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Graduation is Saturday, May 11. Here’s your graduation checklist.

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

It won’t be long until students put on their cap and gown and march in line during the University of Mississippi’s graduation ceremony.

Graduation will be held Saturday, May 11. The morning commencement ceremony will be at 9 a.m. in the Grove. The School of Journalism and New Media graduation will be in the C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum at 3 p.m.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the group chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, will be the graduation speaker.

Students had the opportunity to participate in a graduation expo March 19-21 that answered many questions about the graduation process. Now they can refer to the commencement website for more information.

http://commencement.olemiss.edu/commencement-timeline/

Here are a few reminders by month:

April

  • If you expect to graduate with Latin honors, find out when and where your college or school will be distributing honors cords.

May

  • Verify the time and location (including inclement weather location) for your college or school ceremony.
  • Pick up cap and gown from the C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.
  • All monetary type holds should be cleared before you leave.
  • Diplomas will not be mailed if you have a bursar, financial aid or library hold.
  • May 11 – Commencement Day. Congratulations and Hotty Toddy!
  • Gowns should be returned at the conclusion of your college/school ceremony.  Instructions will be given at the ceremony.

A Winter Week in Puerto Rico: Journalism students visit island to produce hurricane recovery report

Posted on: March 20th, 2019 by ldrucker

For a week during winter break, University of Mississippi journalism students Brittany Brown and Devna Bose traded the comforts of home for waking up each morning at the first sign of light on an island they had never visited.

They were struck by the juxtaposition between the beauty provided by Puerto Rico’s mountains, beaches and rainforests and the lingering effects of one of history’s worst natural disasters.

But, the two Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students in the university’s School of Journalism and New Media did not visit the island to see the views.

Brown and Bose were part of a group that went with a mission: to tell stories of recovery 16 months after Hurricane Maria. The hurricane is linked to 3,000 deaths and shook the infrastructure of the United States territory to its core.

UM student Brittany Brown (left) interviews artist Raúl Ayala at his shop in Loíza, Puerto Rico. Photo by Jasmine Karlowski

“Puerto Rico was of interest because, after doing some initial research, we knew that there were still good stories to tell about how its residents were coping after the two hurricanes that devastated the island, particularly in impoverished areas and in communities of color,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media. “We also found ties between Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts and Mississippi students, residents and companies.”

For Brown, the trip was not solely for educational purposes. Her father is Puerto Rican, and she wanted to further understand her ancestry by visiting his family’s homeland.

“I really don’t know a lot about the Puerto Rican culture,” said the senior print journalism major from Quitman. “So, it was very much a personal reason I wanted to go to Puerto Rico, and with this opportunity I thought, ‘Why not go there while also doing something I love, which is journalism and reporting.’”

They packed so much work into the short winter intersession trip that not much spare time was available for sightseeing.

“We traveled all over the island,” Brown said. “We covered as much ground as we could. Every day we were up with the sunrise driving to the ends of the island. We were there to work – to talk to people and tell stories.

“We really got to dig into the culture of Puerto Rico. We were embedded into small communities and building relationships with everyday Puerto Ricans who are living with the effects of the hurricanes still.”

The Ole Miss multimedia team included journalism student Christian Johnson, photojournalism mentor and recent graduate Ariel Cobbert, and M.F.A. graduate student Jasmine Karlowski, who also is a Study Abroad staff member. The project was led by Thompson and assistant professor Iveta Imre.

The trip was an opportunity for students to stretch their legs journalistically and put the lessons they are learning to the test in a practical environment. Weeks of phone calls and emails before the trip, along with the interviews, photographs and video from the week in Puerto Rico, will be used to produce multimedia stories that will be published this semester.

“(Once it’s published) I’m going to feel like we really accomplished a lot,” said Bose, a senior journalism major from Philadelphia. “I feel like I was pushed on the trip and I gained a lot as a reporter and as a person. It really forced me to learn how to communicate.

UM student Brittany Brown (left) interviews Minerra Ramos-Osorio in Loíza, Puerto Rico. Photo by Jasmine Karlowski

“This is going to be the only clip I have like this, where I have a hand in the photos, the video and graphics that are being made. It’s one of the most thorough pieces I’ve written. So, I’m going to feel like I put to use all the skills that I’ve learned here at Ole Miss.”

Bose and Brown said they were inspired by how the residents of Puerto Rico welcomed them, the hospitality of the people, and their passion and vigor for life despite traumatic experiences.

“Many people are still hurting,” Brown said. “Some literally have PTSD, and if it rains too hard or the wind blows too hard, it can be scary. But the people of Puerto Rico are still so passionate and they refuse to sit in pity and wallow about their situation. I would describe them as resilient.”

Bose’s project will focus on the mental and emotional impact the storms had on residents.

“I am looking at how the people were affected and what’s being done to improve mental health on the island since the hurricane,” she said.

Bose said the residents were open and hospitable to them as reporters, and they seemed to embrace having their stories told instead of viewing the students with skepticism.

“We were really careful to make sure we weren’t exploiting anyone’s tragedy or taking advantage of their situation,” she said. “But no one seemed to think like that. It didn’t seem to cross anyone’s mind. They were just so eager to share their voice, which was amazing to me.”

Some of the students spent time examining recovery and the impact of the hurricanes on Loíza, a small, majority Afro-Puerto Rican town in the northeastern part of the island. In a few ways, Loíza drew comparisons to Mississippi in terms of the Magnolia State’s relationship to the rest of the United States.

“The story I’m working on shows a lot of parallels between Loíza and Mississippi,” said Brown, who aspires to one day be a documentary filmmaker. “Loíza has one of the highest percentages of black Puerto Ricans; Mississippi is one of the states with the largest percentage of African-Americans.

“It is one of the poorest cities on the island; Mississippi is one of the poorest states. But there is a resilience and a will to keep moving despite not having access to many resources, living in poverty and family members leaving the island. We deal with those things here, too.”

In more rural locations on the island, English becomes less commonly spoken. Brown said her ability to speak Spanish was tested during interactions in parts of the island, and she was glad she was able to get out of her comfort zone and practice her Spanish.

“This was my first time really reporting in Spanish,” she said. “My minor is Spanish, and I feel confident in my ability to report in Spanish, but this was the first time I’ve really put the pedal to the metal and really tested myself.”

Thompson said the students represented the university exceptionally well on the trip.

“Watching our students expand their storytelling skills as they explored other cultures (was most memorable for me),” she said. “Several sources complimented our students on their interviewing skills, saying they were as good or better than national media who had interviewed them.”

Bose said she is grateful to Thompson for her leadership and work to make this opportunity possible for students.

“It amazed me that she pulled this trip together in such a short timeframe,” Bose said. “We never would have been able to do anything that we were able to do without her guidance, so I’m just really grateful to her.”

The School of Journalism and New Media works with the university’s Study Abroad Office to offer students a variety of reporting trips to locations around the globe.

This story was written by Justin Whitmore of UM Communications. If you are interested in learning more about our programs or becoming a student, please email umjourimc@olemiss.edu.

Meet Our Students: IMC student Allie Allen

Posted on: March 20th, 2019 by ldrucker

Meet University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC student Allie Allen.

Allen, 20, is a University of Mississippi sophomore majoring in integrated marketing communications. The Jacksonville, Florida native moved to Memphis at age 6 because her dad took another job.

“In 2013, my life took a turn when I was diagnosed with brain cancer,” she said. “After my first brain surgery, I became a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. One of the reasons I chose to come to Ole Miss was because it is far enough, yet close enough to my house and St. Jude if I ever need to go there for treatment or scans.”

Allen said the past six years of her cancer journey have made her realize how much she wanted to work for the hospital that saved her life.

“As much as I would love to be a doctor, I do not feel that I am fit for that job,” she said, “but there are many different jobs that work directly with the hospital that I am interested in working with in the future.”

The fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is called ALSAC, an acronym for American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities.

“ALSAC specifically has jobs that deal with integrated marketing communications,” said Allen, “and this is a big part of why I chose IMC as my major. I feel that integrated marketing communication is important because it is more than just marketing.

“It takes all the aspects of marketing communications and combines them together using different approaches for a specific customer. Even if I do not end up working for ALSAC or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, I wish to work for a company that gives back. I plan to take everything I have learned from this major and apply it to my future career.”

Meet University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC student Shelby Bickes.

The Saltillo native, 22, who is majoring in integrated marketing communications, said she chose IMC because she enjoys creative thinking and how IMC requires you to create and design, yet also involves business, marketing and communications.

As a senior, Bickes has been very involved on campus. Since her freshman year, she has worked with the Wesley Foundation, a United Methodist campus ministry. She served on the entertainment committee for the Student Activities Association, providing campus entertainment and opportunities for student involvement in programming.

She was also a member of the advanced ceramics group, The Mud Daubers, and she participated in an internship with the Oxford Arts Council.

“IMC is about meeting all of the ever-changing generations in their way of effective communications and marketing,” she said.

Meet Our Students: IMC student Ali Arnold

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ldrucker

Meet University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC student Ali Arnold.

The Natchez native, 21, is a junior studying integrated marketing communication and general business, who spent her last two years of high school in Brookhaven, Mississippi studying visual arts at the Mississippi School of the Arts.

Arnold was determined to pursue an art degree in college, but later began thinking about studying advertising since it would allow her to channel her creativity. After learning about the IMC program, she declared a major and fell in love with her studies.

“IMC isn’t just a degree or a career path,” she said, “it’s a mindset and a philosophy on how to approach the world and solve problems.”

After an internship at Bright Rain Advertising in Orlando, Florida, Arnold decided public relations was not the right path for her. But she fell in love with brand strategy and research after taking classes on both in the IMC program.

She plans to work for an advertising agency after school in either Boston or Miami, her two favorite cities.

Meet Our Students is a new feature from Oxford Stories and the UM Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. To learn how you can become a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

Two student journalists from NewsWatch place first in Southeast Journalism Conference competitions

Posted on: March 1st, 2019 by ldrucker

Congratulations to Matthew Hendley and Madison Scarpino for winning first-place awards in Southeast Journalism Conference competitions.

Hendley, a NewsWatch Ole Miss anchor and correspondent, won first place in the SEJC onsite anchoring competition. Judges said the entries were unusually strong this year, and Hendley, a sophomore, came out on top.

Scarpino, a junior, was named Best TV Hard News Reporter for packages that aired on NewsWatch Ole Miss last year about Hurricane Michael and the Journalism and New Media forum after Ed Meek’s Facebook post. Scarpino was social media producer for NewsWatch last semester.

JNM Professor Nancy Dupont is NewsWatch adviser and has worked with both students.

“They’re both incredibly talented student journalists,” Dupont said. “I’m not surprised that Madison took first place in reporting because she’s an excellent storyteller. Matthew is the one of the best at interpreting the news, but I’m so proud of him for taking first place in anchoring, which is a really competitive category.”

The SEJC conference was Feb. 14-16 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro near Nashville. For the anchoring onsite category, Hendley was given about 10 minutes to read the script, and then he went on the air for about five minutes reading the script and doing a sign-off in a virtual newsroom. It was a mini-newscast with four or five local Tennessee stories, requiring him to switch from one camera to another after the anchor intro.

“It was neat to see another school’s newsroom,” Hendley said, “though I was not a fan of the virtual newsroom…of everything being painted green! But it was another great experience and an honor that I will always remember.”

Abbie McIntosh, NewsWatch Ole Miss student manager, shared a second-place award with Scarpino in the onsite TV reporting team category.

“Having Madison take home the top prize for Best TV Hard News Reporter made me so happy because I know how hard Madison works on her projects,” McIntosh said. “I was able to witness the work that was put into the packages we submitted for SEJC, and I was beaming with pride, not only as her friend, but as her student manager,” McIntosh said. “And having Matthew take home Best TV Anchor made me grin from ear to ear. Matthew is such a character on the desk and I’m so glad everyone else realized that, too.”

UM School of Journalism and New Media grad lands job with New York Daily News

Posted on: March 1st, 2019 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student who worked in student media just landed a job as a reporter with New York Daily News.

Blake Alsup wrote to tell us it has been hectic trying to move and settle into his new apartment.

“I started my new job as a national breaking news reporter at the New York Daily News on Feb. 25,” he said. “For years, I’ve dreamed of living and working as a journalist in New York. Now I’m working with an online team that seeks out relevant and interesting news around the country for our readers.

“I’m thankful for experience I gained as a journalism student at Ole Miss in classes and while working at The Daily Mississippian as a reporter and later as an editor.”

Alsup said he wouldn’t have landed the job if he hadn’t participated in The King’s College New York City Semester of Journalism in the fall 2017. He took classes and interned at the Daily News during experience.

“That’s where I met and worked for my current editor,” he said. “He kept up with my work when I returned to Ole Miss and interned at The Detroit News and offered me a job after graduation, so that’s how I ended up here.”

Are you a recent School of Journalism and New Media graduate who has landed your dream job? If so, we want to hear from you. Email ldrucker@olemiss.edu to share your story.

To learn more about the King’s College program, click here.

Next Society of Professional Journalists meeting set for March 6 at 4 p.m. in Farley

Posted on: February 28th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter will meet Wednesday, March 6 at 4 p.m. in the lounge area of Farley Hall. If you are interested in becoming an SPJ member, please join us to learn how you can become involved.

We want to hear your ideas about how we can grow our SPJ chapter. We’re also looking for members who want to be representatives or ambassadors of the organization.

Some of our members are planning to attend the regional SPJ conference in March.

You can find us on Facebook at this link.

Those who officially join the chapter and pay their dues receive a free SPJ T-shirt.

Our SPJ officers for this year are:

Grace Marion – president
Brooke McNabb – vice president
Ashton Riad – secretary
Briana Fkirez – secretary
Aly Rezek – SPJ officer
Walter Demasi – SPJ officer

The Society of Professional Journalists is also hosting a photo contest. If you take an interesting photograph on campus or in Oxford and Lafayette County, tag us @umjourimc on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We may republish your photo the School of Journalism’s social media accounts.

University of Mississippi journalism grads share insights about post-graduate careers

Posted on: February 28th, 2019 by ldrucker

They attended their last classes and took their final exams in December. Now, these School of Journalism and New Media graduates have fully launched their careers and are ready to offer advice to this semester’s seniors.

Annie Mapp

Annie Mapp is a December graduate now serving as a news reporter at WBTW News 13 in Mrytle Beach, South Carolina.

Mapp began her career at WBTW News 13 in January. A few months before graduating, she began applying to several news outlets throughout the southeast.

“There are so many outlets you can work for,” Mapp said. “I just made a list and started going to each website and applying for the jobs that seemed most interesting.”

Mapp’s advice for future graduates is to have a great resume and maintain strong relationships with professors.

“I sent my resume to several of my professors in the School of Journalism, and they helped me with the job search and choosing which career path to take,” Mapp said. “They were a great resource for me.”

Annie describes her typical day as a news reporter as different and exciting, with new ideas always circulating and several opportunities for live broadcasting.

“This career has been great so far because I have gotten experience in reacting and speaking in the moment,” Mapp said.

Brianna Bynum

Brianna Bynum is a multimedia journalist for WTOK-TV in Meridian, Mississippi.

Bynum said she knew she wanted to jump right into her career upon graduating, so she began applying for jobs in October. She believes the key to finding a job so soon after graduating is consistency.

“I took time every day to reach out to employers and apply to jobs,” Bynum said.

Bynum describes a day in her career as busy and rewarding.

“As a multimedia journalist, I do all of the shooting, editing, writing and reporting for my stories on my own,” Bynum said. “So many different factors play into the story and writing scripts.

Though still in the training process, Brianna is already participating in editorial meetings and gathering her own stories. She credits much of her success to the School of Journalism and New Media.

“The School of Journalism and New Media really prepared me for this job,” she said. “A lot of the things that I am being told to do here are things that I have already been taught at Ole Miss. The news reporting experience I gained at NewsWatch Ole Miss and in my broadcast classes have played a large role in my confidence and reporting abilities.”

Sam Farris

Sam Farris is the public address announcer for Itawamba Community College Athletics, a sports writer for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal/Itawamba Times, and a fundraising partner with St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Farris credits his achievements to networking with former employers and colleagues.

“I worked my entire college career as a sports writer, public address announcer, and frequent radio personality,” Farris said. “The relationships I have developed have really helped give my career a great start.”

Farris has been working closely with local ESPN 95.1 The Fan in Tupelo, Mississippi, and has future aspirations to own his own business.

This story was written by Abby Adcock. For more information about the University of Mississippi School of Journalism’s programs, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

UM students participate in Mississippi Today rebranding process

Posted on: February 26th, 2019 by ldrucker

A class of University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students participated in the rebranding process for a growing statewide news organization.

Mary Margaret White, marketing and branding manager for Mississippi Today, said her staff worked with the UM class while considering a brand rehaul. Both groups learned from each other.

“Working with the UM students helped solidify our decision to move forward with a full redesign of our logo, color scheme and home page,” she said. “We have a young, innovative team, and the original branding didn’t match the energy of our newsroom.

“We wanted something memorable that would give a nod to the legacy of traditional, in-depth reporting while recognizing that we are a new model for journalism in the way we approach, and disseminate, stories.”

White, who worked for eight years with the State of Mississippi for both the Mississippi Arts Commission and Visit Mississippi/Mississippi Development Authority, said the Mississippi Today homepage redesign now showcases more stories “above the fold” or “above the scroll” of your screen. It offers a nice balance between dynamic visuals and easy-to-access categories and sections, she said.

“The logo color is teal, which feels clean and modern,” White said. “Incorporating the talk box into the logo makes it clear that we are a digital outlet while inferring that our reporting is meant to drive conversation. The tagline ‘We report to you.’ encapsulates our nonprofit model while also making clear the public service mission for our newsroom.”

White, who is an advisory committee member for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, said the MT leadership team offered a real-world experience for the UM class.

“We didn’t take the student suggestions at face value, but challenged the students with the same level of questioning and market-based research we put in front of the designers we engaged to create the new look,” she said. “Clients often want to know why you are not including certain elements in a redesign rather than hear about the creative process behind the work. I think the students learned that when making a pitch, come prepared to answer questions about what is not in your presentation rather than what is included.”

Lauchlin Fields, the Mississippi Today web editor, said the redesign better represents what MT is as a news organization.

“It creates a renewed energy and a more user-friendly interface that helps us engage with our readers and increase reader loyalty,” said Fields, who began her career as a journalist at The Vicksburg Post.

The UM students were led by Ann Day Becker, a School of Journalism and New Media integrated marketing communication professor. She said students in her fall 2017 IMC 455 Campaigns class offered input about the rebranding.

“Campaigns is the capstone class for the IMC degree program,” said Becker. “Students leverage all their learnings to develop integrated marketing plans for actual businesses and organizations. The class provides excellent real-world experience for the students, a fresh perspective on new marketing ideas and approaches for the ‘clients.’”

Becker, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s degree in business administration, both from Millsaps College, brings to the classroom more than a decade of experience in corporate communications for Entergy Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, and a decade as editor of Mississippi Magazine.

“A redesign of Mississippi Today’s website and banner was a hallmark of the recommendations of the students,” she said. “The class felt strongly that the original design did not accurately reflect the forward-thinking, contemporary approach to reporting and delivering digital news that Mississippi Today was taking.”

While some actual design suggestions were presented to Mississippi Today by student “agencies,” Becker said ultimately MT pursued their own professional redesign, addressing some of the issues and opportunities noted by the students.

“Once Mississippi Today had narrowed their design concepts to three, a subsequent class tested the designs by providing their input through a survey,” said Becker. “The students had the benefit of meeting with key principals at Mississippi Today, learning their points of view and understanding their audiences and objectives.”

Mississippi Today reporters Larrison Campbell and Adam Ganucheau in the press room of the state capitol with sign featuring the old Mississippi Today logo. Ganucheau is a UM School of Journalism and New Media graduate.

From there, students conducted their own research, including surveys, to help make recommendations for future improvements, including suggesting ways to engage millennials.

“The students worked in teams, providing a wide range of recommendations, including music concerts and in-person news forums conducted in places students already enjoy,” said Becker. “This idea of the forums capitalized on the basic marketing concept of meeting your audience where they are.”

While Mississippi Today has not yet pursued one “student agency’s” idea of sponsoring a live Bruno Mars concert in the Grove at UM, Becker said they are hosting regular events called “Newsroom from the Taproom” that provide lively discussions on current news topics in popular watering holes around the state.

“I really like the new logo and color palette because it is eye-catching, contemporary and serious without being stuffy,” Becker said. “It does not look like other news resources, so you know immediately when you see it in your inbox or elsewhere that it’s Mississippi Today.”

Becker said students appreciated being on the cutting edge of developing a new information resource for Mississippians that is designed and delivered digitally and is employing young talent to seek out the stories that matter most.

“The students were keenly aware of the issue of fake news and responded very positively to MT’s commitment to accuracy and in-depth reporting,” Becker said. “I am certain that their experience in consulting with Mississippi Today provided insight and experience beyond the classroom that is invaluable as they begin their careers.”

Emily Valentine, 23, was one of the students who participated. The Charlotte, North Carolina native majored in IMC with minors in business and Spanish and now lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

“As a graphic designer and someone who really values good design and a brand’s look/feel, it was very important to me to make sure Mississippi Today had an impact that resonated visually with their target audience,” she said. “Younger people respond better to well done graphics and photography and like to look for reasons to have a personal connection with a brand.”

Valentine said she led her team, creating graphics for print and digital channels and a custom booklet outlining their rebranding process and ideas that was distributed to the client during her presentation.

“It was really interesting to provide a more creative viewpoint to a client like this as well as inject some humor and put a spin on the idea of old school reporting in a digital world,” she said. “This project really cemented my love for establishing a brand and working on the creative, design side of this process. I learned a lot about presenting a concept to a client and how much I enjoy sharing and improving a brand or new ideas.”

White said Mississippi Today has already seen substantial growth in readership both direct to the site and via their social media channels.

“Several loyal readers have reached out asking for mugs, stickers and T-shirts with the new branding,” said White. “Moreover, the update has been a great moral boost to our team, all who feel proud of the way we are visually represented.”

This article was written by LaReeca Rucker. For more information about the School of Journalism and New Media’s programs, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

Public relations student team takes first place in on-site competition at Southeastern Journalism Conference Competition

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ldrucker

Team Included IMC majors for the first time

For the first time, two integrated marketing communications majors were on the winning team in the public relations on-site competition for the Southeastern Journalism Conference Competition.

Team members were IMC majors Hayden Benge and Davis Roberts and journalism major Hailey McKee.

“I am so proud of what our students do,” said IMC Assistant Dean Scott Fiene. “And the fact that the winning three-person team is comprised of both IMC and journalism majors is testament to how students from both our degree programs work together and are prepared for real-world scenarios.”

For the competition, held on the campus of Middle Tennessee State on Feb.15, the team had two hours to complete a communications plan addressing a hypothetical public relations situation given them.

For the first time, IMC students were on the winning team that brought home first place in the on-site PR competition at the Southeastern Journalism Conference Feb. 15. Team members had two hours to create a communications plan for a PR situation they were given. Pictured, left to right, are team members IMC major Davis Roberts, Journalism major Hailey McKee and IMC major Hayden Benge and (Photo credit: Stan O’Dell)

“The situation was detailed, complex and longer than any of us expected,” McKee said. “Though there was temptation to become frozen with pressure, when we started tossing out different ideas and creative strategies for the campaign, I think we quickly found our groove and had a lot of fun with the situation we were given.”

Roberts attributes their success to what he learned in his IMC classes.

“In IMC, I’ve been taught to focus on a particular situation and learn everything I can in order to compose the right message for the right people and effectively deliver that message in a consistent manner across multiple channels,” Roberts said.

Benge and other team members particularly credited their PR classes.

“The 491 and 492 classes for the public relations specialization were very helpful in preparing us for the competition,” Benge said. “The assignments in the classes required us to create PR plans similar to the one in the competition. Having that background definitely assured us that we knew what we were doing.”

The students’ instructor for those classes, Senior Lecturer Robin Street, asked the students to enter the competition.

“I already knew how outstanding these students are, so I never doubted they would win,” Street said. “They all excel in planning, creating and implementing a communications strategy plan.”

Street has also nominated the students, all seniors, for a separate award from the Public Relations Association of Mississippi for Student of the Year.  Those awards will be announced in April.

At the SEJC conference, Assistant Dean of the JNM School Patricia Thompson was named Educator of the year. Six journalism students also placed in other on-site competitions. In addition, journalism students won multiple awards in the Best of the South competition for work they had completed during the school year.

For more information on the SEJC competition results, visit  https://jnm.olemiss.edu/2019/02/19/assistant-dean-students-earn-21-awards-at-journalism-conference/.