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UM students win Southeast Journalism Conference championship

Posted on: February 18th, 2018 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi students won 25 awards in two major regional contests this past weekend, and were named the 1st Place Journalism Champions for the on-site competitions.

The Southeast Journalism Conference 32nd annual convention was Feb. 15-17 at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. SEJC has more than 40 member universities in seven southeastern states, and sponsors two contests.

The Best of the South contest recognizes the best student journalist work published or broadcast in 2017. In this year’s contest, there were 412 entries from 30 universities. Each UM entry consisted of several examples of student and staff work, from The Daily Mississippian, NewsWatch Ole Miss, Rebel Radio, internships and published projects.

The on-site competitions are held during the conference, and students in attendance compete against one another to produce content on deadline in 15 separate categories. Harding reported that 170 students competed in the on-site competitions this year.

Meek School of Journalism and New Media students won five first-place awards. In the on-site competitions, first places were won by Devna Bose for arts and entertainment writing; Marlee Crawford, for sports photography; and Ethel Mwedziwendira, for current events.

In the Best of the South contest, Abbie McIntosh won first place for Best TV Hard News Reporter, and Thomas DeMartini and Austin Hille teamed to win Best Broadcast Advertising Staff Member.

Other awards won by UM students:

Second places in Best of the South: Lana Ferguson, Best News Writer; Lana Ferguson, Best Feature Writer; Madison Heil, Best Journalism Research Paper; Erin Pennington, Best Radio Hard News Reporter.

Second places in the on-site competitions: Hayden Benge for newspaper design; Clifton Carroll for public relations; Marisa Morrissette for media history/law/ethics.

Third places in Best of the South: Jake Thrasher, Best News-Editorial Artist/Illustrator; DeAndria Turner, Best Radio Journalist; NewsWatch Ole Miss, Best College TV Station. NewsWatch is a live, daily newscast, compared to some others in the competition, which are weekly recorded and edited shows.

Third places in the on-site competitions: Matthew Hendley for TV anchoring; DeAndria Turner for radio reporting.

In the Best of the South contest, some of the categories – especially the newspaper categories – attract more than 30 entries each, and awards are given out up to 10th place. Other UM students/staffs who placed in Best of the South: The Daily Mississippian, a daily newspaper competing against student newspapers published weekly or semiweekly, won fourth place for Best College Newspaper; Marlee Crawford won fifth place for Best Press Photographer; NewsWatch Ole Miss won fifth place for Best College News Video Program; Devna Bose won sixth place for Best Arts and Entertainment Writer; Ethel Mwedziwendira won seventh place for Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer; Hayden Benge won eighth place for Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer; Grant Gaar won eighth place for Best TV News Feature Reporter; Liam Nieman won eighth place for Best Opinion-Editorial Writer.

Fifteen UM students traveled to Arkansas to participate in the on-site categories, accompanied by Meek School Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson, who oversees all of the Student Media Center.

“Year after year, our students excel in both the Best of the South and the on-site competitions,” Thompson said. “Some of them are in our newsroom for many hours each day, five days a week. They use what they learn in classes to produce outstanding work, and they do so not just to gain practical experience for internships and jobs, but also because they are passionate about keeping the campus and community informed about events and issues.”

This is the sixth time in the past eight years that UM students have won SEJC’s on-site journalism grand championship award. University of Mississippi students were ineligible to compete in the on-site contest last year because the Meek School of Journalism and New Media was the host for the 2017 conference in Oxford.

SEJC’s Friday night awards banquet speaker was Sonia Nazario, who won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and other national awards for “Enrique’s Journey” when she was a Los Angeles Times staff writer and is now an author, activist and frequent New York Times contributor.

The conference did not have an overall theme, but it included workshops and panels focused on digital content, engaging audiences, broadcast storytelling, yearbook journalism, how to cover campus hazing issues, photojournalism, design, and a look back at the Little Rock Nine and the role journalists play in documenting stories about marginalized people.

Husni partners to help magazine students with financial needs pursue dreams

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

For many college students, the idea of working in the magazine industry is a dream, but not a reality. That’s because many can’t afford to work for free and don’t have money to cover expensive housing costs in New York City, even if they were awarded an internship.

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, is trying to change that. Husni’s Magazine Innovation Center has teamed with the MPA: Association of Magazine Media to create an endowment to help magazine students with financial needs pursue their dreams.

“We are teaming to start an endowment to help send students on internships and jobs,” Husni said. “We called it the Magazine Innovation Center/MPA Endowment.”

Dr. Samir Husni speaks 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)

Husni recently shared the idea with magazine executives during the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City Feb. 6. “I was humbled and proud at the same time standing on that stage and talking about the University of Mississippi and our school of journalism,” he said.

The endowment will start with $25,000 from the MPA: Association of Magazine Media Foundation. Husni will also work to raise funds through sponsorships from the ACT Experience, his Magazine Innovation Center’s annual magazine industry event. Part of the sponsorship funds are used to help students.

“It will mainly be aimed at talented magazine media students who are in financial need to go places like New York City or Los Angeles,” he said. “So it will level the playing field among those who have and those who don’t if they share the same love and talent of the magazine media.”

Husni said he’s always felt that some students didn’t have equal access to magazine internships that can be very costly considering all expenses involved.

“I’ve always felt the inequality of the internships, especially today,” he said. “Very few people pay for interns. So not only do the students have to pay to register for the course, they have to pay for their travel. They have to pay their living expenses. So it’s really a lot if you don’t come from a hefty financial background. This is just a little effort in balancing or leveling the playing field.”

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 University of Mississippi 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 April 18. The event will be held 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.

If you are interested in donating to the endowment or learning more about it, contact Husni at 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 or samir.husni@gmail.com.

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.

‘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

Meek students attend viewing of “The Post” and offer reviews

Posted on: January 19th, 2018 by ldrucker

A group of Meek School of Journalism and New Media students recently gathered for a viewing of “The Post.” The crowd arrived at the Malco theater on Jackson Avenue in Oxford to watch the film starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

Streep portrays Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper – The Washington Post. Graham and Editor Ben Bradlee put everything on the line and make a tough decision to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets related to the Vietnam War.

Meek student Madison Stewart, who attended the group viewing, said she enjoyed learning more about history from the film. “Having Meryl Streep as the owner of a newspaper company during that time really showed how women were treated and how times have changed,” she said. “… They showed how many men made up a lot of those newspaper companies back then.

A scene from the film.

“The Meek School (has) a ton of women students and professors, so it really shows how women have evolved in the journalism industry. The movie illustrated how important journalism is to the world. I think a lot of people do not think it is necessary sometimes. Without journalism, many people would not know what is going on in the world if journalists were not there to report on it.”

Meek student Leah Davis also attended the event.

“I absolutely loved it,” said Davis, adding that Graham’s wisdom proved to be what the paper needed. Davis said she liked the movie because it demonstrated the battle between “saving oneself and following moral standards.”

The Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, though going against the government’s wishes, was guided by the burden and responsibility of the press to accurately inform the people instead of hiding behind the government,” she said. “One line that stuck out to me from the movie was, ‘The press serves the governed, not the governors.’ I think this quote sums up the job of journalists and the importance they have in society.”

To read more about journalism movies, check out this recent NewsLab.org post.

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.

Beatty works behind the scenes for the Ole Miss Rebels

Posted on: November 14th, 2017 by ldrucker

Videographer, journalist and social media guru are all words used to describe Kayla Beatty. Beatty is a senior at the University of Mississippi and in her second year working for Ole Miss Athletics in production.

As a journalism student, she has gained essential skills for working professionally in the field. As a main videographer for Ole Miss Athletics, Beatty has worked every sports event at Ole Miss. Her favorite sport is basketball, but not always.

“I grew up watching soccer,” she said. “I knew nothing about football, basketball or baseball.

She quickly learned the sports and now sometimes thinks she could coach them. Beatty works on a team of roughly nine to 12 people. Half of them are students. This a paid job, but her first year counted as internship credit.

“While I may not go into the sports production field, the skills and opportunities I have been given are out of this world,” said Beatty.

Before every basketball game, the team of videographers meet two hours before to begin testing equipment. There are multiple cameras around the Pavilion to get high and low shots. They check lighting, sound and angles to get the perfect shot at game time.

 

An hour before the game begins, they get into position. They start getting clips of the crowd, and the teams warm up. The team films everything that spectators see in the arena and what is posted throughout the game on social media.

Everything that the cameras in the arena pick up is sent immediately to the control room. There, staff members operate music, lights and everything you see on the jumbotron. They also quickly make graphics for social media and talk with SEC Sports.

“We all have headsets on so we know what we all are doing,” Beatty. “Communication is key in the industry.”

Beatty’s favorite video to capture is when she follows the ball closely on camera and gets the angle as it lands in the net. She uses a “slash camera” to achieve this. This was one of the hardest skills to perfect. She said she is still learning.

Videography and photography is all about practicing. When she first started, she shadowed an existing staff member to learn the basics.

“They take baby steps so they can ensure you will know everything before you are on your own,” she said. “A lot of basic skills I taught myself on my iPhone.”

After shadowing someone with experience, the videographers are on their own. After about a year, they usually end up having a shadow or “buddy” to teach.

Beatty said the most important piece of advice is know your equipment. Supervisor Hank Lena is their main support. Lena works the control room and is in charge of the team during the game.

“The staff is so talented,” Lena said. “They are always eager to learn. For my students, I am here to make sure they are getting the knowledge they will need to continue a career in production and journalism.”

Another favorite part of the job for Beatty is creating graphics for Ole Miss sports teams’ social media. Within minutes of the live footage, the staff sends Tweets, Instagram posts and Snapchats.

A great part of working for Ole Miss productions is they allow everyone to rotate positions. Everyone may have their preference, but they are given the opportunity to use a high camera, low camera or work in the control room. Staff is exposed to videography, still photography and social media.

“I get to play with toys and get paid,” said Beatty. “I get to work with the best cameras and equipment in the industry.”

Work does not feel like work when it is doing something you love. Everyday is different working in production.

“I love what I get to do for a living, so hiring people that are also so passionate about journalism is the best part,” said Lena.

A lot of hard work goes into what looks easy to the average viewer at a sporting event. From preparation to putting all the footage together at the end, students and staff move quickly.

Beatty said she wishes she had known about this job earlier in her college career because of the skills she has learned and the connections and people she has met. She hopes to continue learning as much as she can this upcoming basketball season.

By Kelly Zeidner
Oxford Stories
knzeidne@go.olemiss.edu

Meek School of Journalism and New Media welcomes alumni to tailgating events

Posted on: November 12th, 2017 by ldrucker

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media knows how to tailgate. Here is a gallery of photos from a recent Grove get-together before the Louisiana State University game. Meek School instructor Timothy Ivy took the photos.

The Meek School held three events this year during football game days to greet and welcome Meek School alumni. Plans are in the works to do it again next year. We hope to see you there.