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Veteran journalist leads special Honors College class exploring the university and state 60 years after Meredith’s enrollment

Posted on: November 16th, 2022 by ldrucker
Leslie-Burl McLemore speaks to students in the Honors class.

Leslie-Burl McLemore speaks to students in the Honors class.

University of Mississippi (UM) students are being challenged to delve deeper into complex issues about the university and state thanks to a special Honors College class designed to explore important topics 60 years after James Meredith’s enrollment as UM’s first Black student.

“I would describe this class as an open dialogue about the past, present, and future of both the university and the state as a whole,” said McKenzie Cox, a journalism and political science double-major from Concord, North Carolina, who is planning to pursue a career in broadcast news reporting and policy analysis.

“I enjoyed learning about the history of the university and the events of 1962, but hearing about modern policy issues in the state, including the fight for Medicaid expansion, the Jackson water crisis, and the welfare scandal is equally impactful and relevant.”

In 2012, UM’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College offered a course called “Opening a Closed Society” that coincided with the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s 1962 enrollment. It examined Mississippi’s segregationist era, the civil rights movement, the impact of the Meredith case, and strides UM had made to increase diversity.

This fall, the Honors College offered HONORS 399: The University and the State, 60 Years After the Crisis. Veteran journalist Curtis Wilkie, who retired from teaching at the UM School of Journalism and New Media in 2020, returned to teach the class.

His leadership was fitting because Wilkie was a senior at UM during the events of 1962 that led to a deadly riot on campus and the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops to ensure Meredith’s enrollment.

Students in the class have been exploring Mississippi’s past and present. Topics have included brain drain, race relations, and legislative initiatives, as well as government policies that could impact future generations.

The class has also welcomed guest speakers. Cox said having Mississippi Today journalists Adam Ganucheau and Anna Wolfe speak about the welfare scandal and the Jackson water crisis was special.

McKenzie Cox, a journalism and political science double-major from Concord, North Carolina.

McKenzie Cox, a journalism and political science double-major from Concord, North Carolina.

“As a journalism major, I was, of course, excited to hear about their reporting,” Cox said, “but I learned even more about how important it is to ask the questions that matter in order to make sure that people in our state have access to critical information needed to make decisions for themselves…

“When I walk around campus, I can now see the history and key events that have taken place all around me that shaped the future of our nation.”

In a recent class, guest speaker Leslie-Burl McLemore, 82, took a seat at the head of a long table of students with Wilkie at the other end and shared observations about the state.

McLemore, a civil rights activist, educator, and politician, once served as a field secretary for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and as vice-chairman for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, according to his bio published on the Midwestern State University Texas website.

Originally from Walls, Mississippi, McLemore earned a Bachelor’s in Social Science and Economics from Rust College, a Master’s in Political Science from Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the bio reads.

“I made a decision a long time ago when I was away in graduate school and living in other places that I would come back to Mississippi, and I would remain in Mississippi because I wanted to see Mississippi change,” said McLemore. “That is a strange kind of loyalty in a place where you were treated as a second-class citizen … But on the other hand, you still have this loyalty – you want to see changes made. We have come a very long way, there is no question about it, as a state, we have, in spite of the difficulties …”

Before teaching at Southern University and Jackson State University, McLemore completed postdoc work at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University, according to his bio. At Jackson State, he became the founding chair/professor of political science and dean of the graduate school.

“We have more Black elected officials in Mississippi than any state in the union, but it reflects the population that we have,” he said. “But most of us served in capacities where we really don’t influence basic decision-making because all of the statewide elected officials now are Republicans. And that is going to change over time, but it is going to take a while. It’s going to take greater participation by African Americans …”

You can find a list of those who have been elected to statewide offices in Mississippi here.

McLemore helped found the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy in 1997. He also served as a member of the Jackson City Council for a decade and as interim president of Jackson State University.

“We have made incredible progress,” McLemore said. “We have freedoms that people don’t have in so many other countries. And I fought too hard and put my life on the line years and years ago to see us turn back the clock. I don’t want to see that happen, and I hope you don’t either.

“So get out there and work your butts off. Register to vote. Urge your roommates to vote and become active when you graduate from Ole Miss with this great degree. Go to law school. Go to graduate school. Get married. Build a picket fence. Be involved in your community, whether it is in Montana or Mississippi.”

Kat Moorman, 19, is enrolled in the class. A biology major with a minor in environmental studies, Moorman is passionate about wildlife conservation, particularly amphibians, and would like to attend graduate school to study environmental conservation with an emphasis on herpetology.

Kat Moorman, 19, is majoring in biology with a minor in environmental studies.

Kat Moorman, 19, is majoring in biology with a minor in environmental studies.

“Hearing the history of the University of Mississippi and its issues with the integration crisis from someone who was present during this time has been incredibly rewarding,” she said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything we’ve discussed so far, but one of the most complex and pressing issues we have discussed is that of ‘brain drain’ in Mississippi.

“Seeing that I, myself, have strong opinions on the topic, it has been fruitful for me to hear others’ educated opinions on the matter. That statement applies to every topic we have discussed as a class.”

Moorman said she was aware of the basic history surrounding the university, but she has enjoyed studying issues more in-depth.

“While these topics can be controversial, knowing what is going on in our state government is something I also believe is critical in order to better understand national and even worldwide issues.”

Hannah Harris, 21, is a senior accountancy major from New Albany who plans to complete her master’s degree in taxation at UM, then work in tax accounting for a firm.

“This class has opened my eyes to the political corruption within this state, and how many of our government officials refuse to embrace the progress that this state so desperately needs,” she said. “Before taking this class, I was not very ‘in the know’ about politics, especially Mississippi politics, but now, I feel as though I am more knowledgeable on why things are the way they are in Mississippi and at Ole Miss.”

Harris said she is intrigued to learn more.

“I am encouraged to look more deeply into the issues amongst this state and to root for change,” she said. “As we live 60 years after the integration of Ole Miss and James Meredith, it is evident that progress has definitely been made, but there is, without a doubt, a lot more work to do in bettering our state and school.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

Check out our lineup of Winter Intersession classes

Posted on: November 9th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic features a snowman and a list of Winter Intersession classes at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.


If you are thinking about getting ahead with your coursework by taking a short Winter Intersession class, the School of Journalism and New Media offers many choices.

Whether you are interested in learning more about integrated marketing communication, account planning or collegiate sports promotion, we’ve got you covered. You can also find IMC classes about internet marketing and public relations. Students can take a journalism Winter Writing Retreat while learning about Living in a Media World, or they can study social media’s impact on our society.

It’s time to begin registering for Winter Intersession classes if you haven’t already.

Click this link to download a .pdf featuring the class descriptions or read the descriptions below.


A photo of the .pdf file featuring the Winter Intersession classes.

They include:


Introduces the basic disciplines of IMC: advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, internet marketing communication, and relationship marketing. R.J. Morgan, Ph.D.


Presents principles and practices of the account planning process to develop skills, insights and strategies to use in different methods of influencing consumers’ behavior. Christina Sparks


A detailed survey of marketing communication online applications, e.g., the website as a basic marketing platform, search engine optimization, digital promotions, email and social media marketing. Claire Nelson Hicks


This course will cover emerging issues or specialized content about integrated marketing communications. If you dream of a career in the sports industry, this class is your springboard to understanding the opportunities in college and professional sports taught by a sports industry executive with 35 years of experience representing athletes, professional leagues, and elite corporate sponsors, such as Nike, Gatorade, and Academy Sports. You will meet virtually or in person with Ole Miss Athletics executives, agents for stars like Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods, college football insiders like Brett McMurphy, social media leaders in these fields. Scott Allen Pederson


An introduction to the skills, theories, techniques, ethics, and goals of the public relations professions, emphasizing the role and importance of journalism skills in public relations communications. This class will include an industry-focused digital text that covers the latest trends and practices in public relations. The course bundle will also include a Mimic Public Relations simulation offering hands-on experiences with professional public relations activities in a fictitious scenario in which they take on the role of account manager. Deborah Woodrick Hall


Theory and practice of qualitative and quantitative research applied to multiple marketing and communications challenges and tasks. Robert Magee, Ph.D.


Practical analysis and development of specialized communication approaches to achieve specific objectives on behalf of a client. Application of public relations techniques inside and outside the classroom. The course includes a remote internship component so students can complete it from home. This is critical for graduating seniors who need internship experiences to add to their resumes, or perhaps only one internship. Employers are saying that the most successful job candidates from college have had multiple internships. This is a great way to knock that out over two weeks. Students will also be working on comprehensive individual class project/work samples for their digital portfolios. Amanda Sams Bradshaw, Ph.D.


Using the book “Living in a Media World,” students will participate in a short Winter Writing Retreat. They will learn about the history of media, envision the future of it, and will be asked to complete writing assignments that explore how they influence and are influenced by our media world. While the course is usually a semester long, students can complete it quickly during the intersession. It is an introduction to various facets of communication, from news media to marketing, advertising, public relations, and social media. LaReeca Rucker


Growth and development of the mass media and their role as participants in and chroniclers of U.S. history. Attention to ideological, political, technological, economic, and cultural factors. Media History (Jour 301) seeks to answer two pivotal questions relating to journalism history based on the thought that journalism is vital to a democracy. These questions are (1) What is the role of the media in the social, political and cultural activities of a community?  This includes the historical and legacy media, the Black press, ethnic press and special interest media. (2). What has been the impact of the development of new technologies including the printing press, radio, television, digital platforms and social media. We will answer these questions through readings, short research essays, class discussions and a final project. No book is required. Kathleen Wickham, Ed.D.


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. Brad Conaway

This story was written and created by LaReeca Rucker.

NewsLab: Black women editors discuss challenges and change in journalism

Posted on: November 1st, 2022 by ldrucker

A 2018 survey by the American Society of News Editors, the most recent data available, found only 7.19% of full-time newsroom employees were Black. Only about 20% of those Black employees were in leadership positions, and there is no data on how many of those leaders are Black women.

A conversation with three Black women in top editorial positions in the South revealed that getting into those roles is often just the beginning of the challenges.

A stack of newspapersJewell Walston, executive editor of The Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina, said leading through times of financial uncertainty, media distrust, and competition from social media has been challenging.

“We recently had a reduction in force in the USA Today Network. Leading up to it, of course, were plenty of questions. Everyone wants to know how is this going to affect me and am I going to be in the reduction. For me, I let them know, ‘Listen, I am just where you are. I have the same concerns. But what’s important for day-to-day is to focus on why you came into the business, what we still want to accomplish, and today’s assignment. You have to play through that and control what you can control,'” Walston said.

To read the full article, visit

An Inktober Q & A with Emily Bowen-Moore, instructional assistant professor of media design

Posted on: October 25th, 2022 by ldrucker

A Q & A graphic featuring professor Emily Bowen-Moore's artwork.

It’s Inktober for Emily Bowen-Moore, instructional assistant professor of media design. We asked her a few questions about her journey as an artist, designer and illustrator.

Bowen-Moore joined the faculty in the spring of 2015. She earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and journalism at Ole Miss in 1997, and after several years of teaching, she earned a master’s degree in illustration.

She has been a freelance illustrator and designer for the last 20 years, and her work has appeared in various printed media, including music CDs, children’s books, and large printed murals.

In 2004 and 2006, she was awarded Earthwatch Institute S. A. Rosenbaum Fellowship through the Phil Hardin Foundation. In recent years, she has been illustrating, designing, and publishing her own children’s books.


Q: Tell me a little about your drawing journey. When did you start? Why did you become interested in drawing? What has your career path been like as an artist and professor?

A. My drawing journey started at a very young age. I have been doodling since I can remember holding a pencil in my hand. I knew that drawing and design were a long-term goal, as I knew that I had not only a passion for it but also talent in it as well.

In undergraduate college, I became a little discouraged because there wasn’t as much support for designers being in a small town. There always seemed to be a disconnect with making art a career path. However, later in my college career, I started to do some commissioned work, painting murals and designing other things like album covers, and I developed momentum for living a life as an artist.

After I decided to live in Oxford permanently, an art position opened up at the Oxford Middle School. I had a good friend at the time, who was also teaching, and she was a huge inspiration to me. I decided to take the job, and I have been designing and teaching art and design ever since.

Q. Why did you decide to begin doing your series of Inktober drawings? Can you describe some of them for us and the thought process behind them.

A. After teaching for several years, I decided to get my MFA in illustration. This led me to my instructor position at the university. I began using my graphic design expertise more, and I found that I was doing less traditional/free-hand illustration and design as a general practice.

When I discovered Inktober on Instagram, I thought it would be a great way to stay in practice with drawing and illustrating. Even though I use digital media (my iPencil and iPad with Procreate, a drawing app), this enables me to practice my drawing and illustrating skills, but in a more efficient manner.

With the individual drawings themselves, I take the word prompts for each day and brainstorm a concept for a drawing/illustration. I gather whatever visual resources I need to reference for my drawing concept, and then I draw. Ideas do not always come easily, but that is expected when drawing every day.

After my first year participating in Inktober, I received several requests for prints. After that, I decided to design illustrations that could also be reproduced easily, and I started my own print shop on This made it easy for people to access my illustrations and choose what media and size they want with any particular illustration. My store also offers framing options. This site has been an efficient way to provide these choices while cutting out the extra leg work in printing all of them myself at a higher expense.

New York Times opinion editor inspires University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students and faculty

Posted on: October 20th, 2022 by ldrucker

A New York Times opinion editor visited the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Thursday, Oct. 13, and left some students and faculty inspired about journalism.

NYT Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury participated in a discussion called “Independence and Opinion at The New York Times” with UM School of Journalism and New Media Dean Andrea Hickerson, Ph.D. in the Overby Center auditorium inside Farley Hall.

Kingsbury answered questions from Hickerson and audience members providing insight and advice about working in journalism and editorial writing. She told the audience how she got started in journalism, how that led to her position with The NYT and challenges she has faced in her career.

“… One of the big things I think a lot about is just that we live in such an uncertain time,” Kingsbury said, adding that journalists often face economic instability.

Kathleen Kingsbury, of The New York Times, stands with Professor Charlie Mitchell at the front of his class.

Kathleen Kingsbury, of The New York Times, stands with Professor Charlie Mitchell at the front of his class.

She said she has been laid off from jobs due to budget cuts or economic issues. She has also faced challenges as a woman in journalism, though she said the situation has been improving over the years. Some of the skills Kingsbury said were beneficial in journalism are being resilient and adaptable, “because, right now, the news cycle is relentless,” she said.  She also believes burnout is common in newsrooms, mental health is important, and taking breaks in this career helps.

These breaks can range from, “I’ve got to take a walk around the block to I just need a week off,” she said.

It is also important to know when you should be at work, she said.  Kingsbury offered a personal example about how she decided to delay the celebration of her son’s 8th birthday, which occurred on the same day as the recent Uvalde, Texas school shooting, because she felt she should be in the newsroom that day.  This highlighted another challenge – balancing family and work life.

Annie Phelps, a journalism student who attended the event, said she found Kingsbury’s talk inspiring. Her takeaway was that anyone can overcome barriers and challenges and succeed.

“… No matter what, I can still work my way up, no matter my gender, my economic status,” she said. “I could work hard and I could make my way up just like she did.”

Kathleen Kingsbury, of The New York Times, stands with student Justice Rose in the Student Media Center.

Kathleen Kingsbury, of The New York Times, stands with student Justice Rose in the Student Media Center. Photo by MacKenzie Ross.

Justice Rose, a journalism student who serves as the opinion editor of The Daily Mississippian and vice president of the University of Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, said Kingsbury’s visit was a reflective opportunity.

“She came to the SMC and spoke to some of the DM editors, myself included,” he said. “Kingsbury and I are both opinion editors, so I wanted to gain some insight on how she goes about managing an opinion column. Her responsibilities are much larger than mine, but it was really grounding to learn we share some methodologies and ideas when editing and curating the opinion column.”

Rose said Kingsbury is a proponent for including diverse voices and ideas, something he said he has also focused on since joining the DM.

“Funny enough, she said the most common edits she makes to pieces are copy edits: little grammatical errors or AP errors,” he said. “I could tell that Kathleen really loves her job and that enthusiasm and passion sort of rubbed off on me. I loved that in our conversation she wanted to know about my work process. At the DM, the biggest edits I usually make in submitted pieces are prose/syntax edits. I’m always changing things around trying to make it read smoothly.”

Rose described Kingsbury as a “down-to-earth” person.

“She came into her role at the height of the pandemic, and seems to have everything figured out now,” he said. “… having a figure like that visit and interact with students is so, so rare. I appreciate her and applaud her for sharing humbling knowledge.”

Kingsbury also spoke to one of Professor Charlie Mitchell’s classes.

“She gave a realistic description of the joys and new challenges of serving with America’s largest news writers and opinion leaders,” Mitchell said. “The students had pointed questions, and her responses were thorough and frank.”

Despite its challenges, Kingsbury said, “There’s no better career in the world, right? You get to go and learn things, and ask people tough questions, and meet people, and get into really deep conversations with them, and then tell the world about those conversations.”

Kingsbury said she feels journalism offers endless opportunities with incredible personal rewards that are well worth any possible drawbacks.

This story was written by Ruth Mayo.

LaReeca Rucker contributed to this story.

Read about our new University of Mississippi Student Media Center leaders

Posted on: October 18th, 2022 by ldrucker

Anna Caroline Barker in the Student Media Center.Anna Caroline Barker – NewsWatch Ole Miss Station Manager

For Anna Caroline Barker, a journalism graduate student from Nashville, being on television has been a lifelong dream.

“Growing up, I always wanted to be on TV, whether it was the news or the weather,” she said. “NewsWatch Ole Miss has made me one step closer to making that dream a reality.”

Prior to serving as the NewsWatch Ole Miss manager, Barker worked as a news correspondent, building her newsreel and making invaluable connections.

“NewsWatch has opened so many doors for me, and I have gained some great experience and met some amazing people along the way,” she said. “NewsWatch has not only prepared me for the TV journalism business experience-wise, but also has given me connections to stations in many places, even outside the South.”

Barker says she owes her growth as a journalist to NewsWatch and the Student Media Center.

“I truly wish I’d become part of the SMC sooner,” she said. “NewsWatch has pushed me to do things I didn’t believe I was capable of doing. It has taught me how to be a leader and how to work as a team. Everyone around you cares about your success and wants to see you improve. So, if you’re even just thinking about joining the SMC, go for it! You won’t regret it, and you will accomplish things you never even knew you could.”


Jaylin Jones in the Student Media CenterJaylin Jones – Advertising Sales Manager

Jaylin Jones, a senior Real Estate major from Lucedale, Miss., will serve as advertising sales manager for the fall semester after having previously held the position in spring 2022. Jones, who was drawn to Ole Miss by the “wide variety of opportunities and resources within the School of Business,” joined the Student Media Center after stumbling upon a listing for a sales position.

“The SMC offers many positions that are very versatile,” said Jones. “Every position in the office is one that will stand out on a resume and prepare you for a postgraduate career. The opportunities are prevalent, the work is fun and the experience is never-ending.”

His future plans include completing his degree and becoming a real estate analyst, eventually becoming a real estate investor and owning his own property management company.

“I simply plan to continue what I started at the SMC,” said Jones. “Hopefully, I will have a long and successful career in sales.”


Rabria Moore in the Student Media CenterRabria Moore – The Daily Mississippian, Editor-in-Chief

Rabria Moore has always known she was meant to be a writer, and that is exactly what drew her to the Student Media Center and The Daily Mississippian.

“I’m able to use words to paint pictures and tell stories about people’s lives,” she said, “and that’s definitely been the best part of working in the Student Media Center.”

Moore, a senior journalism and political science double major from Durant, Mississippi, came to Ole Miss specifically because of its journalism program. It was on her first tour with former Dean of the Student Media Center Patricia Thompson that Moore was introduced to the SMC.

“[Dean Thompson] showed me around the SMC and introduced me to so many different opportunities that I could pursue,” said Moore. “She’s a large part of why I chose Ole Miss.”

Before becoming editor-in-chief, Moore worked in several roles at the The Daily Mississippian, from writer to assistant news editor, and now her current position. After graduation, Moore hopes to write for a national or international news organization, a goal she confidently pursues thanks to her experience with the SMC.

“The different jobs I’ve been able to do, from writing to editing to managing a team of editors, has been very beneficial,” she said. “The SMC has also placed me in positions to meet people who I never would have met otherwise. It is not only a great place to work, but it’s also good for networking opportunities. You get a taste of what it’s like to work in journalism; being here helps you determine if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.”


Audrey Mulholland in the Student Media CenterAudrey Mulholland – The Ole Miss Yearbook, Editor-in-Chief

Audrey Mulholland, a junior integrated marketing communications student from St. Louis is this year’s yearbook editor-in-chief. Mulholland previously served two years as the yearbook business manager before moving into her current position.

“I learned so much from [the business manager] position, but I never imagined myself being the editor,” said Mulholland. “Taking this role has pushed me far beyond my comfort zone in the best way possible.”

Mulholland and her staff have been working hard to fill the 360-page yearbook that will ultimately serve as permanent documentation of the school year, something Mulholland finds exciting.

“I love that The Ole Miss is such a staple part of our school’s history, because it serves as an archive for so many years in the past,” she said. “So much time and effort goes into it each year, and it lasts forever, and I’m so proud of what we are able to give the students each year. I’m so excited to be part of something that is such a large and lasting piece of Ole Miss history.”

Mulholland encourages any student who is interested in media to join the Student Media Center.

“The SMC offers so many amazing opportunities for student-led publications and productions that can serve as a lasting portfolio long after you have left Ole Miss.”


Jillian Russell in the Student Media CenterJillian Russell – Rebel Radio Station Manager

Junior Jillian Russell, a business major from Brandon, Mississippi, never thought she would return to Mississippi to finish school but, according to her, “It’s funny how things work out.”

Russell, who originally attended an out-of-state university, transferred to Ole Miss to earn her degree. Since then, Russell has become incredibly involved in the Student Media Center, first serving as a Rebel Radio DJ and station marketing director before moving into her current role as station manager.

“I love music, and I knew upon transferring that I wanted to find a creative outlet on campus,” said Russell. “[The SMC and Rebel Radio] seemed like the best of both worlds.”

Russell, who plans to pursue a career in the music industry, loves the collaborative nature of her role.

“I love how interpersonal and hands-on it is,” she said. “Wherever I end up, I think I will always apply the lessons I’ve learned from being a manager.”

You can learn more about the Student Media Center here. If you are interested in becoming a part of it, reach out to one of the leaders.

Daily Mississippian editor selected for New York Times Corps

Posted on: October 10th, 2022 by ldrucker

The editor-in-chief for The Daily Mississippian has been selected to participate in a New York Times journalism program designed to mentor young journalists.

Rabria Moore was chosen to be part of The New York Times Corp, a talent-pipeline program for college students to receive career guidance from NYT journalists over a multiyear period.

Rabria Moore sits outside in front of pink flowers.

Rabria Moore

Moore was one of 20 young journalists selected from among hundreds of applicants. The students will be paired with a Times adviser, with whom they will meet two or three times a year throughout their undergraduate careers. Those conversations will focus primarily on career-building advice. Moore will also have the opportunity to learn from speakers and other activities.

“In the program, I receive mentorship from a New York Times reporter,” Moore said. “My mentor is Steven Lee Myers. He’s a foreign and national security correspondent, currently based in California (”

Moore said she was excited to learn she had been selected.

“I applied for this program because I think mentorship is important, and I wanted to specifically have a mentor from a national news organization to help me navigate and break into the journalism industry.”

Moore is pursuing a dual degree in political science and journalism with a news-editorial emphasis while leading The Daily Mississippian staff. She is also a member of the UM chapter of the Association of Black Journalists, one of the Ole Miss Ambassadors and a member of the Columns Society.

“In terms of career goals, I see myself first as a political journalist, covering politics,” she said. “After some experience, I’d like to become an international journalist.”

Andrea Hickerson, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina, as well as associate dean and professor, is the new dean of the UM School of Journalism and New Media. Hickerson is a respected researcher, educator and administrator whose vision for the school involves preparing students to succeed in an evolving modern media landscape and deal with ongoing technological and social changes. Submitted photo

Andrea Hickerson, Ph.D.

Andrea Hickerson, Ph.D., professor and dean of the UM School of Journalism and New Media, said Moore is a wonderful leader who consistently shows initiative for learning and creating new opportunities for herself and others.

“For example, if it weren’t for Rabria, we wouldn’t be hosting New York Times opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury,” said Hickerson. “Rabria connected with her and her team at NABJ (the National Association of Black Journalists conference).”

Kingsbury is set to speak at the UM School of Journalism and New Media Thursday, Oct. 13.

“The NYT Corp will give Rabria another opportunity to showcase and build her talents,” Hickerson said. “She will create a large, well-connected professional network that I expect will look out for her in the future.”

Larz Roberts is the new director of the S. Gale Denley Media Center.

Larz Roberts

Larz Roberts, director of the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center, said Moore is sharp.

“It doesn’t take long to realize that she has the potential to go as far as she wants,” he said. “She has the tools to take whatever practical experience and opportunities (are) coming her way and take full advantage. This one is no exception. And this is a huge opportunity to boot.”

Moore hopes to gain more insight into journalism by participating in the NYT program.

“My ultimate goal is to become an international journalist, so I’m really happy to have Myers as my mentor,” Moore said. “I’ve learned a little bit about him and his time as a journalist, and I hope to gain more knowledge about the field from him. The New York Times is also one of my favorite news organizations, so learning from reporters who’ve worked there is definitely something I’m looking forward to.”

The Times Corps is meant specifically for students from underrepresented groups in journalism, such as students of color and/or students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, according to the NYT website about the program. Access to quality career guidance stands as a critical challenge to many students seeking to be journalists. Applications will open again in spring 2023.

Along with The New York Times Fellowship and The New York Times Editing Residency, the Times Corps seeks to develop a deep and diverse talent pool, both for The Times and journalism at large.

To see the full list of NYT Corps members:

LaReeca Rucker wrote this story.

UM School of Journalism and New Media will sponsor two James Meredith programs in celebration of 60th anniversary of integration

Posted on: September 13th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic features two posters of the events and reads 60th anniversary of integration.

The University of Mississippi is celebrating the 60th anniversary of integration this month with a series of programs. Two sponsored by the UM School of Journalism and New Media are about James Meredith.

Mississippi MessiahThe documentary “Mississippi Messiah” will be shown at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Fulton Chapel. Admission is free.

The film was previously featured at the Oxford Film Festival. It offers a complete and nuanced look at the life and career of James Meredith.

The IMDb doc description reads, “Civil rights icon James Meredith never fit in – not as the first Black student at the University of Mississippi, not as a civil rights leader on the Meredith March, and certainly not while endorsing ex-Klansman David Duke. ‘Mississippi Messiah’ is a nuanced examination of Meredith’s complicated life as a public figure.”

The film has been shown at various film festivals, including the Arizona International Film Festival. This director’s statement was published on its website:

“Documentaries about the American civil rights movement often focus on simplified, inspiring narratives that present a unified picture and weed out awkward dissenters,” it reads. “That’s not what you’ll get watching ‘Mississippi Messiah’

“‘James Meredith is an individualist,’ civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams says in our film – but that’s only one aspect of his fascinating personality.

Breaking the Barrier“Meredith is not a hero or a martyr. He is a human being who catalyzed tremendous social change and who is still fighting to improve his world. We believe James Meredith’s story rewards exploration, in part, because it provokes questions as much as it provides answers.”

Kathleen Wickham, Ed.D., a professor of journalism in the School of Journalism and New Media, said Meredith’s quest to integrate the university changed UM, the state and the nation.

“It was the end of massive resistance to integration and demonstrated that America is a nation based on the power of laws, not the stench of violence,” she said. “The documentary does not stop there, however. It provides a multi-faceted view of Meredith seeking his place in the world, with a vision often incompatible with the norm.”

Wickham said Director Clay Haskell portrays Meredith as an authentic visionary.

“From that angle, viewers can begin to understand Meredith’s life-long quest and what it means to society,” she said. “Meredith emerges from the documentary, not as a one-dimensional figure who brought the state to its knees, but that of a man who lived a life viewing the state from afar seeking to make it a better place for all its citizens.”

The Overby Center will host a related program called Meredith & the Media: The Legacy of a Riot beginning at  5:30 p.m., Sept. 27, featuring Wickham, Curtis Wilkie and Sidna Brower, the Daily Mississippian editor in 1962. Journalist Jesse Holland will serve as moderator. Click this link to read the fall lineup of Overby programs.

Copies of the commemorative book “James Meredith: Breaking the Barrier” will be available for purchase after both events. The book, edited by Wickham, is also available for purchase at Barnes and Noble for $15. It includes chapters written by Meredith, Brower, Wilkie, Holland, Marquita Smith, William Doyle, Dorothy Gilliam, William Winter, Henry Gallagher and Wickham.

Wickham said the book is an illustrated collection of essays commemorating the 60th anniversary of James Meredith’s historic 1962 enrollment at the University of Mississippi.

“From their unique perspectives, 10 prominent journalists, historians and eyewitnesses tell the story of James Meredith’s turbulent but successful path to become the state’s first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi,” she said. “The book is arranged in such a way that the reader can dip into a chapter of interest without having to read all chapters and still come away with a deeper knowledge of the events of 1962 and how the events played out for the author.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

UM assistant professor of IMC earns honor for study about vaccine discourse on social media

Posted on: September 2nd, 2022 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media assistant professor has earned an honorable mention in the Nafziger-White-Salwen dissertation award juried competition.

Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, Ph.D., assistant professor of integrated marketing communications (IMC), said her three-part dissertation examined vaccine-related social media advertising and organic vaccine discourse on social media in the early months of COVID-19 (March to May 2020).

“Notably, the World Health Organization identified vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to our societal health in early 2019, well before the spread of the novel Coronavirus,” Bradshaw said. “Thus, this work has implications beyond COVID-19 and is not limited to the current health crisis, but rather contributes to the formulation of effective social media messaging strategies to combat vaccine hesitancy holistically – including COVID-19.”

Amanda Bradshaw stands outside with trees behind her.

Amanda Bradshaw, Ph.D.

Bradshaw said she became interested in this topic while managing strategic communication for a medical group that specialized in pediatrics.

“Anecdotally, we were seeing more expectant and new mothers coming in who were unprepared to make childhood vaccine choices and were choosing to delay or decline one or more standard childhood vaccines,” she said. “The policy of the practice, at the time, was to dismiss these patients rather than engage in dialogue or shared decision making.”

When Bradshaw began working on her doctorate at the University of Florida, she sought to explore better ways to communicate about vaccines with expectant and new mothers — both in clinical settings and via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that mothers frequently access seeking health information.

She said her first study utilized the theoretical foundation of framing theory to explore the framing of vaccine-related advertisements in the Facebook Ad Library. She believes it is only the second study to use the Facebook Ad Library tool, invented in 2018, to examine vaccine-related advertisements, and the only study since Facebook implemented new policies to eliminate vaccine misinformation on its platform.

“I compared my findings with previous baseline findings to discern whether vaccine advertisements were framed differently on Facebook following a series of steps taken by the largest social media platform to actively lessen health misinformation in its sponsored posts,” she said.

Bradshaw said her second study utilized counterpublic sphere theory to explore the discourse related to #DoctorsSpeakUp, a hashtag invented by pro-vaccine doctors to collectively promote vaccines on Twitter, but which was instead hijacked by anti-vaccine advocates. She said analysis revealed that the majority of tweets subverted the original message and advocated against vaccines, instead.

Her third study explored what source credibility cues mothers rely on when evaluating the trustworthiness of vaccine messages on social media, and whether a mixture of positive and negative comments, as appear organically on Facebook, influence mothers’ willingness to share these messages.

“In its entirety, this work illuminates the strategies that pro-vaccine campaigns on social media should employ to resonate the most with their target audience and to achieve greater reach, awareness, and ultimately increase vaccine uptake, being mindful of potential backlash such as what was experienced in the #DoctorsSpeakUp hashtag hijacking,” she said.

Gregory P. Perreault, Ph.D., an associate professor of digital journalism in the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University, said the Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award is the gold standard for excellence in dissertations in the field of communication.

“Our entire research committee, which includes scholars with impressive qualifications in every aspect of mass communication, reads and evaluates all of the finalists for this award,” he said. “The competitiveness of this year is impressive, not only because of the sheer number of submissions–one of our highest–but because of the quality of the submissions, which were absolutely remarkable given the challenges that doctoral candidates faced in accomplishing their research in the midst of the pandemic.

“Dr. Bradshaw’s dissertation is emblematic of the analytical quality that we ask for in the award, but could never have expected under such difficult conditions. Her work is testament to the sort of scholarship that deserves recognition and attention within our field.”

The school’s associate dean, Dr. Deb Wenger, said the award helps confirm what the school knew about Bradshaw when they hired her.

“Dr. Bradshaw is already having an impact on the field of communication and in our classrooms. We are lucky to have someone with her skills as a scholar and as a teacher as part of the integrated marketing communications program,” Wenger said. “We look forward to celebrating many more of her accomplishments in the future.”

These were some of Bradshaw’s key takeaways from the study.

Vaccine hesitancy is not new, and vaccine decision making is complex and multi-faceted.

“Vaccine hesitancy has existed long before COVID-19 and was in fact, labeled a top-10 global threat in early 2019, prior to the pandemic,” Bradshaw said. “Thus, it is not a new phenomenon.”

Bradshaw said vaccine decision making is complex and multifaceted, and there is no one-size-fits-all PSA or communications campaign that will encourage everyone to vaccinate. Vaccine choices are nuanced and influenced by many factors, including the perception of safety and efficacy, antigen, individual factors related to a person’s health and history and social influence.

“But, pro-vaccine campaigns can be used to move the needle and encourage some fence-seekers who are still undecided about vaccines to vaccinate,” Bradshaw said.

They can also encourage pro-vaxxers to share vaccine-positive messages that may influence others in their peer network to make similar choices by helping to normalize vaccination, she said.

Effective pro-vaccine messages are two-sided, focused on individual benefits rather than community immunity, and are not shaming

Since COVID-19, Bradshaw said the topic of vaccination has become more politicized, and pro-vaxxers are more hesitant to engage in the topic, especially on social platforms, due to worries over controversy or the perception that deciding to vaccinate is a personal choice.

“Thus, effective pro-vaccine messages should seek to be two-sided and encourage a dialogue rather than being shaming or moralistic,” she said.

The participants in Bradshaw’s third study, who all identified as pro-vaccine, disliked messages that had a moralistic undertone or shaming message (e.g., everyone who is smart vaccinates without question), she said.

“In fact, they related more to the idea that good parents do ask questions — and seek credible sources to answer those questions,” she said.

Bradshaw said she learned that messages centered on personal health benefits tend to be more effective in promoting childhood vaccination than messages that encourage individuals to vaccinate for the sake of others in the community.

“These messages should be grounded in research and point users to credible links/sources to do additional research,” she said, “particularly for those who tend to process information more centrally and who want to access more than peripheral cues about vaccination.”

The need for stakeholder buy-in and credibility 

Before undertaking a vaccine campaign on social media, Bradshaw said the effort should be carefully thought out and strategized, garnering buy-in from major stakeholder groups.

“In the case of the #DoctorsSpeakUp campaign, the voices of the medical community were quickly drowned out by anti-vaccine advocates, and only a small minority of tweets studied (<17%) originated from pro-vaccine doctors, despite the campaign’s original intent to bring the medical community together to promote vaccines,” she said.

Bradshaw said the campaign could have been more impactful if organizations such as the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc. endorsed it, actively participated in it, and encouraged their members to do the same.

“Interestingly, at the time of data collection in Study 1, most of the aforementioned organizations, state health departments, universities, and other major medical entities were silent and not publishing paid vaccine content on Facebook,” she said,” which was a bit surprising due to the timing and context of the research (March-May 2020).”

Bradshaw said Study 1 also revealed that 26% (n = 41) of advertisers representing an array of vaccine stances were individual political candidates or their political campaign representatives, which may have contributed to the continued politicization of vaccines, including the (then-hypothetical) COVID-19 vaccine.

“In short, despite the potential backlash, there is an important role for medical professionals and organizations to play in communicating about vaccines on social media,” she said.

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker

Don’t miss the Farley Things Welcome Event Thursday, Sept. 1

Posted on: August 29th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic promotes the Farley Things event that will be happening Sept. 1


We hope to see you “Running up That Hill” to Farley Hall Thursday, Sept. 1 when we host the “Farley Things” Welcome Event.

Current journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) students, as well as others interested in learning more about our programs, are invited to the 1980s-themed “Stranger Things” Welcome Week 2022 event that will begin at 10 a.m. and continue throughout the day until 5:30 p.m.

There will be exciting activities including an involvement fair, an opportunity to meet some of the school’s professors, 1980s music, and students are encouraged to wear ’80s or “Stranger Things” attire.

Here are the events:

Involvement Fair: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., meet the leaders of student organizations, explore opportunities, and collect free stickers and prizes. This will be located on the first floor in the hallway near the Overby auditorium.

Pops With Profs: From 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., grab a popsicle and chat with School of Journalism and New Media professors.

80s Jam Sesh with the Dean: From 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., wear your BEST 1980s or “Stranger Things” attire and join the fashion fun and dance party on the Farley Hall lawn. We want to see your best dance moves. There will be prizes and trivia.

Calling all fashion entrepreneurs: Do you have a clothing business you’d like to show off at “Farley Things?” We want to see your style. Join the fashion show on the Farley Hall lawn by dressing in your best 1980s-inspired fashion. Interested? CONTACT or for details before 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Let’s make “Farley Things” fun. Attend the event, make new friends, have fun with your major, and help us defeat the mind flayer while dancing and enjoying popsicles in killer outfits, of course.