School of Journalism and New Media

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Daily Mississippian managing editor selected as one of 61 Report for America corps members

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

The managing editor of The Daily Mississippian has been selected as one of 61 Report for America corps members who will be placed in 50 local news organizations across the country.

Devna Bose, a senior majoring in print journalism and minoring in English and psychology, is a member of the 2019 Report for America corps. Bose will be reporting for duty at Chalkbeat in New Jersey, a nonprofit news organization with an education focus.

Bose, a Philadelphia, Mississippi native, has been working at The Daily Mississippian since her freshman year as a writer, photographer and lifestyles editor.

“I was surprised when I heard, but I am very excited about the opportunity,” she said. “My parents are both public school teachers, so Chalkbeat was my top choice going into the final rounds of the selection process. I am honored, mostly, to have been chosen to be a part of such an incredible group.”

Bose said Report for America is a nonprofit organization that places talented journalists in community journalism-focused reporting positions all over the country. RFA aims to cover underrepresented areas and issues through concise, accurate, and fair reporting.

“For a year, I will be in Newark, New Jersey, reporting on K-12 education in the area for Chalkbeat, an online media organization,” she said. “I will aim to engage with the community through a service project and balanced writing.”

Bose said her years at The Daily Mississippian have prepared her for the position.

“At the DM, I’ve covered issues from racial reconciliation and administration transparency, and I have had to do so on a short deadline,” she said. “I’ve had to adapt quickly to changing situations and manage my time well.

“My tenure at the DM has allowed me to lead special reports, write compelling news and feature stories, and take complementary photographs. I’ve also gotten to explore print design and manage social media. I’m thrilled to bring all of those things to Chalkbeat when I join their staff next month.”

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. The website reports that it is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, addressing an urgent need in American journalism at a time when local news deserts threaten our democracy.

“The reporters, referred to as ‘corps members,’ were chosen after a highly selective national competition that drew nearly 1,000 applications,” the website reads. “Some 70 leading journalists, editors and teachers acted as judges.”

The 2019 corps will begin reporting in June. It includes 50 newly selected journalists and 11 current Report for America corps members who will continue their service for a second year, the website reports.

“The quality of the applicant pool was mind-boggling, and their spirit—the commitment to local journalism as public service—was genuinely inspiring,” said Steven Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America in the news release.

Corps members will attend intensive training in Houston, Texas in June, followed by the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference before joining their newsrooms.

Three people were selected for Report for America assignments in Mississippi. They include Alex Watts, who will be reporting for Mississippi Public Broadcasting; and Eric Shelton and Michelle Liu, who will be reporting for Mississippi Today.

To read more about Report for America and the full list of reporters, visit the website here.

UM School of Journalism and New Media professor attends London event to develop policy for Ethiopia nation building project

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor recently traveled to London to create a lasting foundation for peace in Ethiopia and all of Africa.

Zenebe Beyene, Ph.D., an assistant professor and director of international programs, said he traveled to London to gather input to develop policy for a nation building project in Ethiopia. Here’s more about his work.

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about the work that you recently did that took you abroad?

A. On April 20, I organized another successful meeting on nation building in Ethiopia. This event in London is part of an ongoing  “Nation building project in Ethiopia,” which has been supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is one of several similar programs we have held in the U.S. and Ethiopia since January of 2018.

The project aspires to promote peace, bring people together and find common ground on issues of collective identity. Focusing on these issues is needed today more than ever. There are ethnic, political, religious differences and other longstanding historical fault lines that divide us.

If we pause for a moment and reflect, we will realize that what unites us is more than what divides us. Based on that fact, this project encourages people to rise above those fault lines. It is hoped the project will create a foundation for lasting peace in Ethiopia and all of Africa.

Q. What are your goals, hopes and mission regarding the work you are doing involving peace?

A. The main goal of the project is to gather input for policy formulation on nation building in Ethiopia, which can be a blue print for the rest of Africa as well. To that end, we have held similar programs in Ethiopia and the U.S.A. And, I have witnessed a commonality among those various events.

People are tired of division, violence and hatred from any corner. However, here is the challenge: Those people, who aspire to promote peace and work to bring people together don’t have platforms. In contrast, those, who divide us along ethnic, political and religious lines have plenty of platforms and opportunities to do so and make us become suspicious of one another, and in the extreme case, to hate each other.

The latter groups confuse others by misconstruing the fact. Here is the fact: promoting collective identity, (which nation building is all about) and recognizing and celebrating ethnic identity are not mutually exclusive. In fact, such an approach will help us set the foundation for lasting peace in Ethiopia and Africa.

Q. How do you think our school and our students will benefit from the relationships you are forming?

A. Peace in Ethiopia and Africa in general is one of the priorities of US foreign policy. The saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” does not work anymore. We have seen that time and again. Peaceful and stable Ethiopia and Africa are strong and reliable partners for the U.S.

The experience from this exercise is also vital for our school and students. It will help us develop the skills and knowledge to bring people together and find common ground on issues of common interests.

Another main benefit of my involvement in this project is promoting the UM brand in these events. Wherever I go, I represent our school and our university. As we well know, many people don’t know a lot about this university, and what they know is the incident from the fall of 1962. It is incumbent on all of us the promote our brand, and the initiatives have given me that opportunity.

*    *    *

Beyene earned his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in political science in 2012. He specializes in media in conflict and post-conflict societies. He has taught, researched and provided training in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United States.

Beyene has served as a consultant for InterNews Network, US Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, Voice of America, Pennsylvania University/Carnegie Foundation, Oxford University and Oxford University/U.K. Embassy in Ethiopia and Aadland Consult/IDEA International.

He has published or co-published work about tolerance and online debate in Ethiopia; the role of TeleCourt in changing conceptions of justice and authority in Ethiopia; the role of ICT in peacebuilding in Africa; media use and abuse in Ethiopia; From an Emperor to the Derg and Beyond: Examining the Intersection of Music and Politics in Ethiopia.

For more information about our program, email

UM Students Host Live Production at BEA Festival of Media Arts in Las Vegas

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

UM School of Journalism and New Media students in a special topics class recently traveled to Las Vegas to host a live production during the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Media Arts award show. Professors Iveta Imre, Mike Fagans and Ji Hoon Heo led the group of students.

The BEA Festival of Media Arts is an international exhibition of award-winning works chosen through these various competition categories: news, sports, documentary, and scriptwriting.

This year, the BEA Festival competition for faculty and students awarded 295 entries from more than 300 participating schools and had over 1,500 annual entries from around the world, according to their website.

The UM students in the class were each tasked with different responsibilities ranging from creating video features to on-screen graphics.

Sophomore Brian Barisa said his experience at the festival is something you just can’t get inside a classroom.

“At the BEA festival, I got more real-world experience,” Barisa said. “I got to learn what it’s like to work in these other roles of production outside of just NewsWatch and basic classwork.”

Festival Creative Director and UM Assistant Professor Iveta Imre has been attending the conference since 2005 and was officially tasked with hosting this year’s event.

“I think the biggest thing for the students was to get a different experience from everything else that they’ve been doing in the broadcast program,” Imre said. “They got to experience what it’s like to have a real live production in front of an audience, and you don’t really get a chance to do that often.”

Imre said her favorite part of the show was watching student features along with the crowd and hearing their reactions.

“We got some laughs and cries,” she said. “It was just so rewarding to see all these months of hard work come together to make this show a success.”

Irme will remain creative director for the next two years, she said, and UM students will continue to host the BEA festival during that time.

Aside from hosting the BEA award show, students who traveled to Las Vegas also got the opportunity to attend the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Conference.

The NAB Conference is an annual trade show that highlights and showcases various new media, entertainment, and technology.

“My favorite part about the trip would be the NAB show,” Barisa said. “I am a pretty big tech guy, so it was a lot of fun to go check out new gear and equipment that is now available in the industry.”

This story was written for by By Alec Kyzer-Andre. For more information about our program, email

Q & A with national Society of Professional Journalists winner Madison Scarpino

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student Madison Scarpino will be honored for her 2018 work by the National Society of Professional Journalists.

Scarpino was the winner in the television breaking news category of the national SPJ competition. Her entry “Ole Miss community reacts to controversial Facebook post” aired on NewsWatch Ole Miss. In it, she explored both sides of the controversy.

SPJ Mark of Excellence judges pick one winner and up to two finalists in each category in the 12 regions, then the top winners in each region compete against one another for the national awards. All of the biggest and most prestigious universities enter SPJ.

We asked Scarpino a few questions about her win.

Q. How did you feel when you learned you won the award?

A. I was shocked at first. I never thought one of my news packages would get such recognition, especially on a national level. I feel so incredibly honored and humbled to have won.

Q. For those who don’t know, for which story did you win the award?

A. I won the breaking news category for the National Society of Professional Journalists. The news package that won was titled “Ole Miss Community Reacts to Controversial Facebook Post,” and it focused on the controversy surrounding Ed Meek’s arguably racist Facebook post.

Q. Why do you think the judges selected your story or work for this award?

A. I think the judges selected my story because it focused on an issue that is prevalent in today’s society. I also got opinions from both sides on the situation, whether being against or for Ed Meek’s post, to ensure the story was not biased.

Q. What are your career aspirations?

A. My dream in life is to host a national show and focus on soft news, entertainment, lifestyle, etc. I would absolutely love to be in front of the camera on a show such as “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show” or “E! News.” Regardless of where my career path takes me, I have such a passion for news and storytelling, so I would be happy with any on-camera reporting job.

Recent graduate Ariel Cobbert was also a finalist in the photography breaking news category of the national SPJ compeition. Cobbert is being honored for one of her Daily Mississippian photos from the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination anniversary event in Memphis.

If you are interested in joining the SPJ, email to learn more.

ACT 9 Experience successfully showcases leading magazine professionals at UM

Posted on: April 26th, 2019 by ldrucker

Bo Sacks, president of Precision Media, led a session during the ACT 9 Experience conference titled “Capping It All.” He said there is more opportunity than every before with new technologies and the most important thing is to “be print strong and digital smart.”

Sacks believes advertising revenue should be the gravy on the meat and not the indigestible thing he said advertising has become. “Structure follows strategy,” he said. “If you base your strategy on your existing structure, you limit your potential to what you have already done.”

He said publishers should consider every option to keep subscribers engaged. For example, The Wall Street Journal created a monthly wine club. Sacks quoted Kevin Turpin, president of the National Journal, saying it is important to “build on earned trust and continually innovate.”

Because magazines are a trusted media form, Sacks said it is important to be niche and specific for the magazine audience. In other words, he believes positioning is everything.

This article was written by Lindsly Penny, 22, a senior integrated marketing communications major with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in business communications. After graduation, she hopes to relocate to a city and find a job in marketing or in the entertainment industry.

Publishers must find new ways of getting their magazines to the market

By Breyton Moran
Oxford Stories

Vogue. The New Yorker. People. Better Homes and Gardens.


They are one of our last true connections to media, simply meaning they are one of the only pieces of media you can hold in your hand.

Weird, right? How can a bound book of pictures and words have an impact on our understanding of media, especially when most of us use them as coasters on our coffee table?

On April 23, 2019, the University of Mississippi hosted the annual  ACT 9 Experience convention, which brings together magazine industry leaders for a three-day “think-and-do” experience.

On April 25, 2019, the ACT 9 hosted a panel titled “Circulation Roundup,” featuring industry “bigwigs,” such as Linda Ruth, of PSCS Consulting, and Drew Wintemberg, former president of Time Inc. Retail and founder of AJW Leadership and Insights.

The 45-minute minute seminar focused on what is currently burdening the magazine industry,  urbanization.

“Urbanization is hurting the magazine industry today,” Wintemberg said. “Walmart isn’t building anymore Supercenters. We are losing the avenues where we were distributing our magazines. We have to find a way to counter these losses.”

The current infrastructure that has been created to produce today’s magazine is no longer working, he said. America is changing, leaving magazines in the past.

“Magazines are DEAD,” Ruth said, causing the room to go silent.

The statement that made everyone murmur slowly made its way to the edge of the stage, and Ruth backed up what she said with more facts.

“I think publishers have to find new ways of getting their products to market,” she said. ” There must arise new ways to bring product to market, and new ways to bring accountability to products.”

In a society where urbanization is inevitable, magazines have to find a way to modernize production and better reach their consumers. If not, we might have to say goodbye to magazines for good.

This story was written by Breyton Moran, 18, a UM freshman studying to earn his bachelor’s degree in print journalism with a double-minor in professional writing and political science. Moran graduated in the top in his class and was involved in many clubs and organizations, including student council, National Honor Society and BETA Club, holding leadership positions in most.

A Provost Scholar and Golden Key Honors Member, Moran works hard. He wants to attend Tulane University after graduation to study law and become an immigration attorney to fight the “voiceless” fight of the millions around the country. He also has a twin sister.


Why events are important in the magazine industry

By Anna Edwards
Oxford Stories

On Thursday, April 25, I attended the Act 9 Experience conference seminar “Bridging the Gap.” The moderator, Jim Elliot, prompted guest speakers with questions regarding magazines, data, and how they fit into the context of the real world.

One of the main topics was how to use data to improve your brand’s content development. In a virtual world, it is not very often that people from magazines get to speak with their audience, but the speakers said having face-to-face connections with readers and being able to ask them questions can be used as data to help run their business and manage their content.

They also emphasized the importance of hosting events in the magazine industry. Events bridge the virtual gap and extend relationships with your target audience in a way that is strategic and interactive. They allow readers to speak with members of the staff, such as the editor, to push the brand further and give insight into what kind of content readers are looking for.

Overall, I thought the seminar offered helpful information to anybody looking to work for a magazine in the future.

This column was written by Anna Edwards, 21, a junior majoring in art with an emphasis in graphic design. She has always loved Ole Miss and recalls fond childhood memories of cheering on the Rebels and visiting the beautiful town of Oxford with her family. She got the opportunity to attend the Lott Leadership Institute Summer Program in 2012, which helped make her college decision an easy one.

She is now a junior studying art, an interest she has had since visiting Italy for the first time nearly 10 years ago. Experiencing the incredible architecture and galleries filled with thousands of famous artworks inspired her to pursue a career in the arts. After graduating, she aspires to become a graphic designer.

The importance of magazines in the Digital Age

By T’Aja Cameron
Oxford Stories

Digital age journalism is about getting the right content in front of people and impacting their lives. The essence of journalism is rooted within democracy.

The Digital Age is about storytelling and adjusting to society without completely eradicating  print. Growing up as a millennial, I receive my news and the latest trends on social media, but we have to examine the use of news and trends of this generation.

John Mennell, founder of Magazine Literacy, discussed journalism in the Digital Age. “The key is to be able to use technology to design your content to be shared with the masses,” he said.

Mennell discussed the importance of connecting fine print with digital media to interact with the masses of the world. The key elements work together within all the necessities of journalism, and when applied, you will be able to publish to your audience with steady revenue.

I’ve learned that the age of journalism is no longer just fine print, and there are many ways to express journalistic aesthetics through digital media. Digital media is how society stays connected and interrelated.

This column was written by T’Aja Cameron, 19, a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sociology and education. Raised in Atlanta, she is a student athlete and transfer student from Jacksonville University. Although life as a student athlete is challenging, her goal is to leave a mark as an athlete and be the first college graduate in her family. She loves to travel and hopes to become a sports analyst or a creative innovator for ESPN or Nike.

Magazine professionals talk about what drives readers

The 2019 ACT 9 Experience brings in many big names in the magazine industry to teach  students about the world of magazine and how it looks for the future. At 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a professor said the magazine industry is facing many challenges today, but it is still no doubt a great time to be involved in the industry as it evolves.

He said magazines are a temporary item. The next month, there’s something totally new. This can be good and bad. If you fail, you have a chance to do it all over again. If one is a huge hit, try to keep it up.

One thing I took away was the simple fact that consumers are influenced by what they look at. It is so simple, but so important to understand what drives people and how we can translate that to our magazine readers.

Mary Arden Guyton, 20, is a UM junior pursuing a degree in integrated marketing communication while minoring in business administration and specializing in public relations. Throughout her time at Ole Miss, Guyton has volunteered with The Big Event, the biggest service event in the community, and joined Chi Omega sorority.

ACT 9 Experience magazine editor offers motivational advice

For the ACT 9 Experience conference, I attended the noon session Wednesday featuring Jo Packman, editor-in-chief of Where Women Create, and the winner of the 2018 Magazine Launch of The Year.

Packman spoke about her magazine, and how if one points their phone’s camera at the cover, it turns into augmented reality and plays a video describing what the magazine is about. She talked about her experiences and how she got into magazines. It was long and unruly with lots of heavy losses.

Packman said she owned a craft boutique that hit it big with cross-stitching. She then ended up publishing books with Better Homes and Gardens after losing her deal with the first company. She also lost this business deal after the bottom fell and everything collapsed. As a last-ditch effort, she went to the magazine company Women’s Daily and started creating for them.

I was inspired by Packman’s speech and what she’s currently doing within the magazine world. I think her story of fighting for what she wanted to achieve and not taking no for an answer when being turned down by mega-companies is motivational, and I hope to one day have half the ambition and resilience that she does.

This column was written by Caroline Nihill, 18, a freshman journalism major and political science minor originally from Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania right outside of Philadelphia. Nihill came to Mississippi for a change of scenery and adventure. She is an ambassador for the School of Journalism and New Media. Her love for learning and writing, along with brief involvement in her high school newspaper led her to pursue journalism.

Husni interviews magazine editors during ACT 9 Experience

By Grayson Wolf
Oxford Stories

At this year’s 2019 ACT 9 Experience conference, students and faculty of the School of Journalism and New Media heard from a variety of magazine industry leaders. They spoke about many topics, including the debate over whether “print is dead” and the pros and cons of data collection by marketers.

One of the panels was a “Fireside Chat,” hosted by Samir Husni, Ph.D., who led the conference. He interviewed two magazine editors, Rachel Barrett of Country Living, and Jeff Joseph of Luckbox Magazine.

After taking a chance and moving to the Big Apple to work for Glamour magazine, Rachel Barrett relocated to Birmingham to work as the editor for Country Living magazine, a Southern lifestyle magazine that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Barrett was bubbling with enthusiasm and showed conference attendees that she had a passion and fascination with the magazine industry. She spoke highly of the brand’s message and said its intended goal is to inspire readers to “have dreams of selling peaches out of a pickup truck, and live on a farm down South.”

She said one of the appeals of working in magazines is that you aren’t confined to one area of the country to find success in the industry. Her magazine upholds those claims, and demonstrates that with specially curated types of publications such as magazines, you can truly break into the industry in any part of the country.

This column was written by Grayson Wolf, 19, a sophomore political science major and journalism minor at the University of Mississippi. Having looked at several universities across the nation, such as New York University and George Washington University, Wolf ultimately decided to attend the Magnolia state’s flagship university to become a student in the university’s excellent political science program. Wolf is involved in two prominent campus organizations – The Mock Trial Organization and Model United Nations. After graduating, he plans to attend law school.

ACT 9 Experience successfully showcases leading magazine professionals at UM

By Cameron Fronk
Oxford Stories

The Act 9 Experience magazine conference held April 24-25 was a remarkable way to teach students different ways of marketing and publishing into today’s journalism.

The Act 9 Experience is led by Mr. Magazine, Samir Husni, Ph.D., of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s Magazine Innovation Center. For two days, students met with different industry leaders to help Amplify, Clarify and Testify about the power of print and digital.

The event was amazing and helpful to freshman, upcoming seniors, and soon-to-be graduates about the industry. The Act 9 Experience featured some of the most influential leaders in the industry who shared their wisdom about what it takes to become a strong and influential reporter and publisher.

David Adler, CEO and founder of BizBash Media, said finding your audience isn’t easy. It will take time, but once you find that spark, there is no denying you’ll have a flame.

This column was written by Cameron Fronk, a Fort Worth native majoring in broadcast journalism. She aspires to work as a sideline reporter for ESPN, the SEC network or Fox Sports. Her father played for Texas A&M.

She hopes to study abroad in London, New York City or Australia and inspire others through writing and creativity. She loves to volunteer with her sorority, explore new restaurants, learn new Lafayette County traditions, and spend time getting know other students on campus.

IMC Campaigns class on DeSoto campus works with community businesses

Posted on: April 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

Students enrolled in the School of Journalism and New Media’s integrated marketing communications program on the Ole Miss DeSoto campus are working hands-on in their communities with businesses as part of the IMC 455 Campaigns class with professor Patricia Overstreet-Miller.

Susannah Jones, 21, is a senior from Hernando enrolled in the class that pairs students with a real world client.

“It’s a nice break from all the simulations and practice and an exciting step into the post-college workforce,” she said. “The class is less lecture-based and much more hands on. We have three local non-profit organizations that we’re working with this semester, including Create Foundation, Desoto Grace, and BLDG Memphis.”

Each two- to three-person team collaborates with a business and comes up with an IMC campaign.

“This means that we get to be incredibly involved with the community,” she said. “My team will be working on a campaign for BLDG Memphis, a non-profit aimed at neighborhood revitalization. Throughout the semester, we will use our skills to integrate their messages on all platforms and channels to grow in developing and redeveloping Memphis communities. This will involve areas, such as special community events, social media, media coverage, print pieces, and website design.”

Jones said she’s learned a lot from the class. “This class brings every piece of what we’ve been learning and practicing together and gives us an opportunity to put together the whole puzzle,” she said. “I’m excited to understand more of the hands-on work that goes into IMC.

“I think students will have more of an understanding of the impact that IMC can have and be able to work with a team more efficiently. This class will be a giant step toward our goals as students. After years of class-time and hard work, this course is the long-awaited cherry on top that equips us to accomplish all that we have been trained for.”

Southaven native William Rustenhaven, 24, is also enrolled in the capstone class for all IMC students. The course takes all of the skills and knowledge obtained through the journalism, business, and IMC classes and utilizes that knowledge to create a marketing campaign for a selected client or business bridging school and the real world.

 “The professor reaches out to a business that the students will be doing a campaign for,” Rustenhaven said. “Once the business agrees to let the class create a campaign for them, it is the student’s duty to set up meetings, do analytic research, and create the campaign for the company . . .

“The company we are working with is called BLDG Memphis, which is a non-profit in Memphis. They help revitalize different parts of the community throughout the Memphis area.”

Rustenhaven said the real world experience of working with companies is important. “It will give them a taste of what the actual world is like outside of the academic classroom,” he said. “It will teach them how to communicate with professionals in the corporate and business world.”

Rustenhaven said he hopes others understand what the IMC program can offer. “It is such an amazing and interesting degree field, and it has a large amount of flexibility,” he said. “So many students have majors, such as business, marketing, communications, journalism, etc. However, with IMC, you can gain experience in all of those fields.

“As I have told people before, I can apply for a job as an event coordinator, travel up the road and apply for a job at a marketing agency, and then go somewhere else and apply for a business management position or even at a PR firm. These are just a few examples of what the IMC program can offer students, and that does not even begin to break the surface on the opportunities that the IMC program can provide for students.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker. For more information about our journalism and IMC programs, email

School of Journalism and New Media to have first graduate with degrees in both journalism and IMC

Posted on: April 22nd, 2019 by ldrucker

Savannah Woods, 21, will have the distinction of being the School of Journalism and New Media’s first person to graduate with degrees in both journalism and IMC.

Woods is a senior double major and double minor at the University of Mississippi from Cabot, Arkansas.

She is majoring in integrated marketing communications with a minor in business administration, and majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in English.

Woods received the Excellence in Integrated Marketing Communications Award during the University of Mississippi Awards Convocation and Journalism School Awards night. Only two seniors were selected out of all graduates from the program this year.

We asked Woods some questions about how she managed to do this during her time at UM, and she offered advice about how other students can make the most of their time in college. She said the key component is drive.

What are some of the things you are involved in on campus?

I have been heavily involved on campus over my last four years. Freshman year, I served on the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Student Advisory Council with 25 of the top leaders on campus. I also served on Crosby Community Council while I lived in the dorms. For two years, I served as the Spoon University Editorial Director. I currently am a School of Journalism and New Media Ambassador. I am also a member of the American Marketing Association and Society for Professional Journalists.

What made you decide to study at Ole Miss?  

I always knew that Ole Miss was where I wanted to go to school. Back in 1998, my parents began purchasing season tickets to football games, and I grew up, from the time I was a year old, in the Grove. My whole life, it was my dream to be an Ole Miss Rebel. In high school, I was heavily involved in public speaking, debate and journalism. My love for these areas grew into something I knew I wanted to become my career path.

Originally, at freshman orientation, I was signed up for the integrated marketing communications degree program. Over my first year at Ole Miss, I was constantly back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to pursue journalism and be on camera or stay in IMC.

How did you come to major in both journalism and IMC?

I went to my amazing advisor, Jennifer Simmons, and expressed my concern about being undecided. Ultimately, I decided to change my major to broadcast journalism, but then started second guessing the switch . . . so I went back into her office. I looked at her and said, “Is it possible to do both, but still graduate on time in four years because I can’t afford to do additional semesters?”

And she just kind of looked at me and said, “With most students, I would say it’s ‘no,’ but I think you can do it.” So after declaring both majors and minors, I had to work extremely hard. Every semester, I was in 18 hours, trying to crank out all of the requirements so I could graduate on time. It also helped that I did dual enrollment in high school, so I already had 12 credit hours towards my general education classes when I started freshman year.

Now, after much hard work and dedication, I will complete and graduate this May (2019) with two majors and two minors in four years from the School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss.

Was it difficult balancing your schedule while taking both tracks?

It was definitely difficult at times to balance my schedule while taking both tracks. Not only was I a double major and double minor, but I worked three jobs and was involved in extracurricular activities all while trying to maintain a social life.

While I was taking 18 hours every semester, I worked all four years for Ole Miss Football Video and traveled with the football team. I also worked all four years as a student desk assistant at the J.D. Williams Library, then as a social media and editorial intern for, and as a teaching assistant for Journalism 102 for a semester.

Would you recommend that other students double up like you did?

My advice and recommendation for all other students trying to double up and tackle everything is time management. Dewey Knight, one of my greatest friends and mentors, stressed this so much to me my freshman fall at Ole Miss. My planner is like my best friend. I don’t go anywhere or do anything without it. Being a good time manager is key in trying to balance two degrees, jobs, clubs and a social life, but it is totally possible if you have the work ethic and drive to do so.

What do you hope to do/work after graduation? And when will you graduate? This May?

I graduate May 2019. Last summer, I lived in Normandy, France while working on my internship filming a WWII Documentary “The Girl Who Wore Freedom.” After graduation, I am returning to Europe to see the premiere of the film that I had the privilege to be part of and work on. After a month in Europe, I will return home to Arkansas to visit my friends and family before moving and starting my job in Nashville, Tennessee in August.

What advice do you have to offer current and future journalism/IMC students in our school?

Enjoy every second. Ole Miss is a special, special place. As a journalism/IMC major, I encourage other students in the school to utilize every opportunity that we are provided with. There are so many outlets and tools available to us to get involved in and take advantage of.

Engage with your professors, ask them for advice, get involved in the clubs and programs, go to class. We are so blessed to attend a university and be part of a school that cares about our progress and our future as leaders in these industries. A good work ethic and determination to succeed will take you all far in life, so don’t take this place and these resources for granted.

I just want to also say thank you to all of my professors and mentors in and out of the journalism school who have been so monumental in my progress and molding me into the young woman I am today. I could not have accomplished my goals and dreams without their help and guidance.

Journey to Commencement: From the Grove to 30 Rock

Posted on: April 19th, 2019 by ldrucker

This story is part of the “Journey to Commencement” series that highlights University of Mississippi students and their academic and personal journeys from college student to college graduate.

Mack Hubbell likes to make people laugh.

The University of Mississippi senior grew up a bit of a class clown, used his humor as a campaign strategy while running for Mr. Ole Miss, and kept things lighthearted during his time as chaplain for the Kappa Alpha fraternity, a technique that allowed him to break down barriers of communication between himself and his fraternity brothers.

When he graduates in May, Hubbell hopes his ability to make people laugh will blossom into a career. He is a School of Journalism and New Media integrated marketing communications major.

“I want to eventually do comedy writing and perform full time,” he said. “My dream would be to become a cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live.'”

Hubbell laid the foundation of that dream as an Ole Miss student. He had separate internships in New York City, one for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and the other for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

“Those experiences were incredible,” Hubbell said. “I was getting to walk into 30 Rock (30 Rockefeller Plaza, home of NBC) every day for work. I have watched shows like ’30 Rock,’ ‘SNL,’ ‘Friends,’ all the late-night shows, ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘The Office’ – like, every great show – and I am getting to walk into the building where it all happens.”

To read the full story in the Journey to Commencement series written by Justin Whitmore of University Communications, click this link.

UM students sweep awards from Public Relations Association of Mississippi

Posted on: April 17th, 2019 by ldrucker

One student named Outstanding PR Student in the state

University of Mississippi public relations students swept the awards in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition recently, including one student being named Outstanding PR Student in the state.

Students and recent graduates from the School of Journalism and New Media won 16 of the 19 student awards presented for public relations projects at the PRAM state conference in Vicksburg on April 12.

In addition, IMC major Davis Roberts from Grenada was named Outstanding PR Student in Mississippi. He was selected from 13 nominees from statewide colleges for the award that came with a $500 scholarship. Journalism major Hailey McKee and IMC major Hayden Benge were also recognized as nominees for the award.

For the competition for PR projects, the students entered public relations campaigns they produced in Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s advanced PR class during 2018.  Each student created a campaign to increase awareness or change opinion on a topic of their choice. Topics included prescription drug abuse, the detrimental effects of loneliness, the importance of registering to vote, equal pay for women, eating disorders in men, sex trafficking, suicide prevention, the physical and emotional health benefits of having a pet, the dangers of e-cigarette use, autism, and the dangers of bullying among teenagers.

School of Journalism and New Media Students and their instructor at the Public Relations Association of Mississippi Student Prism Awards Luncheon April 11 awaiting the results. Pictured are: counter-clockwise from far left are Kendall Patterson, Davis Roberts, Hayden Benge, Ally Langston, Anna Bess Pavlakovich, Barrett Climer, Senior Lecturer Robin Street, Melanie Wierzbicki, Hailey McKee, Holly Lasker, Madison Stewart and Chloe Parrish.

Each campaign required multiple aspects including writing news articles, shooting video and photos, planning creative events, conducting research and creating online and social media posts.

“Today’s communication specialists require skills in research and planning, as well as in all forms of communication including writing, designing, photography, video, social media and website creation,” Street said. “These students demonstrated that they excel in this diverse skill set. Their awards are a tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the School of Journalism and New Media.”

University of Mississippi public relations students and recent graduates swept the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition recently, winning 16 of the total 19 awards presented for PR projects. In addition, IMC major Davis Roberts was named Mississippi Outstanding PR Student. Pictured, left to right, are some of those winners: Front row: Hayden Benge, Chloe Parrish, Maggie Crouch, Senior Lecturer Robin Street, Anna Bess Pavlakovich and Aleka Battista. Second row: Samantha Metz, Calyn Hoerner, Kendall Patterson, Hailey McKee, Holly Lasker and Ally Langston. Third row: Davis Roberts and Melanie Wierzbicki. Not pictured are Barrett Climer, Caroline Hewitt and Madison Stewart. Photo credit: Stan O’Dell

Comments from the judges, who remain anonymous, on the students’ entries included “solid research and planning,” “very thorough and impressive,” “exceptional,” “very creative,” “comprehensive and well done,” “thoughtful campaign to bring awareness and assistance to a difficult topic” and “creative and thought provoking.”

Davis Roberts, an IMC major from Grenada, was selected as Outstanding PR Student by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi from nominees representing colleges around the state. Here, he is congratulated by his nominating professor, School of Journalism and New Media Senior Lecturer Robin Street.  Davis was previously named a winner of the Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medal, the university’s highest academic honor. Photo credit: Stan O’Dell

Matt Martin, PRAM vice president for awards, commended the students’ entries.

“The award-winning work submitted by the students of the University of Mississippi is notable for its creativity and solid understanding and use of the public relations process,” Martin said. “While their awards will add stars to their resume, it’s their mastery of these fundamentals that will lead to successful careers as PR practitioners.”

Multiple students can win in the same category if they earn the required number of points as scored by the judges. No awards were given in the highest category called the Prism. The Excellence Award is the next highest award, followed by the Merit Award.

Winning Excellence Awards were Benge from Tulsa, Oklahoma; Calyn Hoerner, an IMC graduate from Houston; Holly Lasker, an IMC major from Seattle; and McKee, from Dyersburg, Tennessee. Street also won an Award of Excellence in the professional media writing category.

Winning Merit awards were Aleka Battista, an IMC graduate from Tupelo; Barrett Climer, an IMC graduate from Jackson; Maggie Crouch, a journalism major from Westmont, Illinois; Caroline Hewitt, a journalism graduate from Covington, Louisiana; Ally Langston, a journalism major from Dallas; Samantha Taylor Metz, a marketing and corporate relations major from Hernando; Chloe Parrish, an IMC graduate student from Germantown, Tennessee; Kendall Patterson, a journalism major from Corinth; Anna Bess Pavlakovich, a journalism major from Denver; Roberts; Madison Stewart, an IMC graduate from Dallas; and Melanie Wierzbicki, a double major in Spanish and marketing and corporate relations from Waxhaw, North Carolina.

For more information, contact Robin Street at

Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 9 Experience all about the students

Posted on: April 17th, 2019 by ldrucker

Annual conference draws all-star list of industry leaders to UM

A who’s who of the international magazine industry will be at the University of Mississippi  from April 23 to 25, but it won’t be the movers and shakers of publishing who will be in the spotlight.

The real stars of the show, according to ACT 9 Experience founder and coordinator Samir Husni, Ph.D., are the Ole Miss students.

“There are a whole bunch of magazine conferences, but, to me, what makes this conference unique is the presence of the students,” said Husni, a UM journalism professor, Hederman Lecturer and director of the Magazine Innovation Center. “This conference brings together current industry leaders and the future industry leaders.”

More than 30 speakers from the highest ranks of magazine publishing will be on campus, and Husni places a priority on having students in the university’s magazine publishing and management specialization interact with those professionals.

“I assign students to shadow the speakers; they actually will pick them up from the airport,” Husni said. “I want that interaction. I want the students to have enough time to spend time with these leaders of the magazine industry.”

For junior Sarah Smith, the ACT 9 Experience serves as a chance to further her knowledge of the industry in which she wants to work, but also to meet people who will prove to be invaluable for her future career.

“This is the only opportunity I know of that you’re going to get a taste of worldwide magazine making anywhere near here,” said Smith, a journalism major from Mount Pleasant. “I expect to gain a lot of information about the next few years of magazine making.

“For media students, this is an unparalleled event where we can meet and mingle with industry leaders. This is a great chance to secure a summer internship or even a job after college.”

The ACT Experience, which stands for “amplify, clarify and testify,” is hosted by the Magazine Innovation Center at the School of Journalism and New Media. The event began in 2010 and has more than doubled in size in nine years.

The university has created a name for itself as a higher education hub for magazine publishing, and the ACT 9 Experience is the highlight of that achievement, Husni said.

“We have people from all over the world coming to this conference, coming to Ole Miss,” he said. “That’s why I tell people, when they say, ‘You need to have something like this in New York or you need to do something like this here or there,’ I’m like, ‘No, the ACT Experience is Ole Miss and Ole Miss is the ACT Experience.’”

The theme of this year’s ACT 9 Experience is “print smart, digital proud,” which Husni said emphasizes the ever-changing landscape of print publications.

“I want to focus on the integration between print and digital, that we are no longer an either/or industry,” he said.

Among the speakers for this year’s event are Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA: The Association of Magazine Media; James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP, the network for global media; Michael Marchesano, managing director of Connectiv, a leading business-to-business magazine media network; and Jerry Lynch, president of the Magazine and Books at Retail Association.

Husni will moderate a discussion featuring these industry leaders.

“We will talk about some of the challenges facing the entire magazine and media industry locally and worldwide,” Husni said. “It should be fun to have those CEOs at the same place on the same campus in front of future industry leaders.”

The diversity and depth of the speakers makes the event unique, Smith said.

“Dr. Husni is a genius when it comes to magazines, and he puts his heart and soul into this event,” she said. “I think that the fact someone as successful and well-known as him puts his heart in it, always creates something genuine and fresh that you can’t get anywhere else.”

All lectures at the Overby Center are open to the public.

Activities begin Tuesday (April 23), with an opening gala for registered participants, featuring welcoming remarks by UM Provost Noel Wilkin and keynote speaker Stephen Orr, editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens.

Speakers will continue all day Wednesday and Thursday, and Thursday’s events for paid participants feature a bus trip and tour of the Mississippi Delta. The Overby Center for the Study of Southern Journalism and Politics will host the majority of speakers, and a full list of speakers can be found online.

Registration for the event includes all meals, sessions and transportation to and from the Delta. The Inn at Ole Miss is also offering special rates to ACT 9 attendees.

This story was written by Justin Whitmore of University Communications. If you are a prospective student who is interested in learning more about our undergraduate or graduate programs in journalism or IMC, email