School of Journalism and New Media

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A look at the School of Journalism and New Media’s IMC and journalism programs

Posted on: June 4th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has produced notable alumni and continues to inspire students to dream big.

In 2009, the university’s journalism department became a school of journalism. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC).

IMC was created in 2011, allowing students to learn about the integration of communication tools, such as marketing, advertising, direct marketing, public relations, sales promotions, etc. The major includes a minor in business administration in which students study business management and learn the essentials of marketing a business. The IMC program is offered at the university’s Oxford, Tupelo, and Southaven campuses.

“What made me choose IMC was the diverse possibilities it offered for jobs,” said Caroline Waller, who has studied IMC. “I always knew I wanted to do something with communications, marketing or journalism. I liked that IMC provided a background for all of those and I could decide and narrow it down later. Every aspect of this program is so interesting, and I don’t think students can go wrong with any of the paths.”

Sydney Patterson said she learned many things about marketing and communication in the IMC program including different platforms used to target certain demographics effectively. “I have learned to perform an in-depth analysis of a client and create a strategic campaign based on research,” she said. “I have been certified in Google AdWords, taken a class on the Adobe program, learned how to write an effective news release, etc. The point is this major covers every aspect of marketing across different platforms.”

The IMC program also gives students the choice to further their knowledge by adding a specialization to their majors. Some specialization options include Magazine Publishing and Management, Media Sales and Management, Public Relations, and Sports Communication and Promotion.

Patterson selected Media Sales and Management. “Media Sales is mainly focused on the idea that in order to reach your audience, you need to know who your audience is,” she said. “The idea of this specialization is to help students become more aware of how to target people as if they were working for an agency. It is big on research, covering platforms from radio, television, newspapers, magazines, digital, mobile apps, etc. It is all about how to sell their media product and what is the most effective way to do so on the right platforms.”

Waller, a Nashville native, said she would recommend the program to anyone. “My biggest takeaway from the time I’ve had in this program is learning the value of hard work,” she said.

In the beginning, The IMC program had a total of 51 undergraduates enrolled in the fall of 2011. Since then, the enrollment increased exponentially, with 964 undergraduates in the fall of 2016.

Students who want to continue their studies in IMC after graduation have the opportunity to earn a master of arts degree in journalism with an emphasis in IMC. Students can earn the master’s degree at the Oxford, Tupelo, and Southaven campus locations.

Due to high interest and popularity, the School of Journalism and New Media has launched an online IMC graduate degree. The 36-hour course credit enables students to complete the IMC graduate degree in two years during the fall, spring and summer. Those who work full-time jobs and cannot make the move to Oxford have the choice to take the same courses as those who are attending the program in person.

This article was originally written by Madison Stewart for OxfordStories.net. To learn more about our programs, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

UM School of Journalism student finds success in sales with Cox Media Group

Posted on: June 3rd, 2019 by ldrucker

Many of our recent graduates, like Brittany Clark, are out in the world doing amazing things. During her senior year at Ole Miss, Clark bumped into Assistant Dean Debora Wenger, Ph.D., who inquired about Clark’s plans after graduation and suggested sales.

“She had received an email about the Media Sales Institute through the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, and suggested I apply,” Clark said. “I was accepted and received a scholarship to attend the program. I traveled to Arizona State and studied for a few weeks. It was an amazing opportunity to network, and learn more about a different side of the media industry.”

After several months of interviews, Clark landed a job as a sales assistant for CBS television stations in Atlanta. She assisted local sales reps about their digital and local TV buys.

“By the end of my role, I had started managing several large agency accounts on my own and started to assist our National Sales Department,” she said.

Fast forward 10 months, and a previous work colleague reached out to Clark to let her know his sales team was looking for a new assistant at Cox Media Group Atlanta. A few days later, she went for an interview and was told, based on her career goals and talent assessment, she wasn’t a fit for the position.

“I was asked if I would be willing to wait a few months, since they were looking to hire an entry level sales person,” she said.

Being patient paid off. Four months later, Clark was hired as a sales associate for radio and digital and promoted within 10 months to media consultant. Now, she manages a list of agencies. Some of her largest clients include AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Kroger.

“The company I work for has given me an opportunity to expand my digital knowledge,” she said. “Since I have been with Cox Media Group, I have become Interactive Advertising Bureau Media Sales Certified, Google Fundamentals, Search, Video, and My Business certified. My favorite part about my job is working on digital campaigns. I have the opportunity to help people grow their business in ways they may have never thought of.”

Clark graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in broadcast journalism with a specialization in public relations. During her time at Ole Miss, she earned several Associated Press awards telling stories of tornado and hurricane devastation and covering the Rebels’ Bama win.

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UM School of Journalism and New Media trains three new drone pilots

Posted on: May 27th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has trained three new certified drone pilots.

Professors Iveta Imre, Ph.D., Bobby Steele and Michael Fagans all took professor Ji Hoon Heo’s class, then passed the test to become certified drone pilots.

Heo said UM has trained around 30 to 40 drone pilots who have passed certification. That number will likely increase to 50 after the last class completes the test, he said.

“When I first developed the course, I wanted to teach it the way I wanted to learn,” Heo said. “When I first studied for the test, I had to read 300 plus pages of the study guide that the Federal Aviation Administration had put out. It was dry. So I lecture half the class, and the other times, we go out in groups of three or four in the intramural field, and we practice flying.

“We do cone drills to develop their flying skills and also learn the types of shots you can use with a drone. We take a lot of practice quizzes and tests to get them ready for the FAA Part 107 test, which is what you need to get the certification.”

Imre, who completed Heo’s last class, is an assistant professor of visual storytelling at the UM School of Journalism and New Media.

“I wanted to become a drone pilot because I think having that skill can be very useful for teaching my broadcast journalism classes,” she said. “It was also a challenging goal I set for myself, and the more I got into studying for the exam, the more I actually enjoyed the process and flying drones. I think footage you can capture using drones can be extremely useful and can provide a unique visual perspective. “

Imre said having a license to professionally fly drones will allow her to work with students on visually compelling stories.

“The students will be able to fly drones under my supervision, get the experience and create amazing stories for their portfolios,” she said.

If you are interested in learning how the UM School of Journalism and New Media can help you become a certified drone pilot, email our school at jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

Faculty Profile: Burson teaches students to find their passion

Posted on: May 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

Mark Burson began teaching at the University of Mississippi Jan. 27, 2016, but not before spending 43 years in California.

“My only regret is that it took me so long to discover Oxford, Mississippi,” he said. “I wish I had done it 30 years ago.”

Growing up, Burson had no desire to teach. He wanted to play baseball.

“I went to a private school,” he said, “and I was the first freshman to start all four years. I made all-league those four years as well. So by the time I was a senior, I thought I was really good.”

With no collegiate offers to play ball, Burson decided to walk on at the University of Southern California. At the time, USC had a freshman team and a junior varsity team that held open tryouts for walk-on athletes. He made the team.

“I spent two weeks on that team,” he said, “and I was amazed at how good everybody else was. I soon realized that I had never seen a real curveball before. I had never seen athletes who were so fast and could jump so high.”

Reality began to set in, so he talked with the coach, asking when was the last time that someone from the freshman team made it to JV or varsity? “The coach said, ‘Oh that’s easy. Fred Lynn.’”

Fred Lynn is a former center-fielder who had an impressive career in the Major Leagues. Burson said he then realized he had to do something else with his life.

While studying art history, only because he registered late for classes, Burson discovered he really enjoyed it. “It was through art history that I developed this appreciation of just looking at the world, and then being able to tell stories about what I saw,” he said. “And while I didn’t know it at the time, that was the business that I would end up in.”

Burson graduated from USC in 1977, but decided to stick around for graduate school. He earned his master’s degree in public relations in 1979.

If you’re in the public relations business, you’ve probably heard of Harold Burson, his father, who co-founded Burson-Marsteller in 1952.

“I had no intention of ever working for my father’s company, and that happened just through serendipity,” he said.

Burson joined the Santa Monica-based firm in 1985, but left in 1997 to run the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for seven years before returning to Burson-Marsteller.

“Through accident of birth, I was born into a PR family,” Burson said. “I didn’t have a choice; it just happened. Because of that, I’ve had a unique ringside seat to the growth of this business.”

Burson said the business that has only been around for about 100 years has changed a lot. If you’re an integrated marketing communications major at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media, you may have an idea of this change.

“This business used to be about relationships between the agency and the client,” Burson said, “and when I first started, that’s what really appealed to me, because you could develop, not only business relationships with the client, but also real friendships.”

Burson feels the industry has moved past these relationships and is now in a more “What can you do for me today?” state of mind. He said the things he loved most about the business has been slowly vanishing and transitioning into what he calls PR or publicity stunts – doing a random act to attract the public’s attention.

“That’s not what I signed up for,” Burson said.

With the nature of the business changing, Burson said he knew he wasn’t going to be able to do the things he really liked doing, so he developed an interest in endurance competitive cycling. After competing in several signature events, Burson thought about starting a company that would help promote those events, but nothing took off.

It wasn’t until a friend invited him to guest lecture a course at USC Annenberg School of Communications, Burson thought: “Wow. This is a pretty cool gig.”

With two of his children out of the house and the third about to graduate high school, Burson began to consider teaching. When his daughter graduated high school, she decided to attend the University of Mississippi because she heard about it through Burson’s father, Harold Burson, who earned his degree from UM.

Burson moved his daughter to Oxford and said, “I just fell in love with Oxford and the university and inquired about how to get a teaching job here in the school of journalism, and what would I teach,” he said. “The subject that I knew most about was how to put together a campaign from start to finish, and then build an environment within that team that would optimize success. So that’s what I teach here and why I’m here.”

Burson doesn’t just teach a class; he makes connections with each student, and he builds relationships that last. Anessa Guess, who took a class under Burson, said he is a wonderful teacher whose aim is to positively impact student lives.

“In just a short time, he inspired a classroom full of hopefuls to go beyond the normal realm of dreaming and tear down the veil to seek limitless dreaming with a sturdy foundation to start with,” she said. “He is a teacher capable of so many things, and the most important is instilling hope, grounding, diligence, and character in the youth of tomorrow with tools learned from the past.”

Audrey Ryan, who was also enrolled in a class Burson taught, said he is her favorite instructor. “His enthusiasm for not only IMC, but teaching is inspiring,” she said. “He is interested in each individual’s path and wants to learn about every student he teaches.

“You can tell his passion is teaching just by the way he interacts with his students, and the way he can build a bond with each student, and always have a way to relate to them. He is phenomenal at what he does, and as a person.”

Burson has found his passion, and he teaches students to never give up searching for what you’re passionate about. Take chances. Live life. Do what makes you happy, no matter where it might take you.

This story was written by Brandon Hancock for OxfordStories.net. To learn more about our program, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

University of Mississippi journalism student honored for defending First Amendment at Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Posted on: May 16th, 2019 by ldrucker

There are few principles that journalists hold dearer than the First Amendment, and on the rooftop of the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Ole Miss journalism sophomore Grace Marion was honored for her work in fighting for the fundamental rights of a free press.

Marion won a Hefner First Amendment Award, and in introducing her to the crowd, Washington Post columnist and award judge Karen Tumulty indicated how impressed she was by Marion’s work.

“Many have been asking, ‘Is there even a future for journalism?’ Well, we have an answer in two words – Grace Marion.”

While in high school, Marion was editor-in-chief for The Playwickian, the student newspaper at Neshaminy High in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. In the face of much resistance, she published an investigation into the way the school handled records of sexual harassment and assault complaints against teachers.

Grace Marion

“Again, and again, Grace fought censorship,” Tumulty said. “Courage and fortitude won her this award.”

Other award winners included Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, who wrote the bestselling book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, and attorney Ted Boutrous, Jr., who represented CNN’s Jim Acosta when Acosta had his White House press credentials pulled.

Marion said she was excited to learn about her award, but a bit overwhelmed when she learned who else had won.

“I thought, ‘Oh no, they messed up.’ My work didn’t actually do anything, and that guy got Jim Acosta’s press pass back,” Marion said.

Marion’s parents and Assistant Dean Deb Wenger were in the audience to cheer Marion on. Wenger said the school is proud to have her in the program.

“Grace has the drive and the smarts to do whatever she wants to do,” Wenger said. “I’m just glad she wants to be a journalist and that she wants to learn her craft at our school.”

Marion said her goal is to one day be a foreign correspondent. Tumulty is confident we’ll be hearing more about her in the future.

“Now a sophomore at Ole Miss, Grace Marion is just getting started,” Tumulty said.

Never Dimming Her Light: Thornton excels and overcomes obstacles to graduate

Posted on: May 15th, 2019 by ldrucker

The obstacles in the way of pursuing a college education began well before Lasherica Thornton stepped foot on the campus of the University of Mississippi.

A Type 1 diabetic and mother of two before she graduated from Bruce High School at the top of her class, Thornton was never a stranger to adversity.

“My mother passed away when I was 2 years old,” Thornton said. “She was killed in a car accident. I was dealing with that as I was growing up, and I had the typical behavioral problems that go with it.”

Thornton had her first child, Naomi, when she was 13. She had her second daughter, Aubrey, when she was in high school.

“Honestly, (Naomi) changed my life for the better,” Thornton said. “I just don’t know where I would be if it was not for her. (Aubrey) further helped me become the person I am today.”

Lasherica Thornton was named one of the Who’s Who students at the University of Mississippi Class of 2018-19. Thornton said her daughters Aubrey, left, and Naomi, middle, keep her motivated.

When it came time to pick a college, Thornton decided it was best to stay close to home and attended UM on a variety of scholarships.

“We moved to Oxford and they loved it just as much as I did,” she said.

Thornton found her calling early in life when an adviser recommended she join her high school newspaper.

“From the first moment of writing that first story, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

Thornton hit the ground running at Ole Miss, excelling in her classwork and joining a variety of organizations. But obstacles continued. Her diabetes caused health issues, putting her in intensive care twice. Another health scare occurred when Thornton was a freshman.

“Naomi had a seizure and I had to rush her to the hospital,” she said. “When I got her home, I still had a final exam to take. I had to get her situated, get to campus and take a final. It was moments like that (that were the biggest obstacles).”

Thornton said she would not have made it through her three-and-a-half years at Ole Miss and gotten her job at The Jackson Sun, a daily newspaper in Jackson, Tennessee, without her professors, particularly Jennifer Simmons, assistant dean for student services in the School of Journalism and New Media, and Alysia Burton Steele, assistant professor of journalism.

Thornton is the education reporter at The Jackson Sun, a daily newspaper in Jackson, Tennessee.

“I owe Ole Miss so much and all of the professors so much for that,” she said.

Thornton said she looks forward to Commencement.

“I worked really hard for this,” she said. “I’m not a person who gives up, so I was never giving up, but it was about getting through those tough moments.

“More than anything, it’s about breaking statistics and letting my children be able to see that mama did this with two kids. They saw mama graduate high school as valedictorian, but mama went beyond that and got her bachelor’s.”

She said Ole Miss has taught her to strive for her goals, no matter the twists and turns it takes to get there.

“I got my first B in college,” she said. “I cried about that. Some people may have thought that was silly, but don’t let anybody stop you from crying about the things that you are passionate about.

“This university showed me (that you) don’t ever dim your light for anybody. Always be dedicated and determined to do what you want to do.”

This story was written by Justin Whitmore of University Marketing Communications. For more information about our programs, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

UM School of Journalism and New Media professor’s work featured on American Heritage Magazine website

Posted on: May 15th, 2019 by ldrucker

An excerpt from a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor’s book has been featured on the American Heritage Magazine website.

It features part of the book Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi written by professor Ellen B. Meacham.

The book places Kennedy’s visit to Mississippi into the context of the times, “including an examination of the War on Poverty and the evolution of the civil rights movement to a focus on economic issues,” Meacham said in a book description featured on her website.

“Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a son of America’s promise, power, and privilege, knelt in a crumbling shack in 1967 Mississippi, trying to coax a response from a child listless from hunger,” the American Heritage excerpt begins. “After several minutes with little response, the senator, profoundly moved, walked out the back door to speak with reporters. He told them that America had to do better. What he was seeing, as he privately told an aide and a reporter, was worse than anything he had seen before in this country.”

Click the link below to read more.

https://www.americanheritage.com/robert-f-kennedy-mississippi

UM School of Journalism and New Media graduates were stylish from head to toe

Posted on: May 12th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students showed off their graduation style from head to toe Saturday.

Many members of the class of 2019 sported creatively designed high heels and unique caps with funny or meaningful messages.

While some featured iconic elements of the Ole Miss campus, such as the Walk of Champions, others became canvases for paintings of the graduates, Bible verses and celebratory messages.

Take a look at the gallery of photos we snapped. Photos by students Halle Ames, Benton Dodd and Ingrid Valbuena.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO speaks at School of Journalism and New Media graduation ceremony

Posted on: May 11th, 2019 by ldrucker

Tewolde Gebremarim, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, was the commencement speaker for the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

Gebremariam, who has been in the spotlight since the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 earlier this year, addressed the graduating class Saturday, May 11, in the Tad Smith Coliseum on the Oxford campus.

Gebremariam, left, is pictured with UM professors Nancy McKenzie Dupont, Ph.D., and Zenebe Beyene, Ph.D.

On March 10, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was scheduled to fly from Ethiopia to Nairobi, but something went horribly wrong. The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff killing all 157 people aboard. It became the deadliest accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft in the company’s and country’s history.

Many unwelcomed lessons can be learned from tragedy. Gebremariam discussed how companies and communications professionals move forward after experiencing a crisis.

“Our speaker comes from a nation that, like Mississippi, is much maligned in many parts of the world,” said Will Norton Jr., dean of the School of Journalism and New Media. “Under his leadership, Ethiopian Airlines has become the largest airlines in Africa and the most modern airline in the world.”

Ethiopian Airlines flies to 61 cities in Africa and 45 other cities worldwide, including Washington, Newark, Los Angeles and Chicago. Beginning this summer, the airline will offer flights to Houston and New York City.

Norton said Ethiopia’s prime minister has lauded Gebremariam for his work ethic, and he has received many honors, including African CEO of the Year, Best African Business Leader, and the 2015 International Grand Prix Special Award in Milan.

“Throughout this difficult time for his airlines and the people of Ethiopia, he has provided remarkable leadership,” Norton said. “ . . .  He has international respect and has demonstrated in recent months why he has garnered such uncommon regard.”

Gebremariam said the plane crash is a “profound loss” that has affected the 12,000 employees of Ethiopian Airlines, and it has been felt deeply by the people of Ethiopia.

“It has changed the world of aviation as we all seek answers and solutions to make air travel safe,” he said.

Gebremariam said he is proud of the partnership the University of Mississippi has formed with Ethiopian Airlines. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) students recently traveled to the country to work on a campaign that would increase awareness about the airline in the U.S., and the company is working with the School of Journalism and New Media to offer the IMC master’s program to its employees.

School of Journalism and New Media professor named Chair of the Americas at University of Rennes

Posted on: May 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi journalism professor Kathleen Wickham served as Chair of the Americas/Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rennes in Brittany, France, while on sabbatical this spring.

It was Wickham’s second trip to France to teach. In 2016, while researching her book We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss, about the killing of French journalist Paul Guihard in Oxford, she gave lectures at the Pantheon Sorbonne University and the University of Rennes 2.

“Paul Guihard serves as the link between Brittany and Ole Miss,” Wickham said. “He is the only reporter killed during the civil rights era. The fact that it occurred on our campus is a shame, but it also creates an opportunity today to let the world know we are not the same campus that we were in 1962.”

UM journalism professor Kathleen Wickham (standing) talks with students in her media ethics class. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

After that visit in 2016, Wickham learned of the Chair of the Americas position, applied and was approved to go this spring.

Wickham lectured on a variety of topics related to media coverage of civil rights and media ethics, specifically on “fake news” and the status of American media. She is also working to further relations between Ole Miss and the University of Rennes by serving as a link between the two universities to develop a student exchange program.

“Our Office of Global Engagement is working with their Rennes’ counterparts,” Wickham said. “The goal is to start a one-on-one student exchange and then expand as interest develops.”

Wickham said she always wanted to work abroad and has been grateful for the opportunity to do so this semester.

“The administration, faculty and students have been supportive, welcoming and engaging,” she said. “We have shared stories of academic life, discussed research and world affairs. Student issues are universal; faculty life similar with research, service responsibilities and committee work.”

Wickham believes her students also have benefitted.

“For most, it was the first time they have interacted with an American,” she said. “I am an animated teacher who asks students questions to generate a discussion.

“They all follow American politics and know far more about American culture than, I expect, American students know about France. I hope they viewed me as a good ambassador of the U.S. and Ole Miss.”

Her future Ole Miss students will benefit from her experiences in France, as well.

“I am going to add more international examples to my ethics casebook to expand the worldviews of my students. I also plan on developing a course on ‘fake news’ based on the course I taught in France.

“The issue is universal, and news organizations are now staffing desks with personnel whose task it is to ascertain the accuracy of facts, photographs and sources.”