in Mississippi at 2 p.m. Friday, April 20, in the Overby Center auditorium at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

As the keynote event of the STEM Festival at the University of Mississippi, the panel will explore policy perspectives and opportunities that could slow the widespread abuse of strong prescription and non-prescription painkillers in Mississippi. Opioids, which include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and Fentanyl, can cause respiratory failure and death in high doses.

Dr. Ben Banahan, director of the UM Center for Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management, is also the project director of the Mississippi Medicaid Evidence-Based Drug Utilization Review Program. He will talk about his work with the Pharmacy Quality Alliance to develop, test and implement opioid-related quality measures, as well as drug utilization review analysis that can help Mississippi Medicaid better manage opioid prescriptions. He will also discuss ways to identify Medicaid beneficiaries at high risk of opioid dependence and abuse for potential intervention and treatment.

Clint Crawford, director of addiction services at Lifecore Health Group in Tupelo, has been working in and around the addiction field in different facets since 1998. He will discuss barriers and inroads to effective substance abuse treatment, as well as safer healthcare and pain management.

“Getting to help patients regain their lives from the grips of the devastating disease of addiction is rewarding beyond words,” he said.

Crawford has authored four books. The latest is The Prison With No Bars: A Book for Families Dealing with Addict Loved Ones, written specifically for use in treatment centers, outpatient programs, and as self-work for friends and families of those struggling with addiction. Crawford,  along with Dale Phillips, is the co-founder of the REINS model of equine therapy, an equine therapy model designed to target and treat addiction and trauma.

Chad Clardy, business director of Mid-South for Addiction Campuses in Tupelo, will discuss opportunities for improved opioid addiction treatment in Mississippi. Although an addiction to pain pills nearly cost Clardy his life and his freedom, after only a year of treatment, he landed his first job in the recovery field.

A 2013 graduate of Ole Miss, he has also directed community outreach and marketing and has served in community relations, admissions and drug/alcohol counseling for several area treatment centers, including LifeCore and Oxford Treatment Center.

Dr. Randy Wadkins, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mississippi, will talk about the role and potential of federal science policy in addressing the epidemic. He has spent over 27 years in cancer research, including stints at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

In 2015-2016, he was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Fellow in the Washington, D.C., office of Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-9; Memphis), where he handled healthcare policy.

The STEM Festival, April 20-21, will celebrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the University of Mississippi. For more information about the weekend events and updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/UMSTEMFest.

ACT 8 Experience: Kintzer speaks about recovering a brand and reaching broader audience through digital

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ldrucker

The ACT 8 Experience lineup today included a packed schedule of speakers.

Bonnie Kintzer, from Trusted Media Brands, spoke in the first session about recovering the brand from struggle. She returned to Trusted Media Brands, the parent company of Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, and The Family Handyman after its bankruptcy.

“The key is to be adapting and adopting to the changes in culture and technology,” she said.

When Kintzer arrived at Trusted Media Brands, it had not adapted to these changes and was not getting information out to millennial markets focusing on an improved online delivery. Instead, magazines were just mailed. The younger market gets most of their media from the internet.

The company was still producing strong content, but it was reaching all consumers. The internet was needed to achieve that, but the company was not using the latest tech to do it.

“They were focusing on survival, not growth,” Kintzer said.

Shifting the focus to social media and improved web design, they began to bounce back, and now have two of the most popular brands on Pinterest. They focus on responsive, cross-platform design across all devices.

“Our approach is to create a strong personal relationship with the consumer,” she said.

Focusing on readers and analyzing how people interact online boosted the company to its current state. Kintzer said a new wave of employees skilled in both business and tech are needed in the industry now. Editors who can focus on and understand web traffic data are needed to keep business afloat.

ACT 8 Experience continues; use the hashtag #micact8 and @meekjournalism

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ldrucker

Following the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s Best of Meek and Silver Em awards ceremony last night, students, faculty and guests of the ACT 8 Experience gathered on the lawn in front of Farley Hall for a Southern dinner catered by Taylor Grocery.

If you’re attending the ACT 8 Experience magazine conference this week, use the hashtag #micact8 and @meekjournalism.

Meek School journalism professor releases book examining RFK’s Delta visit

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi journalism professor Ellen Meacham details Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta in 1967 in her new book Delta Epiphany: RFK in Mississippi.

Meacham’s book, published by University Press of Mississippi, examines the history, economics and politics of the Delta and how those factors influenced the lives of people whom Kennedy met there during that visit. She will sign copies at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at Square Books in Oxford.

The book was inspired by a description from fellow journalist Curtis Wilkie’s memoir of Kennedy in a dark shack trying to speak to a toddler who was paying more attention to crumbs on the floor.

“I wondered about the impact it had on Kennedy, because it’s mentioned as an important moment in all of his biographies,” Meacham said. “The next question I had was, ‘What happened to the baby?’”

After seven years of searching, Meacham found and interviewed children from the four families Kennedy encountered on his visit, including that toddler.

“As I got into the research, I realized pretty quickly that there was a big part of the story that had not been told,” she said. “Most of the contemporary news accounts and later historians had only looked at RFK on the stage. The people who were living the lives that moved him so were more of a ‘poverty stage set.’”

Meacham wanted to tell the stories of those people.

“It became very important to me to bring those families into the light and find out how they came to be in that place at that time, what struggles they faced and their accomplishments since,” she said. “I think it brings more balance.

“It’s not just a story of a hero or a saint, it’s about a real person meeting real people.”

The book also features about a dozen photos, including the cover, that are published for the first time.

“The photographs were essential to telling this story,” Meacham said. “They brought such a vivid realism that showed the impact of the visit on Kennedy in a powerful way.”

A working journalist for more than two decades, Meacham used her experience as a newspaper reporter in Mississippi, which gave her access to contacts within both politics and journalism in the state, putting her in a unique position to tell these stories.

“Ellen Meacham is a talented and perceptive journalist who recognized, nearly a half-century after the fact, the great impact of Robert Kennedy’s brief trip to the Mississippi Delta in 1967,” said Wilkie, a UM associate professor of journalism and fellow of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

“It was a mission that changed his life, the tortured history of that region and the nation’s attitude toward hungry people in America. Though Ellen was not old enough to have been there, her investigation of the story has brought it back to life, and it is an example of her valuable work.”

By Christina Steube

ACT 8 Experience speaker says print is still relevant, has many important qualities

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ldrucker

With the rise of everything digital, some believe print is no longer relevant. However, others believe print has many important qualities that affect how we learn and retain information.

Daniel Dejan, ETC print creative manager, Sappi North America, told the audience at the ACT 8 Experience Wednesday that printed magazines/catalogs/newspapers cause our brain to have higher rates of stimulated activity than merely reading off a screen.

When reading from print, four senses are activated: sight, haptics (touch), smell and sound. We see the layout and page design. Each print medium has a different type of paper that is uses and a different texture that readers feel. Sound comes in the smallest, minute detail of the crinkling and turning of the pages in our books. All these senses are activated when we are reading from print.

Dejan talked about how we read on a digital platform. Our heart rate and blood pressure decreases, which allows us to stop and enjoy what we’re reading.

“When we read from paper, we try to read every word and search for a narrative or story,” he said. “We read for content, which leads us to have a better understanding of the content.”

When reading on laptops and phones, we go into “skim mode” and are constantly searching for key words. We read for speed and look for imagery instead of trying to retain the information.

Dejan was just one of the speakers in the lineup this week for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s Magazine Innovation Center ACT 8 Experience. ACT stands for Amplify, Clarify and Testify.

To see the full schedule, visit the ACT 8 Experience website.

Use the hashtag #micact8 and @meekjournalism this week if you attend the conference.

By Leah Davis

Follow and use the hashtag #micact8 and @meekjournalism this week during the ACT 8 Experience

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ldrucker

We’re learning a lot about magazines and the magazine industry this week, and we want share what we’re learning with you.

Be sure to follow @meekjournalism on Twitter this week and the hashtag #micact8 to read more about the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience.

Dr. Samir Husni, Mr. Magazine

We also encourage you to use #micact8 and @meekjournalism if you attend any of the ACT 8 Experience events this week. Live Tweet your thoughts.

What does ACT stand for? Amplify, Clarify and Testify, and students and professionals will be doing a lot of that about magazines on our Twitter account and social media this week.

You can also follow @meekjournalism on Facebook and Twitter for more updates about #micact8 and other Meek School events.

Local podcast creators speak at Meek School

Posted on: April 16th, 2018 by ldrucker

Chase Parham and Neal McCready, hosts of the Oxford Exxon Podcast, spoke at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media this week.

The hosts of a Mississippi sports talk podcast that has been called Yahoo.com’s largest college-centric podcast talked to students about how they created and have grown their podcast.

The two spoke to journalism students during a class led by Meek School journalism instructor Summer Hill-Vinson, Ph.D.

Meek School students and alumni well represented at Public Relations Association of Mississippi conference

Posted on: April 16th, 2018 by ldrucker

Meek School students and alumni were well represented at the recent Public Relations Association of Mississippi conference, most of whom are Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s former students.

Front row, from left, Paul Katool, Bianca Abney, Kendrick Pittman, Robin Street, Mary Margaret Turner Busby and UM alum Rob Pettit.

Back row, from left, Emily Blackwell Pickering, Jace Ponder, Alex Hicks, Selena Standifer, Ryan Whittington and Brian Von Foregger.

Meek School journalism student named Harry S. Truman Scholar

Posted on: April 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

Jaz Brisack, a University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media journalism student, has been named the university’s 15th Harry S. Truman Scholar. The junior was one of three UM finalists selected for the coveted scholarship. UM Communications reports that Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter told the Oxford native and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College student Wednesday, April 11 about her win.

“Jaz Brisack is upholding our strong and distinguished tradition of student excellence and public service,” Vitter said in the news release. “We are so pleased to offer programs and learning opportunities that prepare our students to be competitive on a national stage.”

Joe Atkins, professor of journalism, 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.

Atkins has taught Brizack in six courses, including Honors 101, Honors 102, Honors 399 (feature film and social issues), Journalism 580 (documentary and social issues), Journalism 301 (media history) and Honors 391 (conversations on social issues). He is also advising her and chairing her committee for her honors thesis.

“She is one of the most amazing students I’ve met in my nearly 28 years of teaching,” he said. “She visited me before I ever taught her, asking if she could get in my already closed Honors 101 course. She had researched me and my labor interests, and in our discussion, I was so impressed with her that we opened the class for her.”

Atkins said Brizack arrived at UM with a deep knowledge of labor and social history and a deep commitment to social justice issues, which she has demonstrated in a wide variety of activities, ranging from teaching in the Mississippi Delta to working with the United Auto Workers in the Nissan campaign in Canton.

“She has amazing intellectual breadth and a razor-sharp mind that I’m sure has helped her greatly in her debate sessions,” he said. “She has all the promise of being a true leader on a national and even international level.”

Atkins noted Brizack’s excellence in the classroom, fine writing skills, and commitment to a wide range of important activities beyond the classroom.

“She has boundless energy as well as a quick intellectual grasp of issues backed up by research and much reading,” he said. “She’s also engaging and good in working with people, proving herself again and again in her labor and political campaigns, working with American Indians in the Midwest and the poor in the Mississippi Delta. How she finds time to do all the things she does I don’t know, and I’m sure the Truman Scholar judges wondered about that, too.”

Curtis Wilkie, Meek School Overby fellow and an associate professor of journalism, has taught Brizack in three courses. This semester, she is enrolled in Wilkie’s Honors College course on presidential debates. Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates who was instrumental in bringing the first 2008 debate to the Ole Miss campus, has been the guest lecturer for the past two weeks.

“Jaz not only gets high grades and is active in extracurricular interests,” Wilkie said, “but I found her to be one of the best-read students I’ve had in 17 years teaching at Ole Miss. That came across in the first class she had with me, when it was apparent she had already read so many of the books I mentioned. That was impressive.

“She’s also the kind of student who will drop by my office just to talk about current events or her political efforts outside the classroom. As you may know, she was home-schooled. I think she’s an extraordinary student, and I’m very proud of her accomplishments while at Ole Miss – whether its filling the Lyric for a rally for Jill Stein in the fall of 2016 or the unpopular (in Mississippi) causes she supports on behalf of laborers or American Indians or Palestinians.”

UM Communications reports that Brisack’s honors include having an article, “Organizing Unions as Social Policy,” published in the Global Encyclopedia of Public Policy, being a winner in the Creative Nonfiction division of the Southern Literary Festival and receiving the UM Outstanding Freshman award.

Brisack is also a National Merit Scholar finalist, a member of the UM debate team, and a recipient of the Honors College Extraordinary Research Funds and the Penny Leeton Service Award, UM Communications reports. She is also an Opinion columnist for The Daily Mississippian, the campus newspaper

Brisack told UM Communications her plans include earning a master’s of fine arts degree in creative writing and working with a small and independent union or network of unions to help empower workers to bring democratic processes to their workplaces.”

“I want to help create a network of independent locals with self-determination that retain nationwide leverage while maintaining a decentralized approach,” Brisack said in the news release.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is highly competitive scholarship of up to $30,000 given to college juniors who have leadership potential and a commitment to public service. It was created in 1975 in honor of the 33rd president.

For more about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit http://www.honors.olemiss.edu.

The UM Communications news release mentioned in this post was written by Edwin Smith.