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School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

UM School of Journalism and New Media professors publish research about newsrooms and technology innovation

Posted on: October 12th, 2020 by ldrucker

Little research has examined how local TV newsrooms determine the type and scope of technological innovation they will embrace. Given the importance of local TV news in keeping the public informed, it is critical to understand this process that could help sustain the industry into the future.

Professors Debora Wenger, Ph.D., who is also the interim dean of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, and Iveta Imre, Ph.D., recently learned that their article “Where Newsroom Leaders See Technology Facilitating Innovation in Local TV News” has been published by SAGE Journals.

This study explores technology-led innovation in local television newsrooms within the U.S. Analysis of interviews with TV newsroom leaders from a broad cross section of small, medium, and large markets identified three primary areas where they say they are innovating including live reporting, social media, and on-demand television services. Three motivating factors for media innovation were also identified: audience preferences, economic drivers, and corporate influence.

“I hope this article will show that local newsrooms are trying to be as innovative as the national counterparts,” Imre said. “There is a lot of good happening locally, and our article sheds light on local newsrooms that are trailblazers in this regard. I hope our readers take away from our article that local TV newsrooms are not disappearing. They are thriving and making every effort to stay competitive in today’s market.”

Wenger said the workload for newsroom leaders has never been higher.

“It can be difficult to find the time to learn what’s going on across the industry,” she said, “so we hope this article can make understanding approaches to innovation within the industry a little easier. For educators trying to prepare journalists for work in newsrooms today, this research should help guide them as to what technologies to help students master and help them determine where innovation may be going next.”

Wenger said she hopes the article offers practical knowledge that can be used to make local TV news and broadcast journalism stronger and more resilient.

UM School of Journalism and New Media partners with Center for the Study of Southern Culture to welcome Jelani Cobb Oct. 19

Posted on: October 9th, 2020 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media is partnering with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture for several upcoming events with Jelani Cobb Monday, Oct. 19.

Cobb is an American writer, author and educator. The Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, Cobb was previously an associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut.

Most sessions are open to students, but all require some form of registration. Alumna Brittany Brown will moderate the session for students.

2 p.m. Monday, October 19 – Discussion Session with Jelani Cobb for UM Faculty, Staff, and Administrators. This event will be facilitated by Dr. Norris “EJ” Edney, III, director of the Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement. You must register for this event.

3:30 p.m. Monday, October 19 – Discussion Session with Jelani Cobb for UM Students and Graduate Students. This session will be facilitated by Brittany M. Brown, a Southern Studies graduate student and graduate assistant with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. You must register for this event.

During each one-hour session attendees will have an opportunity to ask Cobb questions. Facilitators will open each session with a few questions.

5 p.m. Monday, October, 19 – Jelani Cobb will give his talk, “The Half-Life of Freedom, Race and Justice in America.” Attendees must register to receive the event link on that Monday morning. Register using the SouthTalks general registration form.

For assistance related to accessibility or general questions, please email Afton Thomas at or call at 662-915-3363.

Click this link to access the registration form for the events.

Read past and current columns by Jelani Cobb published by The New Yorker here.

UM journalism student joins WTVA News in Tupelo as a weekend reporter

Posted on: October 2nd, 2020 by ldrucker

Congratulations to Taylor Elise Tucker, a journalism major and a 2020 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism, who is also a graduate assistant. She recently joined WTVA News in Tupelo, Mississippi as a weekend reporter!

“I’m elated to have the opportunity to gain practical experience in a profession that I love while continuing my studies,” Tucker said. “I am looking forward to developing more in the area.”

Taylor Elise Tucker

Taylor Elise Tucker

Tucker participated in internships at WLBT-3 and WMC5 in Memphis, which helped her prepare for the new role. She was a student worker and teaching assistant in the journalism department, participated in the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, research Rebel Radio and more.

Are you a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media who wants to update us about your career or share your story? If so, you could be featured on our Alumni Stories page. Click the link to contact us. 

Read our Alumni Stories and submit your own

Posted on: September 24th, 2020 by ldrucker

Jules Healy, from Madison, Mississippi, graduated in 2016 from Madison-Ridgeland Academy. She’s been a fan of the University of Mississippi since her first visit to the campus at age 11 with her best friend, who became her freshmen-year roommate. Healy now works at Deynoodt Marketing in New Orleans as a marketing associate, where she said she learns something new every day.

Brandon Rook, 30, is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native who graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media and now works for the (Paul) Newman’s Own Foundation as the public relations manager.

You can read these Alumni Stories and more by clicking the photo above.

Are you a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Alumni? If so, we want to hear from you?

Click the photo and link to send us an email and tell us about your career path after college.

UM professor speaks about Ethiopia at European Institute of Peace event

Posted on: September 17th, 2020 by ldrucker

On Aug. 31, 2020, professor Zenebe Beyene, assistant professor and coordinator of international programs, participated in an event organized by the European Institute of Peace and was one of the three panelists. His presentation focused on “Ethiopian Election and Regional Tensions: The Need for an Inclusive and Participatory National Dialogue.”

Zenebe Beyene Ph.D.

File photo of Zenebe Beyene Ph.D.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the EIP program? Why was the program held?

A. The program was to discuss the Ethiopian election, regional tensions, and the implications for regional peace and stability. Ethiopia has become one of the most polarized countries in the region. The polarization has been compounded by the competing, conflicting, and toxic narratives that some politicians and activists irresponsibly disseminate via various platforms.

The danger of these narratives to the integrity of Ethiopia as a nation and the most immediate consequences of mutual destruction could not be overstated. But, this danger may not be limited to Ethiopia, as the political spillover effects of a destabilized Ethiopia will have unpredictable destabilization implications for the horn of Africa as well. As you all know, for the longest time, from the eastern-most nation of Somalia to the western-most nation of Senegal, Ethiopia was and is one of the very few countries that have been stable. If Ethiopia loses its stability, the odds are that the region will face the same fate.

Indeed, maintaining Ethiopia’s stability has important regional implications. Currently, Ethiopian troops participate in peacekeeping missions in Somalia and South Sudan/Sudan. Ethiopia also serves as home for one of the largest refugee camps in the region. Given Ethiopia’s contributions to regional peace and stability, it is in the best interest of the international community to support peace initiatives. It is here the media’s role in promoting peace and reconciliation comes in.

Q. Can you tell me a little about your presentation for those who were not able to see or hear it? What ideas did you share with others involved in the program?

A. My presentation focused on the regional tension, its immediate consequences and the way forward. As part of this topic, I emphasized the importance of an inclusive and participatory national dialogue. I believe national dialogue will lay the foundation for lasting peace in Ethiopia. It will also help us change the focus from politics to people. Focusing more on people than on politics will help people build and promote mutual understanding.

Zenebe Beyene Ph.D.

File photo of Zenebe Beyene Ph.D.

This approach may also help liberate people from deep-rooted hate. Like many other societies, Ethiopians have suffered injustices in the hands of successive leaders. Addressing those injustices and promoting accountability is long overdue. Promoting national dialogue will liberate people from hate, and finding commonality in humanity will help heal the wounds and pains that many are suffering from. The latter two goals are just as important as addressing historical injustices.

Healing the fractured political culture in Ethiopia should be the priority, and that can be done through a genuine national dialogue. People should be convinced that it is in their best interest to stand together against extremism and hostility. National dialogue should not be considered a party issue; it is about promoting national unity and the much-needed healing. The sooner we embark on national dialogue, the better the outcome for the region.

While the discussion focuses on Ethiopia and the horn of Africa, it has important global implications. First, the horn of Africa is a hot-spot, and any instability in the region will create a safe-haven for extremist groups. Second, the issue of promoting peace through an inclusive national dialogue and finding common-ground among various stakeholders is a much-needed intervention in many places around the world including the U.S.

Two from University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media will attend 2020 IRE virtual conference

Posted on: September 11th, 2020 by ldrucker

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Investigative Reporters & Editors conference will be a virtual event rather than an in-person gathering.

Set for Sept. 21-25, a student and an instructor from the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media were awarded the opportunity to attend the virtual event.

Tupelo native Abbey Edmonson is majoring in journalism with minors in English and creative writing with an emphasis in social media. She has been working as an intern and editorial assistant at Invitation Oxford and Invitation Magazine for over a year, and she aspires to work for a national publication.

Abbey Edmonson

She was awarded the James Richard Bennett Scholarship, given to journalism students in Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma or Louisiana, that provides a one-year student IRE membership and a complimentary conference registration. If the conference had not been moved online, the scholarship would also cover some travel fees and up to three nights in a hotel.

“I’m so excited to attend the conference,” Edmonson said. “I love taking any chances I can get to further my journalism experience. I hope to gain a better understanding of investigative reporting and how to do it effectively. I think I’m most excited about interacting with experienced journalists and growing my network.”

Edmonson applied for the scholarship, and she encourages students to apply for other opportunities they find online and elsewhere.

LaReeca Rucker

“My best advice to other students is to just apply, even if they don’t feel qualified,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much work I produced during my time at school that I was proud of and ready to submit as an application until I started applying to this conference and other opportunities like it.”

Journalism professor LaReeca Rucker will also be attending the conference. She was selected as one of the recipients of an Eric B. Sager Scholarship that came with a one-year IRE membership and paid conference registration.

The scholarship was established through an estate gift by the late Eric B. Sager, an IRE member from West Virginia, who worked mainly in trade publications. The scholarship is for U.S.-based journalists and independent journalists, and those who are from trade publications and small outlets.

“I attended the IRE conference in Orlando in 2018 for the first time and found it to be jam-packed with valuable information and rock star speakers from the journalism world,” Rucker said. “I learned a lot, and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the 2020 conference and bring what I learn back into the classroom.”

Welcome Back Virtually – From the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: September 8th, 2020 by ldrucker

Some of you know how we look in person. But what about our virtual personas?

With avatars and Bitmojis, we thought we’d re-introduce ourselves to students and welcome them back to our online, hybrid and in-person classes.

Click the photo below to see our Welcome Back Virtually page and video featuring your favorite University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professors. back with new look and improved mission

Posted on: September 4th, 2020 by ldrucker is back this semester with a new look and improved mission – to provide a #realworldrightnow experience for student journalists and a more attractive, user-friendly design for UM readers and beyond.

Rachel West, an integrated marketing communications instructor and manager of, said the website relaunch has been a goal for more than a year.

“As our world becomes more based in digital information, we also become more visual,” she said. “We recognized that needed to have a larger visual presence. We needed video on the site. We needed a more dynamic site and different ways of being interactive.”

Since the website moved on campus to the School of Journalism and New Media about two years ago, West said leaders have added content that became taxing for the website infrastructure.

“It’s not just that we wanted it to look different,” she said. “We needed more tools to be able to do the best job we could do with the information that we have.”

Hotty Toddy


Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment and associate professor of integrated marketing communications, said the website upgrade was a natural evolution.

“A lot of the work really represents the input and ideas from a lot of different people in our school and outside our school,” he said, “and we just wanted to take it to the next level. We have a more appealing and functional design and more content, and so we needed a way to display that content.”

Fiene said updating the site is a big step, and it will be an ongoing process.

“We will continue to make changes as we go because that is the nature of digital media today,” he said.

Hannah Vines, graphic designer for the School of Journalism and New Media, said one of the most important changes was creating a look that engages the user without being too busy.

“When we asked Scott Fiene’s campaigns class what changes they would make to the site, a lot of the responses were to make it more visually stimulating and incorporate imagery,” Vines said. “Since the college-age demographic is one we’d like to see more readership from, we listened.

“We implemented a scrolling news slider, a social media feed and video content on the homepage to achieve that. Another important change was overall site organization. We reworked our categories to be as intuitive as possible. I think the best way we did this was by putting three categories that are very relevant to our audience at the forefront of the homepage.”

Vines said she hopes continues to be a place where students can express their creativity and gain real-world experience.

“The internships offered allow students to learn new skills and do great work – whether in Farley or remotely,” she said. “The staff has a lot of experience that they are able to pass along to students, which is very beneficial to our school. My first internship was actually with, and I gained some very valuable skills (and eventually a job!) from that.”

Since the fall of 2018, West said they have worked with hundreds of students, giving them the opportunity to have their work published on the site.

“Our focus, mission and desire is that we can offer as many opportunities to as many students to have real world, hands-on experience,” she said. “We can, hopefully, grow the site through the involvement of students in a real working environment and learn through that process.”

Fiene said the site has always served the UM community, Oxford residents and alumni.

“This design will make it even easier for those groups to hone in and find the information that they want,” he said. “It is a really good design in functionality. It not only looks nicer and allows us to display more content, but it will make it easier for users to navigate to the information they are looking for.”

Visit to take a look.

UM journalism alumna works as associate corporate counsel for Amazon

Posted on: September 3rd, 2020 by ldrucker

Kimbrely Dandridge studied journalism at the University of Mississippi and went on to work as associate corporate counsel for Amazon. Read her story in the Ole Miss Alumni Review.

This story was reprinted with permission from the Ole Miss Alumni Review. The Alumni Review is published quarterly for members of the Ole Miss Alumni Association. You can join or renew your membership with the Alumni Association at this link.

Click the image below to view the full story.

Students awarded UM Graduate Recruiting Fellowship and Scholarship in the Excellence in Inclusivity

Posted on: August 11th, 2020 by ldrucker

Nine students who will be attending graduate school at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media have been awarded a UM Graduate Recruiting Fellowship and Scholarship in the Excellence in Inclusivity category.

They include Jasmine Meredith, Avery Hilliard, Erin Pennington, Sabyius Boggan, Anne Boehringer, Antoinette Collins, Jordyn Rodriguez, Caylen Johnson and Abigail Nichols.

Erin Pennington, of Fulton, will be studying for her Master of Science in integrated marketing communications degree. Pennington previously received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi in journalism with an emphasis in broadcast. Her plans after graduate school include working in the entertainment/beauty industry in television or branding.

Abigail Nichols, of Madison, Mississippi, is a Marietta, Georgia native who became a Mississippi resident in 2016. Nichols graduated in May 2020 from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in integrated marketing communications with a minor in business administration and a specialization in visual design. As an undergraduate, she served on the starting board for the school’s fashion specialization.

Erin Pennington

Erin Pennington

Abigail Nichols

Abigail Nichols

“I hope that while I am pursuing my master’s degree, I am able to serve as a driving force for the future of the specialization,” she said. “I feel that up until now, I have accumulated classroom knowledge and internship experiences. However, with a Master of Science in integrated marketing communications, I will have the opportunity to communicate, market, and design in ways that others can’t.

“My goal has always been to present a story unlike any other that resonates with my audience/user, and I feel strongly that by continuing my education at Ole Miss I will be able to achieve this goal.”

Jasmine Meredith graduated from the University of North Texas in the Fall of 2017 and will be moving to Mississippi to attend graduate school at the University of Mississippi, where she will enroll in the graduate integrated marketing communications program.

Meredith received her bachelor’s degree from the nationally accredited Mayborn School of Journalism in Public Relations. She graduated magna cum laude. Her ultimate career goal is to be a sports and entertainment publicist.

Jordyn Rodriguez

Jordyn Rodriguez

Jasmine Meredith

Jasmine Meredith

Jordyn Rodriguez, from Fullerton, California, is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University, where she earned a degree in agriculture. She plans to pursue a career as a multimedia communications coordinator for an agricultural corporation.

Annie Boehringer is a first-year graduate student from New York. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in marketing and corporate relations and a minor in Spanish. After graduation, she worked for an architect and interior design firm in New York City. She is excited to start working on her master’s degree and become a part of the integrated communications program.

Avery Hilliard is a Memphis native who graduated from Ridgeway High School and Tennessee Wesleyan University. During high school and college, she was a leader on the women’s volleyball team.

Annie Boehringer

Annie Boehringer

Sabyius Boggan

Sabyius Boggan

Avery Hilliard

Avery Hilliard

“My love of sports has inspired me to dream of becoming a sports broadcaster,” she said. “Before graduating TWU, I knew I wanted to pursue my master’s degree at Ole Miss. “The opportunity to further my education is truly amazing. I am blessed to have been offered a graduate assistantship and to be selected for the (scholarship.) I am excited for my next steps with Ole Miss.”

Sabyius Boggan is a Philadelphia, Mississippi native, who completed a Bachelor of Science degree in integrated marketing communications at the University of Mississippi. He will be a first year graduate student in the IMC master’s program this fall.

“I am a member of the Ole Miss Men’s Club Volleyball team, where I serve as the founder and president of the the club,” he said. “I am excited for this semester and what the future has to hold.”