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National politics and Mississippi’s senate runoff to be analyzed Wednesday

Posted on: November 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

Two veterans of Mississippi’s politics — a Republican and a Democrat  will review the results of the Nov. 6 election and offer commentary on the extraordinary runoff for a U.S. Senate seat later this month at the final program of the fall season at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 5:30 p.m.

Austin Barbour, who held prominent roles in past Senate campaigns of Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, will join Brandon Jones, a former member of the state House of Representatives and co-founder of the Mississippi Democratic Trust, in an hour-long discussion with two former national political reporters, Charles Overby, chairman of the center, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie.

A focus of the program will be the Nov. 27 runoff between Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican appointed to fill a seat vacated by Cochran’s resignation, and Mike Espy, a former Democratic congressman from Mississippian who served as President Clinton’s secretary of agriculture. Hyde-Smith and Espy both won more than 40 percent of the votes in the midterm election, but because neither topped 50 percent, it triggered a rare runoff to determine who would take the remaining two years of Cochran’s term.

The panel will also discuss the state of politics in the rest of the country and what the mid-term elections will mean to the 2020 presidential campaign.

“The end of the midterm elections signals the beginning of the presidential race,” said Overby. “We will talk about the ramifications of the midterms in Mississippi and beyond.”

Barbour comes from a First Family of Republicans in the state. His father, Jeppie Barbour, became one of the first members of the GOP to serve as a mayor in Mississippi when he was elected to the post in Yazoo City nearly 50 years ago. Former Gov. Haley Barbour is Austin’s uncle. As a result, Barbour has worked in and around campaigns all his life.

He is managing partner of the Clearwater Group, a regional public affairs firm in Jackson, and also a partner in Strategic Partners & Media, a national advertising group based in Annapolis, Maryland.

Jones is an attorney with Baria-Jones, a law firm with offices in Jackson and Bay St. Louis. (His partner, David Baria, ran unsuccessfully against Wicker for the other U.S. Senate seat at stake this month.)

Jones has also worked as an advisor for Democratic candidates in a number of other state and local campaigns in Mississippi.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in a lot adjacent to the Overby Center Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus, and a reception will be held following the program.

IMC students use research skills to improve The Meridian Star’s marketing strategy

Posted on: November 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

As our capstone course for the integrated marketing degree program at Ole Miss, we are applying our skills of marketing and research to boost new objectives of The Meridian Star. We have analyzed the company needs and what the organization could do to grow its business.

The Meridian Star is positioned uniquely, and we intend to identify ways the organization can preserve this uniqueness. By understanding audiences and sharing ideas in class, we are gaining a more detailed understanding to help The Meridian Star realize these objectives for their daily business.

Ole Miss students (from left) Darby Frisbie, Kedrick Smith, Molly Chain and Hayley Day are simulating an integrated marketing communications agency, gaining real-world experience by developing a promotional plan for brand awareness and expanded services of The Meridian Star.

For our generation, the ways people get news and information is different from how they did in the past. We have come up with different ideas and strategies for making it easier for people in the Meridian area to access relevant information at their convenience.

We also want to figure out the type of information people want to read about and recommend how The Meridian Star can put more of that information out there. We also want to learn what kind of services might add value. We have provided surveys for residents and businesses to gain this information. By the end of this class, we hope to help The Meridian Star reach as many people as possible by using this information to develop effective marketing recommendations.

With closer research and proper surveying, we believe we will be able to accomplish the repositioning of The Meridian Star. We hope to gain insights that haven’t been brought to light such as: “What is preventing local residents from engaging with The Meridian Star?” and “What would make the publication and its services the most attractive to Meridians?”

We have assumed that the lack of visibility of staff in the Meridian community and the dated design and delivery of the paper are a few problems that have resulted in these issues. Luckily, we will be able to clearly see through our research if these hypotheses are actually contributing to the main issues of The Meridian Star. Once we identify the root problems, we can then recreate the brand image of The Meridian Star by taking the right steps toward a specific solution.

By Darby Frisbie, Kedrick Smith, Molly Chain and Hayley Day. They are students in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. For more information on this project, contact Alexander Gould, publisher of The Meridian Star. This piece was originally published on the Mississippi Press Association website.

Lens Collective student film accepted as Oxford Film Festival entry

Posted on: November 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

The beauty of learning how to use video software is that you can potentially create something important and impactful, even if it is very short.

Congratulations to Matt Cipollone, of American University, and Mikey D’Amico, of West Virginia University. Their Lens Collective short film “Signs” was accepted into the Oxford Film Festival that will be held Feb. 6-9, 2019.

“Signs” is a 3:37 short film about a company that is replacing the bullet-ridden sign that memorializes Emmett Till and marks the site where his body was found after he was lynched in 1955 at age 14 in Money, Mississippi.

Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Addington said the film was chosen for the Oxford Film Festival because it had a “powerful message and is a story that needs to continue to be shared.”

She offers the following advice to student and area filmmakers who are interested in producing short or full length documentaries to submit to the festival.

“I recommend attending and seeing what other work is out there,” she said. “With our new student category and new $50 VIP pass for students only, along with free workshops, the festival is very accessible to new filmmakers.”

Addington said short film entries must be one minute to 30 minutes. They should be submitted via Film Freeway when submissions are open for 2020 next summer.

Cipollone and D’Amico’s mentor was Josh Birnbaum of Ohio University. University of Mississippi professor Vanessa Gregory lined up the story and made the initial calls.

Click this link to watch the short film “Signs.”

SIGNS from Lens Collective Conference on Vimeo.

For more information about how you can become involved in the Oxford Film Festival as a filmmaker or volunteer, visit the website.

Dr. Nancy Dupont named Broadcast Education Association representative

Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by ldrucker

A School of Journalism and New Media professor has been elected to a position in the Broadcast Education Association’s District & Division Representative Elections.

Nancy McKenzie Dupont, Ph.D., will serve a two-year term as an interest division representative on the BEA’s Board of Directors.

“The Broadcast Education Association is my favorite academic organization,” Dupont said. “I leave the convention every year with many ideas of how to improve my teaching. I have served BEA in several capacities, including being my interest division chair twice. By being on the Board of Directors, I believe I can contribute to making BEA even stronger by taking the ideas from the interest divisions to the national organization.”

The BEA is described as an international academic media organization that encourages excellence in media production, and career advancement for educators, students and professionals.

“The association’s publications, annual convention, web-based programs, and regional district activities provide opportunities for juried production competition and presentation of current scholarly research related to aspects of the electronic media,” according to the organization’s website.

BEA serves as a forum for exposition, analysis and debate of issues of social importance to develop members’ awareness and sensitivity to these issues and to their ramifications, which will ultimately help students develop as more thoughtful practitioners, the website reads.

Industry site shares story of Dr. Samir Husni’s Luminaire Award

Posted on: October 23rd, 2018 by ldrucker

School of Journalism and New Media professor Samir Husni, Ph.D., is the latest recipient of The Luminaire Award. Husni, the director of the Magazine Innovation Center and a professor and Hederman Lecturer, recently received the honor in New York City.

The award has been described as the “Hall of Fame” for the graphic and visual communications industries.

Watch the video of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., accepting The Luminaire Award for Best in Communications at the Franklin Luminaire Awards: A celebration of achievement in graphic and visual communications. Click here if the video below is not visible.

From left, Samir Husni, Ph.D., accepts his 2018 Luminaire Award from Bob Sacks, a.k.a. BoSacks, Precision Media Group. Picture from the Printing Impressions website: https://www.piworld.com/article/landa-husni-four-other-notables-honored-at-2018-franklin-luminaire-awards-event/

The award was presented by the Idealliance Foundation and the Printing Industries Alliance at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City Oct. 17.

The Printing Impressions website recently wrote a story about the winners. Writer Patrick Henry described the awards as the “Academy Awards of the printing industry.”

Henry writes: “The fourth Luminaire honoree, Samir Husni, Ph.D., is well known to many in the publishing world as ‘Mr. Magazine.’ Bob Sacks, president and publisher, Precision Media Group, welcomed him ‘to the ranks of print’s greats’ and called him a ‘titan’ of the medium because of a lifetime spent evangelizing it.

“He is, Sacks said, the originator of the concept of doctoral studies in magazines,” Henry wrote. “Husni recalled ‘falling in love with the smell of ink on paper’ as a boy in his native Lebanon, where he hand-crafted his own publications and started collecting what is today a 30,000-copy library of magazine first editions. He said that upon emigrating to the U.S. in 1978, ‘My hobby became my education and my profession.'”

You can read the full article by clicking this link.

Retired New York Times journalist named Overby Center senior fellow

Posted on: October 16th, 2018 by ldrucker

Veteran journalist Greg Brock, whose 43-year-career included positions at some of the country’s largest and most respected newspapers, has been named a senior fellow at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi.

His appointment was announced by Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center, an institute devoted to creating a better understanding of the media, politicians and the role of the First Amendment in our democracy.

Brock recently retired from The New York Times, where he worked for 20 years in a number of leadership capacities. He was senior editor for standards, news editor of The Times Washington bureau, news editor on the international desk and deputy political editor for the 1996 presidential campaign.

“Greg Brock has had a career filled with accomplishments,” Overby said. “He will bring his insights and experience to Ole Miss in a way that will benefit students and all who come in contact with the Overby Center.”

Before joining The Times, Brock spent almost a decade at The Washington Post, where he had several editing positions, including night city editor and a news editor for the front page.

He began his career in Florida at The Palm Beach Post. He later worked at The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, The San Francisco Examiner and the Louisville (Ky.) Journal.

Brock was a 1994 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and later served on the foundation’s advisory board for 10 years.

A native of Crystal Springs, Brock graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. While at Ole Miss, he worked for The Daily Mississippian as a reporter, news editor and managing editor. He was president of the student chapter of Sigma Delta Chi/Society of Journalists and was chosen by the faculty as the Sigma Delta Chi Outstanding Graduate in Journalism.

In 2012, the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss awarded him the Sam Talbert Silver Em Award, given to a Mississippi-connected journalist whose career has exhibited “the highest tenets of honorable, public service journalism, inside or outside the state.”

In addition to his work at the Overby Center, Brock is an adjunct instructor at the Meek School.

Meek School assistant professor will be keynote speaker at State Arts Conference

Posted on: October 15th, 2018 by ldrucker

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Arts Commission, and Meek School Assistant Professor Alysia Burton Steele is one of three keynote speakers.

You are invited to “Come As You Art” to the event Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Mississippi State Capitol building. The free, daylong conference is described as an opportunity for artists, arts organizations, arts educators and arts enthusiasts to learn, share and network.

“Featuring compelling speakers, helpful workshops and fun activities, conference participants will leave inspired and ready to greet the next challenge with creative solutions,” the Mississippi Arts Commission website reports.

Casual and creative dress is encouraged. After the conference, attendees can celebrate MAC’s 50th birthday at a reception hosted by MAC’s Board of Commissioners at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

To learn more, visit: msstateartsconference2018.sched.com to see the conference agenda, speakers and other details as they emerge.

Meek School student’s documentary ‘American Hate’ shown in Overby Auditorium

Posted on: October 10th, 2018 by ldrucker

Brittany Brown, a senior Meek School broadcast journalism senior from Quitman, Mississippi, was recently awarded a News21 national investigative reporting fellowship for student journalists.

The documentary she helped create, “American Hate,” was shown Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Auditorium. It was sponsored by the School of Journalism and New Media’s Common Ground Committee. Pizza was served following the film.

Read our Q & A with Brown below.

Q. Tell us about your University of Mississippi experience. Are you involved in student media?

A. I have been involved in the Student Media Center since my freshman year. I’ve written for The Ole Miss yearbook and The Daily Mississippian. I’ve also been a reporter and anchor for NewsWatch Ole Miss. Last year, I was the digital content producer for NewsWatch Ole Miss, and I am currently an assistant news editor at The Daily Mississippian.

Q. Describe the fellowship you won. 

A. News21 is a national investigative reporting fellowship for student journalists. This summer, I spent a few months in Phoenix, Arizona at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University reporting on hate crimes, hate groups and their victims.

The program included a semester-long seminar (January to May) learning investigative reporting techniques and researching incidents across the U.S. I spent the summer mainly reporting on the African American community and doing video storytelling. I helped team-produce the “American Hate” documentary, helped co-write “A Violent Legacy,” traveled on a nationwide road trip and produced interactive storytelling.

Q. What did you learn or take away from the fellowship?

A. I learned that this is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. It was such a great experience working in such a collaborative newsroom and working alongside such talented journalists and editors. I sharpened many of my technical skill, such as my efficiency in Adobe Premiere Pro, but I also learned how to properly research and build for an in-depth story.

Q. What do you hope others learn from the documentary you helped produce?

A. I hope that others realize how relevant the issue of hate is, still, in America today. It is not a thing of the past, and it is something we need to face as a country. I just hope this project expands people’s views of the world.

You can view the documentary trailer here: https://vimeo.com/284232784

Former CEO of Meredith Group magazine publishing division signed copies of poetry book ‘Mississippi’

Posted on: October 10th, 2018 by ldrucker

James Autry signed copies of his new book Mississippi during a reception at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 in the Overby Center lobby.

MISSISSIPPI is a collection of 77 poems from James A. Autry’s Nights Under A Tin Roof and Life After Mississippi. The author, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, newspaper reporter, national magazine editor and Fortune 500 executive, returns to his Mississippi roots to examine the forces which shaped him.

The book is published by Yoknapatawpha Press.

Check out this review of the book by HottyToddy.com Book Editor Allen Boyer.

“Autry was editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens, and later CEO of Meredith Group in charge of the publication of 16 major magazines,” said Yoknapatawpha Press Publisher Larry Wells. “He arranged for the Meredith Group to sponsor a magazine feature writing program at the School of Journalism. He is a member of Ole Miss Hall of Fame. Autry is an inspiration for Ole Miss students. His legendary career is proof that the sky’s the limit for our j-school grads.”

It’s rare that a CEO writes poetry recalling lessons learned under a tin roof. Autry, then president of the Meredith Group magazine publishing division, wrote verse whenever and wherever he could—in board rooms between meetings, in hotel lobbies, on airplanes, in limos and taxis. Poetry would not leave him alone.

In his preface to Mississippi, Autry calls his verse “pieces” of recollections because “their shape comes to me as stories and then as pieces of a larger story.” His poems achieve a remarkably dense texture of memory forming what John Mack Carter has called a bridge of “kinship” between poet and reader.

This collection of 77 poems from Autry’s Nights Under A Tin Roof and Life After Mississippi focuses on the rhythms of rural Southern life, an odyssey of country funerals, weddings, church revivals, family reunions, and courtships drawn from a unique American heritage.

The book is illustrated with 66 black and white photographs of the rural South taken by WPA photographers and the author’s step-mother, Lola Mae Autry.

Bill Moyers believes Autry is one of America’s leading contemporary poets and featured him in two PBS specials devoted to American poets. Moyers says of Autry’s verse, “We all need the shelter of the tin roof today against the storms raging in our world.”

Autry is the author of 14 books, a poet and consultant whose work has had a significant influence on leadership thinking. His book, Love and Profit, The Art of Caring Leadership, a collection of essays and poetry, won the prestigious Johnson, Smith & Knisely Award as the book that had the most impact on executive thinking in 1992. Love and Profit also has been published in Japanese, Swedish, Chinese, Spanish, and Russian, and is still in print in paperback.

In addition, Autry has written the introductions to several books, and his writings have appeared in many anthologies and magazines. In 1991 the Kentucky Poetry Review published a special James A. Autry issue. He is a founder of the Des Moines National Poetry Festival.

He received considerable national attention when he was one of the poets featured on Bill Moyers’ special series, “The Power of the Word.” Moyers featured him again in 2012 on Moyers & Company on PBS. Garrison Keillor has featured his work on “The Writer’s Corner” on public radio. Autry is also featured in three videos, “Love and Profit,” which won a “Telly” award, “Life and Work,” and “Spirit at Work.”

In 1998, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Humanities from Iowa Humanities Board and Foundation. He was also the founding chair of the Claremont Graduate University’s Humanities Center Board of Visitors.

Autry was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Mississippi and was elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame. He fulfilled his military service as a jet fighter pilot in Europe during the cold war and rose to the rank of Major in the Iowa Air National Guard.

Before taking early retirement in 1991 to pursue his present career, Autry was senior vice president and president of the Meredith Group, at the time a 500 million dollar magazine publishing operation with over 900 employees.

Autry lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife Sally Pederson, the former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa.

Chicago Bulls sports announcer encourages future broadcasters at Meek School

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

If you have ever been told you cannot play a sport because you are not big enough, or you would not be good at somethinglet Chuck Swirsky be your motivation. 

Swirsky, the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bulls, has faced many challenges to achieve his dream career. But with help and support from others, hard work, dedication and goals, Swirsky remains energetic, focused, disciplined, and passionate about life.   

I was a horrible athlete,” Swirsky said recently as a guest speaker at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “I got cut from every game.”

But he still wanted to be a part of sports. “In a make-believe world, I’d love to be an NBA player,” Swirsky said, “but when you’re vertically challenged like me and a poor athlete, a sports announcer is the next big thing.” 

The four people who influenced Chuck’s sports announcing career are Vince Bagli, Ernie Harwell, Joe Tait, and Pete Gross. Swirsky spent many summers with Bagli, a sports announcer, and his family job shadowing him from age 12 to 21. 

Pete Gross, a former broadcaster for the Seattle Seahawks, was also a mentor. Swirsky loved Pete’s work ethic.   

The video is a highlight of Swirsky’s first NBA game between the Toronto Raptors and the Atlanta Hawks. 

Swirsky said negativity from others can sometimes drive a person to accomplish great things. “The news director at NBC Radio told me that he did not like my voice, and that I will never make it,” he said.

This negative comment gave Swirsky the motivation needed to become a professional sports announcer. And during his junior year at Ohio University, he received an internship with NBC Radio in Cleveland, Ohio.

He recalled another moment when someone told him he would not be a successful sports announcer. He said he cried to his grandmother, who said, “You need to get these negative thoughts out of your system, and tomorrow you are going to prove to everyone and to yourself that you are worthy of this career.”

Swirsky said his grandmother’s speech has been the driving force in his life and every decision he has made. He said the people he surrounded himself with are the reason he has the skills and qualities necessary to succeed in this career field.

“You must be passionate, have a great attitude, and be enthusiastic,” he said. “With these three traits, you can accomplish anything.”  

Swirsky said you must be prepared, have a good work ethic and stay focused. With any job or career, you will have celebrations and challenges, he said.  

He said being a sports broadcaster is a tough and competitive industry. One must never give up, bring it when the time comes, and always be on time for everything.

“You never go into sports broadcasting or anything for the dollars and cents,” he said. “Because you are going to start at the bottom, and I mean the bottom. You are going to have to work your way up.”

In his first job in the sports broadcasting industry, he said he saved money by eating McDonald’s, pizza, and Chinese food. 

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Chicago Bulls sports announcer Chuck Swirsky.

Swirsky said he practiced being a successful sports announcer. “I would go into my room with a little tape recorder,” he said. “I would rewrite the newspaper (The Seattle times), and I would do the sportscast into my microphone, and I would listen, listen, and listen again.” 

When he was at Ohio University, he said the school had a 11:15 a.m. sportscast during the weekend. No one else wanted the job because of the time slot. Swirsky volunteered.

Swirsky has accomplished much as a sports announcer. He did not give up on his goals and dreams. When he feels like he has done all he can, he said tries to do more or better. 

“Those insecurities in my DNA drive me everyday to be better,” he said, “but the question I have is: How bad do you really want it, to be a sportscaster? Are you willing to pay the price?”

Swirsky has influenced, mentored, and motivated many journalists. “At this point in my career, I have probably done everything that I had hoped to do. However, there is still a window of opportunity, because I never shut the door on opportunities.” 

Swirsky said his career choice was a major goal in his life, and he thanks God for the opportunity.  

By J.T. Butts