Check out this video of Curtis Wilkie, a Meek School of Journalism and New Media Overby Fellow and associate professor of journalism. Meek School graduate Adam Ganucheau, who is now a reporter at Mississippi Today, is also featured.
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The Meek School of Journalism and New Media faculty and students were rooting specifically for two Miss America contestants when the pageant aired Sunday, Sept. 9, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
While Miss Mississippi Asya Branch and Miss Tennessee Christine Williamson, both who have Meek School ties, were not selected among the final 15 contestants, Meek School leaders were proud that they represented the Meek School and the University of Mississippi in the competition.
Branch, a University of Mississippi junior, is a current Meek School student. According to her pageant bio on the Miss America website, Branch said the competition empowered her to embrace her past while helping children of an incarcerated parent find their way.
“Having the backbone and financial base of our family stripped away through incarceration and arrest left me hurt, confused, scared, bullied, and withdrawn,” she said. “Through the Miss America Organization, I have been able to face my fears and insecurities brought on by my father’s imprisonment. Now, I am boldly working to help other children who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances fulfill their greatest potential and realize they have an uninhibited future.”
Williamson, 22, attended UM and the Meek School as a broadcast journalism major. While at Ole Miss, she was a news anchor for NewsWatch.
According to Williamson’s pageant bio, she is an advocate for Alzheimer’s because she has lost four family members to the disease, including her grandfather, who she helped her mother take care of for 11 years.
“I watched the lengthy demise of someone I loved, and vowed to be a catalyst for change,” she said. “As a National Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Association, I have lobbied U.S. and state congressional leaders for three years on Alzheimer’s initiatives. I have raised $25,000 for Alzheimer’s Association to help the 5.7 million Americans and their caregivers fighting America’s most expensive disease.”
Meek School leaders also helped lead a Miss America watch party sponsored by the Student Activities Association inside the Student Union ballroom. Debbie Hall, a Meek School instructional assistant professor, said the watch party was organized to give UM students a way to celebrate the Meek School’s two Miss America contestants. Refreshments and games were offered.
Hall said the Meek School’s Event Planning class conducted a fundraiser for the two contestants’ platforms prior to the pageant as a way of recognizing and honoring them.
Students, faculty and alumni were encouraged to use the hashtag: #MeekMissAmerica Sunday night.
“I think this is just a further indication of the quality students we have in our Meek School programs,” Hall said.
Dr. Zenebe Beyene, a Meek School of Journalism and New Media instructional assistant professor and coordinator of international programs (second from left), is pictured with Dr. Oyvind Aadland, a representative of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and Ethiopian leaders at a meeting on nation-building in the Charles L. Overby Boardroom at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Participants were primarily from the East Coast: New York, Virginia, Maryland and D.C. with one each from Memphis, Atlanta and North Carolina. They are lawyers, IT experts, software developers, political scientists, economists, a graphic designer, theologians, etc.
The Meek School is grateful to the Freedom Forum for making the boardroom available. The boardroom is named for Charles Overby, a graduate of Ole Miss.
It’s one of the nation’s biggest public speaking jobs, and two contestants with Meek School of Journalism and New Media ties will be competing for the title of Miss America this week.
Three Meek School students and a professor will also be reporting live from the pageant that will air Sunday, Sept. 9, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
They’ll be rooting for Miss Mississippi Asya Branch, a University of Mississippi junior, who is a current Meek School student; and Miss Tennessee Christine Williamson, 22, who attended the Meek School as a broadcast journalism major. While at Ole Miss, Williamson was a news anchor for NewsWatch.
Dr. Iveta Imre, a professor of visual storytelling, is taking three students to Atlantic City to cover the event.
“The three students, Brian Barisa, Bryanna Bynum, and Sara Doan, will be working on stories about the girls for The Daily Mississippian, Newswatch, and Hotty Toddy,” Imre said.
The Meek School group left on Wednesday, and they will be staying through Saturday covering all activities leading up to the main pageant on Sunday.
“We applied for and received press passes, and we are planning to cover the preliminaries, other activities such as the Shoe Parade on Saturday, as well as create stories about road Rebs who are going to Atlantic City to support Asya,” Imre said.
Imre said she hopes the students learn from the experience.
“I am hoping that the students will experience reporting under pressure and on deadline as we will be Skyping live for Newswatch every night, as well as creating stories to meet DM’s and Newswatch’s daily deadlines,” she said. “We are trying to anticipate and prepare for the events, but many decisions will have to me made once we arrive on location.”
Imre said she hopes the students will create contacts with other journalists covering the pageant, and learn from observing.
“I think that it is phenomenal and pretty unusual, and I am happy this is happening as I am starting my first semester as a professor at Meek school,” Imre said. “No matter what happens on Sunday, I think this is already a great success for our girls.”
Meek School leaders are also helping lead a Miss America watch party sponsored by the Student Activities Association. The pageant will air at 8 p.m. CST on ABC. The watch party will be held at the same time inside the Student Union ballroom. All are invited.
Debbie Hall, a Meek School instructional assistant professor, said the watch party will give UM students a way to celebrate the Meek School’s two Miss America contestants. Refreshments and games will also be offered.
“When we first started talking about the Meek School sponsoring a watch party, it was to be sure that we honored the two Ole Miss contestants,” Hall said. “However, we did not want to compete with a campus-wide event. Therefore, we are encouraging our students and faculty to attend the SAA event.
“We are especially excited that the two contestants represent the Meek School. Miss Tennessee Christine Williams graduated in May as a broadcast journalism major. Asya Branch is a current IMC major.”
Hall said the Meek School’s Event Planning class will be conducting a fundraiser for the two contestants’ platforms as a way of recognizing and honoring them.
“Asya’s platform is Empowering Children of Incarcerated Parents,” Hall said, “and Christine’s is the Alzheimer’s Association. We will be seeking donations to split between the two platforms.”
Hall said the class will use the hashtag: #MeekMissAmerica. Donations can be made for one platform or the other, or both platforms. Donors will be given a “Team Christine” or “Team Asya” sticker to wear.
“What are the odds?” Hall said, that two Meek School students are in the pageant. “More seriously, I think this is just a further indication of the quality students we have in our Meek School programs.”
Meek School of Journalism and New Media students, and anyone else who wanted to join in the fun, were welcomed back to school with a Meek & Greek Tuesday, Aug. 28.
The third annual event designed to kick off the new semester offered an inflatable slide and Sno Biz snow cones outside Farley Hall. Inside, were representatives of many different clubs, organizations and student and local media.
Chris Sparks, an integrated marketing and communications professor in the Meek School, helped lead the event co-organized by the Meek Ambassadors.
“The purpose is to welcome new and returning IMC and journalism students,” she said. “It is an excellent opportunity to meet faculty and other students. It is also a chance to get involved in clubs or organizations.”
The event was designed to show students the many ways they can become part of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
The Meek & Greet offered snow cones to all who attended. Some professors even slid down the giant inflatable slide.
Meek School T-shirts and some T-shirts from clubs and organizations were available for sale. Some T-shirts will still be offered for sale in the Meek School office. Bring cash to purchase T-shirts.
If you want to become involved in any of the activities the Meek School offers, take the first step and ask a professor how to do it.
Meek School students are back in school. The halls of Farley Hall are no longer quiet and empty.
Shannon McElvain, 19, is an integrated marketing communications major. She said she’s taking an IMC writing class this semester she is excited about.
“I took the intro class last semester and some writing classes too,” she said. “We’re going to be learning a lot about what we learned last year in the intro class and incorporating writing into it in different ways. The whole focus of the class is writing and IMC.”
McElvain, a sophomore, said her goal this semester is to learn as much as possible about IMC and improve her writing skills.
“I chose IMC because it’s a very broad major, and I can do a lot of different things with it,” she said. “When I’m older in a couple of years, I’ll probably figure out exactly what I want to do. Right now, I’m still in the stages of figuring that out.”
Ethel Mwedziwendira, 22, is a journalism major and political science minor who said she is excited about the capstone class she is taking this semester.
“I’m really excited about using all of the skills I’ve learned thus far, incorporating everything including digital,” she said.
Mwedziwendira said the Journalism Innovation class is a combination of writing and photojournalism. Her goal this semester is to stay focused and find balance between school work and involvements.
“And not overworking myself,” she said.
Coleman Hobson, 21, is an IMC major. His favorite class this semester involves campaign marketing.
“It seems interesting,” he said, adding that he hopes to eventually land a job that involves music and marketing.
Hobson said his goal this semester is to make As and Bs.
Megan Miracle, 21, was also found in Farley. The hospitality management major said she’s taking a lodging class this semester.
“I think it just goes into the lodging industry and hotels and stuff,” she said. “My family is in that industry, so it should be kind of interesting.”
She said she’s also excited about taking a nutrition class this semester.
If you’re interested in earning a master’s degree, but don’t want to give up your day job, you can now earn a graduate degree in integrated marketing communication completely online through the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. The first classes start in August.
This program is designed to give mid-career professionals an opportunity to learn how to use communication to connect people and organizations, without having to uproot their lives to become full-time students on a college campus. It also is opening the school’s programs to students around the world.
The master’s program in integrated marketing communication allows online students to take the same courses as residential students, with the only differences being the flexibility of delivery and the sequence of the courses.
“Demand is high for advanced study in how to integrate communication efforts to influence people’s behavior, but moving to Oxford to complete a graduate degree is difficult for people who are working full time and have other obligations,” said Robert Magee, program director and assistant professor of IMC.
Students can complete the 36-credit-hour degree program in two years by taking courses throughout the fall, spring and summer semesters.
“Because the online program is designed for people who are working full time, courses will be offered one at a time in the half-semesters and summer sessions,” Magee said. “This will enable a student to focus energy on each course and advance in a systematic way.”
The curriculum combines theory, insight and real-world application in the areas of audience research, analytics, creative production and brand strategy.
The demand for more education in the constantly changing industry of IMC is national and international, and this is the most effective way for professionals to pursue this degree, said Will Norton, UM journalism dean.
“We are developing partnerships in other nations with universities and schools that would like their graduates and students to be able to pursue our graduate degree program in integrated marketing communication,” Norton said.
Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in advertising and public relations agencies, corporations, media, nonprofit organizations, health care, political communication and sports.
The university’s IMC degree was introduced in 2012 for undergraduate and graduate studies and quickly became one of the fastest growing programs at the university. Ole Miss is one of just a few institutions to offer this type of specialized degree, and offering it online is the next step in taking it to a new level.
Faculty members hope this program will offer unique opportunities for students, no matter where they live.
“People around the world will gain access to the knowledge and skills they need to influence behavior,” Magee said.
There’s still time for students to enroll for the fall semester; the application deadline is August 10. Classes begin August 20.
Deborah Potter and Debora Wenger, Ph.D., are each being honored with 2018 Larry Burkum Service Awards for their service to journalism and journalism education.
The Electronic News Division will honor Potter and Wenger in August at AEJMC’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. A committee of former END Division Heads and previous Burkum Award winners selected each woman from a pool of nomination.
Debora Wenger, Ph.D., is currently assistant dean for innovation and external partnerships at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. Her work as a trainer for the Society of Professional Journalists’ partnership with the Google News Initiative has taken her to institutions and newsrooms around the country.
In addition, she regularly contributes research to both academic and professional publications, focusing primarily on multimedia journalism practice and education. Prior to her work in academia, Wenger was a reporter, anchor and news manager at various local television stations.
“This is amazing,” Wenger said when she learned of the honor. “This is such an honor. I’m so touched to be recognized this way. None of us gets into this for the accolades or the awards, but this is special. It really means a lot to me that colleagues see the value in the overall goal of my work.”
Perhaps equally excited about Wenger’s honor is her Ole Miss colleague, Nancy Dupont, Ph.D.
“I’m beside myself with excitement,” Dupont said. “I see firsthand how dedicated Deb is to her students, and she shows that not only by working with them, but by preparing both them and the industry for this new world of change we’re facing.”
Bill Silcock, Ph.D., of Arizona State University, was equally effusive in praising Dr. Wenger.
“She really is one of those who sets a standard for bringing the industry and the academy together,” he said. “Whether it is at conferences, workshops or in published research, Deb pushes everyone to look beyond what they’re doing now and to look ahead. Her work provides answers, but also pushes people to use her findings to come up with answers that work best for them. I’m so excited for her; she really is a great choice to honor this year.”
Potter is the founding director of NewsLab, now affiliated with the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. Potter has been a correspondent, anchor and program host at CBS, CNN and PBS, as well as various local television and radio stations.
Currently, a Pollner professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism, Potter has taught at multiple institutions and has led hundreds of training sessions for students and professionals. In addition, she has served as executive director of the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation.
“I’m so excited,” Potter said when she learned the news. “This is a great honor. It really means a lot to me to be recognized like this.”
Potter noted that she has long had an interest in giving back and teaching, and “(my) work with NewsLab and RTNDF grew out of that. I’ve really enjoyed bringing educators and professionals closer together, and being honored with this award is just a thrill.”
“Deborah Potter is truly one of the leaders in connecting students to industry,” said Bill Davie, Ph.D., at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, a member of the selection committee. “She is one of those people who has such energy and enthusiasm for helping students and professionals get better at their craft. I think her work over the years is exemplary of what we all try to do – make a difference with out students and the profession.”
Tim Brown, Ph.D., of the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida and Burkum Committee Chair, was equally enthusiastic about Potter’s selection.
“Her NewsLab work and workshops, as well as her work with RTNDF, have been models for me in what I try to pass along to my students,” he said. “She’s one of those who just works to make the business better than she found it, and I can really appreciate that. I still use some of her earlier NewsLab tips and tricks; they’re so solid and fundamental, they stand up each passing year.”
The committee notes that Potter and Wenger have collaborated on multiple projects, including the reporting textbook Advancing the Story, now in its 4th edition. However, it is important to point out that each woman is being honored individually for her own accomplishments.
While honoring two individuals with this award is a bit unusual, the committee believes these two are equally worthy of recognition this year. The Burkum Awards will be presented to Potter and Wenger on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
The Larry Burkum Service Award is presented by the Electronic News Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. This award recognizes an electronic journalist or journalism educator who has demonstrated extraordinary service to journalism education.
Larry Burkum served the Electronic News Division as secretary, newsletter editor and webmaster from 1995 to 2005. He was presented the inaugural Burkum Award at the 2005 AEJMC convention in San Antonio.
Oxford Stories reporting classes recently completed a special journalism project about the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Oxford Stories worked in partnership with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal to republish some of the stories student reporters wrote.
Chris Keiffer, of the Daily Journal, later contacted Oxford Stories and asked to do a podcast about the project. Oxford Stories reporters Alexis Rhoden and T’Keyah Jones were interviewed for the podcast. You can listen to their interview at the link below.
You can read stories from the project at the website: The Lorraine Motel: 50 Years After the Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Meek School students win 11 awards in annual Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press contest for college journalists
Students in the Meek School’s Student Media Center won 11 awards in the annual Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press contest for college journalists, including five first-place awards for NewsWatch Ole Miss; Lana Ferguson; Alana Mitius; Clara Turnage and Malachi Shinault; and Matthew Hendley and Joseph Katool.
NewsWatch Ole Miss won first place in the TV newscast category for its Dec. 1 show about NCAA sanctions against the football team. Judges said about the newscast: “Ole Miss athletics got hammered. The Ole Miss journalism students hit a home run. Comprehensive coverage of a story that impacted the Oxford campus. Well thought out. Live shots added to the overall presentation.”
Lana Ferguson won first place for feature writing for her story about an Oxford church’s efforts to help a Texas community rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. Alana Mitius won first place in the radio feature category for a package about a debate competition. Clara Turnage and Malachi Shinault won first place for multimedia for their report about activist Correl Hoyle. Matthew Hendley and Joseph Katool won first place for their radio coverage of the NCAA sanctions decision.
Second places were awarded to Ethel Mwedziwendira, for newspaper layout and design; Lana Ferguson and Clara Turnage, for breaking news, for coverage of the arrest of a student for election sign vandalism; NewsWatch Ole Miss, for sportscast or sports program, for its live reports about NCAA sanctions; Abbie McIntosh and Marlee Crawford, in the documentary category, for a package about Orange, Texas, recovering from Hurricane Harvey; DeAndria Turner, in the radio sports category, for a recap of the Ole Miss vs. LSU football game; and Italiana Anderson for radio news, for a package about the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.
Unlike in previous years, this year there was no “best newspaper” or “newspaper general excellence” category.
The awards were presented Saturday, April 7, at the Louisiana-Mississippian convention at the World War II museum in New Orleans. In attendance from the Meek School were Lana Ferguson, Matthew Hendley, Ethel Mwedziwendira and Collin Rivera.