A 20-page Daily Mississippian on Oct. 3, published on deadline the night before. NewsWatch 99 full of content produced on Friday and live feeds during the show.
The football Rebels weren’t the only star team on campus last week. Meek School students taking classes and working at the Student Media Center created professional-level content for the lead-up to the Big Game.
NewsWatch produced six complete news stories during the day on Friday, including the run into the Grove at 9 a.m., a report from businesses on the Square and the ESPN news conference. Correspondent Brittany Clark did a field anchor segment from the Grove that included a live interview with Hannah Chalker, a 2011 Meek School graduate who is now a sideline reporter for ESPN3. In the interview, Chalker credited NewsWatch for giving her a start in the business.
NewsWatch adviser Nancy Dupont said she learned something about the NewsWatch crew last week: Don’t caution them to play it safe.
“Station manager Sudu Upadhyay and his staff want to shoot for the moon,” Dupont said. “They were right on target, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Daily Mississippian students had planned to publish a 16-page DM including a sports preview for Friday. But when student Sales Manager Matt Zelenik and his staff saw advertising requests surge early in the week, Editor-in-Chief Lacey Russell and her staff made the decision to aim bigger: 20 pages.
With more than 100,000 people expected in Oxford for the weekend, this was a great opportunity to showcase their work. The staff scrambled to call in a few extra hands Thursday night to make sure the DM would be as perfect as possible. The result: a strong newspaper that Meek School Dean Will Norton said was one of the best ever “because it focuses on the reason for this weekend and because of the quality of the articles.”
“Great job,” Dean Norton said. “It makes me proud that the Student Media Center is in the Meek School.”
On Saturday, a team of journalists worked throughout the day covering ESPN’s GameDay – in the Grove for the first time ever – as well as tent setup and tailgating, the game, and the celebration and craziness afterward. At one point, yearbook Editor-in-Chief Phillip Waller could be spotted on the roof of the Student Union, taking crowd overview photos. DM and NewsWatch students were in the press box and on the field. Celebrity photos – Katy Perry, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson – were posted to social media. DM Multimedia Editor Thomas Graning’s photograph of students on the goal posts was quickly retweeted hundreds of times.
Following the parties and a bit of sleep, Daily Mississippian and NewsWatch students and their advisers were back at work on Sunday, working on Monday evening’s NewsWatch broadcast, and a much-awaited DM front page.
Student Media Director and DM faculty adviser Patricia Thompson called the DM publishing company to request higher-quality newsprint for Monday’s souvenir edition, and the plant manager was happy to comply. The result: A stunning poster-quality front page and two full color pages of photographs inside, all produced on deadline Sunday night. Allison Moore designed the front page.
Alumni had flooded the staff with advance requests for copies, and even more requests poured in on Monday morning.
Thompson said that there is nothing better than watching students rise to the occasion when a big story hits campus.
“Somehow, they create this amazing content while they are full-time students,” Thompson said. “Imagine what they will accomplish when they are full-time professionals. Our only regret about these past few days is that we didn’t have more camera equipment available for students to use.”