The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘racism’

UM PR students win top award from Southern PR Federation: Lantern award recognizes It Starts with (Me)ek campaign

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017 by ldrucker

A Meek School of Journalism and New Media campaign asking students to “just pause” before stereotyping others has won a top award from the Southern Public Relations Federation.

The Lantern award was presented in the internal communications category at the Southern Public Relations Federation conference in Tupelo Sept. 26. Awards are presented at three levels in multiple categories, and the Lantern is the highest level.

The winning campaign, It Starts with (Me)ek, was created and implemented by a team of 31 students led by Senior Lecturer Robin Street. Judges for the competition repeatedly praised the “great job” the team did.

ISWM was a week of speakers, programs and communications encouraging inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, mental health, religion or other factors. UM alumnus Shepard Smith spoke at two of the events.

A Meek School anti-stereotyping campaign won a top honor, the Lantern award, from the Southern Public Relations Federation. Pictured here are some of the 31 Meek students who served on the campaign committee under the leadership of Senior Lecturer Robin Street, far right. Front, from left, IMC major Kaitlin Childress from Brandon and IMC graduate student Bianca Abney from Moss Point. Back, from left IMC majors Kendrick Pittman from Kosciusko and Zacchaeus McEwen from McComb, with journalism graduate student Chi Kalu from Nigeria. Photo by Stan O’Dell.

Student committee members enrolled in an integrated marketing communications course helped create the campaign. They met weekly to plan events, videos, communications, competitions and social media posts.

“Our students worked for months to plan and implement all the components of the campaign,” said Street, who taught the class. “They spent every Wednesday night in class and countless additional hours working on their individual tasks and assignments. I was so proud to see all their hard work and true dedication be recognized.”

Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment and assistant professor, directs the IMC program at the Meek School. He attended the award ceremony with Street and several students.

“Our student team entered in the professional category,” Fiene said. “So they were judged, not by student criteria, but by professional standards. I noticed that they were the only students to win a professional award that night.  The award exemplifies how well all our faculty prepare our students for their careers in journalism, public relations and integrated marketing communications.”

For more information on the Meek School, visit meek.olemiss.edu.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Meek School African American alumni discuss professional experiences

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by ldrucker
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From left, Ashley Ball, Poinesha Barnes, Kim Dandridge, Kells Johnson, Selena Standifer and Jesse Holland speak during It Starts With MEek events. This panel of Meek alumni discussed their experiences as students and professionals.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media recently concluded its “It Starts With Meek” campaign promoting diversity and inclusivity. Two panels were called “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” A panel of African American Meek School alumni discussed their experiences as students and professionals.

The first panel was moderated by Jesse Holland, an Associated Press race and ethnicity reporter. It featured panelists Gabriel Austin, a video editor for Mississippi Today; Ashley Ball, a communications associate for Siemens Corporations; Poinesha Barnes, a news producer for WREG; Kim Dandridge, an attorney for Butler Snow; Kells Johnson, an assignment editor for WZTV Fox 17; and Selena Standifer, deputy public affairs director for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The second panel, featuring the same panelists, was led by Rose Jackson Flenoral, manager of global citizenship for FedEx Services.

Meek Journalism students who are part of the J102 Oxford Stories journalism class were asked to sit in on the panel and share their thoughts. Their responses are featured below.

Addis Olive
alolive1@go.olemiss.edu

The first question asked was how panel members thought Ole Miss has changed since they were students. Members agreed there are more conversations now acknowledging race issues.

They fullsizeoutput_435bdiscussed personal experiences of name, gender, political beliefs, and race bias in their own work spaces.

They also discussed and agreed that being a black minority today is celebrated. Black culture is being celebrated after being oppressed for so long, especially through social media, with hashtags like #blackgirlmagic and #blackboyjoy.

At the end, each member offered advice to students heading into the workplace. They said try to expose yourself to different cultures and experiences and be prepared for the unexpected. They said students should be go-getters and indispensable.

They suggested being open-minded and experiencing different spaces. They said “integrate, but don’t assimilate.”  Panelists also advised students to be versatile, step outside their comfort zones, and surround themselves with people who are aiming in the same progressive direction you are.

I thought this panel was very thought-provoking and stimulating. I loved listening to the panel member’s perspectives on race issues.

They gave extraordinary advice on how to handle indirect and direct stereotype issues. Their advice was very impactful and something everyone should hear. Being open-minded and stepping out into different spaces can change your perspective.

Nancy Jackson
nmjackso@go.olemiss.edu

This discussion focused on how fighting hate with love has helped members of the African American community through troubling times faced at the University of Mississippi. 

Multiple panelists said they have faced adversity in their current professions. Some said they had never faced blatant racism at Ole Miss, but did once they joined the workforce.

One story that stood out to me was how one man was told “You will always be able to find another job,” insinuating that he was only an “affirmative action” hire.

Walking away from this discussion, I felt more enlightened. Much of the discussion did not just focus on the inequalities faced by black men and women in the professional world; they emphasized that many of these same inequalities are experienced by white women in the professional world.

I had never thought about the fact that once I graduate and enter the professional world, my opportunities could be limited just because of my race. I felt that this discussion was thought-provoking and enlightening for anyone who listened.

Ashley Muller
anmulle1@go.olemiss.edu

What initially impressed me was the diversity of age and gender represented by the panel. Moderator Rose Jackson Flenoral introduced the group of men and women. The first woman to speak during this presentation was Kimbrely Dandridge, a former UM student and former Associated Student Body president.

What struck me immediately was Ms. Dandridge introducing herself as the first African American to be elected into this prestigious position. At first I found it mesmerizing to be given the opportunity to listen to this young woman speak, but I also thought to myself, “FIRST black ASB president? There wasn’t one sooner?”

I am aware of the racially segregated past of the University of Mississippi, but this moment made me realize that transitioning into a campus that consistently practices inclusion is still a challenge here. Black inclusion on campus is a more recent element of student life than initially assumed.

Ms. Dandridge, as well as other members of the panel, experienced moments of racism that they could have let bring them down. Luckily, because they were strong-minded and strong-willed,  these incidents became factors in their developing success.

An example of racism that Dandridge faced was when she joined a predominantly white sorority on campus, Phi Mu. Members of the sorority accepted her, but the study body did not. Racial slurs were thrown at her throughout campus, and she discovered an article that labeled the sorority a “joke” for accepting an African American young woman.

Another panelist spoke about his experiences with campus racism. When he began attending the University of Mississippi, he lived on a dorm floor as only one of five other black students. He made friends with the white students who neighbored him, and become closer with them over time. Choosing these friends also pushed him towards deciding to join a fraternity on campus.

This decision, however, became more controversial than progressive. He would be one of the first African American men to become a member in Ole Miss’ Greek system. Typically, an African American student would choose to join a black fraternity, and likewise for caucasian students because of the university’s history.

This young man’s bravery, whether he was aware of it at the time or not, set a path for the future success of university students from a variety of backgrounds. These situations, as well as the others discussed by the panel, are elements of the University of Mississippi’s history that provide constant hope and drive to create a more inclusive campus.

Lydazja Turner

This panel of black Meek School alumni discussed their experiences here at the university and in the workforce. This was such a great experience for me, because I am a black journalism student here, and even though I am just a freshman and have yet to start my career, I could relate to so much they have gone through.

I related the most to Poinesha Barnes when she started to speak about the situation with her name. I, too, have an ethnic name that is not considered common. Like she is named after her father, I am too am named after my grandmother, so I am extremely proud of my name. However, I am in fear of being judged by future employers because of this.

I could also relate to her being natural and the way people may stereotype me because of my hair. People often assume that I do not act like the average African American person because of the school I attend, so I am often called an “Oreo,” but then they assume that I’m “ woke” and a militant angry black girl.

Many times, I have been told that I would not succeed in an on-air position because of my hair in its natural state. Of course, hearing many comments like this makes me angry, but like many people on this panel, on many occasions, I have to stop and think about my future before I respond.

Hearing them talk about some of their experiences gave me so much hope that I could actually succeed in this industry. This panel helped me to better prepare myself for stereotypes I have to deal with during my college life and when I enter the workforce.

Madison Edenfield
meedenfi@go.olemiss.edu

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow featured a panel of black Ole Miss Meek School alumni. The panel discussed their experiences at the University of Mississippi, changes, or lack thereof, in race relations on campus, and how stereotypes have followed them into the professional world.

The mediator, Jesse Holland, started the presentation by asking the panel what it was like as an African American at Ole Miss. The panel was filled with recent graduates, but their stories made me feel as though race relations have not evolved over time.

The panelists reported almost unanimously the emotional and even physical abuse they endured as students. Even with stories of being threatened by dorm mates, unnecessary frisking by a police officer, and being harassed while walking on the Square, all of the panelists agreed that they would return to Ole Miss if they had the chance.

The panelists said that even though there were less than ideal situations, all the life lessons and good relationships made it worthwhile.

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Panelists posing for a picture.

Reagan Smith
rmsmith5@go.olemiss.edu

In the Overby Center on campus, seven Ole Miss alumni gathered to discuss some of the race issues they have faced on campus. The panel ranged in age, but all seemed to face the same difficulties at some points in their time here at Ole Miss.

UM 2013 graduate Ashley Ball said her Ole Miss experience was very normal, and she did not face direct racism. After graduation, she got a job working on the external communications team at Siemens USA. Ball was then only one of two black women who worked with the company, and she described her first direct encounter with racism. In the end, the panel gave the audience great advice: “Surround yourself with people who are going to bring you up, and get you to where you want to be in life.”

Grant Gibbons
gjgibbon@go.olemiss.edu

On Friday, I attended the “It Starts with MEek” panel discussion “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” The panel consisted of seven African American alumni of Ole Miss and was moderated by Rose Jackson Flenoral.

The panelists, most being very recent graduates, discussed what it was like in their time at Ole Miss and how the university has changed over time. Almost all of the panelists shared stories of times when they had been called a racial slur or had hateful things said about them, but they also stated that the climate is changing and trending in the right direction. They said a dialogue has started on campus, and it is helping the university combat this history of hate that has plagued Ole Miss for years.

The panel then shifted to issues faced in the workplace and what it is like being an African American in newsrooms and offices that are predominately white. It was clear to the audience that discrimination in the workplace was still an issue. One of the panelists brought up the term “microaggression” and said some people don’t even realize what they say is offensive. In little ways, whether it is meant as a joke or not, microaggressions still have an strong affect on whoever it was directed towards.

Towards the end of the discussion, the panel was asked to give advice to students in the audience who are heading into the real world, workplace environment. The biggest thing I took from this question was to surround myself with people who have similar goals as me and are going in the direction I want to go. This is something that I have been taught for years, and to hear it now from a different perspective made that advice so much stronger.

The discussion was interesting and entertaining. The advice they gave was not just centered around African American or minority students, but for everyone as a whole. The discussion opened my eyes about discrimination in the workplace and really gave me a sense of what it could be like in any of the panelists’ shoes.

Emily Wilson

On Friday afternoon, I attended the discussion panel led by Ole Miss alumni based on their experiences as African American people in both the journalism workplace and their experiences as an Ole Miss students.

I expected this event and panel to not really affect me much, based on the fact that I am not a minority. I was very wrong after only being there for a couple minutes when each panel member began telling their individual stories of being targeted in both the media workforce and as students at the University of Mississippi.

Certain stories that were told really affected me, such as the story about the one woman being the first African American member of a sorority. She became a member of Phi Mu, and many blogs and such were put up on social media to personally attack and assault her. This struck me as absurd, especially based on the fact that there are still minimal African Americans involved in the Greek community.

What I took away from this lecture is that it is important to push inclusion, especially in a place such as Mississippi where the history says otherwise. It was very beneficial to hear their stories and hear the way they have been treated, especially in the aspect of microaggressions. After this panel, it is a personal goal of mine to consider the way I talk to people and interact with them, because words are powerful and can hurt even when you don’t intend for them to.

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Angelica Pecha
akpecha@go.olemiss.edu

I was not sure what to expect from the Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow panel, but I was intrigued to hear what journalists had to say to aspiring journalists at the Meek School. Most of the questions asked had to do with race, gender, age, and the parts they play in being a journalist.

Being that I am a white female, I do not personally relate or experience some of the stereotypes and struggles that a black journalist would experience, so hearing a different perspective was beneficial.

Being a journalist on its own is a challenge and is a risk to take on considering the idea that the “starving artist” idea still lives today. Aside from the challenges and risks of taking on a career in journalism, I have a future of struggles within my career because of my gender and age.

As confirmed by the female panelists, there will be certain stereotypes, and people who think less of me and my intelligence because I am a woman. Also, it never occurred to me that my age and millennial status would affect my career. Young panelists spoke about the preconceived ideas that millennials are lazy.

“Millennials care about being happy,” said one female panelists. People love to criticize millennials for being lazy, lacking commitment, and having little concern for the outside world. Millennials face a lot of hate and doubt from their elders because millennials have a high turnover rate, but this is because if millennials are not happy, they will leave and begin anew regardless of the paycheck, which I find to be refreshing and hopeful. By the time I join the work force, the work place will be filled with even more millennials, so this will be an adjustment to the work force as a whole.

I was born a white female. I never had the same struggles a black male or female would face. Black female panelists talked about fighting the stereotype of the “angry black woman” or a the stereotype of a “black person that cannot take a joke.”

A black male panelist mentioned that many black journalists are assigned stories just to get a black point of view. This diminishes their talent and is unfair. The same man struggled with combatting black stereotypes. He didn’t write about topics he loved in fear that it would be too stereotypical.

He said black males typically write about sports, crime, or race issues. He did not want to be seen as a black reporter who “won’t talk about anything, but black news.” He wanted to simply be seen as a writer. These are struggles that I will never have to face, but these struggles are seemingly unfair and unjust.

I will have my own struggles to face in the work force. I have already experienced the stereotypes of being a blonde, fashionable, outgoing, white girl. In high school, the smart girls in the class were shocked to hear my name on the honor roll. They told me they thought I was just dumb and fun.

These same struggles will follow me in the work place. People will not take me seriously because of my appearance. People will doubt my intelligence and capability as a woman and as a writer. No one is free from judgement in the work place or, really, anywhere.

It Starts With MEek week of events set for April 19-25

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by ldrucker

Just pause. That’s what we’re asking you to do for five days.

Pause before you assume you know everything about someone based solely on one factor, such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, age, etc.

Welcome to It Starts With MEek, five days of events from Wednesday, April 19 to Tuesday, April 25 designed to remind students that one factor does not define who we are.

“For example, women once were stereotyped as only being qualified for secretarial, teaching or nursing jobs,” said Robin Street, University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media, senior lecturer and It Starts With MEek chair. “Once we quit stereotyping women, look at how much has changed.

“Even Mississippians are often stereotyped by people from other areas of the country, and look at how many outstanding Mississippians we have.”

Street said we often fall into an easy trap of stereotyping people based on their outward presentation without bothering to discover the many things we share in common with that person.

“Please join us as we all seek to understand together how to approach each person with understanding, dignity, respect and inclusion. We all have more in common than you know.”

There’s also a journalism and marketing competition happening with an April 7 deadline. You can read more here.

Here’s a lineup of speakers and events for the week:

Wednesday, April 19
“It” Starts today!

10 a.m. Opening Ceremony

Welcome from Robin Street, senior lecturer in IMC.  Introduction of committee. Announcement of competition winners. Debut of video.

Welcome and remarks from:

Charlie Mitchell, Ph.D., associate dean and professor of journalism, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

Don Cole, Ph.D., assistant provost and associate professor of mathematics

Shawnboda Mead, director, Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement

Recognize: Katrina Caldwell, Ph.D.,vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement       

11 a.m Other Moments: A Class Photography Exercise in Honoring Difference at Ole Miss Mark Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism and new media, and his students.

1 p.m. Making a Difference by Engaging With Difference Jennifer Stallman, Ph.D., instructor and academic director of racial reconciliation, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

2 p.m.  Tell Me a Story: Mastering the Primary Building Blocks of Diversity and Inclusion Katrina Caldwell, Ph.D., vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement.


Thursday, April 20
A Day in My Life

The joys and challenges of the lives of students and faculty members in diverse publics at UM

Throwback Thursday: Faculty members will be posting throwback photos of themselves.

9:30 a.m.  From James Meredith to Millennials: Race Relations at Ole Miss

A panel of UM students discuss at the state of race relations on campus and their hopes for the future.

Moderator:  Shawnboda Mead, director, Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. Panel members:  Bianca Abney, IMC major; Brittany Brown, broadcast journalism major; Terrius Harris, outgoing president, Black Student Union; Tysianna Marino, president, UM chapter of NAACP.

11 a.m.  Red, Blue and Rainbow: An Inside Look at Being LGBT at UM

A panel of UM students, faculty and staff members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender discuss their life at Ole Miss.

Moderator: Rachel Anderson, journalism major and ISWM events co-chair.  Panel members: Danica McOmber, general manager, Gear Gaming; Dylan Lewis, IMC major; Mykki Newton, videographer/editor, Meek School; Susannah Sweeney-Gates, project coordinator, Center for Continuing Legal Education, with her spouse, Hayden Gates

1 p.m. Building Trust Within Professional and Personal Communities: A Workshop Dr. Jennifer Stollman, instructor and academic director of racial reconciliation, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

2:30 p.m. Sometimes I Feel Invisible: The Experience of Living with a Disability

Moderator: Kathleen Wickham, Ph.D., professor of journalism. Panel members:  Stacey Reycraft, director of student disability services; Adam Brown, sports editor, Hotty Toddy.com; and students Jessie, Trenton, Timber, Martha-Grace, Josh and Jeremy.

5:30 p.m. Spoken Word performance A relaxing night of spoken word expressing stories, thoughts, and aspirations on stereotypes, respect and inclusion from members of the Ole Miss community.

Friday, April 21
Bringing it All Back Home Day
Alumni return to share their perspectives

10 a.m. Race in America: A Journalist’s Perspective, Jesse Holland, Associated Press race and ethnicity reporter

11 a.m. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. A panel of Black Meek School  alumni discuss their experiences at Ole Miss and as professionals  (This panel repeats at 1 p.m. )Moderator: Jesse Holland, Associated Press race and ethnicity reporter. Panel members: Gabe Austin, video editor, Mississippi Today; Ashley Ball, communications associate, Siemens Corporations; Poinesha Barnes, news producer, WREG; Kim Dandridge, attorney, Butler Snow; Selena Standifer, deputy public affairs director, Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Noon:  Private luncheon for panel members, committee members & faculty

1 p.m. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Session II. A panel of Black Meek School alumni discuss their experiences at Ole Miss and as professionals.  Moderator: Rose Jackson, manager, Global Citizenship, FedEx Services. Panel members:  Gabe Austin, video editor, Mississippi Today; Ashley Ball, communications associate, Siemens Corporations; Poinesha Barnes, news producer, WREG; Kim Dandridge, attorney, Butler Snow; Jesse Holland, AP race & ethnicity reporter; Selena Standifer, deputy public affairs director, Mississippi Department of Transportation.

2 p.m. Red, Blue and Rainbow Alumni: A panel of LGBT Meek School  alumni discuss their experiences at Ole Miss and as professionals  Moderator: Shepard Smith, Fox News chief news anchor. Panelists: Martin Bartlett, PR strategist, Barracuda Public Relations; Hayes Burchfield, attorney, Burchfield Law Firm, PLLC; Kells Johnson, assignment editor, WZTV Fox 17 Nashville; Sid Williams, senior enrollment representative, SCAD.

3 p.m. My Journey from Farley Hall to Major News Events around the world Shepard Smith, Fox News chief news anchor.

4 p.m Reception for all speakers and Meek students.

Monday, April 24
Mind, Body & Spirit Monday

9 a.m.  Normal Does Not Exist, Mental Illness Does, Mary Beth Duty, licensed professional counselor and owner, Soulshine Counseling and Wellness, as well as an alumnus of the Meek School.

10 a.m. From the Bible Belt to Baghdad: what today’s IMC and Journalism professionals need to know about the world’s major religions.  Dr. Sarah Moses, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion.

11 a.m.  Keeping the Faith:  Members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths discuss their religion and the challenges they are facing in 2017. Moderator: Dr. Will Norton, dean, Meek School.  Panel members: Dr. Mahmoud A. ElSohly, research professor and professor of pharmaceutics; Dr. Richard Gershon, professor of law; Katherine Levingston, president, Hillel.

1 p.m. Mental Health and Me: Panel Discussion on Personal Experiences with Mental Health Issues  Moderator: Debbie Hall, instructor in IMC. Panel members: Lindsay Brett, doctoral student, School of Education; Mary Beth Duty, owner, Soulshine Counseling and Wellness; Justin Geller, child and youth outreach coordinator, Communicare; Hailey Heck, IMC major; Tysianna Marino, public policy major; Abby Vance, journalism major.

 2 p.m. Role of Individual and Institutional Accountability in Doing Diversity and Equity Michèle Alexandre, professor of law and Leonard B. Melvin, Jr., lecturer.

3 p.m. Keeping it Real on Social Media: Guidelines for Handling Diversity Issues, Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy.

4 p.m.  Unity in Diversity: Fashion show and entertainment. Weather permitting, fashion show will be in Farley front yard. Rain location: Overby Auditorium.

6 p.m.  Racial Politics in Memphis   Otis Sanford, former managing editor,  The (Memphis, Tennessee) Commercial Appeal, now holder of the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis.

Tuesday, April 25
Farley Festival Day

Journalism students are asked to wear purple and Journalism faculty and staff to wear ’60s outfits today to show their support for the It Starts with (Me)ek campaign.

10:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m Farley Festival.

Join us on the front lawn of Farley Hall for entertainment, information, prizes and fun. The festival celebrates the ’60s because of the many movements that gained strength that decade, such as civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights. Rain location: Inside Farley Hall.

Students wearing purple to the tent get a free Chick-fil-A treat. Students bringing a program stamped with at least two events they attended get a free T-shirt.

 During Diversity Rocks events, if you require special assistance relating to a disability, please contact Paula Hurdle at phurdle@olemiss.edu.  Some accommodations, such as ASL interpreting, will require advanced notice to arrange so please request such services at least one week before an event.