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Husni names The Magnolia Journal as 2017 magazine Launch of the Year

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

In the hit HGTV series “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Joanna Gaines own and operate Magnolia Homes, a remodeling and design business in Waco, Texas. The show chronicles their adventures turning dilapidated houses into showplaces while helping revitalize neighborhoods throughout central Texas.Houses aren’t the only thing that have benefited from the duo’s magic touch. The couple’s magazine, The Magnolia Journal, won the 2017 magazine Launch of the Year Award at the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City Feb. 6.

Dr. Samir Husni, professor, Hederman Lecturer, and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, presented the award along with the MPA: The Association of Magazine Media.

From a field of 212 new magazines launched with a regular frequency between Oct. 2016 and Dec. 2017, Husni said they selected 20, then carefully chose 10 finalists for the top honor.

What made The Magnolia Journal stand out? Husni said the magazine will launch its spring issue Feb. 13 with a $1.2 million rate base.

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 06: Doug Olson and Samir Husni speak on stage at the American Magazine Media Conference 2018 on Feb. 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for The Association of Magazine Media)

“It’s been a long time since a magazine has generated as much buzz in the marketplace as The Magnolia Journal has,” Husni said. “The connectivity of the content and the design made, and continues to make, this magazine fly off the shelves. Under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Joanna Gaines, this print product creates a very interactive experience for readers. All in all, The Magnolia Journal burst onto the scene, and in less than a year, floated to the top, deserving the Launch of the Year Award – an honor well-deserved.”

Husni said the magazine has had amazing success on newsstands. The first issue sold out immediately, and Meredith Corp. had to issue a second printing. “It’s rare in that industry that takes place,” Husni said.

He said one reason the magazine has been successful is because of the couple’s strong connection to their fans. “People who watch their television program always tell me how close they are,” he said. “You feel like you are just talking to them. So the magazine was just an extension. It brought the pixels-on-the-screen-experience to something you can actually hold in your hand. Only print can give you that experience.”

Chip and Joanna Gaines, who serve as the editor-at-large and editor-in-chief, respectively, sent a video response about the award that played during the award ceremony. Joanna Gaines said they were honored that the Waco, Texas-based title won the 2017 Launch of the Year Award, and they thanked Husni.

“For us, this has been such an amazing journey watching these issues come to life,” Joanna Gaines said. “We’ve loved every minute of it … We are really excited about what’s to come with The Magnolia Journal.”

The event was held during the American Magazine Media Conference, the largest magazine media conference in the country. Among the top 10 finalists were titles such as Airbnbmag, Alta, Bake it up!, goop, MILK Street, The Golfer’s Journal, The National, The Pioneer Woman and TYPE Magazine.

“Almost every major magazine publisher published at least one new magazine last year,” Husni said. “That’s why I called 2017 the Year of the New Magazine. He said that’s evidence print magazines are not a dying medium.

Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines, accepted the Launch of the Year Award from Husni. “We’re super excited about it for lots of reasons,” Olson said in a video. “Number 1, it was a huge team effort starting with Chip and Joanna Gaines and their vision and our execution on that. Second, Meredith doesn’t win very many of these awards, so we are super excited and very much appreciate the recognition.”

Husni has a busy season ahead of him with magazines. He is currently preparing for the ACT 8 Experience, an event organized annually by the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism set for April 17-20 in Oxford. The 2018 theme is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

And Newell Turner, one of Husni’s former UM magazine students, who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, at a campus event during the ACT 8 Experience. The event will be held held April 18 in the Overby Auditorium in Farley Hall on the UM campus at 5:30 p.m.

The Silver Em award dates to 1958, and recipients must be Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.

CONTACTS:

 Dr. Samir Husni | 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 | samir.husni@gmail.com

UM crowd stands with Parkland following Florida school shooting

Posted on: February 1st, 2018 by ldrucker

After 17 people were killed at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day, Ole Miss senior Alexa Johnson held a march for the victims. From the steps of Farley Hall, she spoke to a crowd of about 100 people.

Alexa graduated from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2014 and wanted to honor her former school here in Oxford.

“The community of Oxford and the community of Parkland are so similar,” Johnson said. “They’re close-knit, friendly and kind communities, and I know that if something like this happened in a place like Oxford or elsewhere in the nation, I know that Parkland would be there doing the same exact thing.”

After a speech on the Farley steps, the crowd made its way to the Walk of Champions and marched through the Grove and to the Lyceum. Cameras were rolling, and a video of the march was sent to Ty Thompson, principal of Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, to show support.

The event was supported by the Meek School of Journalism and New Media with many of its teachers and staff present. IMC Instructional Assistant Professor Debbie Hall was one of many to march through the Walk of Champions.

“I’m proud of our young people for doing this and taking a stand,” she said, “not just in favor of doing something to make our schools safer, but to show support for the students at Parkland.

“We have two students who were directly affected by that. They both have been to school there, but one of them actually had a younger sister in the building. I just think its great to show support for those students who are hurting.”

The march started at 7 p.m. as rain began to fall. Hall was pleased with the number of people, despite the weather. “When its raining, people are not going to get out and walk, and yet they did,” she said. “As I heard one person say, it’s the least we can do.

“I want to encourage young people to stand tall. I came from a generation where young people made a difference in the Vietnam War, and we can make a difference in keeping our schools safe.”

Ole Miss senior Alexandra Morris was one of many students who participated.

“I’m so glad people showed up despite the rain,” she said. “I thought Alexa’s words were very powerful and moved everyone there. I hope it brings joy to [the victims] knowing the Ole Miss family and the Oxford community are standing with them”

With staff, students, and locals demonstrating support from the University of Mississippi and the Oxford community, the crowd chanted “We stand with you” on the Lyceum steps for the video that will be sent to victims. Students returned to class in Florida Wednesday, and Johnson wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible.

“They are going back to school for their first day,” she said, “and walking in those doors after the massacre happened, they need as much support as possible. I wanted my second family at Ole Miss to support my first family, and they did 100 percent tonight, and I couldn’t be any happier about this event.”

Johnson had apprehensions about the turnout, but she was pleasantly surprised at the number who attended.

“It’s definitely more than I thought,” she said, “and I’m so grateful for each and every one of them. Like I said, these people are my family. I don’t know them, but they are still my family for coming here tonight and just being there for a community that they might not even know of, but they’re still here showing support for the victims and the students and faculty, so I am so grateful for that.”

Classes have resumed at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, but the freshman building, where the shooting took place, will remain closed indefinitely.

Photos and story by Brian Barisa, Oxford Stories.

Meek School professors and UM writers will speak during brown bag lectures

Posted on: January 31st, 2018 by ldrucker

Several Meek School of Journalism and New Media professors and UM writers will be featured speakers during the University of Mississippi Special Collections’ spring brown bag/lecture schedule. All events will be held at noon in the Faulkner Room (Special Collections, 3rd floor, J D Williams Library). Here is a list of upcoming events.

Feb. 9

“Cotton Oral Histories and the Lessons Along The Way.” Alysia Steele, UM assistant professor of multiple platform journalism and author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom, will speak about her new oral history and documentary project that focuses on the history of cotton.

Feb. 15

“Covering the Civil Rights Movement: Memories of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Curtis Wilkie, UM Cook Chair and associate professor of journalism, will speak about his news reports covering the Civil Rights Movement and his memories of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

March 6

“The Remarkable Life of Theora Hamblett: Stories of Friendship and Art.” Dr. Ed Meek, assistant vice chancellor emeritus for public relations and associate professor emeritus of journalism, and Marti Funke, collections manager of the University Museum and Historic Houses, will speak about the life, legacy and artwork of Mississippi artist Theora Hamblett.

April 5th

“On Tour: Promoting the Book.” Dr. Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture; Kiese Laymon, professor of English and creative writing; and John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, will speak about book publishing and touring.

April 20

“Art and the Faulkners.” Publisher and author Larry Wells and Bill Griffith, curator of Rowan Oak, will speak about the Faulkner/Falkner family as artists.

‘Black Panther’ writer Jesse Holland to speak tomorrow at MSPA Convention

Posted on: January 26th, 2018 by ldrucker

The author of Marvel Comics’ graphic novel reboot “Black Panther” will encourage high school students from around the state as the keynote speaker for the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association’s 2018 spring convention and awards ceremony.

High school student journalists from around Mississippi will have a chance to advance their skills and hear from “Black Panther” graphic novel writer Jesse Holland Jr. during the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association’s annual spring conference being held at the University of Mississippi Oxford campus March 27.

.PDF OF CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Over 500 students representing their school newspaper, television program, yearbook, literary magazine, and social media outlets will also have the opportunity to compete in the “Best of Mississippi” awards and hear from professionals in their respective fields.

Jesse Holland, Jr., the author and University of Mississippi School of Journalism alumnus, returns to his alma mater to headline the event being held on the Oxford campus on Tuesday, March 27.

“Jesse is a guy who not too long ago was sitting right where these students are, and now he’s a part of something big,” MSPA Director and UM Journalism faculty member R. J. Morgan said. “He’s someone with a broad range of skills who has honed his craft and found a sweet spot.”

UM alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. has written a novel for Marvel to reintroduce its 1960s superhero ‘Black Panther,’ the main character in a new blockbuster film.

A native of Holly Springs, Holland is an award-winning journalist himself who earned his bachelor’s degree from UM in 1992 before going on to write for the Associated Press. Last year his non-fiction book “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slavery in the White House” won the silver medal in U.S. History at the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

 

“It’s exciting to give high school journalists access to someone who’s so in demand in his career right now,” Morgan said.

Now in its 71st year, the annual MSPA convention is the largest gathering of high school journalists in the state. The association works to equip area high school students to research, write, and share true stories through journalism.

Professional journalists, photographers, videographers, and educators from across the southeast will be training students in a variety of skill and roundtable sessions slated for the day’s event. Students also find out who the coveted “Best of Mississippi” award winners will be for 2018.

“Attending MSPA as a sophomore confirmed my decision to pursue a career in graphic design,” Tupelo High School Senior Sawyer Tucker said. “The classes offer a variety of learning opportunities for me and my classmates to better ourselves and our publication. The competition aspect provides an environment that makes us strive to do our best work all year long.”

Tupelo High School Sports Information Director and Student Media Adviser Braden Bishop said that since most of his students love social media, taking those skills and honing them into a journalistic approach is something students are finding both exciting and challenging.

“The MSPA classes are hands-on and interactive,” Bishop said. “As an adviser, I enjoy talking to my staff in the days following the event. They bring back great new ideas that we can implement.”

Director of Communications at St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison, Terry Cassreino, recently said that he felt participation in student media gave his students an edge in both college and career preparation.

“Regardless of what mediums students ultimately study in college, they will leave a strong high school media program with the skills they need to be successful college students and productive adults.”

Research conducted by Jack Dvork, a professor at Indiana University’s School of Journalism compared academic achievements and scores on the ACT college entrance exams of students who were on the staffs of high school newspapers and yearbooks with those who did not have those journalism experiences.

His research found that almost 20 percent of students involved in student media achieved higher grade point averages in high school, scored better on the ACT, and demonstrated better writing and grammar skills in college than students who did not have those journalism experiences.

“The skills learned through student journalism are essential tools that are transferrable to any career,” Morgan said. “Learning how to organize your thoughts, meet deadlines, and communicate effectively in verbal and written communication is key, no matter what field a student may pursue.”

For more information on the 2018 Mississippi Scholastic Press Association spring convention at UM please visit outreach.olemiss.edu/mspa2018.

By Pam Starling

Dupont named top journalism educator

Posted on: January 10th, 2018 by drwenger

For the second year in a row, the Meek School of Journalism and New Media has been recognized as home to a top journalism educator, according to Crain’s NewsPro magazine.  Dr. Nancy Dupont received the honor this year, along with educators from Syracuse, UNC-Chapel Hill, Northwestern University and other top programs.

“This award is proof-positive that the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is among the best in the nation,” Dupont said.  “Our faculty are being recognized nationally for the great things they do. Anytime any of us is honored, we share the spotlight with our colleagues.”

In recognizing Dupont, the magazine noted that she puts “her heart and soul into working with students involved in ‘NewsWatch Ole Miss’ [a student broadcast]. She’s there every day coaching and mentoring,”  Dupont is the advisor for the newscast, a role that suits her philosophy of teaching well.

“There is only one reason to be a professor–to share our knowledge with students and prepare them for what they want to do in life. Students are the reason we have our jobs. When former students write me years later and thank me for the help I gave them, that is the greatest reward of all.”

The 2017 edition of NewsPro’s educator awards included Meek School Assistant Dean Deb Wenger.  She says it’s only fitting that Dupont be on the list this year.

“I see Dr. Dupont’s dedication to students on a daily basis, and I know that many of our student success stories began in her classroom.  It makes me proud to see my colleague and our school recognized for putting students first.”

Meek School launches first Mississippi Capitol Press Corps class

Posted on: January 8th, 2018 by ldrucker

After discussions with professors at the Michigan State University School of Journalism and the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism in Indiana, who provided advice about how to launch a state government reporting class that live publishes stories, the first Mississippi Capitol Press Corps class was launched during the wintersesssion at the University of Mississippi.

Organized and led by UM professor LaReeca Rucker and Fred Anklam, co-editor of Mississippi Today, the class was designed to give Meek School of Journalism and New Media students hands-on experience as state government reporters.

Reporters spend part of their week at the University of Mississippi and the rest at the state capitol interviewing state leaders about important issues. They write and file stories that are published on OxfordStories.net, a statewide student news wire service, and Mississippi Today. The columns and stories are made available for publication in statewide newspapers.

Class members include Briana Florez, Thomas Goris, Terrence Johnson, Kristen Bentley, Savannah Smith, Savannah Day, Deandria Turner and Davis McCool. Link to bios.

Follow our Mississippi Capitol Press reporters adventures @meekjournalism on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can read their work at OxfordStories.net and on the Mississippi Today website.

Norton faces last Freedom Forum board meeting

Posted on: December 14th, 2017 by ldrucker

For his last meeting with board members of the Freedom Forum in Washington, D.C., Meek School Dean Will Norton Jr. was greeted by all the other members hoisting Will Norton paddles.

Norton has served 20 years on the board of the organization that actively promotes freedom of expression around the globe through many initiatives and is the principal fund source for the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington and the Newseum Institute.

Meek Journalism instructor Ellen Meacham’s writing featured on Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity website

Posted on: December 6th, 2017 by ldrucker

Meek Journalism instructor Ellen Meacham’s article Mississippi Braces for Massive Cuts to Children’s Health Insurance is featured on the Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity website. To read the article, click here.

State Human Rights Campaign director speaks to public relations classes

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017 by ldrucker

Rob Hill, third from left, is the Mississippi Director for the Human Rights Campaign. This is the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Hill spoke to Robin Street’s Public Relations Case Studies class Nov. 16 about the HRC’s efforts to change attitudes about the LGBTQ public in Mississippi.

Pictured with Hill and Street are IMC students in the class, Amanda Hunt, far left, and Madison Stewart, far right. Photo by Kendrick Pittman.

Former Meek School student is now an editorial assistant for Vanity Fair

Posted on: November 15th, 2017 by ldrucker
Last month, Sarah Bracy Penn, one of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media‘s 2015 graduates, visited and spoke to instructor Ellen Meacham’s editing class about her work at Vanity Fair in New York.
Penn works as an editorial assistant at Vanity Fair, and she interned with Harper’s BAZAAR. At the University of Mississippi, she was the writing editor for The Ole Miss Yearbook. She has also interned with ELLE Décor, House Beautiful, and Veranda as a marketing intern.
 
Penn graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism. She earned a master’s degree from New York University in 2016.