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University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professors creatively prepare for new semester

Posted on: August 13th, 2021 by ldrucker

College students will be back on campus in a few days, and University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professors are creatively preparing for a new semester.

Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism, plans to work on a documentary project with his students this semester.

“I hope to be involving my JOUR 456 students in working with documenting veterans’ stories for the Library of Congress and holding Zoom meetings with soldier-turned-photojournalist Michael McCoy, who is now based in Washington, D.C.”

Fagans said it’s important to adapt as storytellers, particularly during these times.

“The world is changing,” he said. “I have had students interview a (Major League Baseball) player in their truck or a chef in Italy. Zoom, FaceTime and Skype have changed the face of how we can report and tell stories. Lean into the current, have some fun, and take some risks.”

While it’s difficult to predict the future of business, media and education, students will be thinking about it in one of LaReeca Rucker’s classes, which usually have secondary themes. This semester, two themes are Futurism and Digital Nomads.

This is a picture of a colorful lightbulb with the words Creative Teaching

“Futurism, not to be confused with the art movement, is a business practice of trend analysis with an eye on the future,” said Rucker, an adjunct instructional assistant professor. “Futurists explore predictions and possibilities about the future, with the goal of putting themselves and their organizations years ahead of the competition.

“For one element of the class, my students will become futurists this semester as they tune into current events and watch the YouTube series “Dust” that offers short sci-fi films exploring the future of social media and digital technology. Futurists are increasingly being hired by businesses to present visions of what the future could look like as a tool for crisis communication and business evolution. It’s an important idea for media as well.”

The term “digital nomads” has been popularized in recent years with many professionals working remote jobs that allow them to live and travel all over the world.

“I hope to find a few digital nomads willing to share their career experiences with students this semester, since many of them work in media and marketing, and offer a few assignments that will allow students to become digital nomads in Oxford,” Rucker said.

Chris Canty Sparks, instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, has several creative things in store.

“In account planning, I am incorporating podcast interviews of advertising account planners and strategists from top agencies that talk about the process of developing campaigns for iconic brands,” she said.

“In campaigns, I’m having Ash Dees from the library show students how to use databases to access data to use for their campaigns.”

Charlie Mitchell, journalism program coordinator and associate professor of journalism, said the School of Journalism is rolling out a new course, JOUR 369 – Media Law and Ethics.

“It will be a required course for all JOUR and IMC students who started in the program last year and this year,” he said. “Separate courses in Media Law and Media Ethics will still be offered.”

Ellen Kellum, adjunct instructor of media design, said a colleague suggested a side project for students when they create a Poster Project in JOUR 273/Creative Visual Design.

“I’m excited to try it,” she said. “We will be teaching them to design social media ads to work in conjunction with the posters they design to promote a non-profit event. Should be a fast and fun creation, and it will reinforce what they’re learning about using the design software and add that real world element of what designers are asked to do, and usually with short notice.”

Kristie Alley Swain, associate professor of journalism, plans to create a Google form linked to Blackboard for each course as a space where students can ask questions and post comments anonymously.

“I’ll use these posts to continuously help me tweak the course content,” she said.

Mike Tonos, instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, said he plans to add a layer of critical thinking to his assignments based on workshops he recently attended.

Professor Nancy Dupont receives prestigious Edward L. Bliss Award and the Larry Burkum Service Award

Posted on: August 7th, 2021 by ldrucker

Dr. Nancy Dupont, a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor of journalism, made history last week, becoming the first person ever to win the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication – Electronic News Division’s two most prestigious awards in the same year.

Dupont won the Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Education and the Larry Burkum Service Award.

She is the 38th recipient of the Edward L. Bliss award and is only the 5th woman ever to win.

The announcement of her win was made at the end of a recent Broadcast Education Association News Division meeting by awards chairs Hub Brown and Bill Silcock. Dr. Dupont was honored by the division at the annual AEJMC-END social (following the business meeting) on Aug. 5.

Congratulations to Dr. Nancy Dupont, first-ever person to win both the AEJMC Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Education and the Larry Burkham Service Awards in the same year.

The Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Education is presented annually by the AEJMC – END. The award recognizes an electronic journalism educator who has made significant and lasting contributions to the field.

The Larry Burkum Service Award recognizes an electronic journalist or journalism educator who has demonstrated extraordinary service to journalism and to journalism education.

Last week also marked Dupont’s last day as a faculty member for the School of Journalism and New Media.

“Her well-earned retirement begins now,” said UM Interim Dean Debora Wenger, “but her impact on our school, our discipline, and so very many students will remain for many, many years to come.”

Wenger has taught with Dupont at UM, but she also worked with her at WSOC-TV in Charlotte.

Dr. Nancy Dupont

Dr. Nancy Dupont

“For Nancy, the job has always been TV news,” Wenger said. “She has loved broadcast journalism since she first stepped foot into WDSU-TV in New Orleans as an intern in the 1970s.

“Even after she began teaching, she infused her love of the medium into hundreds and hundreds of students who now credit successful careers and even more glorious adventures to Nancy’s mentorship.”

Wenger said students always respond to teachers who have a passion for their subject, such as Dupont, whose first academic job involved coordinating a television teaching program for Loyola University-New Orleans.

“I can only imagine what those first 90 students thought of this vivacious woman, who is equal parts diva, dynamo and Southern belle,” said Wenger

Dupont took over the advising role for UM’s award-winning, student-run newscast and revolutionized the way the program was produced, Wenger said.

“From her countless years of service to the Electronic News Division and BEA, to the connections she has fostered for students in newsrooms across the country, Nancy has had an extraordinary impact on all of us who care about good journalism and good broadcast journalism in particular,” Wenger said.

“I know I speak for Nancy when I say that winning the Bliss and Burkum awards this year is a highlight of a career filled with success and achievement. She is a teacher’s teacher, a scholar’s scholar and a treasured friend to me and so many others.”

Here is a video link of the announcement of Dupont’s win a few months ago:

Dupont joined the UM School of Journalism and New Media in 2006 after spending 17 years as a broadcast journalist and 13 years as a journalism educator. She has served as chair of the Radio-Television Journalism division (now Electronic News) of the AEJMC. She has served twice as chair of the news division of the Broadcast Education Association. In 2019, she was elected to a two-year term to the Broadcast Education Association Board of Directors.

Dupont co-authored the book “Journalism of the Fallen Confederacy” in 2014. She has authored 12 book chapters. She frequently presents her research at the Symposium of 19th Century Journalism, the Civil War, and Free Expression and at the Transnational Journalism History conference. She has published extensively about 19th-century Mississippi and Louisiana newspapers.

Dupont earned a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997.

Journalism and IMC alumni share how they are Serving Our State

Posted on: August 1st, 2021 by ldrucker
A graphic featuring a woman working at her computer with the state of Mississippi. It reads Serving Our State.

Serving Our State

Many University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduates embark on careers all over the country and abroad after graduation. But some choose to stay in Mississippi and use their talents in many ways while “Serving Our State.” Read stories from our alumni who share the significant impact our school has had on keeping the state informed.

Meg Annison

“Mississippi has been a wonderful place to grow up, live, raise a family and pursue my career dreams. The people, the places, the food–there is just so much to love and learn about our state.”

Meg Annison

Mississippi Lottery Corporation

Meg Annison: There is much to love, learn about state

Pascagoula native Meg Annison, 40, graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media in December of 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and an emphasis in public relations. She now lives in Jackson and works as the communications director for the Mississippi Lottery Corporation.

During and after college, Annison worked at Oxford Publishing and interned with a trade magazine in New York City. After graduation, she continued working with Oxford Publishing and freelancing.

Beginning in 2012, she worked for the Mississippi House of Representatives and Speaker Philip Gunn. She started as the House information officer, then transitioned into Gunn’s communications director.

Annison is one of the original 10 employees first hired at the Mississippi Lottery.

“Launching a lottery from the ground up is an extremely rare position involving hard work, long hours, challenges and numerous rewards,” she said.

As the communications director, Annison handles everything from press releases, social media strategy, crafting the company’s annual report, communicating with board members and legislators, and fielding media inquiries.

“Mississippi has been a wonderful place to grow up, live, raise a family and pursue my career dreams,” she said. “The people, the places, the food–there is just so much to love and learn about our state.”

Annison helps Mississippians in her current role by conveying transparency about how lottery money benefits the state.

“The Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law states the first $80 million in net proceeds for 10 years benefits roads and bridges,” Annison said. “Any net proceeds exceeding $80 million benefit the Education Enhancement Fund. These are two very important issues affecting most Mississippians.”

Lottery leaders also promote a Play Responsibly phone and text line for players.

“Mississippi is a place of opportunity, and I hope outgoing students will realize how needed their minds and talents are in Mississippi, and that she can offer so many opportunities and chances for growth that will be invaluable in your life.”

Kelsey Addison

director of marketing for
raanes & Oliver capital advisors in hattiesburg

Kelsey Addison

Kelsey Addison: Mississippi is a place of opportunity

Hattiesburg native Kelsey Addison, 25, graduated in December of 2018 with a degree in integrated marketing communications. She recently purchased a house in Hattiesburg, where she is the director of marketing for Raanes & Oliver Capital Advisors.

“After graduating from Ole Miss, I still had about six months left on my lease in Oxford, but there weren’t any job openings at the time for what I wanted to do,” she said.

During the summer of 2018, Addison interned for Congressman Steven Palazzo in Hattiesburg, and his office invited her back to work with them. Addison worked with the communications director drafting newsletters and press releases, creating content for social media accounts, regularly updating media lists and staying in contact with local community members.

“My first month working for the congressman was plagued by the government shutdown,” she said. “It was a tough time, but I learned so much about communicating with the public, handling a crisis, and working as a team trying to produce real results that would benefit the community.”

She was first hired as the office manager for what was then called, Raanes Capital Advisors, an independent branch of Raymond James. Her duties were to schedule appointments for financial advisors, answer phone calls, and handle client servicing needs.

“As time went on, I developed a passion for the financial sector and how my firm interacted with their clients and each other,” she said. “After several months of handling the firm’s social media on the side, I was promoted to director of marketing and now oversee all marketing initiatives. In my spare time, I work with a small social media marketing firm, Comfort Strategies, to manage several social media accounts of small businesses around the Pine Belt.”

As the director of marketing, Addison is responsible for all social media management, public relations, and client communications from the branch.

“The business manages over $150 million in assets, so clients must be able to trust us with the money we manage for them,” she said. “It is important in my role to convey that trust by sending out quarterly newsletters and staying in routine communication with clients, managing our blog, and being knowledgeable about what is going on in the economy, politics, and global news.”

Kelsey Addison

Kelsey Addison

For the past six months, Addison has helped rebrand the business now known as Raanes & Oliver Capital Advisors.

“During the rebranding process, I designed a new website, prepared updated stationary, created social media ads, and coordinated with multiple businesses to ensure that we stayed on schedule and that everything was cohesive with what we envisioned for our business with this rebrand.”

Addison said the project involved creating trust with clients.

“I’m proud of the job we did, and it would not have been possible without the tools I received from my time at Ole Miss,” she said.

Why did she decide to stay in Mississippi?

“Mississippi is a place of growth,” she said. “So many brilliant minds are choosing to stay and see Mississippi for what she could be, and that’s how I felt.

“I grew up in Hattiesburg and loved my community as a child. However, through my time with the congressman’s office and my job now, I have grown to love Hattiesburg and Mississippi as a place where I want to grow and challenge myself and others to leave it better than we found it.

“Mississippi is a place of opportunity, and I hope outgoing students will realize how needed their minds and talents are in Mississippi, and that she can offer so many opportunities and chances for growth that will be invaluable in your life.”

Addison’s company manages investment accounts for clients – about 86% of whom live in Mississippi.

“By working with these clients and being involved in our community, we are working to help them reach the goals they set financially,” she said, “whether that is to send their kids to college, have a comfortable retirement, give back to their communities, or to make a highly anticipated large purchase. We also work within schools in our area to teach middle- and high-schoolers about financial literacy and how the stock market works.”

Blake Alsup

“I wake up every day and get to write about the people that make Northeast Mississippi what it is. It’s not a responsibility that I take lightly, but if you were to ask my coworkers, they would tell you that I like to have fun at work… If I can make readers even half as excited as I am about the people I write about, then I’m satisfied because there are some truly extraordinary individuals in our region.”

Blake Alsup

education reporter,
northeast mississippi daily journal

Blake Alsup: Extraordinary people are in Mississippi

Ripley native Blake Alsup, 25, studied journalism with an emphasis in print and a minor in Southern Studies. He graduated in December of 2018 and now works as the education reporter for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo — a paper he grew up reading.

But he didn’t start there. Less than a month after his graduation, Alsup accepted a job with the New York Daily News in New York City.

“Although the job included some breaking news coverage, it was primarily aggregating sensational content — stories that would get clicks, whether it was a horrific crime or a cute pet — from local newspapers and TV stations around the country for a national audience.

“I wanted to do ‘real’ journalism, the type of reporting I had done at The Daily Mississippian, so I left that job in September 2019 and returned to Mississippi after securing a job with the Daily Journal.”

Alsup began working at the Journal in October of 2019. He covered local schools, primarily the Tupelo and Lee County school districts, writing occasional articles about the local community colleges and universities.

“But in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we didn’t have a health care reporter, I updated our website with the latest coronavirus case and death counts by county in our region,” he said.

He eventually began covering the Mississippi State Department of Health and Gov. Tate Reeves’ press conferences. From the start of the pandemic to the peak in January 2021, Alsup has covered efforts to vaccinate Mississippians and the latest pandemic news.

“If there’s a story that needs to be covered, and it doesn’t fit any specific beat, or the person who would typically cover it is busy, I’m the first person my editors come to because they know I’m willing to pitch in and cover any story no matter how much I have going on,” he said.

Blake Alsup in New York City Blake Alsup in New York City

During his time at the Journal, Alsup has interviewed hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, a Mississippi State University graduate who now drives the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a hospital chaplain who worked with COVID-19 patients and their families through the pandemic and a local meteorologist who has seen Northeast Mississippi residents through snowstorms and EF-5 tornadoes.

“And that barely scratches the surface when it comes to interesting people I’ve interviewed,” he said. “I wake up every day and get to write about the people that make Northeast Mississippi what it is.

Alsup utilizes the skills he learned as a student reporter in the School of Journalism and New Media, where he first learned what “real journalism” was.

“It’s not a responsibility that I take lightly, but if you were to ask my coworkers, they would tell you that I like to have fun at work. Interviews like the ones I mentioned are what really get me excited, and if I can make readers even half as excited as I am about the people I write about, then I’m satisfied because there are some truly extraordinary individuals in our region.”

Alsup said he realized the importance of local journalism while working as a news reporter and news editor for The Daily Mississippian and while participating in a couple of school-sponsored reporting trips to Batesville and Grenada with professors Bill Rose, John Baker and Ji Hoon Heo. He said he still wanted to work for a major regional or national publication at that time, but “a seed was planted that grew into a desire to work for a local newspaper.”

“And I went on to New York just long enough to realize that Mississippi is where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I don’t say any of that to brag, but to let current students know that despite setbacks, you can succeed.

And you can tell stories that matter, whether you go to work for The New York Times or make your living at a community newspaper in Mississippi.”


“By publishing the paper weekly, we give our citizens a voice, and will continue to do it as long as I can. Without my education at UM, none of this would have been possible.

Emma F. Crisler

owner, editor, publisher ,
the port gibson reveille newspaper

Emma F. Crisler

Emma F. Crisler: We give our citizens a voice

Tutwiler native Emma F. Crisler, 82, graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1961 with a degree in journalism and English. Today, she is the owner/editor and publisher of The Port Gibson Reveille newspaper.

She first taught in McComb and Vicksburg before working at the Claiborne County Welfare Department as a social worker.

“When (my) husband died in 1997, I assumed the responsibility of owner, editor, and publisher of The Port Gibson Reveille for three generations, beginning in 1898 as the third family to own this paper,” she said.

Crisler said she loves Mississippi and wanted to remain in the state.

“In 1969, I literally ‘married’ The Port Gibson Reveille and was the midnight proofreader along with my other jobs,” she said. “After my husband’s, Edgar Crisler, Jr., death in 1997, I had a choice of either taking over the paper or hiring someone to do it.  

“I chose to be the ‘boss,’ and I still am, publishing the paper weekly on Thursdays,” she said. “By publishing the paper weekly, we give our citizens a voice, and will continue to do it as long as I can.

“Without my education at UM, none of this would have been possible. Without my training at Ole Miss Journalism School, I would not have the knowledge to run a newspaper today.”

Miranda Beard

“The lessons I learned and the practical hands on training built my confidence to use a voice I was ashamed of and bullied because of it,” she said. “The lessons I learned empowered me to use a booming and powerful voice to impact over a million people through public speaking, social media, podcasts, and by training other leaders through my consulting business on the local, state and national levels.

Miranda Beard

Former WDAM/Raycom Media journalist,
now owner of B&B Consulting

Miranda Beard: The lessons I learned empowered me

Miranda Beard, born in 1957, studied broadcast journalism and public relations at UM and graduated in 1986. The Humboldt, Tennessee native has lived in Laurel, Mississippi for 35 years.

She worked at WDAM/Raycom Media for 30 years as a reporter, executive producer, anchor and assistant news content director. She later became president of the National School Boards Association in the Washington, D.C. area from 2016-2017 — just one of the many executive roles she has held. She is currently the Director of Christian Education at Word of Faith Christian Center in Hattiesburg.

Beard continues to use the media and leadership skills she learned at UM and in the industry as the current president and owner of B&B Consultants Incorporated.

“My responsibilities include leadership training for school boards and superintendents, public speaking and advocating for equity and excellence in public education on the local, state and national levels,” she said.

Beard said she decided to stay in Mississippi to serve its people with the gifts, talents and abilities God gave her.

“I realized my abilities are not for me, but they are to be used to inspire, motivate, encourage and help other people be who they were born to be,” she  said.

“The School of Journalism program at the University of Mississippi provided me with the hands-on knowledge to not only achieve my goals, but it also prepared me for dealing with the real world beyond book knowledge,” she said. “It helped to improve my communication skills and trained me on how to collaborate and cooperate with others to see a project to its completion.”

Beard said the School of Journalism also helped her become a more effective communicator.

“The lessons I learned and the practical hands-on training built my confidence to use a voice I was ashamed of and bullied because of it,” she said. “The lessons I learned empowered me to use a booming and powerful voice to impact over a million people through public speaking, social media, podcasts, and by training other leaders through my consulting business on the local, state and national levels.

“I was so grateful and blessed to have professors who used their professional knowledge to help me discover my purpose as a communicator, leader and business owner. What I received from the School of Journalism was a first-rate education that sharpened skills I didn’t know I had, and for that I am thankful. Now, I inspire others to find what they were born to do.”

Integrated marketing communications student discusses her life and education journey during summer IMC class

Posted on: July 24th, 2021 by ldrucker

It won’t be long until students are back in classes at the University of Mississippi, but right now, summer classes are in session. Professor Mark Dolan’s IMC 205 class welcomed Nikki Daost last week, who discussed her education and career path in integrated marketing communications (IMC). This story was written by Paige Case, a student in Dolan’s class.

Nikki Daoust

Nikki Daoust

By Paige Case

Born in Quebec, raised in California, and now living in Mississippi, Nikki Daoust, a 23-year-old graduate student at The University of Mississippi,  has traveled her whole life.

“I travel a lot with my family. For birthdays and Christmas we go on trips and just do small gifts. Traveling together means more,” Daoust says.

While earning her integrated marketing and communications undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi, Daoust studied abroad her junior year for six months in New Zealand. Although Daoust has traveled far and wide, she always finds her way back home to Oxford.

In New Zealand, she interned at All Heart NZ, a nonprofit organization, where she worked on branding and marketing. After her internship, she finished her undergraduate degree in 2020 and was ready to see where she would go next.

Then the pandemic hit and Daoust’s plans to travel were put on pause.

She voyaged off into a new kind of journey when she learned that Ole Miss is one of the few colleges offering a graduate IMC program. Furthering her knowledge of IMC led Daoust to explore the benefits of staying in Oxford by enrolling in the graduate program.

Her original plan was to graduate from Ole Miss and travel. She wanted to work for companies outside of Mississippi and even toyed with the idea of returning to have a temporary stay in New Zealand.

Although Daoust didn’t travel geographically, she explored different possibilities for her future by using the graduate program as her transportation to deepen her education.

The graduate program lets students dive in more on a specific area of their choosing within IMC and gives students the responsibility of being in charge of graphic design, writing, marketing, and more. It’s a two year program where students are able to work at any of the university’s departments or off campus.

“I interviewed for the School of Education, and they said they wanted a lot of videos and just ways to contact students and get involved and all that. Seems like there’s a lot of stuff for me to do here. I’ve always liked graphic design and just a way to be creative,” Daoust says.

Daoust took on the job of marketing and communications at the School of Education where she redesigned their magazine, revamped their website, put their interviews together with stories, and created an online toolbox for outlining how to market the university’s brand. With a 20-hour work week, Daoust primarily works on their graphic design, bringing out the passion she had when she was younger.

Although she was excited to start a new journey, that excitement came hand-in-hand with nervousness. “When I first got the job, I was really worried that I didn’t know anything about the School of Education or education as a whole. I’m not a teacher. I was kind of thinking that I was going to be jumping into something that was completely unknown to me, but everyone there is super friendly,” Daoust says.

Working on the School of Education’s magazine and website gave Daoust a chance to take hold of her creativity and apply it to marketing something she knew little about.

“It’s kind of nice being one of the only people in charge of marketing and communications because it gives me a little bit more creative freedom, and I just get to express myself, even though it’s limited to the university’s branding,” Daoust says.

In addition to the work she’s done on the magazine and website, she also helps contribute to the School of Education’s Instagram. “When I first started, we were trying to grow our social media presence,” Daoust explains.

She managed the Instagram account by posting on it and improving it based on the analytic data. “We have weekly meetings. We see if there’s an increase or decrease in what we’re posting,” Daoust says.

Daoust said some of the most enjoyable benefits about her work, which is primarily done on her computer, are the flexibility of deadlines and the ability to work at home with her beloved cat, Gertrude. While she works, she manages her coursework.

Daoust plans to graduate in 2022 with her masters in integrated marketing communications, which is sure to lead her on a new adventure. “I realized that there’s a lot more I need to learn, and I’m not really done with IMC yet,” Daoust says.

Paige Case

Paige Case

This story was written by Paige Case. The Madison, Mississippi native currently attends Jackson Preparatory School as a rising senior. She has worked on the yearbook staff throughout high school. She interned at Mississippi Magazine during June and gained hands-on experience. “This summer, I have learned a lot about Ole Miss’ School of Journalism and New Media by taking an integrated marketing communications 205 class throughout July,” she said. “I love learning about how photography, writing, and social media all interact with each other. Before taking this class, I didn’t know the difference between writing news stories and writing a paper. The School of Journalism and New Media has expanded my way of thinking to be more creative with my writing and has shown me all of the opportunities IMC can lead to. I have two older sisters who went to Ole Miss and I plan to attend Ole Miss when I graduate high school in 2022 and likely major in IMC.

Scholarships and donations help University of Mississippi journalism and IMC students achieve their dreams

Posted on: July 21st, 2021 by ldrucker

For many prospective students, there’s only one thing standing between them and an education that will change their lives – money.

That’s why donations are critical to providing scholarships and financial support for students pursuing their educational dreams.

You can help make someone’s dream a reality.

Brandon native Kaylynn Steen, 20, is just one of the School of Journalism and New Media’s scholarship recipients. She was awarded the Clay & Krista McFerrin Sun-Sentinel Scholarship that is helping fund her studies as a double major in journalism and public policy leadership with a minor in Spanish.

Kaylynn Steen

Kaylynn Steen

“This scholarship is helping me to fund my cost of tuition at the school,” she said. “One of the biggest barriers of students seeking higher education is finances, so I am extremely grateful to have this scholarship to help alleviate some of that stress.”

The scholarship will also help Steen give back to the community.

“After college, I plan to work in political advocacy and the nonprofit sector,” she said.

William Fisher, who recently served as a development associate for the School of Journalism and New Media, says there are good reasons why scholarship money is so important.

“The University only receives about 12.9% of its budget from the state,” he said. “Decreased state appropriations for public universities is a trend across the country. Therefore, private support is crucial to propelling the University of Mississippi ever forward and helping increased numbers of students with scholarships. Fortunately, our university enjoys highly engaged alumni and friends, who care very deeply for Ole Miss and students.”

Fisher said donations benefit integrated marketing communications (IMC) and journalism students in the following ways.

·       Reduces the financial burden of the costs of college.

·       Allows students time to focus on studies rather than part-time work.

·       Gives students an incentive to do their best work.

·       Encourages students to complete their degrees.

·       Builds students’ confidence in their ability to have a better future.

·       Benefits larger society and economy when individuals earn degrees.

Scholarship logo

Scholarship logo

One of the School of Journalism and New Media’s priorities is to provide more scholarships for students studying integrated marketing communications (IMC).

“When looking at the number of scholarships that are strictly dedicated to assisting IMC majors, there are only a few,” Fisher said. “Most scholarship endowments created for the school were for journalism majors. To understand, you have to take into account that the IMC program has not been around that many years.”

However, IMC majors may be receiving scholarships that are not school-specific, Fisher said. For example, UM offers scholarships based on academic achievements, financial need, geographical areas, leadership, community service, etc. There are those for transfer students from community colleges and those for children of alumni. Fortunately, the list of scholarships is long.

Interim Dean Deb Wenger said UM has some extraordinary applicants who just cannot afford our programs. Scholarships help put the advantage of a college education in the hands of some of those students.

“One misconception that people have is that you have to have millions of dollars to make a difference,” she said. “We have many, many scholarships that accept contributions at any amount. For example, you can help support our Talbert Fellows, a scholarship designed to support applicants who are already doing work as journalists or integrated marketing communications practitioners, even while they’re still in high school.

“There is also the Women in Communications Scholarship and dozens more that honor some of our most respected former faculty and alumni, including Curtis Wilkie or Pamela Hamilton. Adding a few more dollars to those endowments honors them and supports students.”

Wenger said all scholarships are listed on the school’s website.

“I highlight the Talbert Fellows as one of our newest,” she said. “For students who have worked for high school student media in Mississippi, there is the Beth Fitts Scholarships. The Thomas Family Scholarship honors one of our most successful alumni in the area of integrated marketing communications – John Thomas. I encourage anyone interested in our programs to spend some time looking at our scholarship opportunities online.”

If you are interested in establishing or contributing to a scholarship, contact Wenger at

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.


What’s Next? Journalism and IMC graduates tell us their next career moves

Posted on: July 14th, 2021 by ldrucker

Many of our recent University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduates are now embarking on a new adventure in their first job or internship. We will be sharing what’s next for them in a series this summer as they take on the #RealWorldRightNow.

Avery Sadler, 22, an integrated marketing communications (IMC) major with a minor in general business and psychology and a specialization in media sales, said she will be moving back home and working as an account executive for Goosehead Insurance in Westlake, Texas. “I hope to eventually work for a company in the travel industry, such as an airline or hotel, in a position such as an account planner or marketing researcher,” said Sadler, a Southlake, Texas native. “COVID has obviously pushed back this goal by practically shutting down the travel industry.”

Brady Craig, 23, an IMC major with a minor in general business and a specialization in sports promotions and communications, will be starting grad school in the fall at the University of Alabama. “I will be getting my masters in advertising and public relations,” said Craig, who is from Southaven, Mississippi. “I also will be joining Alabama Athletics to work with their marketing team, specifically with all things digital. My goal is to end up working with a professional team or at a college in their marketing department, or in a digital department. I have worked in sports the past three years, and I am so excited to see what the future holds.”

Kendall Twiddy, 21, an IMC major with a minor in business administration and a social media specialization, will be moving to Dallas to work as a marketing coordinator with Kimley Horn. “I will work on developing marketing proposals for the company’s public sector work,” said the Tega Cay, South Carolina native. “My goal is to eventually become the VP of marketing for a company and oversee all creative, logistical, and analytical aspects of the company’s marketing campaigns.”

Gray Thomas, 21, is an IMC major with a minor in business administration, who will be returning to Ole Miss in the fall to start law school. “I’m intrigued by international and comparative law,” said Thomas, from Collierville, Tennessee, “but we shall see what happens or changes in the next three years.”

Anna Catherine Ward, 21, said she plans to move to New York this summer (job still pending) and will be attending The New York School of Interior Design in the fall to pursue an associate’s degree in interior design. The IMC major with a minor in general business and art, who is from Baton Rouge, said she can’t wait to see what’s ahead.”

Mia Callicutt, 21, an IMC major with a minor in business from Roswell, Georgia, has accepted a remote job in Atlanta as the sales and marketing analyst at a cyber security and cyber compliance company called Defensestorm.

Olivia Schwab, 21, an IMC major and general business minor, from Pearl River, Louisiana, will be attending the University of Mississippi School of Law to pursue a joint JD/MBA in hopes of working as corporate counsel for a large company in the tourism sector one day (i.e. Southwest Airlines of Walt Disney World).

Eumetria Jones in front of Farley Hall

Eumetria Jones in front of Farley Hall

Eumetria Jones, 21, an IMC major and general business minor from Byhalia, Mississippi, has moved to Austin, Texas to work for YETI Coolers as their new social media coordinator. “My job is to complete social media  projects and contribute ideas for their social media strategy through tracking and analyzing their social media metrics and commentary,” she said. “YETI is a powerhouse of marketing and brand strategy, as they relay messages to their consumers in moving storytelling posts, shorts, stories and videos,” she said. “They’ve been named Most Innovative Companies of 2020 with amazing brand tactics and high quality gear. I can’t wait to get started.”

Savannah Hulme, an IMC major and general business minor with a social media specialization, works as the assistant property manager for Cambridge Station in Oxford. “I would love to work at the University of Mississippi one day in any department doing marketing/sales or event planning,” said the Dallas native.


What's Next logo for series

What’s Next logo for series

Sophia Cuozzo, 22, is a native of Orange, Connecticut, who plans on moving to San Diego at the start of July to start a new job at Burns International as a social media manager and executive assistant. “I am very excited,” she said. “I would love to continue to learn through my new job and, hopefully, be given more opportunities to grow with my degree. Cuozzo is an integrated marketing communications (IMC) major with a minor in business administration and public relations.

Clinton native Sarah Kane, 23, will continue growing her photography business on the side and move home to serve in ministry. “I am planning on continuing my education by attending Bible school and focusing in worship ministry,” she said. “I would love to one day be a worship pastor and write music and lead worship at a church. I would also love to help younger, growing worship leaders better their skills in serving the Lord. Kane is an IMC major with a minor in general business.

Knoxville native Kate Albritton, 21, will be moving to Nashville to further her education at Vanderbilt University and pursue a Master of Marketing Degree. “I would like to work in marketing for a financial services or healthcare company,” said Albritton, an IMC major with a minor in business administration.

Julia Peoples

Julia Peoples

Julia Peoples, 21, a native of Puckett, Mississippi, will be attending Yale Law School as a member of the class of 2024. “I hope to one day enter legal academia,” said Peoples, an IMC major with minors in general business and political science. Read Julia’s story in our Journey to Commencement series.

Corinth native Austin Newcomb, 22, will be staying in Oxford. “After receiving acceptance in LSU, Auburn, Alabama, John Hopkins, Ole Miss, and UChicago, I decided to further my education at Ole Miss for graduate school in Education – Clinical Mental Health Counseling to become a licensed therapist,” he said. “I would like to open up my own private practice after gaining experience in the public and private sector of clinical mental health. I plan to open up a private practice with other therapists as well as estheticians to create a business for the mind and body.” Newcomb is an IMC major with minors in general business and gender studies.

Biloxi native Sofia Cooper, 22, will serve as a missionary for two years with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. “I hope to pursue a career in social media marketing within the sustainability sector,” she said. “I’d love to work for a sustainability advising company that helps other businesses reduce their carbon footprint.” Cooper is an IMC major with a minor in general business.

Allison Schultz, 22, who is from Mokena, Illinois, will be working for Otis Elevator Company as a sales trainee in Lombard, Illinois. “I hope to become a successful account manager and have my own sales territory,” said Schultz, who is majoring in IMC with a minor in general business.

Brandon native Tyler McDowell, 22, will be moving to London for the summer for an internship at a PR firm. “I want to find a job abroad that will make me happy,” said McDowell, a broadcast journalism major with a minor in cinema.

Texas native Dayna Drake, 21, who studied journalism and general business, will be working over the summer at Pillar4 Media as an editorial intern. She’ll be editing content for their sites and making all things publication-ready while incorporating SEO practices. After the summer, she will return to Oxford to attend graduate school earning a master’s in professional journalism.

“I want to see how far I can go in the world of journalism,” she said. “Right now, my ultimate dream is to be a television anchor for a major news network. My career goal is to make my name known as someone who helped the public trust the news platform and helped lose the idea of ‘fake news’ surrounding the field of journalism.”

St. Louis native Nick Weaver, 22, studied integrated marketing communications and public policy leadership. He will begin law school at Saint Louis University this fall.

Nick Weaver

Nick Weaver

“This summer, I will be marrying my fiancé and moving back to my hometown,” he said. “I would like to continue studying communications law and hopefully become a judge one day.”

Flora, Mississippi native Tyler White, 22, who studied integrated marketing communications and general business, will continue to grow his custom apparel company Tee-Whites and begin law school at the University of Mississippi.

“I would like to practice law for a few years and then get a job in the C-suite of a big tech company,” he said. “CMO or CEO would be great.”

Tyler White

Tyler White

Reese Colaluca, 20, a native of Allen, Texas, studied general business and earned a social media specialization. She will be attending graduate school to earn her master’s in integrated marketing communications (IMC).

“I hope to one day be able to work for Coca-Cola as a marketing executive in Atlanta, Georgia,” she said.

Southaven native Katlyn Tidwell, 22, studied IMC and business administration. She will be attending graduate school to earn her master’s in IMC.

“My dream job is to one day work for Cosmopolitan in New York City,” she said.

In Memory of Mykki: School of Journalism faculty and staff celebrate the life of coworker Mykki Newton

Posted on: July 6th, 2021 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media faculty and staff are mourning the loss of a longtime journalist and employee whose kindness will be remembered.

Oxford resident Mykki Newton passed away July 3, 2021.

The Huntsville, Alabama native had recently retired from the school, where she worked as a producer, director, writer, videographer, editor and camera equipment manager. She assisted students, staff and faculty with their creative work.

Professor Joe Atkins said Newton was a special person who brought a world of experience to her craft.

“She could be so funny with her tales of monster movies and her cats,” he said. “I always looked forward to her posts on Facebook. I told her one day I really wanted us to get together sometime so she could tell me about her days in New York studying and working with stage and screen legends. We never got to have that conversation, and I regret that. She’s going to be missed by a ton of people.”

According to Newton’s IMDB bio, she studied at both The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and The Actor’s Studio in New York City. With more than 30-years of professional experience as a broadcast journalist, actor and filmmaker, she was an award-winning journalist, producer and director. Prior to her journey at Ole Miss, she was a news anchor and reporter at several TV stations, including WATN in Memphis and WAFF in her hometown.

Professor Brad Conaway described Newton as caring, funny, smart and interesting.

“She was a bright spot on my Facebook feed… a steadfast, supportive friend since the day we met at Ole Miss,” he said. “… We shared a past in the broadcast industry and a love of classic movies and obscure pop culture.”

Professor Ellen Meacham has known Newton since they worked together in the UM public relations department in 1993.

“Little known fact — I talked her into taking her first cat, Gracie, when I found a kitten I couldn’t keep,” she said. “She always was full of wit, intelligence and compassion. And so, so good at the craft of storytelling.”

Meacham said Newton was one of the most courageous people she has ever known and “an incandescent soul.”


Celebrating the Life of Mykki Newton: "Mykki left me with three powerful memories that taught me three life lessons: Live your truth. You never know the burdens another person may be carrying. One act of kindness can change someone’s life."

Robin Street, who recently retired from her position as senior lecturer with the School of Journalism and New Media and is now an adjunct professor in the school, said Newton was her friend of 30 years and a bright spot in her life.

“Mykki left me with three powerful memories that taught me three life lessons: 1. Live your truth. 2. You never know the burdens another person may be carrying. 3. One act of kindness can change someone’s life,” Street said.

Street first met Newton when she was Mike Newton, working as the Ole Miss broadcast PR specialist in the early ‘90s. They became friends and worked together on a few projects. Street said she was impressed that Newton had once worked on a soap opera.

“Then several years later, I began to notice that Mike was losing a lot of weight and growing his hair long,” she said. “I’ll never forget the day I bluntly asked, ‘What is going on with you?’

“That’s when I learned that Mike had long been miserable, as he struggled with hiding his true self from the world. He told me that he was finally setting free the feminine Mykki.

“I had really liked Mike, but I adored Mykki. It was as if this delightful, joyful and creative person had been trapped inside. Mykki was able to express all the joy in her new life that Mike had not been able to.”

Street said she is grateful that several years later, Newton came to work for the School of Journalism and New Media. For many years, their offices in Farley Hall were across the hall from one other. They shared a love of the color purple, and Street loved Newton’s fashion sense.

Another poignant memory of Street’s was when Newton helped her and a group of students create a video celebrating diversity that used Lady Gaga’s song ‘Born This Way,’ with Street dressed as Gaga.

“Mykki devoted hours of her own time on a Friday night to film the video, then more hours over a week or so editing the video so that it looked professional,” she said. “That video and Mykki as videographer went on to win an award from the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.”

Other faculty shared remembrances and memories as well. Nancy Dupont, professor of journalism who officially retires from the school in a month, said, “Mykki was a kind, amazing woman.”

Alysia Steele, associate professor of journalism, describes Newton as one of the most thoughtful and giving people she has ever met. She was “always willing to help others and share a story along the way,” Steele said. “Mykki had a quick wit and wicked sense of humor … Mykki’s love and tenderness for her cats said plenty about her humanity and philosophy of life – she had a kind and gentle soul.”

Steele said she’d often stop in to ask what Newton was creatively working on.

“Honestly, Mykki never said a bad thing about anyone, and always tried to find a positive outlook in life,” she said. “I wish more people were like her – our world would be a better place.

“She will be sorely missed, and it breaks my heart that she’d just retired, for she was looking forward to this new chapter in life. I know many of us were happy for her because she deserved time to do whatever she wanted in retirement.”

Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center, professor and Hederman Lecturer, said Mykki was authentic.

“Once in your lifetime, you meet a genuine, honest person who is determined to shed away any and all hypocrisies and be themselves,” Husni said. “That is how I will always remember Mykki, from the day I met her, to the day I offered her a job at our school, to the day she retired.”

Mark Dolan, associate professor of journalism, describes Newton as “one of the most human, human beings” he’s ever known.

“Warm-hearted, unselfish, professional, honoring living things everywhere – she adopted my parents’ cat, Maggie, after my dad died in 2010,” Dolan said. “Yes, I’ll miss someone who honored life so, who was positive.

“Once, I gave her tickets to see Kris Kristofferson in Biloxi after my plans fell through. Turned out she couldn’t go either, but told me a just a few weeks ago how she’d framed those tickets and hung them on the wall. You gave us a piece of your heart, Mykki.”

LaReeca Rucker, adjunct instructional assistant professor of journalism, said she will miss Newton’s spark of life and creativity.

“When I came to the school several years ago and met Mykki, I understood that school leaders valued inclusivity and the Golden Rule,” Rucker said. “Mykki’s presence taught those she encountered the concept of treating others the way you would have them treat you because she lived that ideal through her kindness.

“We shared a love of animals, nature and films, and I will miss her comments about those things in my newsfeed that is now less colorful. When others can truly be themselves, they make those around them feel like they also have the liberty to be accepted for all of their attributes, flaws and humanity. Mykki changed the world around her by teaching us, through her actions, that each person is worthy of kindness and respect.”

Deb Wenger, interim dean and professor of journalism, said that Mykki’s impact will live on.

“In her kind, giving way, Mykki demonstrated to a generation of students that we are all just people. We all deserve to be treated with respect and we all have much more in common than we have differences. She was more important to our school than she probably, ever knew and she will be greatly missed.”

Plans for a memorial service are in progress and the school will share the information widely when details are firm. Street summed up the lessons Mykki Newton learned and taught to many.

“I’ll end with a line from ‘Born This Way,’ that seems hauntingly appropriate now: ‘Don’t hide yourself in regret. Just love yourself, and you’re set.’ I am so glad that Mykki was able to accomplish that goal.”

UM journalism graduate to join ABC 7 Chicago Eyewitness News as special projects producer

Posted on: July 1st, 2021 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media journalism graduate will soon join the ABC 7 Chicago Eyewitness News team as a special projects producer.

Poinesha Barnes first day at the station will be Monday, Aug. 9.

“Poinesha has an impressive track record producing winning newscasts and specials,” said Jennifer Graves, vice president of News, ABC 7 Chicago, in a news release. “She also brings great enthusiasm, leadership and a wealth of ideas to any team effort. She will be an important addition to ABC 7’s special projects and community reporting.”

Poinesha Barnes

Poinesha Barnes

Barnes is currently a producer at KXAS-TV, the NBC-owned station in Dallas, where she produced both newscasts and specials. She also contributed to KXAS’ diversity and inclusion efforts as co-lead of the Black Employee Network.

Prior to joining KXAS-TV, Barnes worked as a producer at WREG-TV in Memphis. She also produced newscasts and digital content at WEAR-TV in Pensacola, Florida.

In addition, Barnes has been active in her local chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists.

A journalism graduate of the University of Mississippi-Oxford, Barnes is currently studying for a master’s in industrial/organizational psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. When not working, she enjoys mentoring youth, spending time with family and learning the art of Bachata.

UM School of Journalism and New Media professor’s book wins Bronze Medal from Independent Publisher Book Awards

Posted on: June 8th, 2021 by ldrucker

Hollywood's Zen Rebel

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor Joe Atkins recently received news that his book Harry Dean Stanton: Hollywood’s Zen Rebel (University Press of Kentucky, 2020) is a Bronze Medal winner for biography from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. This is a national contest for books published by independent and university book publishers.

Atkins spent four years on his writing journey for the book, including several trips to Los Angeles to meet some of Stanton’s actor and director friends and colleagues. 

Joe Atkins

“It was a nice surprise to hear from my publisher about my book on Harry Dean Stanton getting this IPPY Bronze Medal,” he said. “I had no idea they had even entered the book into that competition.”

Atkins said he’s long been familiar with the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

“These awards are given to books published by independent and university publishers, and thus allow those books to get some of the recognition that more often goes to books from the big NYC publishing houses,” he said. “It’s always gratifying to get positive feedback about a project that you devoted years to completing. I’m pretty proud of the book, so I was and am very happy about this news.”

This isn’t the first time Atkins has won something related to the book. He was selected to co-host TCM’s showing of the 1959 rock ‘n’ roll film “Go, Johnny, Go!” in March on TCM-TV, the national network based in Atlanta, with regular host Alicia Malone.

Atkins entered a contest by listing the 10 movies he would like to co-host. Several were movies in which actor Harry Dean Stanton appeared, but the film TCM chose was “Go, Johnny, Go!” starring Alan Freed and Chuck Berry.

Atkins said he was happy he was selected to co-host the show with Malone, who brought up another TCM connection.

“Back in 2016, I published an article about character actor Nehemiah Persoff in TCM host Eddie Muller’s magazine Noir City,” he said. “During my research for that article, I interviewed noted film writer Patrick McGilligan, who happened to head the ‘Screen Classics’ series for the University Press of Kentucky. After the interview, he asked me to consider writing a book on film and later suggested a Harry Dean Stanton biography for the publisher.”

Atkins answers questions about his 203-page book “Harry Dean Stanton: Hollywood’s Zen Rebel.” We asked him how he became interested in Stanton and what he learned from his research.

Q. Can you take me through your writing journey?

A. My writing and research long focused on labor and politics, both in the U.S. South and beyond, but I’ve turned to an old love of film in more recent years, trying to incorporate that with my earlier research.

I’ve always loved character actors, the working stiffs of the big and small screen. I always used every opportunity to do interviews with and stories about them, even as a political reporter in Washington D.C., where I covered the premiere of the film “Mississippi Burning” and interviewed actor Gene Hackman back in the 1980s.

Over the years, I’ve interviewed Amanda Blake (Miss Kitty in “Gunsmoke”), Clint Walker, Hugh O’Brian, many others. In 2016, I did a magazine piece on veteran character actor Nehemiah Persoff for Noir City magazine, and in the process, interviewed well-known film writer and film biographer Patrick McGilligan. McGilligan, I found out, headed the film series for the University Press of Kentucky, and he asked me at the end of my interview (he’d earlier read and liked a column I once wrote about his biography of film director Nicholas Ray) if I’d be interested in doing a book on film. I said, “Sure.”

He told me to come up with a couple ideas. My idea was to do a collection of essays on character actors, among them Persoff and Harry Dean Stanton. McGilligan said forget the collection, how about a biography of Harry Dean Stanton? I had done many profiles as a journalist, but never contemplated doing a biography.

I wasn’t sure, but McGilligan just kept after me, emailing and calling me over the next several months. As a writer, I had never before been subject to such a flattering pursuit! So I said yes, and I’ve never regretted it.  I was able to enter a fascinating world that I otherwise would have never known.

Q. For those who haven’t read the book, how would you describe it? 

A. This is a book about a unique and compelling actor who rarely made it to the top of the marquee, but who became a legend for his performances in the supporting cast. Once called “the philosopher poet of character acting,” Harry Dean Stanton became a legend in Hollywood and among movie-goers for what director David Lynch called his “organic” acting abilities as well as for being a kind of hip, Buddhist-like persona.

He helped fuel the “New Hollywood Era” of the 1960s and 1970s in such films as Cool Hand Luke and The Godfather Part II before taking lead roles in “Paris, Texas” and “Repo Man” in the 1980s. He kept performing nearly up until his death at 91 in 2017, starring in his last film “Lucky” the year before he died.

Joe Atkins's book wins award

This is also the story of a Southern expatriate who left the hard-shell Baptist world of his rural Kentucky youth to become a kind of wandering philosopher and musician as well as actor in Laurel Canyon and Hollywood, rooming with Jack Nicholson, partying with rock ‘n rollers Michelle Phillips and David Crosby, hanging out with Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson, and playing poker with director John Huston.

Yet he never could shed his Southern roots, and his music is a testament. He also spent years in a rough-and-tumble relationship with his free-spirited mother, whose artistic skills he inherited, but whose freedom-loving temperament was stronger than her maternal instincts.

Q. Why were you interested in writing a book on on Stanton? 

A. Long ago as a student in Munich, Germany, taking my first courses in journalism, I decided I wanted to have roots as a journalist, and that someday, my native South would be a great beat or focus, even though I had done everything I could to escape it. After working at newspapers in North Carolina and Mississippi, I carved out that beat as a congressional correspondent for Gannett News Service in Washington, D.C.

Over the years, I’ve kept my focus on the South and the Global South, and Harry Dean Stanton’s troubled relationship with his own Southern roots fascinated me about his story. Add to that my lifelong love of movies and film history, and the Harry Dean Stanton story was a perfect combination for me.

"This is a book about a unique and compelling actor who rarely made it to the top of the marquee, but who became a legend for his performances in the supporting cast. Once called 'the philosopher poet of character acting,' Harry Dean Stanton became a legend in Hollywood and among movie-goers for what director David Lynch called his 'organic' acting abilities as well as for being a kind of hip, Buddhist-like persona."
Joe Atkins
author and JOURNALISM Professor

Q. Can you tell me a little about the book? When will it be available? Any upcoming book signings?  

A. Harry Dean Stanton: Hollywood’s Zen Rebel is being published by the University Press of Kentucky, and it will actually be published in November (I think Nov. 1), but is already available for pre-order via Amazon, Goodreads or other sites. The cost is $34.95 for hardcover or $19.22 for a Kindle edition. The pandemic has messed marketing and book signings up greatly, but the publisher’s marketing department now is in the process of working out some things.

I just got interviewed by reporter Joel Sams for Kentucky Monthly Magazine, and Los Angeles writer Robert Crane (son of the Hogan’s Heroes star) is organizing a “conversation/launch party.” I’ve been invited to speak at the Kentucky Book Festival, the Harry Dean Stanton Film Festival, and for an appearance and/or lecture at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky, but with the ongoing pandemic, I’m not sure of dates or whether we’ll have to go with Zoom sessions or postponements.

My publisher told me we’ll have a second launch next summer with the hope that we can all once again interact with one another in a somewhat normal way. Hope to see the book in Square Books and other area bookstores soon.

Q. What do you hope people take away from the book about Stanton’s life? 

Well, like any writer, you want your readers to have found that this was a darned good story and that it opened up a world for them that they had not experienced before, but which perhaps also resonated in some way with their own world. A writer can’t ask for much more than that. 

University of Mississippi journalism student’s News21 team wins Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

Posted on: June 4th, 2021 by ldrucker

For the third straight year, students in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program have won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award recognizing the best collegiate reporting in the country on social justice issues. A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate was part of the project.

Matthew Hendley, who graduated last month, was part of the 2021 winning project, “Kids Imprisoned.  Hendley was one of 35 student journalists from 16 universities across the country who spent eight months reporting on the state of the country’s juvenile justice system.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this team of talented journalists,” Hendley said. “Unfortunately, neither our work nor this award will fix the problems within the juvenile justice system, but I hope we’re able to bring these issues to light with our efforts and take one step closer toward truth and justice for all youth.”

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

“Working virtually from their home states during the pandemic, the students investigated private companies that run programs in detention facilities, conditions in detention facilities, policing practices, employee misconduct, and the impact of the juvenile justice system on families, communities and victims,” the news release reads. “They worked under the direction of News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.”

You can read more about Hendley’s thoughts on the News21 program here.

For more information about our journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) programs, visit this link.