School of Journalism and New Media

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UM journalism professors lead students to win Telly Award in international video competition

Posted on: May 29th, 2020 by ldrucker

Return to Croatia

When Assistant Professor Iveta Imre, Ph.D., began her career as a student at the University of Zagreb 20 years ago, she met a professor from the University of Tennessee who came there to help lead a student workshop. Because of that connection, she began a journalism journey that eventually led her to the United States, and she is now a member of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media faculty.

In December, life came full circle when Imre and Interim Dean Debora Wenger, Ph.D., returned to the University of Zagreb to help lead a journalism workshop and mentor students. The result was the creation of a news program that resulted in an international award.

The “Disrupt the News” project led by Imre and Wenger in Croatia in December won a second-place Silver Telly Award in the Non-Broadcast Category of an international video and television festival in New York.

For two-weeks in mid-December, Wenger and Imre led the multimedia journalism workshop in cooperation with the Faculty of Political Sciences at Croatia’s University of Zagreb (FPZG), with the support of the U.S. Embassy.

The workshop focused on preparing students and professionals for evolving careers in journalism and included instruction and practice with emerging storytelling techniques and tools, such as 360-visuals, and strategies for verifying information and building audience trust. The result was an experimental newscast and a multimedia website, Zagreb Newslab.

Iveta Imre in Croatia

Dr. Iveta Imre, a drone pilot, steers the device as students watch.

“The winning project is a half hour newscast called ‘Croatia Works,’ which explored issues related to working conditions in Croatia,” said Imre. “This newscast used innovative storytelling techniques and new tools and technologies, such as data visualization and mapping, to tell stories about international workers in Croatia, Croatian brain drain, and the gig economy, among others.”

Imre reflected on returning to her alma mater after 20 years to conduct a workshop like the one that inspired her.

"That was one of the best experiences of my education at the time,” she said, “so I understand the profound impact these kinds of workshops can have on students, and I was glad I had a chance to come back and work with the new generation of young journalists in Croatia."
Iveta Imre
Dr. Iveta Imre
Assistant Professor

Imre said she believes the project was selected as a winner because it used innovative storytelling techniques to explore an important issue that impacts a many people in Croatia.

“We had a great group of students who worked really hard to get great visuals and informative interviews with officials and people who are impacted,” she said, “and the fact that we won an award recognizes all the hard work that went into creating this newscast.”

The collaboration came about because Professor Tena Perišin, head of the journalism department at FPZG, had been following Wenger’s work for many years and because of her personal connection to Imre.

“Iveta is my ex-student, who after earning her M.A. from Zagreb, continued her academic career in the US,” Perišin said in an earlier interview. “In addition to her professional skills, which are very important, she is one who understands our Balkan mentality. It was a win-win situation considering we included 24 students, journalists and journalism lecturers from five countries to make this workshop a success.”

Croatia
Play Video

The workshop included young journalists from five European countries – Croatia, Slovenia, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia.

The Telly Awards event was founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after, according to the award website.

With the recent evolution and rise of digital video (web series, VR, 360 and beyond), the awards today also reflect and celebrate a new era of the moving image on and offline. The awards annually showcase the best work created within television and across video for all screens. Organizers received more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

“I think that the students who participated in the workshop have a bright future in journalism ahead,” Imre said. “and I hope this award will inspire them to continue working hard and telling important stories.”

Recent UM School of Journalism and New Media graduate named PRAM’s Outstanding PR Student in the state

Posted on: May 28th, 2020 by ldrucker

A May 2020 graduate from the School of Journalism and New Media was named Outstanding PR Student in the state by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi recently.

Karsyn King, a broadcast journalism major with a public relations specialization, was chosen from among students nominated by universities throughout the state.

A panel of judges selects the winner based on academic excellence and honors, public relations activities and experience, campus and community involvement, and a recommendation from the student’s instructor. The Gregory Raimondo Outstanding PR Student award is named for a PRAM member who was tragically killed in an accident in 2018.

King, who is also a double major in Spanish, was nominated by Senior Lecturer Robin Street.

Karsyn King

Karsyn King. Photo by Stan O’Dell.

“Karsyn easily stands out as one of the brightest and best students I have taught,” Street said. “I knew from the minute I graded her first assignment that she was going to excel in PR. I truly am in awe of her abilities, intelligence and time management skills.”

Ryan Whittington, PRAM’s vice president of student services, was not a judge, but he did coordinate the selection process.

“This year’s judges commended Karsyn for her ability to juggle multiple projects,” Whittington said. “In addition to the way she maintained outstanding academic honors, multiple internships, part-time jobs and campus activities, they were impressed with her clear career goals. One judge shared, ‘It is obvious that she is a stellar student who will make an outstanding professional who can take on multiple projects and responsibilities.’”

King, from Monroe, North Carolina, was a member of the Honors College, as well as a producer and on-air talent at both the campus radio and TV stations. She served as event coordinator for the University Ambassadors and as an orientation leader for incoming freshmen. She was an officer in her sorority and in Panhellenic. Her volunteer work included serving at a local homeless shelter and as a tutor to underprivileged children. In addition, she worked two part-time jobs while in college.

“I am beyond honored to receive the award,” King said. “It is amazing to see my hard work pay off in such a profound way as I end my undergraduate career at Ole Miss. I will be forever grateful to Ms. Street for her nomination, her constant encouragement, and her invaluable guidance.”

 

School’s Alumni Offer Appreciation of Dean Will Norton, Jr. as He Returns to Faculty

Posted on: May 26th, 2020 by drwenger

Story contributed by Prof. Cynthia Joyce.

When Dr. Will Norton announced his retirement as Dean of the School of Journalism and New Media after a more than 50-year, highly distinguished career in journalism education, the immediate reaction among longtime friends and colleagues was one of disbelief. After all, Dr. Norton – a spry 78-year-old who seemed to be aging in reverse – is well known for running circles around many of his far younger faculty members, and for being as committed to making corny puns as he is to cultivating a global free press. Starting with his tenure as chair of the Department of Journalism in 1977, and his return in 2009 as the school’s founding dean, it was his high-velocity vision for the school that set the stage, and the pace, for a prolonged period of growth during an era of profound disruption for the entire media industry.

“When I was there, journalism was a sleepy little program in a sleepy little building,” recalled Dick Starmann, who graduated in 1968 with dual degrees in journalism and marketing before going on to lead global communications for McDonald’s for three decades.

“Just take a look at the IMC program and what it is today – that doesn’t happen by accident,” Starmann said. “I wished I’d had that program when I was there. Will had the foresight to realize that, rather than saying ‘We’re a j-school and we’re going to have this singular focus,’ he saw the future. And it’s been a big success for the university.”

Charles Overby, with whom Dr. Norton traveled extensively on behalf of the Freedom Forum and collaborated on the establishment of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, says Dr. Norton’s deep passion for journalism, education and a free press has always been fueled by a genuine concern for and interest in others.

“Will probably laughs more and cries more than any friend I have, and it’s because he feels so deeply,” Overby said. “It surprises me that he continues to have that spirit. I think he’s been appreciated as a dean, but in a few short years, he will be seen as the giant that he really is. He knows a lot — but unlike a lot of people who know a lot, he’s willing to listen. And he does listen. I think he sees every person he meets as someone to learn from.”

Indeed, the front office of Farley Hall hosts a steady stream of visitors — whether students, faculty, administration or alumni – many of them seeking an audience with Dr. Norton, whose open-door policy was well known.

“It never seemed to be draining to him,” Overby said. “I believe he gains energy from it…It’s not a chore for him. He draws strength from his passions, and from being around other people. He’s an interviewer –he wants to know people’s story.”

Dr. Norton’s roots as a reporter – he worked for several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, before transitioning into journalism education – remained in evidence as he balanced the growth of IMC program with continued respect for traditional journalism values.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting Executive Director Ronnie Agnew admits he didn’t appreciate the full scope of Dr. Norton’s vision when he first joined the journalism school in 1981.

“I did not realize at the time there was such a scarcity of African American journalists in the country — I just thought it would be a cool major,” Agnew said. “Dr. Norton recognized, far more than I did then, that it was important that African American students were nurtured and got from the program what they needed to be successful in the industry.”

Agnew credits Dr. Norton with not just launching his journalism career, but for helping him to sustain it for more than 30 years.

“You know, newsrooms can be very, very tough,” Agnew said. “You leave this great man [Dr. Norton], who is always encouraging, and motivating, and pushing you with love — and then you get out into this great big world, and it’s whole lot different. And you say, ‘Oh my goodness, can I survive this?’ And then you call him and you talk to him and he tells you, ‘You know what? Get tougher.’”

Agnew recalled that when he returned to Mississippi in 2001 to serve as managing and then executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger, Dr. Norton was “over the moon.”

“All the investment he had made in me, and now here I was in a position to help, not just Ole Miss, but every j-school in the state — he was very, very proud of that moment. He took this kid from a little town in North Mississippi and he made him believe – he made me believe in me.”

Jesse Hollandformer Daily Mississippian editor, AP reporter, and author of “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slavery Inside the White House,” and the Marvel sci-fi novel “The Black Panther: Who Is The Black Panther?,” among others — echoed Agnew’s sentiments.

“He was the first one who told me he thought I could be a great reporter,” Holland said. “Every job I have ever taken since, I have called and asked Dr. Norton about it first.”

With Norton’s encouragement, Holland got involved with student media, and even when Dr. Norton left UM to become Dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1990, he made time for Holland.

“Dr. Norton would call and check up on me, and allow me to call and ask him for advice,” Holland said. “He didn’t just bring me to Ole Miss and then up and leave.”

That personal commitment to students is apparent to alumni such as Leslie Westbrook, who went on to a storied marketing career before she joined the IMC faculty as an adjunct in 2012. She was inspired by what the school’s IMC program might become, and at Dr. Norton’s urging, began to lay the groundwork for building a consumer research center at the school.

“He has so much love and appreciation for the j-school,” Westbrook said. “He wanted to make it the best — he brought so much momentum to it. But it was not just his vision — he really wanted to hear everyone’s vision, and make it something we could all own.”

Now that he’s retiring from his official dean duties, Dr. Norton will turn his focus to what he’s always been known for: fighting for the students.

“That will be the thing I remember the most about Dr. Norton as he goes into retirement [from the dean’s office] — and I find it extremely difficult to say that word where he’s concerned, because, my goodness, he was as full of energy the last time I saw him as he was in 1981 – is just that he truly believes in journalism,” Agnew said. “He believed we needed to put all of Ole Miss’ journalism students into jobs to make a difference in this community, and in the world. I think we can safely say that it’s happened.”

 

Friends and colleagues mourn former journalism department leader

Posted on: May 22nd, 2020 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has lost a former leader who did much to promote quality journalism in schools throughout the South.

Ronald T. Farrar, who was chair of the UM journalism department from 1973 to 1977, died May 18 at age 84.

Farrar is also a former chair of the Southern Methodist University journalism department and former director of the University of Kentucky School of Journalism.

He authored several books, including a biography of Walter Williams, who founded the world’s first school of journalism at the University of Missouri. He also wrote “Powerhouse,” a book chronicling the history of journalism education at the University of Mississippi from its origins in 1947. He retired from academia in 2001 as the University of South Carolina’s Reynolds-Faunt Professor of Journalism.

Mark Dolan

Mark Dolan

Mark Dolan, an associate professor of journalism at the UM School of Journalism and New Media, met Farrar at the University of South Carolina as a graduate student. He said Farrar was a fabulous writer and historian.

“Above all, he was kind, with an attitude that all things are possible, and that good ideas mattered,” Dolan said. “I was his teaching assistant in a large section of freshmen, among them Ainsely Earhardt, who went on to Fox News. I owe my teaching career to him.”

Debbie van Tuyll, a professor of communications at Augusta University’s Department of Communications, was also one of Farrar’s graduate students. She describes him as an old-fashioned, Southern gentleman.

“And I mean that in the best way,” she said. “He was gracious and open to those around him. That’s not to say he didn’t have his moments when he could be stern, but he always did so in such a way as to be non-offensive.”

Van Tuyll said Farrar had an uncanny ability to assess where a student was in his or her intellectual development, meet them there, and help them move ahead in their studies.

“He was the best combination of teacher and scholar,” she said. “And a fine copy editor. He caught so many mistakes in my dissertation that I should have caught. But mostly, he was there to offer encouragement and to be a cheerleader for me.”

An Arkansas native, Farrar graduated from the University of Arkansas, earning a bachelor of science degree in business in 1957, according to a bio. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa in 1962, and a Ph.D. in history and journalism from the University of Missouri in 1965.

Ronald T. Farrar

Click the photo to access an article about Farrar from the University of South Carolina. Screenshot from University of South Carolina website.

Farrar began his career in Arkansas, first as a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat in Little Rock, later as the news editor of the Daily Press in Paragould, and as the editor of the Trumann Democrat in Truman. He also worked for the Daily Iowan.

Those who knew him said Farrar had the remarkable gift of never meeting a stranger. He was a great listener, a good man who truly cared about everyone he met and, in turn, they cared about him. He made and kept friends for life.

Van Tuyll said Farrar’s legacy is his students and scholarship. Because of his leadership and guidance, she won the American Journalism Historians Association Kobre Award this year for lifetime achievement.

“I was so proud to tell Dr. Farrar about that – even though he’d never been active in AJHA,” she said. “Still, I wouldn’t have won that award without his hand guiding me through my studies and teaching me the importance of doing high quality, publishable research that answered a significant question.”

Farrar was an internationally respected and gifted professor who taught, wrote and conducted research for nearly four decades. He was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists in 1969 with the Distinguished Service Medal for Research in Journalism for his book “Reluctant Servant: The Story of Charles G. Ross.”

James A. Autry, the former CEO of the Meredith Corporation’s Magazine Group, said he viewed Farrar as a calm and gentle person whose effectiveness depended on the strength of quiet leadership.

“I think his legacy is that he led the department of journalism in the sometimes frustrating job of convincing university leadership of the need to move the program from a ‘department’ to a ‘school,'” Autry said. “This was not a simple challenge, and while the change did not happen during his tenure, he worked to maintain the momentum toward that eventuality.”

UM graduate Rose Flenorl said she met Farrar while attending a program her senior year of high school designed to increase racial diversity at Ole Miss.

“I had decided to major in journalism, so I had the opportunity to meet Ron Farrar,” she said. “He was an encourager. I so enjoyed my visit, my conversations with Ron and attending journalism classes. Of course, I decided to attend Ole Miss after that visit.”

Rose Flenorl

Rose Flenorl

Flenorl said Farrar kept in touch with her throughout her career and continued to track her progress.

“Leadership matters. Effective leaders build strong cultures, inclusive environments and collaborative teams,” she said. “They also attract the best in faculty, staff and students.”

She graduated from UM with a degree in journalism and English and now works in corporate communications as Manager of Global Citizenship at FedEx Corporation in Memphis.

Charles L. Overby, former chairman and CEO of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and Diversity Institute, is chairman of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics located inside the UM School of Journalism and New Media.

Charles Overby

“My own personal experience showed me that Ron cared deeply about his students, both while they were at Ole Miss and afterwards,” Overby said. “He was a good educator and administrator, but more than that, he was a very caring people person. Ron became a friend for hundreds of students long after they left Ole Miss.”

Due to conditions at this time, the family will hold a graveside service on Saturday, May 23, with plans to hold a memorial service later this summer.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Ronald T. and Gayla D. Farrar Award in Media and Civil Rights in care of the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Farrar endowed the award there in 2011.

Enroll now in summer courses from the UM School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: May 20th, 2020 by ldrucker

Are you feeling a little bored? Why not get a head start on some of your classes?

Many courses offered this summer by the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media are required classes for journalism and IMC majors.

For summer classes, you have until the day they start to enroll, so why not include learning in your plans for summer fun?


Full Summer


Bobby Steele – IMC 104 Web 1 – Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication
– Integrated marketing communications is a versatile field. This class required for IMC majors introduces the basic disciplines of IMC – advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, internet marketing communication, and relationship marketing.

IMC 395 – Internship I – Internship experience in media, such as public relations and advertising.

IMC 495 – Internship II – Internship experience in media, such as public relations and advertising.

 

First Summer Session

 

Mark Burson IMC – 455 Web 1 – Integrated Marketing Communications – This class required for IMC majors is a capstone course involving tactical application of IMC skills and disciplines that is designed to develop team-building skills. Alternative and competing IMC campaigns will be presented and judged by both professor and client.

Roy Frostenson – JOUR 101 Web 1 – Media, News & Audience – This class required of all majors is an introduction to various facets of communication from the world of news media to the persuasive realms of marketing, advertising, public relations, and social media. This course will also strengthen your knowledge of the media and communication industries, their history and current practices, their content, and their effects on us as individuals and society.

Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking

Emily Bowen-Moore – JOUR – 273 Web 1 – Creative Visual Thinking – Ready to think visual? This class required by all students except those enrolled in the broadcast journalism emphasis is an introduction to communication design that explores different media and how visual elements are used to communicate. It focuses on the vocabulary of effective visual presentation and the analysis of visual messages across media platforms.

Mark Dolan – JOUR 345 – Digital Media Diversity – Explores the origins, theory, and applications of diversity in digital media content and opens pathways among students and instructors to understand digital representations of race, sexuality, gender, disability, ethnicity, and class, underscoring and enlarging historical narratives of communication, the nature of audience and content creators within digital spaces. This class fulfills the diversity requirement.

 

Second Summer Session

 

Brad Conaway – JOUR – 310 Web 1 – Social Media in Society – This class takes a critical approach to understanding the relationship between society and social media. The course will explore the development of social media by situating them in broader social, political, historical, and business contexts. We will examine how the emergence of social media technologies are discussed, the ethical and legal challenges surrounding these technologies, and how social media affect various aspects of our lives including our social relationships, identity, privacy, and work.

LaReeca Rucker – JOUR – 361 Web 1 – Journalism Explorations IBlack Mirror, The Twilight Zone and Media – The British science-fiction anthology series “Black Mirror” is set in the near future explores the potential consequences of social media and future technology. Each episode has a different cast with a unique story and, like most science fiction, it offers a prophetic warning about what could happen if we lose control and allow technology to control us.

Some might say we are currently living in a “Black Mirror” moment. Recognizing the show’s potential as a discussion starter about modern and future media, students will watch specific episodes of “Black Mirror” and think critically about the program. Through class discussions and writing exercises, they will envision the future of social media and technology. Some selected content will be hosted on our Black Mirror Project website.

This mind-bending class will also analyze topical developments and news stories related to the impact of social media on society. Students will read academic articles that have been written about “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone.” Other science and speculative fiction movies and television shows will be examined. We’ll speculate about what the future holds, good and bad, with media and technology. And we’ll discuss what we can learn about journalism and a free society from science fiction visions of dystopias.

Black Mirror

Students who take this class will receive daily lesson plans on Blackboard with work they should complete before the following day. They may be asked to give short video presentations via Zoom, or to upload a video to YouTube so that other students can view their presentations. We also plan to have weekly, nationally-recognized speakers who can share their thoughts on the media and technology topics we discuss that will be broadcast in an optional live Zoom meeting or via video.

Students will be asked to complete some writing projects that could be featured on our “Black Mirror” website: https://blackmirrorideas.wordpress.com/ They will be asked to engage in discussions in our Blackboard Discussion Forum with their classmates. We’ll also use social media platforms, such as Twitter, to communicate on some assignments. And we will (optionally) explore virtual reality, so it might be a good idea to purchase some inexpensive ($10 or less) VR glasses.

Iveta Imre – JOUR 362 – Journalism Explorations IIVideo Storytelling – Video storytelling is an essential skill whether you are going into film or TV, social media or advertising, PR or journalism, and the goal of this class is to give students a fundamental understanding of how to use video to tell a quality story. Students will learn to research, report, shoot, and edit short, focused video stories designed specifically for the web.

Imre said students will be doing fun projects, such as creating a silent movie for which they will edit a story only using visuals. They will also learn best practices for videos for social media. Students will experiment with video storytelling for TikTok. They will learn video and audio editing, and the class will culminate in creating a mini personal story or a mini documentary. At the end of the semester, they will have a class film festival with surprise awards for the best in show videos.

Bobby Steele – IMC 104 Web 1 –  Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication – This class required for IMC majors introduces the basic disciplines of IMC – advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, internet marketing communication, and relationship marketing.

Christina Sparks – IMC 304 Web 1 – Account Planning – This class required for IMC majors presents principles and practices of the account planning process to develop skills, insights and strategies to use in different methods of influencing consumers’ behavior. Students will hear real-world examples of the instructor’s time as an account planner at Ogilvy.

Account planning is the study of branding, positioning, research, analytics, insights, and measurements involved in the creation and evaluation of an advertising or communication campaign. Account planners are known as the voice of the consumer within agencies. They are the brand marketers, consumer experts, strategy developers, data analysts, program effectiveness measurers and general thinkers behind communications. Concepts learned in the course will be applied in a planning project.

design

Darren Sanefski – IMC 305 Web 1 – Visual Communication – This class required for the graphic design specialization emphasizes creation, utilization, and critique of visual components of IMC at professional levels. Students will learn basics of design software for IMC purposes and applications in print, online, and video, as well as packaging and retail environments.

Mike Tonos – IMC 390.1 – Advanced Writing: Integrated Marketing – This class required for IMC majors explores advanced writing in integrated marketing types of advertising; concepts of creativity, copy structure, and style; emphasis on creative thinking and clear, precise writing in preparation of advertising for print and broadcast media and copy for presentations and direct mail.

John Baker – IMC 404 – IMC Research – This class required for IMC majors explores the theory and practice of qualitative and quantitative research applied to multiple marketing and communications challenges and tasks.

 

August Intersession

 

Bobby Steele – IMC 104 Web 1 – Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication – This class trequired for majors introduces the basic disciplines of IMC – advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, internet marketing communication, and relationship marketing.

UM School of Journalism and New Media student journalists win four national awards

Posted on: May 15th, 2020 by ldrucker

Four University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student journalists have won national awards.

Devna Bose, Will Stribling, Daniel Payne and Madison Scarpino are the winners.

Bose was named the national winner of Society of Professional Journalst Mark of Excellence award for online multimedia reporting for her project about the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Ricans’ mental and emotional health.

Will Stribling

Will Stribling

SPJ names one winner and two finalists in each category. The School of Journalism and New Media also had two national finalists in the SPJ contest for content published in 2019:

  • The Daily Mississippian, finalist for Best Affiliated Website
  • Will Stribling, finalist for Radio News Reporting, for “Emmett Till Memorial Rededicated,” broadcast on Rebel Radio WUMS-FM. Stribling is a senior journalism major.
Daniel Payne

Daniel Payne

In the national Hearst Journalism contest, SJNM senior journalism major Madison Scarpino placed in the TV news category. Madison placed 12th for her entry of two packages from NewsWatch Ole Miss.

The Hearst and SPJ contests are considered the most prestigious awards in college journalism. All the top universities in the nation compete in SPJ and Hearst contests.

Madison Scarpino

Madison Scarpino

Bose, a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College student who majored in journalism, graduated last year. She worked for the past year as a  Report for America fellow at Chalkbeat in Newark, N.J. In June, she starts a new RFA assignment with the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina, where she will cover underreported communities.

Devna Bose

Devna Bose

Her award-winning project resulted from a reporting trip to Puerto Rico in January 2019. Several students and faculty traveled to tell stories of recovery after Hurricane Maria.

“I’m so honored to receive this award for a project about such an important topic,” said Bose, former managing editor of The Daily Mississippian. “Through exercising a multitude of journalistic skills during the project’s duration, like writing, video, photography, and design, I came out of the trip feeling confident as a multimedia reporter. The reporting trip to Puerto Rico was one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate career.”

 

UM School of Journalism and New Media offers three ways to pay tribute to Street who is set to retire in May

Posted on: May 12th, 2020 by ldrucker

About 4,000 hours of Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s life ended this month when she graded her last advanced PR student project.

Each semester, students in her PR Techniques class turned in a final PR campaign plan of 50-100 pages. Grading it took up to two hours per student and she had about 2,000 total students in that class over the years.

Those projects are only a portion of the assignments, tests and papers she graded for classes in Introduction to PR, PR Case Studies, Feature Writing, News Reporting and Writing for Mass Media, at least doubling the total number of grading hours to 8,000.

Was it worth to Street?

Robin Street

Robin Street

“Absolutely! “Watching my students succeed as professionals made every minute worth it,” Street said. “Nothing beats the feeling I get when former students email me to tell me they used something they learned in class at work.

“Watching that ‘light bulb’ come on with students as they begin to understand how to create the work is a wonderful experience. But that understanding does not come often until you show them how through grading and feedback.”

The School of Journalism and New Media is asking her former students to pay tribute to Street, who will retire from full-time teaching on May 31, in three possible ways.

  1. Former students are asked to write a statement of what Street meant to them and to share their favorite story about her. Send the statement as an attachment, which will later be put into a bound volume, to Sarah Griffith at slgriff@olemiss.edu.
  2. The Robin Street Public Relations Students Support Fund has been established to help PR students with travel and expenses and to establish the Robin Street Outstanding Public Relations Student award. To donate, go to https://ignite.olemiss.edu/project/19977
  3. A party was scheduled for Friday, Oct. 23 from 6-8 p.m. That party, like so many other things in our lives, is now on hold. Updates will be sent out closer to the time.

Cooper Manning celebrates our seniors as virtual graduation speaker

Posted on: May 7th, 2020 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate Cooper Manning, who, in case you didn’t know, is also part of a famous football family, is the school’s virtual graduation speaker this year.

The school has created a virtual graduation page where you can see his full address to the Class of 2020.

Or if you’re lucky enough to spend five minutes talking to Manning, you can’t help but notice his sense of humor. We asked him what it was like to grow up in a famous family?

“I would say it was exactly the opposite of being a Kardashian.”

Manning said he became a broadcast journalism major after taking a semester of accounting and realizing he didn’t love it.

“I have always been kind of comfortable talking on camera or in front of people,’ he said. “You had semesters where you were behind the scenes and working the camera, and you got to learn a different perspective.”

“While I enjoyed being on camera more, I did appreciate my days as a cameraman. I also liked that there were no set hours around journalism. You could go shoot something at night. There was always action. You weren’t tied to a schedule.”

Manning said he’s always had two career paths – a sales job and a media job.

“After college, I had a radio show,” he said. “A big radio guru had a heart attack and was out of commission. They said, ‘Have you ever hosted a radio show? … You’re hired.’ My fun was always being on the air in some fashion. For me, personally, I think if I had made it a full-time career, it might not be as fun.”

Cooper Manning

Cooper Manning

Manning is entering his fifth year as a host for “The Manning Hour” on FOX NFL Sunday Mornings, where his broadcast journalism degree comes in handy. However, in his real job, he is senior managing director of investor relations for AJ Capital Partners focusing on new business development and managing and curating investor relationships. There he has been instrumental in raising capital for Graduate Hotels.

“I have a lot of respect for the guys in the journalism world,” he said. “The hours are different. Those are tough hours. Those guys grind and work.”

He said he hopes graduates will ponder this thought:

“I hope they can walk away thinking, ‘If this no talent clown is doing OK for himself, then I’m going to kill it,” he said. “I was reluctant to accept the invitation just because I still wake up in the middle of the night and have that horrible pit in my stomach that I have a paper due and haven’t done it, and you can’t find the classroom, and you’re late for class.”

“I have really enjoyed the last decade of my life without having papers and homework due, so I guess I wanted to torture myself the last couple of months about what I am going to put down on paper or what comes out of my mouth. I am equally nervous about this and my sociology exam at the end of my senior year, which didn’t turn out so well.”

His advice to young professionals:

“I am a big believer in doing what you like and doing what you are good at,” he said. “Don’t take a job that you don’t like that you’re not passionate about because it’s a good job. There are not that many people in the world who get to come home and enjoy what they have done, so if you can find that, I think you’ve got it figured out.”

For more information about our journalism or integrated marketing communications programs visit jnm.olemiss.edu.

This article was written by LaReeca Rucker.

Registration is underway for J361 ‘Black Mirror, The Twilight Zone and Media’ summer class

Posted on: May 5th, 2020 by ldrucker

Registration is underway for a class the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media will be offering online during the second summer session called J361 “Black Mirror, The Twilight Zone and Media.” If you’re a fan of either show, you may enjoy studying them from an academic viewpoint while envisioning the future of media and  technology.

“Black Mirror” is a British science fiction Netflix anthology series set in the near future that explores the potentially dark consequences of technology and social media. Each episode has a different cast with a unique story and, like most science fiction, it offers a speculative warning about what could happen if we lose control and allow technology to control us.

Black Mirror

 

The show, created by Charlie Brooker, was first broadcast on British television in 2011. It is now a Netflix original series, and some have called it a modern day “Twilight Zone.” Recognizing its potential for the discussion of modern and future media, some colleges and universities across the country have incorporated “Black Mirror” into their journalism and communications classes.

“The Twilight Zone,” which ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964 and had several revivals, likely needs no description unless you just moved to Earth.

Professor LaReeca Rucker will teach the “Black Mirror, The Twilight Zone and Media” class. She encourages “Black Mirror” and “Twilight Zone” fans to register and enter a new dimension. Read the class Q & A below to learn more.

Q. Why were you inspired to create a class inspired by “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone?”

A. After watching all the episodes of both series, I thought many of them tapped into important issues happening in our society regarding media and technology, offering a visionary warning about scenarios we could face if we aren’t careful. The episodes offer near future visions about issues involving social media, cyber security, cyber crime, digital privacy, digital voyeurism; technological inventions like drones, digital contacts and self-driving cars; and digital disconnection. Many of these scenarios are already happening in our world. We read about them daily in news stories. From city governments that become targets of ransomware attacks, to people who film crimes and accidents on their cell phones to share on social media rather than intervening and helping victims. And our world is very much influenced by social media. You’ll see eerie near future visions of this in “Black Mirror.”

LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker

Q. Is “Black Mirror” used by others in education?

A.Black Mirror” has been used by many people from different fields of study. If you take a look at some of the academic journal articles that have been written about the series, you’ll find papers written by experts in the fields of media and communication, sociology, science, technology, criminal justice, law, art, music, and literature, among others. Some papers discuss technological surveillance and privacy issues; the future of tech products, such as wearables; artificial intelligence; cultural issues, such as racial inequalities; and other philosophical topics that blend technology and spirituality.

Q. Are we living in a “Black Mirror” moment?

A. Yes. Some might say that we are currently living in a “Black Mirror” moment. We are on the verge of a situation that could go either way depending on how we respond now and in the future. If we seemingly resolve the current COVID-19 situation, some scientists have said it’s only a matter of time before another strain of this virus or another emerges to cause another pandemic. This is largely due to how we, as citizens of the planet, are handling many things, including negligently destroying forests and animal ecosystems, selling wild animals in wet markets, and factory farming, writers and scientists have said. These are the things that have led to viral spillovers. Authors and filmmakers have been warning us about this since 2011 in books like “Spillover” and movies like “Contagion,” and we weren’t prepared.

Today, when anything happens, it is amplified by technology. So one of the things we’ve seen during this crisis is an abundance of information. But much of that information has been conflicting, and it seems to indicate what can already be presumed – we don’t exactly know what’s happening or how this is going to turn out – but we have new information about it every second of the day.

There are also thoughts by some that “the media,” which for some includes everyone with a social media account these days, is influencing the events. I believe we – everyone on social media – are collectively influencing the response to this situation by voicing our opinions, and that is an interesting and somewhat disturbing thing to think about – the power we now have with social media to influence situations that we didn’t have in the past. You will see this scenario happening in several episodes of “Black Mirror.”

Q. Why is “Black Mirror” or “The Twilight Zone” educational? What can we learn from it?

A. “Black Mirror” has been called a modern version of “The Twilight Zone.” We’ll also be watching episodes of “The Twilight Zone” in this class. Rod Serling, the narrator of the show, was a brilliant writer with a heart for social justice. That comes through in many of his pieces that offer dystopian visions of society. Remember the iconic “Eye of the Beholder” episode with native Southerner Donna Douglas (of “The Beverly Hillbillies”) who just wants to look normal like everyone else, so she endures many operations to look like other members of her society, but ultimately does not succeed in her transformation, and she is devastated?

In the end, the audience sees that she looks like a model, but she has been having multiple operations to look like the “normal” people of her world with their distorted, frightening faces who live in a place ruled by a dictator. This is just one example of a “Twilight Zone” episode set in a dystopian world void of freedom and individuality. And what better way to talk about journalism, the First Amendment, the Constitution, and American freedoms than to contrast these privileges with fictional and real life examples of modern day government dystopias in which citizens have none of the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy.

Q. What can science fiction teach us about our society?

A. Anything that offers a prophetic warning can teach us things to avoid. In addition to offering warnings about our culture and society, there is a business angle that could be beneficial to companies. Futurism is a business concept that uses science fiction and forward thinking to predict long-term strategies and outcomes for companies. Some major companies have brought in teams of science fiction writers who can use their research and writing skills to predict what lies ahead for that company. This may help them make profitable decisions and avoid future crises that company leaders haven’t thought about. None of us can predict the future, but we can make smarter decisions with research, knowledge and innovation.

Class Description

Recognizing the show’s potential as a discussion starter about modern and future media, students will watch specific episodes of “Black Mirror” and think critically about the program. Through class discussions and writing exercises, they will envision the future of social media and technology. Some selected content will be hosted on a Black Mirror Project website.

This mind-bending class will also analyze topical developments and news stories related to the impact of social media on society. Students will read academic articles that have been written about “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone.” Other science and speculative fiction movies and television shows will be examined. We’ll speculate about what the future holds, good and bad, with media and technology. And we’ll discuss what we can learn about journalism and a free society from science fiction visions of dystopias.

How will the class be taught?

Students who take this class will receive daily lesson plans on Blackboard with work they should complete before the following day. They may be asked to give short video presentations via Zoom, or to upload a video to YouTube so that other students can view their presentations.

We also plan to have weekly, state- and nationally-recognized speakers who can share their thoughts on the media and technology topics we discuss that will be broadcast in an optional live Zoom meeting or via video. Students will be asked to complete some writing projects that could be featured on our “Black Mirror” website: https://blackmirrorideas.wordpress.com/

They will be asked to engage in discussions in our Blackboard Discussion Forum with their classmates. They will be watching episodes of “Black Mirror” and “The Twlight Zone” on  Netflix (so they need a temporary subscription) throughout the course. We’ll also use social media platforms, such as Twitter, to communicate on some assignments. And we will (optionally) explore virtual reality, so it might be a good idea to purchase some inexpensive ($10 or less) VR glasses.


Harvard Political Review recently published the article Primetime Paranoia that mentions Rucker’s “Black Mirror” Project. The article explores “Black Mirror” and modern anxiety. You can read the story here: https://harvardpolitics.com/culture/primetimeparanoia/

You can also read student stories on The Black Mirror Project website at  https://blackmirrorideas.wordpress.com/

Those interested in learning more about the class may register or email Rucker.

 

 

GRE requirement waived; 4+1 program introduced to help graduate students at School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: April 30th, 2020 by ldrucker

The School of Journalism and New Media has two new opportunities that are designed to make things a little easier for students pursuing graduate degrees.

The school has decided to suspend the GRE requirement for Fall 2020 admission to graduate programs. On a separate note, the school is also introducing a 4+1 program designed for academically strong students who want to earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism in just five years.

Farley Hall

Farley Hall

Suspended GRE Requirement

Professor Robert Magee, Ph.D., is the director of the M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication program. You can learn more about the program here: https://masterimc.olemiss.edu

Magee said the Graduate School granted the school permission in April to suspend the GRE requirement for Fall 2020 admission to graduate programs. The suspension is temporary and expires July 31, 2020.

“To be fair to all the applicants, the GRE will not be used at all in any admission decision for Fall 2020 admission,” Magee said. “Under the change, no one will be admitted or denied admission based on a GRE score.”

The suspension also means new applicants do not need to submit a GRE score as part of their application, as long as their application is complete by July 31.

The School of Journalism and New Media offers the M.A. in Journalism, the residential M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication, and the online M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication. Magee said the temporary suspension applies to all three programs.

Many Educational Testing Services testing centers around the country had to close because of COVID-19 concerns.

“Several applicants had contacted me to express their concern over taking the GRE,” Magee said. “They had reserved a time to take the test, but these sessions were canceled.”

ETS has since made arrangements for proctored individual tests, but these can occur in just a few countries, which could leave many international applicants at a disadvantage, Magee said.

“We want to make sure that everyone who wishes to apply can do so and that the application process is as fair as possible,” said Magee. “But setting aside the GRE means that an applicant’s transcript and letters of reference carry even greater weight as outside materials.

“These materials, along with the personal statement and resume, paint a picture for the admission committee of how well an applicant might handle graduate-level work.”

This Grad School link lists several programs:

https://gradschool.olemiss.edu/admissions-during-covid19/

This M.S. in IMC website admissions tab lists application materials:

https://masterimc.olemiss.edu/admissions/

4+1 Program

Assistant Dean Debora Wenger, Ph.D., a professor of journalism, said the 4+1 journalism program is also designed to help students interested in pursuing an advanced degree.

“The 4+1 is designed for academically strong students who want to get their undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism in just five years,” she said. “The advantage to the students is that they can tackle that advanced coursework beginning in their senior year and then complete that graduate degree in just two more semesters. The advantage to the school is that we get to keep these great students around a little longer.”

Wenger said students who are interested should meet with our Assistant Dean for Student Services Jennifer Simmons and Journalism Graduate Director Joe Atkins as soon as they begin taking journalism courses.

The school is also considering offering a 4+1 program for IMC students in the future.

There is a minimum GPA requirement and a few specific classes they must take to fulfill the undergraduate and graduate degree requirements simultaneously.

Required courses include JOUR 590 Multimedia Storytellling and Jour 578 TV Documentary, to name a couple.