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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.

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.

Happening This Week: Magazine Media Bliss: ACT 8 Experience April 17-19 at Meek School

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by ldrucker

It’s been called “two and a half days of magazine media bliss.” The ACT 8 Experience, an event organized annually by the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism, is set for April 17-20 in Oxford. The 2018 theme is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

Dr. Samir Husni, professor, Hederman Lecturer, and director of the Magazine Innovation Center, said the conference is not for the faint-hearted. “We have an interesting lineup of professionals from all over the world,” he said. “If you’re interested in marketing, journalism, magazines, digital, or a combination of all, you need to attend this conference. It will be a wild ride of critiquing the current magazine industry and welcoming my magazine students who plan to change it for the better.”

Husni said the event will be the biggest ACT Experience to date. This year, it will welcome several new faces, including Linda Thomas Brooks, president & CEO of MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, formerly known as the Magazine Publishers Association; and James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP, formerly the Federation Internationale de la Presse Periodique (International Federation of Periodical Publishers). The United Kingdom-based trade organization works to improve media content and is comprised of 700 enterprises, including nearly 60 national magazine associations.

The ACT 8 Experience will also welcome Erik van Erp, founder and editor of Print Media News in The Netherlands; Bonnie Kintzer, president and CEO – Trusted Media Brands (formerly Reader’s Digest); and Newell Turner, editorial director of the Hearst Design Group.

“You’ll have direct access to more than 10 editors and editorial directors, nine presidents and CEOs, and a slew of marketers, designers and sales consultants,” Husni said. This will include a total of 33 magazine and magazine media makers.

“Consider this a small vacation,” Husni said. “Sit back and listen to prolific speakers tell their stories – their trials and tribulations we all rallied against to become the best writers, designers marketers and business people we could be.”

Those who attend are encouraged to immerse themselves in the foothills of Mississippi by exploring Oxford. Participants will also have the opportunity to stroll the streets in Clarksdale, home of the Delta Blues Museum and actor Morgan Freeman’s famous Ground Zero restaurant.

Husni said he wants them to leave Oxford with a leg up about the industry, a belly full of Mississippi fried catfish, and an ear full of soothing, Delta blues. “It’s a refreshing experience to slow down to the Mississippi pace of life,” he said. “Enjoy a memorable ACT Experience of learning, doing, seeing and living the Mississippi way.”

Husni said his main motivation for bringing these industry professionals to Oxford is for Meek School students. “The only reason I do that is to bring the industry leaders to meet the future industry leaders,” he said. “I tell my students that it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to be sitting in a car with a CEO of a major magazine or media company, you name it. I assign my students to shadow all these speakers, pick them up from the airport, take them to the airport.”

The Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, will also be awarded at 6 p.m. April 18 during the ACT 8 Experience. Newell Turner, a former University of Mississippi magazine student who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the award.

Turner is responsible for the collective editorial direction of ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful, and Veranda magazines. He served for five years as the 22nd editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, and in 2012 under Turner’s leadership, the magazine won its first National Magazine Award for general excellence—the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar—and was a finalist in the category in 2013.

The Silver Em is usually given to a native or resident of Mississippi who has excelled in the field of journalism and media.

The ACT 8 Experience is dedicated to the memory of Jennifer Reeder, vice president of sales at Democrat Printing and Lithography, and a board member of the Magazine Innovation Center.

Industry leaders may attend and be part of the ACT 8 Experience for less than $400. To register, visit: http://maginnovation.org/act/register/. Only 100 attendees are permitted to register, so it’s important to reserve your space now.

Confirmed ACT 8 Experience Speakers (in Alpha Order) as of Feb. 1, 2018

Joseph Ballarini: founder and editor-in-chief – Tail Fly Fishing magazine

Joe Berger: publishers marketing and sales consultant, Joseph Berger Associates

Linda Thomas Brooks: president and CEO – MPA: The Association of
Magazine Media

Deborah Corn: principal, chief blogger, and intergalactic ambassador to The Printerverse™ – Print Media Center

Marisa Davis: associate director, product marketing – MNI Targeted Media

Daniel Dejan: North American ETC (Education, Consulting and Training),
print creative manager – Sappi Fine Paper

Jim Elliott: president – The James G. Elliott Company.

Erik van Erp: founder and editor, Print Media News, The Netherlands

John French: co-founder – French LLC

Tony Frost: senior vice president, TVGM LLC, TV Guide

Natashia Gregoire: reputation manager, Editor, Access magazine – Fed Ex

Abdulsalam Haykal: founder and publisher, Harvard Business Review Arabic, United Arab Emirates

James Hewes: president & CEO – FIPP: The Network For Global Media

Mona Hidayet: executive director, clients and products – Advantage CS

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: founder and director, Magazine Innovation Center

Joe Hyrkin: CEO – issuu

Todd Krizelman: CEO – MEDIAradar

Bonnie Kintzer: president and CEO – Trusted Media Brands

Jerry Lynch: president – Magazine And Books, Retail Association

Daren Mazzucca: vice president/publisher – Martha Stewart Living

Mark Potts: managing editor – Alta The Journal of Alta California

Sebastian Raatz: publisher/co-founder – Centennial Media

Jen Ripple: founder and editor in chief – DUN magazine

Monique de Ruiter: former editor diversity magazine and VTWonen – The Netherlands

Bo Sacks: president, Precision Media Group

Ray Shaw: executive vice president/managing director – MagNet

Tony Silber: former editor – Folio

Franska Stuy: founder and editor – Franska.NL, The Netherlands

John Thames: founder and publisher – Covey Rise Magazine

Newell Turner: editorial director – Hearst Design Group

Liz Vaccariello: editor in chief, Parents Magazine, and Content Director, Meredith Parents Network

Jeffrey Vitter: chancellor – University of Mississippi

Thomas Whitney: president, Democrat Printing & Lithographing

CONTACTS:

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

If you will be attending The ACT 8 Experience, please use  #micact8 on Twitter

Happening This Week: Meek School to present Silver Em to Hearst editorial director April 18

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by ldrucker

Newell Turner, a former University of Mississippi magazine student 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 April 18 at 5:30 p.m.

Turner is responsible for the collective editorial direction of ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful, and Veranda magazines. He served for five years as the 22nd editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, and in 2012 under Turner’s leadership, the magazine won its first National Magazine Award for general excellence—the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar—and was a finalist in the category in 2013.

Newell Turner

Dr. Samir Husni, professor and director of the Magazine Innovation Center, said the Silver Em is usually given to a native or resident of Mississippi who has excelled in the field of journalism and media. Turner was one of his early magazine students.

Husni said when Dorothy Kalins, then editor-in-chief of Metropolitan Home magazine, visited the Ole Miss campus in the mid-1980s, she was impressed by Turner’s passion for the magazine industry. “Newell, who was in my class, asked her a few questions that left an impact on her,” Husni said. “When she went back, she called and said, ‘Samir, I have an assistant position. I would like to offer it to Newell.’”

Husni said he encouraged Turner to take the job, saying: “If you are going to be in this profession, those opportunities don’t knock twice.” Turner took the job and eventually became editorial director of the Hearst Design Group, a leader in the publishing world with the development of innovative editorial production models and business strategies across print and digital platforms.

Turner has reported on interior design, architecture, product design and the lifestyles of upscale consumers throughout his 30-plus year career, which has included positions at House & Garden and Metropolitan Home. He was also the founding editor of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens and its sister publications: Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens and Connecticut Cottages & Gardens.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Southern studies with advanced work specializing in magazine design from the University of Mississippi. Turner is a current member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and a trustee on the board of the New York School of Interior Design.

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

The Wednesday, April 18, Silver Em event and dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Auditorium in Farley Hall on the University of Mississippi campus. It will take place during the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience April 17-20. The theme of the 2018 annual magazine industry conference is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media was founded in 2009, funded with an endowment gift by Dr. Ed and Becky Meek. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in both journalism and integrated marketing communications on the Oxford campus and in coordination with satellite campuses. Because of the increasing variety of media careers, enrollment continues to rise in the Meek School, and there are now almost 1,200 undergraduate journalism and IMC majors.

CONTACTS:

Dr. Samir Husni | 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 | samir.husni@gmail.com
Charlie Mitchell | 662-915-7146 | cdmitch1@olemiss.edu

 

PREVIOUS SILVER EM HONOREES

1958 – George W. Healy Jr.

1959 – Turner Catledge

1960 – Kenneth Toler

1961 – John Oliver Emmerich

1962 –

1963 – George McLean

1964 – William B. Street

1965 – Purser Hewitt

1966 – Hal C. DeCell

1967 – Paul Pittman

1968 – Hodding Carter Jr.

1969 – Willie Morris

1970 – T.M. Hederman Jr.

1971 – Joseph R. Ellis

1972 – Wilson F. Minor

1973 – Mark F. Ethridge

1974 –

1975 – H.L. Stevenson

1976 – William Raspberry

1977 – Joe L. Albritton

1978 – James A. Autry

1979 – James Nelson

1980 – Mary-Lynn Kotz

1981 – Curtis Wilkie

1982 – Harold Burson

1983 – John O. Emmerich

1984 – Hazel Brannon Smith

1985 – Charles Overby

1986  – W.C. “Dub” Shoemaker

1987 – Charles Dunagin (2)

– Larry Speakes (2)

1988 – Edward Fritts

1989 – Rudy Abramson

1990 – Hodding Carter III

1991 – James L. McDowell

1992 – Rheta Grimsley Johnson

1993 – Dan Goodgame

1994 – Robert Gordon

1995 – Jere Hoar

1996 – Gregory Favre

1997 – Stephanie Saul

1998 – Lerone Bennett

1999 –

2000 – Jerry Mitchell

2001 – Bert Case

2002 – Ira Harkey

2003 – Jim Abbott

2004 –

2005 – Otis Sanford

2006 – Dan Phillips

2007 – Stanley Dearman

2008 – Ronnie Agnew

2009 – Stan Tiner

2010 – Terry Wooten

2011 – Patsy Brumfield

2012 – Greg Brock

2013 – W. Randall Pinkston

2014 – Fred Anklam Jr.

2015 – Bill Rose

2016 – Dennis Moore

Oxford Stories students produce The Lorraine Motel: 50 Years After the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 by ldrucker

Last semester, journalism instructor LaReeca Rucker gave Oxford Stories journalism students a challenging final project. She wanted them and readers to learn about the effects of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination that happened 50 years ago on April 4, 1968 in Memphis.

The result of that was a project called The Lorraine Motel: 50 Years After the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal has partnered with Oxford Stories to run some of the students stories this week.

Recognizing the educational value of the historic event, Rucker said she also hoped to incorporate social justice reporting into classroom assignments that would challenge students to step away from common campus stories and learn firsthand about our state and surrounding area’s recent history from those who had endured it.

“Any assignment or journalism project you do with students is always experimental because you know some will deliver and others will not, so I wasn’t exactly sure what the completed project would look like,” she said.

Their objective was to interview someone about their lives, their memories of Dr. King’s assassination, and the impact they believe his life and death had on them and the world. Many returned with compelling stories.

One student found Mary Redmond, who had met King after one of his speeches. He shook her hand and told her “things were going to get better.” This was an important encounter and message for a woman whose father was beaten to death because, as a child, she accidentally bumped the arm of a white girl.

They interviewed Hezekiah Watkins, who met King after Watkins was jailed at age 13 for being one of the youngest Freedom Riders. When he and one of his young friends wanted to get a closer look at the people who were traveling through Mississippi fighting for equality, he said they rode their bikes to the Greyhound Station in Jackson. There Watkins, a child, was arrested and jailed along with the others.

Students interviewed Senator Samuel Jordan, who personally attended the trial of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, charged with the murder of Emmett Till, 14, in 1955. Pitching in a quarter each for gas, Jordan set out for Sumner, Mississippi with friends and watched reporters interview Mamie Till, Emmett’s mother.

They found and interviewed Roscoe Jones, a Meridian native and Bloody Sunday marcher, now 70, who had a personal relationship with Dr. King when he was president of the youth chapter of the NAACP during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

They also interviewed others with memories they can’t shake. When Belinda Carter was around 10, her school bus driver drove past Carter and her siblings for a week as they stood on the side of the road waiting for the bus because the driver refused to pick up black children.

As a kid growing up in the 1960s, Cut Miller was a member of a student boxing team. About 50 percent of the team was black, but only white members were allowed to use the restroom of a local restaurant because the sign on the door read “White Only.”

“Today, there is another wave of social justice activism happening in our country,” Rucker said. “Conversations are needed, but there is sometimes a lack of communication, listening and understanding – a roadblock for modern civil rights progression. There is also a difference in reading about history in books and meeting someone face to face who has lived it. That is why I intend to continue using this project as a teaching tool.”

Some students who participated in this journalism project, like Sarah Kane, said their thoughts about it changed after interviewing their subject. “I realized that this was more than just another project,” she said. “This assignment was very special, and the content needed to be delivered in a very respectful and proud way. I look at life in a different way now because of my interview with Ms. Carter, and I am extremely honored that I got to take part in this assignment.”

Student Katherine Johnson said the project made her realize how widespread King’s assassination was felt. “It was not consolidated to the African American population in any sense,” she said. “My time with Willingham allowed me to understand how this event molded the world that we see today. He shared with me his ideas on further breaking down the racial barriers in our society, and impressed that these were a continuation of King’s ideals. In my mind, this project changed from being about something isolated in the past to a topic that remains current and important in our modern world.”

To learn more about and read stories from the project, visit https://mlkmemories.wordpress.com/

Media Center 2017-2018 student managers reflect on their year in charge

Posted on: March 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

Daily Mississippian: Lana Ferguson

Lana Ferguson says working at The Daily Mississippian taught her valuable lessons.

“Some of the most important things I’ve learned are how to find a news hook on just about any story and the importance of not always being first, but being right,” Ferguson said. “Readers won’t always remember who published it first, but they’ll remember who was right.”

Ferguson is from Mechanicsville, Virginia, a small town near Richmond. She was editor of her high school newspaper for two years, and when she came to Oxford as a freshman in 2014, she joined the staff of The Daily Mississippian as a writer.

 “I remember being excited to get back into the swing of reporting and writing. My first article was at the top of the front page. It was about the uptick in people selling their student IDs for football tickets. Ever since, I was hooked.”

She was promoted to news editor, then managing editor, and for 2017-2018, she is editor-in-chief.

“It feels natural to me to take charge, and it has been a goal of mine since freshman year to one day oversee The Daily Mississippian,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson has won awards for news writing, feature writing, magazine writing and coverage of breaking news.

Lana Ferguson on a depth reporting trip in Zimbabwe, Africa, in May 2016.

“Lana can do it all,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media and faculty adviser for The Daily Mississippian. “She can quickly put a story together for the website on a tight deadline, and she also has the talent to craft a beautifully written profile. I was especially impressed with Lana’s success at ratcheting up the DM’s social media presence. Any media company would be lucky to have her.”

The DM staff is made up of students with different backgrounds and political views – just like the audience for the newspaper and website.

“No matter where you stand politically, you have to be ready to cover the campus, be confident and accurate in what you’re reporting, and know that you’re never going to make everyone happy,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson is majoring in journalism with minors in Southern studies and digital media studies. During her time at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, Ferguson has traveled to Oklahoma, Texas, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Sri Lanka to write articles for depth reports and The Daily Mississippian.

“I love the experiences I get to have from going out and reporting or representing The DM,” Ferguson said. “There’s no other job that would reward and cure your curiosity like that.”

When The Daily Mississippian switched from publishing in print five days a week to four days a week in fall semester 2017, Ferguson said initially she was nervous. But the staff had more time to provide original online content, completely revamp its social media efforts, create a new logo, and produce more videos and podcasts.

“I think I’m most proud of stepping up to the challenge of the digital shift the journalism industry is moving toward, and leading my team to produce quality work,” she said.

Ferguson has had two summer internships, one at the Calhoun County Journal in Bruce, Mississippi, and last summer for RVA magazine in Virginia.

After she graduates in May, she hopes to continue traveling and telling stories.

“Writing is the goal. I got into journalism to tell stories that matter. Whether it’s internationally or locally, I would be ecstatic to see my hard work pay off.”

Blake Hein at work in the Student Media Center

Advertising Sales: Blake Hein

Working as the advertising sales student manager for the Student Media Center was the natural next step for senior business administration and integrated marketing communications double major Blake Hein.

Hein, a native of Naples, Florida, was introduced to the SMC by a few friends already employed on the sales staff. Under his leadership in 2017, The Daily Mississippian’s back-to-school edition – one of the biggest sources of advertising money for the Student Media Center each year – saw a 55 percent increase in revenue compared to the previous year’s section. And Hein has the staff’s second-highest monthly individual sales total, according to records kept for the past four years.

“Blake has been terrific as sales manager,” said Roy Frostenson, student media assistant director for advertising. “He was one of our top sales reps prior to taking over the manager’s job and has just made a seamless transition. He’s what you look for in a manager. He’s mature, responsible and dedicated, always focused on the task at hand, and improving himself and his team.”

Hein said he couldn’t have accomplished his goals without the help of his staff of four other students, and described them as ambitious, motivated and hard-working.

“I really strive to maintain a team atmosphere with my staff. Everyone always puts forth great efforts to reach our sales goals.”

Hein has sales in his blood. His mother worked in commercial real estate sales, and his older sister is in sales. He enrolled in several advertising classes at the university and enjoyed them.

“Sales is the pillar in any job, whether you are dealing with a service, product, or yourself, you are always selling,” Hein said.

The student staff works daily with advertising clients for The Daily Mississippian, for Rebel Radio and for websites.

“Ultimately, we are in college to gain experience to prepare us for our careers,” Hein said. “Working with the sales department, I’ve gained knowledge of my field, and I know that I can be successful.”

Hein’s career goal is to be successful in whatever he does. Long term, he wouldn’t mind being the next Robert Herjavec, a businessman and investor.

“I admire Robert because of how he launched his very successful career starting as an IBM salesman,” Hein said. “I like how he built successful businesses and authored multiple books. Also, it is pretty cool that he is featured on the television show “Shark Tank.”

“I want to make it big, but at the same time, maintain a work-life balance. I also wouldn’t mind having my own business with an office and a secretary.”

Rebel Radio: Austin Hille

Austin Hille is a junior integrated marketing communications major from northern California. He came to the Student Media Center looking to meet people and to be part of an after-school program.

“I thought being a DJ would be fun. I never realized how much real-world experience I would gain,” Hille said.

Hille (pronounced Hill-ee) auditioned for a DJ spot his freshman year.

“It’s funny, they asked me if I liked bluegrass, and I had little knowledge of it,” Hille said. “Next thing I knew, I landed the show and was playing bluegrass music.”

In his sophomore year, he switched gears and was a DJ for an electronic dance music show, and he also worked daily as Rebel Radio’s music and programming director. This year, he is student manager of the entire radio station, supervising a music director, a news director and a marketing director.

Austin Hille covering the Republican National Convention in summer 2016.

Roy Frostenson, student media radio adviser, said Hille’s passion and vision have made him a strong manager.

“Austin has been involved with the radio station almost from the day he stepped on campus,” Frostenson said. “He’s been a great manager for Rebel Radio. He’s passionate about music and making Rebel Radio the best it can be. He has a great vision for Rebel Radio and works hard every day to make it happen.”

Throughout Hille’s time with the SMC, he has treated Rebel Radio as if it were a professional job. He wanted an out-of-classroom experience that would give him practice for the real world.

“My biggest accomplishment as student manager is getting Rebel Radio on the Radio FX app and going mobile,” Hille said. “RadioFX represents a major modern push for Rebel Radio and separates us from most college radio stations across the country. Not only does it keep us relevant, but puts us ahead of the pack in so many ways.”

RadioFX has enabled Rebel Radio to make significant gains in its listening audience. The station also airs more student news packages than in previous years, and Hille’s staff has already won several regional awards this year for news coverage and commercials. They continue to be actively involved with Thacker Mountain Radio and live remotes.

Hille’s time at the SMC includes writing for The Daily Mississippian. He covered news, wrote music reviews and, in one of his most memorable assignments, The Daily Mississippian sent him to cover the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in the summer of 2016.

“RNC was an incredible experience,” Hille said. “My favorite story happened on my first night in Cleveland. It was a highly contentious time in the country overall – attacks in Nice had just happened, as well as the shooting in Dallas – and Trump’s polarizing campaign really made the convention feel like a target.

“James Comey stated in Congress the day before I left that he was ‘very concerned’ about the safety of those in Cleveland. I was waiting for a delegate to get out of the convention for an interview, and it was getting dark. Police presence was so excessive it’s hard to describe.

“I was sitting in Public Square – which is where the majority of the protests were taking place – working on a story I was going to send off that night. I heard some commotion and peeped my head up to find what looked to be about 30 police officers in full bomb squad gear, running in my direction. So, I closed my computer, left the area, and called an Uber to get back to my Airbnb. The interview just had to wait until the next morning.”

Hille is ready for the next stage in his career. He has had an internship with a marketing agency in Tupelo, and he’s looking forward to pursuing a career in the marketing field.

“I feel confident about the future of Rebel Radio,” Hille said. “The staff is the reason the radio station works, and they’ve always done way more than I’ve ever asked. They’re great and the station is in good hands.”

Abbie McIntosh on assignment in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

NewsWatch Ole Miss: Abbie McIntosh

As a senior in high school, Abbie McIntosh first learned about the Student Media Center when she came to campus and took a tour.

“As soon as I saw it, I knew this is was the next step, and right where I needed to be,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh is a junior broadcast journalism major from Cypress, Texas, with a minor in political science. In high school, she was the first female sports editor of the student newspaper, and its first media editor.

She quickly got more familiar with the SMC her freshman year, working for The Daily Mississippian as a staff writer and NewsWatch as a weather anchor.

One year later, McIntosh landed the role as a sports anchor and video producer for Newswatch. She enjoyed having the access that student media press credentials provided.

Abbie McIntosh in the NewsWatch Ole Miss studio.

“I really enjoyed being on the field, or in a press box, getting to report for the Rebels,” McIntosh said. “My favorite game was the 2016 Egg Bowl.”

Currently, McIntosh is student manager for Newswatch and has fallen in love with the job. She said that because she spends so much time at the Student Media Center, she has jokingly been told she should pay rent to the SMC instead of to her apartment complex.

Nancy Dupont is professor of journalism and NewsWatch Ole Miss adviser, and works with McIntosh every day.

“Abbie constantly amazes me,” Dupont said. “She is a natural leader who has the respect of all the students she supervises.”

McIntosh said working for the SMC provides invaluable experience that will help her get a job. She dreams of becoming a television show producer or working for the Houston Astros.

“I want to work for the Astros because they’re my childhood team,” McIntosh said. “Some of my best memories are going to Astros’ games.”

Through student media, she got a chance to travel last semester to her home state of Texas as a correspondent, as one of the students covering an Oxford church’s efforts to help rebuild a community after Hurricane Harvey.

Recently, McIntosh won first place for television news reporting in the annual Southeast Journalism Conference Best of the South contest, and the daily newscast has also won awards already this year.

McIntosh said she’s most proud of her NewsWatch Ole Miss staff for its December newscast about the NCAA ruling on the Rebels football team.

“The show was a beast and we crushed it. We really worked like a team and I am so proud of the work we did that day. “

Dupont is confident McIntosh’s future career will be very successful due to her hard work and tenacity.

“Her skill set is perfect for her position, and she always wants to improve. I expect her to get any job she wants and to have a great career,” Dupont said.  “She’s headed for the top.”

Over the last few years, McIntosh has developed a thick skin. She knows that you must leave mistakes behind, learn from them and move forward.

“This sounds cliché, but I love knowing people. I know all my staff and have strong relationships with everyone,” McIntosh said. “I also enjoy being able to call the shots. It’s great when we all work together, because everyone relies on us to get the news out.”

Marisa Morrissette at the Southeast Journalism Conference in February.

 The Ole Miss Yearbook: Marisa Morrissette

After attending Mississippi Scholastic Press Association conferences, and working as managing editor and editor-in-chief of her high school yearbook, Marisa Morrissette knew she wanted to work on The Ole Miss yearbook staff.

Morrissette, a senior integrated communications major, is an Oxford native and was familiar with the Student Media Center before enrolling at the university. Since her freshman year, she has worked as a yearbook designer and for The Daily Mississippian as a design editor.

“I love being involved in every step of the process and seeing it all come together as one cohesive book.” Morrissette said.

As she started her position as The Ole Miss editor-in-chief in 2017, Morrissette had big goals. She wanted to set the 2018 yearbook apart from past years’, while maintaining the yearbook’s brand.

Marisa Morrissette.

“I wanted the book to be diverse,” Morrissette said. “We highlighted stories from the most known people on campus, to people who would have never thought they would be in their college yearbook.”

Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson has worked regularly with Morrissette over the past few years.

“Marisa is a talented designer and a newsroom leader, and we knew she’d be the perfect editor for the 2018 yearbook,” Thompson said. “I really like the vision she had for this year’s theme. I know students will be impressed when yearbooks are distributed in late April.”

Morrissette’s dream job is to be a designer for an NBA team, or to create editorial designs for a sports outlet.

Thompson said she isn’t surprised to hear those are Marisa’s career goals.

“Everybody here likes and respects her so much, and we enjoy teasing her about two things: I think she’s the only vegan in the newsroom, and she knows more about sports than anyone else here,” Thompson said.

In addition to her yearbook leadership role, Morrissette is also president of the Meek School chapter of the Society for News Design. She has won regional design and journalism awards, and she was one of the students who traveled to Sri Lanka in August for a depth reporting project.

Darren Sanefski, assistant professor of journalism, is the adviser for the SND chapter.

“I admire Marisa’s work ethic and the fact that she always strives for excellence in her designs and infographics,” Sanefski said. “She stays abreast of the industry and its leaders, and when we attend Society for News Design events, it’s fun to see her have fan-girl moments when she meets someone whose work she knows and follows.”

Morrissette said her vision of the yearbook could not have been completed without her hardworking staff.

“I never have to micromanage my staff. They all have initiative, self-leadership, and great communication with each other,” Morrissette said. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of the teamwork.”

You may also view this story on the Ole Miss Student Media Center website.

This article was written by IMC major Kelly Fagan. Photos of Ferguson and Morrissette are by journalism major Ariel Cobbert.

Measure of Progress: The Clyde Kennard Story

Posted on: March 8th, 2018 by ldrucker

A new documentary on the life of a civil rights pioneer who sought to desegregate higher education in Mississippi is the result of a collaborative research effort by a group of faculty members at The University of Southern Mississippi. The film was produced by University
of Mississippi journalism and integrated marketing communications professors Alysia Steele and Bobby Steele, Jr.

“Measure of Progress: The Clyde Kennard Story” will premiere at the University of Mississippi, Overby Center Auditorium Tuesday, March 20, 2018, from 6-8 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. There will be a panel to answer questions after the premiere. Clarion-Ledger investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell, who was interviewed in the film, may attend the event.

Southern Miss Freedom50 Research Group, an interdisciplinary group of scholars in the USM Departments of English, History, and School of Mass Communication and Journalism researching racial progress occurring at the university over the last 50 years, reached out to University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism professors Alysia and Bobby Steele to produce the 15-minute documentary. Project funding was provided by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

A native of Hattiesburg, Clyde Kennard made several attempts to enroll at then Mississippi Southern College, now The University of Southern Mississippi, but was denied entry by college, state and local officials. Although his efforts were obstructed, Kennard persisted until he was falsely accused and convicted of multiple crimes, then ultimately sentenced to seven years at Parchman Farm, now the Mississippi State Penitentiary. While there, Kennard was diagnosed with cancer, but was denied proper medical treatment until he was critically ill. He was released on parole in January, 1963 and died July 4, 1963, at the age of 36.

On March 30, 2006, Kennard was declared innocent in Forrest County (Miss.) Chancery Court – the same court where he had been convicted decades earlier – after subsequent investigations showed he had been framed.

To atone for its role in this injustice, USM in 1993 renamed its student services building Kennard-Washington Hall in honor of Kennard and Dr. Walter Washington, the first African American to earn a doctorate from the university. USM also honors Kennard’s legacy through a scholarship program that bears his name, which to date has benefited more than 40 of its students.

Members of the Freedom50 Research Group include Dr. Sherita Johnson, associate professor of English, director of the USM Center for Black Studies and organizer of Freedom50; Dr. Cheryl Jenkins, associate professor of mass communications and journalism and assistant director for the Center for Black Studies; Dr. Rebecca Tuuri, assistant professor of history, and Dr. Loren Saxton Coleman, assistant professor of mass communications.

As the Freedom50 Research Group evolved, Dr. Coleman said it became clear it needed to focus its work on Clyde Kennard, because “his story is paramount in this university’s journey to desegregation and racial progress,” and engaged producers Alysia Burton Steele and Bobby D. Steele, Jr. to turn their idea for a documentary on Kennard’s life into reality. Meek School of Journalism and New Media professor Ji Hoon Heo assisted as camera operator and drone photographer.

“It has been our goal to share his story of triumph, not just tragedy, with the university and greater Hattiesburg community,” Coleman said. “We want each student that walks on this campus to know the Kennard story, understand his sacrifice and see themselves as part of his legacy,” said Dr. Coleman.

Dr. Jenkins described the project as “a labor of love for both the producers and the research group.”

“We wanted to make sure Mr. Kennard’s legacy would be the highlight of our work, and that his determination to receive an education would be an inspiration to all,” Dr. Jenkins said.

Meek School student selected for national multimedia project investigating hate crimes

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ldrucker

Meek School major Brittany Brown is one of 26 students from 19 universities selected to participate in a major national investigation into hate crimes in the U.S. as part of the 2017 Carnegie-Knight News21 multimedia reporting initiative.

Brittany is a junior from Quitman, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a digital content producer, anchor and correspondent for NewsWatch Ole Miss. She was an intern at WTOK-TV in Meridian and a research intern in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Summer Research Program, and she is co-president of the University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists.

Headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, News21 was established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to demonstrate that college journalism students can produce innovative, in-depth multimedia projects on a national scale.

Students from journalism programs across the U.S., as well as Canada and Ireland, will join Cronkite students for the 2018 investigation. They will examine the major issues surrounding hate crimes in America.

The students are participating in a spring semester seminar in which they are conducting research, interviewing experts and beginning their reporting. The seminar is taught in person and via video conference by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post and Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism, and News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former senior editor for investigations and enterprise at the Houston Chronicle.

“We chose hate crimes and hate incidents as this year’s timely News21 topic because of the apparent increase throughout the country of such acts – from bullying and vandalism to assaults and murders – involving racial, religious, nationality, gender and sexual orientation bias,” Downie said.

Following the seminar, students move into paid summer fellowships, during which they work out of a newsroom at the Cronkite School in Phoenix and travel across the country to report and produce their stories.

“We will be able to do what many newsrooms cannot, which is to deploy dozens of student journalists to investigate the culture of hate and related acts of violence in every state in the nation,” Petchel said. “Not only do recent attacks on people of different races and religions call for it, it is the right thing to do in the name of public service journalism.”

Over the past eight years, Carnegie-Knight News21 projects have included investigations into voting rights, post-9/11 veterans, marijuana laws and guns in America, among other topics. The projects have won numerous awards, including four EPPY Awards from Editor & Publisher magazine, the Student Edward R. Murrow Award for video excellence, and a host of honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hearst Awards Program, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism.

Cronkite fellows will be named later this semester. In addition to the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, the other universities are:

  • DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana
  • Dublin City University, School of Communications, Dublin, Ireland
  • Elon University, School of Communications, Elon, North Carolina
  • George Washington University, School of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.
  • Indiana University, The Media School, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Kent State University, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent, Ohio
  • Louisiana State University, Manship School of Mass Communication, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Morgan State University, School of Global Journalism and Communication, Baltimore, Maryland
  • St. Bonaventure University, Jandoli School of Communication, St. Bonaventure, New York
  • Syracuse University, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • University of British Columbia, Graduate School of Journalism, British Columbia, Canada
  • University of Colorado Boulder, College of Media, Communication and Information, Boulder, Colorado
  • University of Iowa, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Iowa City, Iowa
  • University of North Texas, Mayborn School of Journalism, Denton, Texas
  • University of Oklahoma, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Norman, Oklahoma
  • University of Tennessee, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • University of Texas at Austin, School of Journalism, Austin, Texas

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provides core support for the News21 program. Individual fellows are supported by their universities as well as a variety of foundations, news organizations and philanthropists that include the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, International Ireland Funds, The Arizona Republic, The Dallas Morning News, Myrta J. Pulliam, John and Patty Williams, and Louis A. “Chip” Weil.

Who is the Black Panther? Former Daily Mississippian Editor Jesse Holland wrote the book

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ldrucker

Holly Springs native Jesse Holland crafted his most recent novel, “Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?,” using skills he honed during his undergraduate years at Ole Miss.

Holland started at Ole Miss in 1989, immediately going to work for The Oxford Eagle. There, he covered the town of Water Valley, high school sports, and just “whatever had to be done.” One of his most memorable moments was when a writer came in the office asking if anyone wanted to interview him. That writer was John Grisham.

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.

Later, Holland worked for The Daily Mississippian as a news editor before climbing to managing editor and all the way to editor-in-chief. He helped craft a comic strip along with two other students called “Hippie and the Black Guy” that made light of stereotypes for the paper, all while a full-time student double majoring in journalism and English. He also worked for Rebel Radio as a DJ for his rap show and talk show, and was a cameraman for the school’s TV newscast.

“All of the professors at Ole Miss insisted that we all learn different forms of journalism. I went from room to room in Farley Hall,” Holland said. “I tried to stick my finger in every form of journalism I could, and Ole Miss encouraged it.”

Meek School of Journalism and New Media Dean Will Norton found Holland when he was in high school in Mount Pleasant and encouraged him to come to Ole Miss.

“I would have never been at Ole Miss if it wasn’t for Dean Norton,” Holland said. “He has been to a great mentor to me all of these years.”

Norton described Holland as “exceptional” and credited his success to his work ethic.

“I wish I had his character. He is so honest and hardworking, and he never complains. If he talks about something being bad, he does so with a smile on his face,” Norton said. “When Jesse Holland tells you something, you can trust that it’s the truth. I look up to him, not just because he’s taller than me.”

Ever since his time at Ole Miss, Holland has been writing books and for The Associated Press and now lives in Washington, D.C.

Holland has been writing since 2005. His books mainly focusing on African-American history, and he was approached by an editor at Lucas Films in 2016 about writing the backstory for a character named Finn in the “Star Wars” trilogy.

“(Star Wars) was one of the first films I saw in a theater,” he said. “I jumped at the chance, and ‘The Force Awakens: Finn’s Story’ came out.”

After reading the story, an editor at Marvel contacted Holland about writing a story for the latest film about the Black Panther. A comic book fan, Holland readily agreed.

“Marvel wanted a novel retelling the origin of the Black Panther in time for the 2018 movie release so people wouldn’t have to read all of the comic books to figure out his history,” he said. “I’ve been reading them since I was 5 or 6 years old.”

Holland said he had an advantage because he wouldn’t need to be sent the comic books – he already owned them all.

“Back at Ole Miss, I used to drive from campus to Memphis to be there when the comic books came out on Wednesdays. It was a weekly pilgrimage for me and my friends,” he said. “When Marvel came to me, I said, ‘I have all of the comic books down in my basement.’ It was a great experience – it gave me an excuse to read comic books.”

Dex McCain, Holland’s fraternity brother with whom he pledged the Eta Zeta chapter of Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, Inc., the first black Greek-lettered charter at Ole Miss, remembered Holland’s love of comic books in college.

“We knew he was destined for this. The things he’s done have prepared him for this, and he has always had a passion for comic books,” McCain said. “Even in college, he would read comic books. He’s just the right person for it. I’m so proud of him. He’s always been a perennial all-star. Anything he did, he did well and with passion. To me, he tells every story like it is, and that’s what you see in his books, including ‘Black Panther.’”

Holland drew inspiration for his novel about the Black Panther from his own life, something he’s learned to do with his fiction writing over the years.

“A lot of people in my life are represented from the book. You write what you see and you write what you know. I pull from every source that I can,” he said. “The speech patterns come from people I see on a daily basis.”

Marvel gave Holland free reign to work on the book, so he started it in Washington, D.C., where he lives at places he’s familiar with, like the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“If you’re the king of Wakanda, where else would you go?” he said.

Marvin King, professor of political science and African-American history, met Holland as an alumnus and said he believes his background in history research has made his fiction writing stronger.

“He brings a lot of knowledge about the subject,” he said. “He’s done so much prior research about historical matters of race in America. He’s worked in a lot of different places, so he’s been exposed to a lot of different stories as a reporter, and I think that’s all coming together in his latest project.”

Holland said he incorporated as much of the real world as possible, but shied away from including much politics.

“I did do a little flavor of what the world would be like if these characters were real. How would the politics of a hidden country in Africa play with America?” he said. “But this is a superhero story – I had to make sure there were enough punches being thrown. I don’t delve too much into ‘meat grinder’ politics. I tried to look at it from the point of view from someone from Wakanda.”

The movie shattered box office records and is expected to earn $218 million domestically and $387 million worldwide for the four-day holiday weekend. Malco’s Oxford Commons Cinema Grill was overflowing with crowds to see “Black Panther” for the film’s opening. Holland went to go see it with his kids Thursday night.

On the film’s significance, Holland stressed the importance of having an African-American superhero protagonist.

“Growing up, I didn’t have those type of heroes on the big screen. There were very few African or African-American superheroes on television or movies when I grew up. Today, kids will have these characters – they will be able to say, ‘I want to be that,’” he said. “I got the chance to take my kids Thursday night, and they were transfixed because out of all the superhero stories they’ve seen, never have they been to a superhero movie where everybody looks like them. That’s so important for the kids, and I’m just happy that I got to play a small part in crafting this character for the new century.”

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.