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School of Journalism and New Media
University of Mississippi

Student coverage of Hurricane Michael impact focuses on Ole Miss-Oxford connections

Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by drwenger

Photo by Mark Dolan.

When Hurricane Michael blasted through the Florida Panhandle, it was personal for hundreds of Ole Miss students and Oxford residents. As journalists, students Abbie McIntosh, Madison Scarpino and Victoria Hosey didn’t hesitate for a second when they were asked to cover the aftermath and share some of those stories.”

“As soon as I was offered the opportunity to go on this trip, I knew it was something I couldn’t pass up,” Madison Scarpino said. “I knew that I would learn so much about journalism and storytelling out in the field in ways I never have before. ”

Hosey wanted to focus on creating compelling radio pieces. “I like to challenge myself, and I thought that reporting in a place where we would not have access to normal conveniences would test my skills as a journalist.”

The trip would not have happened; however, without the efforts made by Profs. Ji Hoon Heo and John Baker, as well as Dr. Mark Dolan. These faculty members volunteered to spend four days without warm beds or hot food in an effort to help students learn what disaster reporting entails.

“To help our students in the field, where so much learning actually takes place,” said Dr. Mark Dolan. “Nothing is more satisfying than mentoring a team of young journalists in real time. It makes you rediscover what you love about journalism in the first place. Tiring trip, yes – but hugely energizing. It’s a paradox.”

The students hit the ground running producing video, audio, text and photos that aired or were published on NewsWatch Ole Miss, Rebel Radio, The Daily Mississippian and

Scarpino says she will long remember her four days in Florida.

“By going on trips like these, journalism students get the chance to experience what it is like to go out and cover a topic that truly matters to the entire nation and give voices to those who are affected by disasters such as Hurricane Michael.”

Prof. Heo says it’s part of what the school does best.

“Our students spend a lot of time learning in the classroom and it’s a great opportunity for our students to take what they learn and put it to practice in real situations.”