Archive for the ‘Faculty News’ Category
The concept of civil discourse is actually fairly hard to define says Dr. Graham Bodie, a visiting professor in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Bodie, who researches and teaches strategies for improving listening behavior, recently led a workshop for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning titled, “The Role of Listening in Civil Discourse: Implementing the Listen First Model in the Classroom.”
Bodie began dispelling a number of myths about listening and respectful communication. For example, right now there is ample evidence that the public perceives our political landscape has become much less civil. However, Bodie shared some of the more impressive insults hurled by our country’s founding fathers, including this in a letter from Alexander Hamilton about John Adams:
“He is petty, mean, egotistic, erratic, eccentric, jealous natured, and hot-tempered … there are great and intrinsic defects in his character.”
(Of course, Adams got even with this reference to Hamilton: “That bastard brat of a Scottish peddler! His ambition, his restlessness and all his grandiose schemes come, I’m convinced, from a superabundance of secretions, which he couldn’t find enough whores to absorb!”)
With this type of rhetoric flying around for centuries, how do we keep the conversation on track in the classroom? Bodie told the crowd that any discussion of civil discourse has to start with one thing.
“How to listen to difference; how to find one thing, anything, you can agree with within the speech of one person, even if you mainly disagree,” Bodie said, “how to respect others by allowing them time and space to share opinion without fear of being shut down.”
Bodie says classrooms should be sites of social transformation where instructors and students find ways to communicate effectively.
“This is my bias, but I believe we best do that through teaching them to argue civilly.”
Though he recommends that students take an entire class on the subject when possible, he says educators from across the university can infuse their own curricula with opportunities for students to learn how to disagree effectively.
“Communication classes do a great job of teaching people how to argue, debate and speak their minds,” Bodie said, “but what students are really good at is standing up and saying ‘I believe…’ and then they sit down. We need to teach them to make an assertion and then defend it. Many of the beliefs we hold most dear are cultural truisms that we never question.”
One model requires the listener to start with a restatement: “What I heard you say is this,” and once there is that agreement, the listener has an opportunity to refute that statement.
To bring these strategies into the classroom, Bodie made a couple of key recommendations:
• Include your students in coming up with a working definition for what civility and listening to each other will look like in your classroom throughout the semester. Bodie says it’s nearly impossible to listen and be civil if you can’t agree on those parameters.
• Consider exploring the Listen First Project. This non-profit organization seeks to “encourage conversations towards increased respect and understanding” of differences. Students can take the “Listen First Pledge,” which says, “I will fully listen to and consider another’s views before sharing my own. I will prioritize respect and understanding in conversation. And I will encourage others to do the same.”
Bodie says there are three big myths about listening that contribute to the challenge of doing it effectively. Ultimately, listening is not tantamount to agreeing, it’s not a panacea that can solve all problems and it’s not easy. It is, however, important and it has always been in too short supply.
Some of the best journalism schools in the country are on the list of this year’s award winners from the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The Meek School is on that list, too, thanks to Prof. LaReeca Rucker.
The Challenge fund seeks to encourage the “teaching hospital model” in journalism education, which involves hands-on, experiential learning in the classroom. Rucker’s student-run news service, Oxford Stories, is designed to give those in introductory journalism classes an opportunity to get published.
“Thanks to our news partners, we were able to create something unique in college journalism with OxfordStories.net that, as far as I know, has not been done before in the state,” said Rucker. “It has been fun being part of the program’s evolution over the past two years.”
Launched in the fall of 2015 as a website where University of Mississippi journalism students could publish their work and share it on social media, Oxford Stories first teamed with The Oxford Eagle and HottyToddy.com, providing exclusive content for both publications. Student stories were reprinted in the newspaper and on the website, respectively. OxfordStories.net later added The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and The Oxford Citizen as partners.
Other schools winning challenge grants include the University of Southern California-Annenberg, University of Georgia, University of Miami, Ohio University and Michigan State University.
Rucker says she hopes students at the Meek School will learn about the power of journalism through their work on the site.
“I emphasize to students that small work can be big. They never know who their stories will touch,” Rucker said. “A woman might read one of their stories about a cancer survivor and decide to schedule an appointment for a mammogram that saves her life. Another person might read a story about a creative teacher and be inspired to become one, positively influencing the lives of hundreds of students as a result.
The award comes with a $35,000 grant to expand the program, and Rucker hopes other faculty and students will help grow and improve the project.
“We want our small Oxford Stories to have a big impact throughout the state, and one of our goals is to reach out to other publications statewide to help get student work published and operate as a fully functioning student news wire service. This is what we hope to realistically accomplish.”
The Meek School of Journalism and New media at the University of Mississippi will offer a few exciting new courses during wintersession and spring of 2018. From sports marketing, fashion merchandising and data literacy to crisis communication, pop culture criticism and audio editing, we’re offering a variety of unique journalism and IMC classes. Take a look at the list, and we bet you’ll find a topic that interests you.
IMC 580 – Topics in IMC II: Collegiate Sports Marketing
The course is offered MTWTF from 1-4:30 p.m. in Farley 202
Professional sports executive Scott Pederson will lead this dynamic course exploring how the world of collegiate sports has become a profitable multi-billion dollar industry. It’s more than just stats, favorite teams and trivia – students will examine how collegiate sports create impulses, sales and recognition. The dramatic growth of college sports over the past 30 years has motivated many to seek careers in this compelling field. Due to its status and importance in people’s lives, sports are considered a profitable and sustainable marketing communications source now utilized by virtually every industry.
IMC 361 – IMC Explorations I (Fashion Promotion)
Tuesdays 6-8:30 p.m. Farley 125
Joe Sherman, a former McRae’s merchandising executive, will explore with students the essential elements of the fashion industry with an emphasis on merchandising and buying. The course also will spotlight today’s trends and keys to successful marketing and branding.
IMC 362 – IMC Explorations I (Data Literacy/Intro to Big Data)
MWF 10-10:50 a.m. Bishop 108
Led by Dr. Jason Cain, this course teaches students how to properly read and interpret data-driven research and collect, analyze, and present data generated from online sources. Moderate proficiency in Microsoft Excel along with introductions to SPSS, R, and Tableau are also taught.
IMC 509 – Special Problems in IMC (Targeting and Testing)
T-Th 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Room (To be announced)
Led by Dr. Robert Magee, targeting and testing students will learn how to use surveys to assess a market target’s attitudes and behaviors and how to use experiments to test campaign materials.
IMC 580 – Topics in IMC II (Designing for Print Publications)
MW 6:30-7:45 p.m. in Farley 10
Led by Instructional Assistant Professor Stefani Goodwiller, this advanced course will focus on design considerations for print publications, including magazines, brochures and posters. Students will learn about type management, nested styles, libraries, multi-page publications, color models and master pages. Students will also explore various types of printing technologies and learn how to produce the right kind of file for the appropriate printer.
IMC 591 – Explorations I (Crisis Communication)
T-Th 1-2:15 p.m. Farley 121
Led by Instructional Assistant Professor Debbie Hall, this course centers on addressing crisis communication professionally, including how to handle multiple stakeholders and public crisis conditions. The practical application of theories, strategies and tactics from a public relations perspective will be explored. Students will have opportunities to apply skills learned.
JOUR 362 – Journalism Explorations II (Criticism)
T-Th 9:30-10:45 a.m. Hume 112
In some cases, our credibility as reviewers is what lends us currency in the digital space. Led by Associate Professor Cynthia Joyce, students will learn about professional practices, ethics and standards for writing about the arts and pop culture. Students will also learn how to “cover” cultural works as more than just commercial products, and will be introduced to writings by Pauline Kael and Anthony Lane (film), Lester Bangs and Kalefa Sanneh (music), Ada Louise Huxtable and Christopher Hawthorne (architecture), Carina Chocano and Heather Havrilesky (TV and film) among others. Students will develop an appreciation for how meaningful criticism frequently challenges the status quo – as was the case with both jazz and hip hop, for example – and they may ultimately deepen their popular understanding of entire art forms.
JOUR 580 – Topics in Journalism II (Podcasting)
T-Th 4-5:15 p.m. Farley 138
Led by Assistant Professor Alysia Steele, students will explore the power of audio storytelling in a digital world. Pre-req: JOUR 375. The best multimedia stories have awesome audio. This class will help students with audio collection and basic production in Adobe Audition, and will focus solely on audio news and feature stories with a goal of producing award-winning content. Students will learn how to write scripts, create a concept for their own shows and produce audio stories to be pitched for Rebel Radio. Students will be required to purchase professional quality headphones and buy or rent a Zoom H1 recorder.
JOUR 591 Journalism Explorations I (Writing on Food)
Tuesday 2:30-4:45 p.m. Room (To be announced)
Led by Rien Fertel, this course will provide an introduction to reading and writing on the relationship between people and what they eat, cook, grow, serve, embrace, and disdain. It will cover the great cornucopia of food writing: personal essays, journalistic reporting, profiles, criticism, history and even the literature of recipes. Professor Rien Fertel has written for Garden & Gun, The Oxford American, and he recently published the book, The One True Barbecue.
JOUR 592 – Journalism Explorations II – Sports Broadcasting
Mondays 4-6:30 p.m. Lamar 126
Led by David Kellum, the “Voice of the Rebels,” who has served 38 seasons as the Ole Miss Radio Network’s play-by-play announcer for football and men’s basketball, this class will help you learn the presentation skills necessary for high quality sports announcing.
UM PR students win top award from Southern PR Federation: Lantern award recognizes It Starts with (Me)ek campaign
A Meek School of Journalism and New Media campaign asking students to “just pause” before stereotyping others has won a top award from the Southern Public Relations Federation.
The Lantern award was presented in the internal communications category at the Southern Public Relations Federation conference in Tupelo Sept. 26. Awards are presented at three levels in multiple categories, and the Lantern is the highest level.
The winning campaign, It Starts with (Me)ek, was created and implemented by a team of 31 students led by Senior Lecturer Robin Street. Judges for the competition repeatedly praised the “great job” the team did.
ISWM was a week of speakers, programs and communications encouraging inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, mental health, religion or other factors. UM alumnus Shepard Smith spoke at two of the events.
Student committee members enrolled in an integrated marketing communications course helped create the campaign. They met weekly to plan events, videos, communications, competitions and social media posts.
“Our students worked for months to plan and implement all the components of the campaign,” said Street, who taught the class. “They spent every Wednesday night in class and countless additional hours working on their individual tasks and assignments. I was so proud to see all their hard work and true dedication be recognized.”
Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment and assistant professor, directs the IMC program at the Meek School. He attended the award ceremony with Street and several students.
“Our student team entered in the professional category,” Fiene said. “So they were judged, not by student criteria, but by professional standards. I noticed that they were the only students to win a professional award that night. The award exemplifies how well all our faculty prepare our students for their careers in journalism, public relations and integrated marketing communications.”
New Albany High School students visited the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media Student Media Center Sept. 21. They watched the live NewsWatch Ole Miss newscast, sat in on the daily critique with NewsWatch faculty adviser Nancy Dupont, and had a Q&A with Daily Mississippian editors. Shane Sanford of Ole Miss Sports Productions arranged the visit.
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.
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.