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Street honored for making University of Mississippi more inclusive for LGBTQ students

Posted on: May 11th, 2018 by ldrucker

Robin Street, senior lecturer in journalism, has been recognized once again for her work to make the University of Mississippi more inclusive for all students.

The Allies Program recognized Street as the 2018 faculty recipient of the Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Award. The award was created in 2015 to recognize the work of Vicki Mahan, who was retiring from the university. She created and ran the Allies Program for more than a decade.

The award recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make the university a welcoming, accepting, and inclusive place for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff.

Street, who organized and led a program last year called It Starts With MEek that promoted diversity and inclusivity, shares the award this year with Vice Chancellor Brandi Hephner Lebanc, the staff/administrator recipient.

Street is pictured with Kevin Cozart, operations coordinator, for the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.

Meek School magazine students visit Meredith Corp. in Birmingham

Posted on: May 2nd, 2018 by ldrucker

Samir Husni, Ph.D., also known as Mr. Magazine, recently took six magazine students with him to visit the Meredith Corp. in Birmingham, publisher of Southern Living, Coastal Living, Cooking Light and Food & Wine.

They spent a day with magazine editors and toured the famous test kitchens.

Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living and Coastal Living, and Hunter Lewis, editor-in-chief of Cooking Light and Food & Wine magazines reviewed and commented on the magazine students’ magazine ideas.

The one-day trip ended with an hour and a half meeting with the director of human resources at Meredith in Birmingham, Carole Cain. Hannah Willis was one of the students who attended.

“Throughout the day, we toured their incredible food studios, seeing shoots in progress and talking to food studio professionals,” she said. “People from all parts of the four magazines (Southern Living, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, and Cooking Light) came and talked to us about the day-to-day working of their magazines. It was an incredible opportunity to see the industry up close.”

Willis said she learned a lot.

“Most importantly, I learned that this is a constant job that requires an individual to stay on top of all trends while creating excellent content and navigating the differences between their print and digital platforms,” she said.

Lana Ferguson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, the University of Mississippi’s campus newspaper, said students met and interacted with different people in charge of different parts of the magazines and brands.

“We toured the infamous Time Inc. Kitchen Studio and saw the behind-the-scenes making of recipes, videos, and even .gifs,” she said. “And throughout the rest of the day, we met with experts in areas from social media, travel, video, food and more.”

Ferguson, who said she remembers flipping through the pages of Southern Living magazine before she could read, said she was surprised by some of the things she learned during the tour.

“As someone who has interned with a magazine and held editor roles in a newspaper, I thought I had an idea of how these legacy brands were run, but this experience was eye opening,” she said. “I now know some of the intricate details and effort that goes into every page of a magazine, the scheduling of production months in advance, and the developing of digital pieces that supplement the already-established print products.

“A lot of the people we spoke with mentioned ‘the reader is your boss,’ and that reminded me of how I got into journalism to serve people, and most of them did too, so I really appreciated that as well.”

Student Brittany Abbott said she was impressed by many things, including the building.

“We saw the Time Inc. test kitchens that are on the top floor paired with the camera studios for the magazine work,” she said. “We also saw the basic building process from beginning to end for the magazine.”

Abbott said she learned it takes a team to make a successful magazine like Parents or Southern Living.

“Everyone had a very specific job and a time to do that job,” she said. “They worked together so well. It was wonderful. I’m so grateful I got to go.”

Meek School’s Wenger honored with Larry Burkum Service Awards by AEJMC Electronic News Division

Posted on: April 21st, 2018 by ldrucker

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 reporters talk about MLK reporting project in Daily Journal podcast

Posted on: April 21st, 2018 by ldrucker

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.

http://memo.djournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/The-Memo-04.20.18-MLK-memories.mp3

You can read stories from the project at the website: The Lorraine Motel: 50 Years After the Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

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

View the work of the Lens Collective focusing on civil rights stories in the Mississippi Delta

Posted on: April 5th, 2018 by ldrucker

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media hosted the Lens Collective – an annual multimedia workshop that involved collaborations with mentors, students and eight universities – March 28-31. The 2018 focus was stories about Civil Rights in the Mississippi Delta.

“The Lens Collective is fun and intense,” said Alysia Burton Steele, assistant professor of the Meek School. “We have incredible mentors helping students and sharing their inspiring work.”

Three distinguished guests mentored students and presented their work. They are Smiley Pool, a Pulitzer-Prize winning photojournalist from The Dallas Morning News; Eric Seals, a nine-time regional Emmy Award-winner from the Detroit Free Press; and Josh Birnbaum, an award-winning photojournalism professor at Ohio University and author of the newly released coffee table book Dream Shot: The Journey to a Wheelchair Basketball National Championship.

Students took a bus tour in the Delta, enjoyed dinner with the people they documented and premiered student work on the last night of the program.

Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, partnered with the Lens Collective to provide a civil rights heritage tour of the area. The educational tour included the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville, the historic black town of Mound Bayou, and a Mississippi Delta soul food experience at The Senator’s Place restaurant in Cleveland.

Dr. Herts, Lee Aylward, and Sheila Winters of The Delta Center organized the tour and connected the Lens Collective with Delta residents whose stories were documented.

“We are pleased to host for a second year this group of talented students and mentors from across the country,” said Herts. “They are documenting and preserving important Mississippi Delta stories.”

This is also the second year the Meek School has partnered and will sponsor all other events. It was an opportunity for participants to build their resumes and portfolios.

“Universities that can provide immersive field experiences to their students like the Lens Collective are taking their education seriously,” said Charles Mitchell, assistant dean of the Meek School. “They understand that classroom alone is not sufficient for a media practitioner. They find out how much fun it can be, and their college work is better because seeing what it’s really like being out in the field inspires them.”

To see the Lens Collectives work, visit the website.

By Bobby Steele Jr., Meek School of Journalism and New Media

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/