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Meek School professor uses NSF grant to study interpersonal communications

Posted on: July 31st, 2018 by ldrucker

Meek School professor Graham Bodie believes that if people can feel that they’re being heard during times of stress, their lives will improve. With that in mind, he is working to find the best way to teach critical listening skills that could enhance lives.

A professor of integrated marketing communications at the University of Mississippi, Bodie is conducting his research through a three year-grant from the National Science Foundation.

UM received the grant from the NSF’s Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences as part of a collaborative effort to study what happens during conversations about everyday problems. Penn State University and the University of Minnesota also were awarded grants in support of the collaboration, which seeks to clarify how discussing everyday stressors with others conveys support and leads to different emotional outcomes.

Bodie’s work will look at how a listener’s supportive comments influence the way a person talks about their stressful experience.

“My academic background is in how humans process information and how they behave as listeners, particularly within the context of talking about stressful events,” Bodie said. “What do we say that allows others to better understand their unique stressors and ultimately to cope with those events?

“How should we best train people in this capacity? What can listening to others teach us about ourselves, our society and our world?”

Bodie previously conducted research on listening and the social cognitive foundation of human communicative behavior. This project will expand on the nuances of what people do when they offer support to others, a facet that he said has not been thoroughly explored.

“Although there is work on specific features of supportive messages, it tends to be hypothetical, asking participants to imagine they receive support,” Bodie said. “Likewise, although there is work that pairs people together to talk through stressful events, most of this work explores general impressions of the conversation – how supported they felt after the conversation.”

This grant will allow Bodie to work with data from four previous studies, which includes more than 450 videotaped conversations of a person describing a stressor to another, while the listener provides support.

The research conducted with this grant fits in with the university’s Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation research initiative, where researchers identify factors that impair the well-being of individuals and work to implement programs to build stronger, more vibrant communities.

“Dr. Bodie and his team’s recent National Science Foundation grant award demonstrates the opportunities we have to increase knowledge and improve practice and policy through cutting-edge research,” said John Green, constellation team leader and director of the UM Center for Population Studies. “As an active part of the Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation and a committed member of the steering committee, Dr. Bodie is contributing to the University of Mississippi’s leadership in scholarly endeavors that will improve people’s lives.”

The research will examine how variations in these particular types of interactions result in differences in how the distressed person continues to express their thoughts and feelings throughout the interaction.

“What is missing is an understanding of how messages unfold over the course of a conversation to regulate the emotions of a person in distress,” said Denise Solomon, principal investigator and professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State. “Our project will focus on studying the conversation linkages between one person’s supportive messages and the other person’s cognitive and emotional responses in an effort to map those dynamic patterns.”

The investigators will analyze every element of these conversations and develop strategies to show how emotion and cognitive processing are affected during the course of an interaction. The researchers have predicted that distressed individuals who are responsive to high-quality supportive messages during an interaction leave the conversation with an improved emotional state and a new understanding of their issue.

“The main prediction is the interaction between support quality and how disclosers talk about their event,” Bodie said. “I feel like if people can feel heard in times of stress, their lives will improve, and I want to know how we can best teach these skills toward bettering our lives.”

The researchers hope their findings will ultimately be able to assist support providers and counselors, while also leading to additional research to determine why some individuals or relationships show different levels of responsiveness during supportive conversations.

“The novelty in this research is mapping responsiveness within interactions onto important conversational outcomes, which opens the door to new questions about why those patterns differ between people and between relationships,” Solomon said.

“We also envision that the tool kit we develop can be used to illuminate the dynamics of other types of consequential conversations, such as in conflict negotiations or attempts to influence a partner’s health behavior.”

Other investigators on the project include Susanne Jones, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Minnesota, and Nilam Ram, professor of human development, family studies and psychology at Penn State.

Funding for this research was provided through grant no. 1749474 from the NSF Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences.

This story was written by Christina Steube for Ole Miss News.

Meek School leaders and students welcome MOST Conference visitors

Posted on: July 16th, 2018 by ldrucker

Meek School, Student Media and University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists representatives spent Sunday evening, July 15, with hundreds of students on campus for the annual MOST Conference.

MOST, which stands for Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent, brings top African-American high school students in the state to the UM campus each summer for workshops, networking opportunities, panel discussions, mentoring and more.

Participating were: Meek School Dean Will Norton; Assistant Dean Jennifer Simmons; Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson; Adjunct Instructor Bobby Steele; and DeAndria Turner, student manager of Rebel Radio and broadcast journalism major.

Meek School journalism professor’s project selected to partner with National Humanities Alliance

Posted on: July 10th, 2018 by ldrucker

Rolando Herts, Alysia Burton Steele, Delta Jewel Annyce Campbell, Bobby Steele, and Kappi Allen at the Clarksdale Community Gathering. Image courtesy of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

A Meek School journalism professor has been chosen to partner with the National Humanities Alliance.

The organization has highlighted 51 partnerships out of 1,402 applicants, and one selected was Assistant Professor Alysia Steele’s Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership. Click here to view the website that showcases Steele’s work.

Steele is the author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom. She is also founder and executive director of the Delta Jewels Support Foundation.

The Mississippi Humanities Council named Steele a 2016 Preserver of Mississippi Culture Award winner. She is the coordinator for Lens Collective, a multimedia storytelling conference, and she was highlighted in Bishop T.D. Jakes docu-series Destiny Visions.

Meek School’s ‘It Starts with (Me)ek’ team wins a Silver Anvil Award

Posted on: June 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

A Meek School instructor and her 30-student team won the Silver Anvil, the most prestigious U.S. award in public relations, on June 7 in New York for It Starts with (Me)ek, a public relations campaign they created asking Meek School students to “just pause” before stereotyping others.

The award, given by the Public Relations Society of America, is considered to be the Oscar of the PR industry.

Actress and CBS Sunday Morning show contributor Nancy Giles, perhaps best known for her role on the TV show “China Beach,” served as emcee and presented the award to Senior Lecturer Robin Street, campaign chair.

The It Starts with (Me)ek campaign won a Silver Anvil award, considered to be the Oscar of the PR industry, for internal communications. Actress and CBS Sunday Morning show contributor Nancy Giles presented the award to Senior Lecturer Robin Street at a ceremony in New York on June 7. Accompanying Street at the ceremony were three of the 30 students who worked on the campaign. Pictured from left, Grace Miller, Giles, Street, Bianca Abney and Brittanee Wallace. Photo by Stan O’Dell.

Meek graduates Brittanee Wallace, Bianca Abney and Grace Miller, three of the 30 students who served on the ISWM committee, joined Street at the ceremony.

The week-long campaign consisted of 50 events, speakers and activities, all based on the message to “just pause” before judging people based solely on one factor such as their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness or other factor.

Like the Oscars, Silver Anvils are given in multiple categories. It Starts with (Me)ek won in the internal communications category for government or non-profit organizations.

The campaign has previously won awards from both the Public Relations Association of Mississippi and the Southern Public Relations Federation.

Meek School student wins RTDNF’s most prestigious scholarship

Posted on: June 7th, 2018 by ldrucker

A Meek School of Journalism and New Media student has been awarded the Radio and Television Digital News Foundation’s most prestigious scholarship.

Brittany Brown is the recipient of the Ed Bradley Scholarship, a $10,000 award “presented to an outstanding student of color in memory of the late CBS News’ ’60 Minutes’ correspondent and groundbreaking journalist,” RTDNF reports.

RTDNF awards journalism students who have “demonstrated an outstanding commitment to broadcast and digital news, its ethical principles and the foundations of storytelling.” Honorees are invited to attend the fall Excellence in Journalism conference in Baltimore.

Brown is a Meek School senior journalism major and Spanish minor, who has been very involved in Ole Miss student media, serving as assistant news editor for The Daily Mississippian newspaper and digital content producer for NewsWatch Ole Miss, a live, student-run TV news program.

The RTDNF news release reports that “Brown is passionate about investigative journalism and multimedia storytelling, and she is currently completing a summer-long fellowship with Carnegie-Knight News21 at Arizona State University, where student-journalists from across the country and world are producing a national project on hate crimes and acts of hate in America.”

You can follow Brown on her website or on Twitter at @isthatbritt.

The 2018 class of fellowship and scholarship recipients includes nine young journalists of color – six of them women of color.

“The journalists represent the best and brightest in news,” RTDNF reports. “From health to science to sports and politics, they’ve demonstrated a commitment to keeping their communities informed.”

To read the full article, click here.

Meek School professor helps students achieve Federal Aviation Administration drone certification

Posted on: May 30th, 2018 by ldrucker

Professor Ji Hoon Heo helped guide 14 students through the the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 Drone Certification test.

Now, they can commercially fly in the United States for journalism and other purposes.

This furthers Professor Heo’s mission of educating the industry on the safe and responsible use of drones.

See the video they produced for the university and be sure to note how much construction is underway.

Meek School journalism professor featured on ‘Hardball’ with Chris Matthews

Posted on: May 30th, 2018 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi journalism professor Ellen Meacham recently appeared on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GckzdnAkPSE

In the video, Meacham details Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta in 1967 in her new book Delta Epiphany: RFK in Mississippi.

Meacham’s book, published by University Press of Mississippi, examines the history, economics and politics of the Delta and how those factors influenced the lives of people whom Kennedy met there during that visit.

The book was inspired by a description from fellow journalist Curtis Wilkie’s memoir of Kennedy in a dark shack trying to speak to a toddler who was paying more attention to crumbs on the floor.

“I wondered about the impact it had on Kennedy, because it’s mentioned as an important moment in all of his biographies,” Meacham said. “The next question I had was, ‘What happened to the baby?’”

After seven years of searching, Meacham found and interviewed children from the four families Kennedy encountered on his visit, including that toddler.

“As I got into the research, I realized pretty quickly that there was a big part of the story that had not been told,” she said. “Most of the contemporary news accounts and later historians had only looked at RFK on the stage. The people who were living the lives that moved him so were more of a ‘poverty stage set.’”

Meacham wanted to tell the stories of those people.

“It became very important to me to bring those families into the light and find out how they came to be in that place at that time, what struggles they faced and their accomplishments since,” she said. “I think it brings more balance.

“It’s not just a story of a hero or a saint, it’s about a real person meeting real people.”

The book also features about a dozen photos, including the cover, that are published for the first time.

“The photographs were essential to telling this story,” Meacham said. “They brought such a vivid realism that showed the impact of the visit on Kennedy in a powerful way.”

A working journalist for more than two decades, Meacham used her experience as a newspaper reporter in Mississippi, which gave her access to contacts within both politics and journalism in the state, putting her in a unique position to tell these stories.

“Ellen Meacham is a talented and perceptive journalist who recognized, nearly a half-century after the fact, the great impact of Robert Kennedy’s brief trip to the Mississippi Delta in 1967,” said Wilkie, a UM associate professor of journalism and fellow of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

“It was a mission that changed his life, the tortured history of that region and the nation’s attitude toward hungry people in America. Though Ellen was not old enough to have been there, her investigation of the story has brought it back to life, and it is an example of her valuable work.”

Note: Most of this article was written by Christina Stuebe, from University Communications.

IMC program sees growth on regional Tupelo and DeSoto campuses

Posted on: May 29th, 2018 by ldrucker

Once a small part of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and of Outreach, the Integrated Marketing Communication Program’s growth at the regional campuses has increased in the past 18 months. Word-of-mouth promotion from enthusiastic students has driven much of the growth. But active recruitment and disciplined focus has also played a role.

As of the end of May, the program has 26 students at the DeSoto and Tupelo campuses, with additional student registration expected through the summer, since regional students tend to register later than their counterparts on the Oxford campus. The program also had its first graduating class this spring with students either stepping into new jobs and starting careers or planning to attend law school or obtain a higher degree in their field.

Working with admissions officers and academic counselors at community colleges, IMC staff have worked to raise the profile of IMC as an exciting and flexible field of study. Students are attracted to the job potential and creative satisfaction that are part of the IMC major.  Thanks to new marketing materials and ongoing communication, students and their advisors are more aware of what IMC is and what it offers. Targeted recruitment meetings at the DeSoto and Tupelo campuses, supported by program leadership and current Oxford and regional students, have attracted potential new students and have been well attended and received.

Community outreach also has helped raise the program’s profile. This spring, the first regional senior class of IMC students developed marketing, branding and public relations campaigns for key community organizations in Southaven and Tupelo. They include the Southaven Park District, Southaven Chamber of Commerce, Tupelo area United Way, CREATE Foundation of Tupelo, and the Shepherd’s Hands philanthropy in Tupelo.

Students had the opportunity to present to executives and boards of directors and saw their proposals accepted and used as part of each organization’s branding and development plans. One of our graduates was hired by one of the participating organizations. Program leaders hope that these efforts will continue to generate growth and additional job and internship opportunities for students.

Leaders believe this growth is just the beginning, and there is tremendous potential for the program at both the DeSoto and Tupelo campuses.  While regional students often face different challenges from those faced by Oxford students and complete their IMC requirements in a more condensed time frame, the enthusiasm of the program’s regional students and their belief in their future are very much the same.

Street speaks to members of College Public Relations Association of Mississippi

Posted on: May 24th, 2018 by ldrucker

Senior Lecturer in Public Relations Robin Street spoke to members of the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi May 21 at Holmes Community College – Ridgeland. PR staff members from all four-year and community colleges in the state can join.

Street spoke about the It Starts with (Me)ek anti-stereotyping campaign she and 30 students put on at the Meek School. Street’s former students and other Meek School alumni were well represented. Alumni Mary Margaret Turner Busby and Barin von Foregger organized the conference.

From left are UM alumni with Street in the college where they work as communication specialists. Front row: Steve Diffey (Holmes), Donna Thomas (ICC), Street and Julie Bauer (NWCC).

Second row: Natalie Davis (Co-Lin), Mary Margaret Busby (Holmes), Pam Starling (Ole Miss), Barin von Foregger (Holmes). Third row:  Nell Luter Floyd (Millsaps), Cathy Hayden (Hinds) and Sarah Sapp (Ole Miss).

Thompson named executive director of Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications

Posted on: May 21st, 2018 by ldrucker

Patricia Thompson, assistant dean at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, will be the new executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Thompson will succeed Susanne Shaw, a professor at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, who has been executive director of ACEJMC for more than 30 years.

ACEJMC’s headquarters will move to the University of Mississippi. Thompson will continue in her role as Meek School assistant dean for student media and assistant professor, and she will hire staff to help with ACEJMC and student media duties.

“ACEJMC is very fortunate to attract a journalist and journalism educator of Pat’s caliber to serve as our executive director,” said Peter Bhatia, editor of the Detroit Free Press and ACEJMC president. “She will build on the incredible accomplishments of Susanne Shaw and lead us forward in working to help journalism education remain essential and up to date.”

ACEJMC is responsible for the evaluations of professional journalism and communications programs at colleges and universities. There are 118 accredited programs, primarily in the United States, but also in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Chile, the UAE, Qatar and New Zealand. The executive director reports to the Accrediting Council and works closely with officers of the council and the Accrediting Committee.

Shaw said she is pleased the council offered the job to Thompson. “She has outstanding experience and is an excellent choice to be ACEJMC executive director,” Shaw said.

Thompson has been involved in journalism accreditation for more than two decades, serving on site teams, serving two terms on the ACEJMC national committee, and as a member and chair of the ACEJMC appeals board. She has served the accreditation organization as a professional journalist and as a journalism educator.

“This is the perfect next step in my path as a journalist and professor passionate about journalism since I was 11 years old,” Thompson said. “Susanne has been an outstanding, inspirational executive director for ACEJMC, guiding it for many years through the massive changes in media and in education. Her name is synonymous with upholding standards for college journalism and mass communications programs. It won’t be easy to follow in her footsteps. I look forward to learning from her and from Council President Peter Bhatia as I move forward to take over.”

Before she joined the Meek School faculty in 2009, Thompson was an award-winning journalist who worked for many years as a writer and editor at newspapers, including The Washington Post and The San Jose Mercury News. She was an assistant professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she taught classes and ran journalism programs.

In addition to her work leading the Student Media Center and advising The Daily Mississippian and theDMonline.com, during the past nine years she has worked with students on projects that have won state, regional and national journalism awards. She has taught writing and editing classes, chaired and served on Meek School and university committees, and served as president of the Southeast Journalism Conference.

“The naming of Pat Thompson as executive director of ACEJMC demonstrates the respect faculty in the Meek School have earned,” said H. Will Norton Jr., dean of the Meek School. “Pat is a highly regarded journalist and educator who has raised the profile of the Meek School.”

Thompson is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She was a Presidential Scholar, a Curators Scholar, inducted into the Kappa Tau Alpha journalism honor society and the recipient of numerous other awards and honors.