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Keep Calm and Sail On: How industry experts are tackling crisis communications

Posted on: April 11th, 2022 by ldrucker

A panel of industry experts discussed the four phases of crisis communication during the inaugural IMC Connect! event Friday, April 1 at The Inn at Ole Miss.

The panel was moderated by Dr. Timothy Coombs, a professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, and featured:

  • Chris Chiames, Chief Communication Officer at Carnival Cruise Line
  • Renee Malone, President and Founding Partner at KQ Communications
  • Reade Tidwell, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Chick-fil-A
  • Steve Holmes, Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs at The Home Depot
  • Jenny Robertson, SVP, Integrated Marketing and Communication at FedEx Service

Dr. Coombs said the four phases include stealing thunder, empathy, accountability, and moral outrage. He described “stealing thunder” as creating a loss.

A panel discusses crisis communication at IMC Connect!

A panel discusses crisis communication at IMC Connect!

Empathy occurs when stakeholders are a priority, not just psychological support, but also addressing physical safety. Accountability does not mean you are responsible for what happened, but you are responsible for what happens to solve the problem. And moral outrage occurs when people perceive injustice and see it happen to other people.

Panelists explained that a crisis is a long term issue that you will manage over a period of time. The organization principles should guide your decision-making, and it is essential to make consistent decisions throughout, as well as build trust within your organization to be successful, or you will be slow and miss the boat.

Some of the key takeaways from the panel included the importance of:

  1.  Timeliness – Fast and good beats slow and perfect every time.
  2.  There should be an alignment with the executive team over guiding principles.
  3.  Prepare for the different categories of crises. However, empathy and sympathy are always first.
  4.  Make an effective response that will help the organization in a crisis.
  5.  The goal is to avoid crisis, present calmness, and don’t give an indication that there is a crisis.
  6.  Everyday is a dress rehearsal for crisis.
  7.  It is not always about you; it’s about the company, the people you are protecting, and the associates.
  8.  A company crisis is not about what you say; it’s about what you do. Don’t let your customer service fall apart.
  9.  Actions speak louder than words. There should be a multi-discipline approach to all actions.
  10. Learn from the best practices across the spectrum and not just in your industry.
  11. Read other companies’ crises, and see how they are handling the situation, and think about how you would handle the crisis.
  12. You can’t ignore the internal side of crisis communication.
  13. In a crisis, clarity is absolutely crucial.

The panel on crisis communication was just one part of the inaugural IMC Connect! Other panels included topics such as social justice, social media, and advertising/building a brand.

By Jordyn Rodriguez and Margaret Savoie.

Follow @umjourimc on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

A graduate student’s experience at IMC Connect!

Posted on: April 10th, 2022 by ldrucker

Glasses and bottles clinked together in The Speaker’s Gallery at the University Museum as we celebrated the success of the very first IMC Connect! event. Planning for IMC Connect! began long before my involvement, but continued in full force starting Tuesday, Jan. 18, the first day of IMC 580.

Planning was tedious, detailed, collaborative, and seemingly impossible at times. Exploration of event planning, both theoretically and practically, occurred in gearing up for what was ultimately the first roundtable experience, featuring honorable practitioners and researchers, hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

Through designated teams, and per the instruction of our fearless leader, Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, the students in IMC 580 tackled all elements of the event from catering to promotional materials, and everything in between. Through writing, logistics, and design, this was the first course that not only gave me hands-on experience, but also responsibility, if my job was not done correctly.

Caroline Gleason, fourth from left, stands with other students and panelists at IMC Connect!

Caroline Gleason, fourth from left, stands with other students and panelists at IMC Connect!

It was the details in the planning process that paved way for a VIP experience for our honorable guests. Gift baskets, personal transportation, handwritten letters, and more, were prepared to enhance the guests’ experience and welcome them to Oxford with Southern hospitality.

Daily communication through our different databases proved to be crucial in our final days of preparation before March 31, the first day of our two-day event, rolled around. Finally, it was time to put our planning to the test.

The morning of March 31 began with classmates disbursed between Oxford and Memphis, some transporting guests from the airport, some blowing up balloons and printing materials, and some participating in our final run of show before pulling the curtains for showtime. As guests arrived in Oxford, optional Rowan Oak and campus tours were offered to pass time before check-in at their hotel, the Inn at Ole Miss.

That evening, at 5 p.m. was the first time we would all be in the same room to officially kick off IMC Connect! with a Q&A Job Prep Panel hosted by the University of Mississippi Public Relations Student Society of America. Here Professor Scott Fiene surveyed the panel for an hour and a half while panelists shared insights on how to make your resume stand out, how important work ethic is, and how you can learn from life experiences and leverage that in job interviews. The evening ended in an intimate dinner at The Isom Place, an Oxford landmark, contributing to the warm welcome we wanted to convey.

Friday, April 1, was a jammed-packed itinerary beginning with breakfast and an IMC Curriculum Jam workshop, led by Dr. Jason Cain, to explore and share ideas about how the IMC program can progress and implement new ideas. The day really kicked off in the ballroom at the Inn with Session 1: Crisis Communication.

Dr. Tim Coombs moderated this session with panelists being Chris Chiames, Renee Malone, Reade Tidwell, Steve Holmes, and Jenny Robertson. Panelists placed an emphasis on being accountable, acting with empathy, and having a plan for when a crisis occurs.

A particularly interesting insight came from Chris Chiames, chief communications officer for Carnival Cruise Line, as he said every day is dress rehearsal for a crisis. Meaning how you handle relationships with stakeholders, media, what tools you have to communicate, good instincts, and more, pave way for how a crisis within or involving your company will pan out.

IMC graduate student Caroline Gleason stands beside some of the IMC Connect! decor.

IMC graduate student Caroline Gleason stands beside some of the IMC Connect! decor.

After a 10-minute break, Session 2: Social Media and Big Data began with Dr. Rebecca Britt moderating panelists Chris Chiames, Jenny Robertson, Amy Rosenberg, and Dr. Ike Brunner. This session provided information on how using big data information can help organizations make smart investments. Additionally, it discussed how social media can be used in a number of ways to leverage messaging.

Jenny Robertson, senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications at FedEx, shared a success story when FedEx used social channels to manage customers’ shipping expectations during an unprecedented holiday season amidst a pandemic. FedEx pushed the message “Shop and ship early” across their social channels to encourage customers to shop in October and used the message to manage customer expectations as shipping times took longer.

Jenny also mentioned the importance of social listening. FedEx picked up on customers complaining of drivers not ringing the doorbell when making deliveries. From this information, FedEx worked internally to make a change that was initiated through social listening.

Following session two was a catered lunch by an Oxford staple, Taylor Grocery. This was a great time to connect with our guests and enjoy a great meal before heading back to the Inn for Session 3: The Role of Advocacy and Social Justice.

Dr. Candice Edrington moderated this session with panelists Renee Malone, Steve Holmes, and Dr. Marquita Smith. Each panelist in this session emphasized that it is less important when an organization says they are going to make improvements to their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and more important when an organization shows what they are actually doing to improve those efforts.

Renee Malone, president and founding partner at KQ Communications, spoke on the importance of bringing in experts who organizations can learn from, lean on, and talk to when insights are needed. She also said, “always remember the person in the room who does not look like everyone else is not always OK, and asking helps.”

The other panelists agreed that open communication is crucial, as is staying true to your organizations’ values, or efforts in diversity and advocacy can appear disingenuous. Renee also pointed out that representation is not always enough. After representation comes respect and then empowerment.

The final session of the day was Session 4: Advertising and Building Your Brand. Dr. Debbie Treise moderated this session and on her panel was Reade Tidwell, Steve Holmes, Chris Chiames, and Jenny Robertson. This session began by pointing out that a brand has moved far away from just being a logo and graphic and is now a reputation, and there is no way to have a good brand without a good representation.

Reade Tidwell, vice president of corporate communications at Chick-fil-A, said companies have personalities and that is something that is important to stay true to. Steve Holmes, vice president of corporate communications and external affairs at The Home Depot, spoke on keeping a connection with customers through COVID by showing, in commercials, more of who they are at The Home Depot, and not what they sell.

Finally, Chris Chiames shared an interesting branding story regarding Carnival Cruise Line and COVID. In effort to keep staff safe and healthy, Carnival Cruise Line created masks with the Carnival Cruise Line funnel in the corner, rather than writing Carnival in big letters or their “Fun For All” slogan across the mask. This was strategic branding because Carnival Cruise Line didn’t want an image of cruises, specifically Carnival, are the place where people get sick to stick in customers minds.

The evening ended with deep dive break out groups, where students were able to connect and speak with each guest before handing out raffle prizes and ending the night at the reception. The deep dive time window was a great opportunity for students like myself to make my way around the ballroom to each guest to touch base on a topic that stood out or was of note. It also was a great time for informal conversations to talk about things like why The Home Depot theme song has been going viral on TikTok for over a year now.

The evening ended at a lovely reception at the University Museum where guests, faculty, and graduate students were able to come together and celebrate a successful event over great food and great company.

Through planning and attending IMC Connect!, I learned the importance of deliberate communication and collaboration. It took every member of every team to pull off the event and would not have been successful without all the moving pieces.

I also learned, from Dr. Candice Edrington, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, to look at setbacks as a setup for something that is to come, and how this can relate to job searching, promotions, event planning and more.

When your cake is printed horribly and its unacceptable to present at the reception, it’s only a setup for everyone to enjoy and comment on how lovely the cupcakes are that were served in the cake’s place.

This column was written by IMC graduate student Caroline Gleason.

Communicators listen and learn from industry experts at IMC Connect!

Posted on: April 7th, 2022 by ldrucker

Students get advice from professionals and researchers during inaugural conference

Several industry leaders and academic researchers networked with University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff and sparked conversation on a number of topics at IMC Connect! 2022, an inaugural conference hosted by the School of Journalism and New Media

Organized by students in an event-planning course in the integrated marketing communications master’s program, the March 31-April 1 conference included workshops designed to improve the school’s IMC curriculum, sessions for attendees to network with invited professionals and discussion panels with representatives from leading household brands.

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall.

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall.

“This is a great networking event for students interested in IMC,” said Abigail Nichols, second-year graduate student and event planner of IMC Connect! 2022. “It is always nice to hear from leaders about topics related to IMC and collaborate with my classmates to host this event.”

Discussion topics included social media and data analytics, crisis communication, the role of advocacy and social justice in public relations and brand strategies.

The purpose of this experience was to, not only provide a space for members of the Ole Miss community to network with IMC practitioners, but also to offer attendees insight on topics of student interest, said Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, co-chair of IMC Connect! and an assistant professor of IMC.

“The event sought to bridge the disconnect between research and practice, and we had some of the foremost academic researchers in the world on campus,” Bradshaw said.

To read the full story written by Michael Taplin, click the link.

Students invited to seek career advice at annual Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day April 7

Posted on: April 4th, 2022 by ldrucker

Have your resume critiqued and meet hiring managers

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students can have their resumes critiqued and seek career advice during the annual Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day this week.

MAB at Ole Miss will be held on April 7 in Overby Room 249, beginning at 10 a.m.

“The purpose is to connect Mississippi and regional broadcasters with students who are looking for internships and jobs in media,” said Interim Dean Debora Wenger.

The graphic features two cartoon people sitting in front of a television news program.

The graphic features two cartoon people sitting in front of a television news program.

Dr. Iveta Imre, the school’s event organizer, is working with Amanda Fontaine at the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters.

News directors from TV stations in Mississippi (and Memphis) will be joining us,” Imre said. “The day will start with one-on-one critiques, followed by a memorial for our former broadcast faculty member Dr. Nancy Dupont at 1 p.m., after which we will gather for a reception to end the day.”

If you are a journalism student interested in reporting, producing, television, radio, social media or sales, you are invited to attend the event.

“Please come with a resume, your laptop, and portfolio pieces ready to be critiqued,” Imre said, “You will receive valuable feedback for your work and make connections for future job or internship opportunities.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to Imre no later than Tuesday, April 5 at iimre@olemiss.edu.

The schedule:

10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – one-on-one critiques with news directors (Overby 249)

1 p.m. – Memorial for Dr. Nancy Dupont (Overby Auditorium)

3 p.m. – Reception (Overby 249)

Wenger said the event is open to any UM student or graduate who wants to meet hiring managers.

“This is a networking event,” Wenger said. “Many of the station executives who participate are part of much larger media organizations that hire a significant number of our students. It’s a great way for students to practice interviewing skills, have their work critiqued and make industry connections and get jobs.”

For more information, contact Imre at iimre@olemiss.edu.

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Silver Em student award ceremony set for April 6

Posted on: April 4th, 2022 by ldrucker

Each year, the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media holds the Silver Em awards to recognize Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.

This year, the focus will be on the school’s student award winners at the ceremony set for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 inside the Inn at Ole Miss.

Debora Wenger

Dr. Debora Wenger

“The purpose is to recognize just under 60 of our amazing students,” said Interim Dean Debora Wenger, “from those who have won the Taylor Medal, to our Dean’s Awards, to those inducted in prestigious honor societies. We will also recognize our Silver Em winner, CNBC news anchor Shepard Smith, who won the award just as the pandemic started. We never got a chance to celebrate him, but we will do so on April 6.”

Zebiba Nassir, along with her colleague Samson Bekele, earned their master’s degrees from our school and are both Ethiopian Airlines executives. They will be traveling to Oxford for the ceremony where Nassir will be recognized with an Excellence in IMC award and Bekele honored with a Dean’s Award.

Zebiba Nassir picture

Zebiba Nassir

“Celebrating is part of showing gratitude to the Almighty and the people contributing to my success,” said Nassir, who completed her M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) online. “After years of hard work, there is something gratifying about being able to celebrate these accomplishments properly. To me, this and the graduate achievement award events represent all my rewarding achievements in the past few years. I am also looking forward to finally meeting so many of the professors and Ole Miss community at large in person.”

Bekele said making the dean’s list and attending the Silver Em Awards is an excellent way to commemorate his hard work as a master’s degree student.

“It also shows approval and gratitude for each person’s good job, and it makes people aware that good work will be rewarded,” he said. “It shows others, such as students who might want to get admitted to the (program), and motivates other colleagues. Recognition motivates others to strive for excellence, and we all benefit from it.”

Orlando native Catherine Jeffers will graduate as a Taylor Medalist. Taylor Medals recognize the top undergraduate scholars at the university.

She is earning degrees in journalism and IMC with minors in English and business, and she now serves as the sports editor for The Daily Mississippian. She is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Delta Gamma.

“I’ve always had a strong passion for media writing, storytelling, and good communication, which led me to study journalism, as well as IMC,” Jeffers said. “I’ve always had the desire to move to New York and start my career in communications. A goal of mine is to work in professional sports on the comms side or work for an agency that works with athletes. I’m still currently applying for jobs, but I hope to move to the city after I graduate in May and land an entry-level position in communications.”

Jeffers said she was “floored” when she received an email saying she had been nominated for a prestigious Taylor Medal.

“I remembered going into the (Student Media Center) and telling a few of my coworkers and friends who let me know how important the honor was to even be nominated,” she said. “After I submitted my application after nomination, I remember how proud I was of myself to even be thought of as a potential medalist. When I received the email that I was selected as a Taylor Medalist, I was still shocked.

“I’m so proud of all that I’ve accomplished at Ole Miss and the work that I’ve put in over four years, so it is rewarding to be recognized for it all. I’m very humbled to be honored alongside my peers, and I can’t wait to see all that they achieve after graduation.”

Wenger said the Silver Em ceremony is one of her favorite events of the year.

“When I look out at the room and see the extraordinarily talented students we have in our programs, I am invariably impressed by their academic and professional achievements,” she said. “It’s a testament to their hard work and commitment to excellence.”

Click the image below to access a .pdf of the program and award winners.

 

IMC Connect! panelists discuss building your brand, developing strategic messages that resonate

Posted on: April 1st, 2022 by ldrucker

Companies consistently work to build their brands and create messaging that resonates with audiences. One of Friday’s IMC Connect! panels discussed the leading trends in advertising and brand building.

Dr. Debbie Treise, a leading researcher from the University of Florida, provided a 10-minute topical discussion and background regarding her expertise on advertising to start the panel. She used examples from pop culture with references to “Squid Game,” “In the Heights” and more to illustrate her points.

Dr. Treise then served as the moderator for the remainder of the panel. The esteemed panelists with practical industry experience included Reade Tidwell, of Chick-Fil-A; Steve Holmes, of The Home Depot; Chris Chiames, of Carnival Cruise Line; and Jenny Robertson, of FedEx.

One of the main takeaways from the panel was to actively engage and know your customers. It is important to stay true to your customer and your brand. Platforms are used to survey consumers and keep eyes on trends in each company. Each brand is different and requires a different playbook. What works for one company will not work the same for the next. Examples from each represented company were given to reiterate this main point.

An additional lesson learned was the importance of taking a step back and seeing the full picture of a company’s brand. Understanding your brand and its strategy is essential to successful advertising. The idea of a brand has changed to include the reputation of the company, so celebrity and influencer endorsements are risky. Many companies choose to not use them to avoid the risks that may arise.

It was also reiterated that consistency is vital when building a brand. Information must be presented in a quick and lasting manner so it sticks in the mind of the average consumer in this generation.

IMC Connect! experts share top 10 career advice lessons for IMC students

Posted on: April 1st, 2022 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA, hosted a Q&A Job Prep Panel: The Connection Between Research and Practice with top experts in the field of marketing and communications on Thursday March 31 in the Overby Center Auditorium.

The panel was moderated by Professor Scott Fiene, an associate professor of integrated marketing communications (IMC), and featured distinguished professionals:

 

Chris Chiames, Chief Communication Officer for Carnival Cruise Line

Dr. Timothy Coombs, a Professor at Texas A&M University

Steve Holmes, VP of Corporate Communications and External Affairs at The Home Depot

Renee Malone, President and Founding Partner at KQ Communications

Jenny Robertson, SVP, Integrated Marketing & Communication at FedEx Services

Amy Rosenberg, Digital Media Director at KQ Communications

Dr. Rebecca Britt, Associate Professor at the University of Alabama

Reade Tidwell, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Chick-fil-A

Dr. Candice Edrington, Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina

 

IMC Connect! speakers share career advice in the Overby Auditorium inside Farley Hall

IMC Connect! speakers share career advice in the Overby Auditorium inside Farley Hall

The invited speakers came together in this informal conversational panel to share their words of wisdom and best career advice with interested students. The top 10 career advice lessons shared by these experts in the field include:

 

  1. Be curious and spend time learning about the industry you are interested in. – Dr. Timothy Coombs
  2. Know that you are worthy and can achieve pretty much anything you can do. – Renee Malone
  3. Don’t sell yourself short. – Steve Holmes
  4. Be on time, work hard and don’t be a jerk. Take advantage of unexpected opportunities. – Reade Tidwell
  5. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to be in the game. – Jenny Robertson
  6. Don’t always seek the easiest path. – Chris Chiames
  7. Don’t define success as those around you. The less you compare yourself to others, you can reflect on your success. – Dr. Rebecca Britt
  8. Create a culture where you care about the people you work for and who you work with. – Renee Malone
  9. Learn how to be solution-oriented and a trouble-shooter. – Amy Rosenberg
  10. Don’t live to work, work to live. – Jenny Robertson

 

IMC 580 students Jaclyn Mansour, Nicole Wishard, Haughton Mann, and Margaret Savoie helping check in students before the panel began.

IMC 580 students Jaclyn Mansour, Nicole Wishard, Haughton Mann, and Margaret Savoie helping check in students before the panel began.

 

The PRSSA panel was the first of many events for IMC Connect! Students and guests will continue this fun-filled roundtable experience all day Friday April 1 with panels focused on crisis communication, social justice, social media, building your brand and more.

In a world of pandemic problems, some workers value remote options

Posted on: March 23rd, 2022 by ldrucker

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and changed our lives.

But for some, having the option to work remotely and by teleconference is one of the positive changes.

University of Mississippi graduate Emmy Stephens, a former IMC student and marketing associate for Georgia Banking Company in Atlanta, said remote work has been beneficial for employees in her marketing department.

Emmy Stephens, a former IMC student.

Emmy Stephens, a former IMC student.

“It’s taking a lot of things virtual, so that’s beneficial in a lot of ways,” she said. “My boss works two hours away sometimes, and we can still get together and do Zoom meetings and stuff, which has been super helpful.”

That means clients are also doing business remotely.

“A lot of our search engine optimization . . . has been key to reaching our clients and customers and pushing social media,” said Stephens who began her college career seven years ago after touring and falling in love with the Ole Miss campus.

“I kind of wanted to go somewhere not in Georgia,” she said. “That’s where I’m from. I went to (Ole Miss) to expand my horizons and go somewhere new with new people, and I think it’s the best decision I made.”

Stephens was initially undecided about her studies before realizing her passion and goals involved integrated marketing communications (IMC) and journalism. She loved the hands-on projects and opportunities the major offered.

“(IMC) just fit what I wanted to do . . ,” she said. “It’s so broad that you can go into so many fields, and it helps in so many ways.”

To read the full story, visit the Oxford Stories website.

This story was written by Gabrielle Fairey for Oxford Stories.

Journalism is a family legacy for University of Mississippi grad, now New Orleans reporter and anchor

Posted on: March 17th, 2022 by ldrucker

There is no such thing as a typical day for Peyton LoCicero Trist, breaking news reporter and fill-in anchor at WGNO, an ABC affiliate in New Orleans. When her alarm goes off at 2:30 a.m. each morning, she never knows where the day is headed.

“I can be out talking about the Mardi Gras horses up for adoption and then have to run over and talk about a murder case that could be a possible serial killer,” said LoCicero Trist. Each day can require five to 10 live shots.

LoCicero Trist developed a love for journalism at an early age. Her mother worked as an anchor in Baton Rouge, her hometown, and some of her favorite childhood memories began with her mother waking her up in the early hours of the morning and taking her to the studio, where she saw the ins and outs of newsmaking.

Peyton LoCicero Trist on the set of WGNO. Submitted photo.

Peyton LoCicero Trist on the set of WGNO. Submitted photo.

Her days with her mother at the studio ended when her parents moved and started a business in Destin, Florida, right before she began middle school. While Hurricane Katrina made 2005 a bad year for most Louisianans and Southerners, it was a good year for LoCicero Trist.

“For me, it was such a blessing because I was struggling to make friends in Destin,” she said, “and all of the sudden, all these refugees came to my school, and they were feeling just as displaced as me.”

Carley Keyes, one of LoCicero Trist’s sorority sisters and friends, met her in college.

“She was so personal and bubbly,” said Keyes. “She always had a smile on her face and always seemed to find the good in everything.”

Today, she is known as “Positive P” by her coworkers. She has learned the hard way that someone within the station has to be willing to rally others. In challenging times, it is important to have a voice of reassurance.

Choosing the University of Mississippi was a no-brainer for LoCicero Trist. She attended Junior Preview Day and fell in love with the campus and Oxford culture. She served as an anchor for NewsWatch, the campus television station, and wrote for HottyToddy.com.

You can read LoCicero Trist’s full story at OxfordStories.net.

To learn more about the School of Journalism and New Media’s journalism and IMC programs, visit our website.

This story was written by Deja Errington for Oxford Stories.

IMC students travel to Pontotoc to help local farmer’s market with brand identity

Posted on: March 8th, 2022 by ldrucker

Giving students a #realworldrightnow experience is one of the things that separates the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media from other programs.

Students here have many opportunities to participate in experiential learning adventures offering real world knowledge about the journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) fields.

Scott Fiene, associate professor of IMC, recently led a group of students to Pontotoc and Greenwood, where they conducted research for class projects.

An IMC capstone campaigns course is working with the nearby community of Pontotoc to develop and promote a brand identity for the local farmer’s market. On Feb. 14, some of the students went there to look around, ask questions and get ideas. They met with Mayor Bob Peebles, Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Maxey and Chamber of Commerce Director Beth Waldo. Those pictured include: IMC students Jack Whitaker, Zoe Barnes, Mary Chapman Johnson, Mayor Peebles; students Anna Grace Newsom, Wilson Coke and Isabelle McLeod; Farmer’s Market Director Julia McDowell, and Associate Professor Scott Fiene.

An IMC capstone campaigns course is working with the nearby community of Pontotoc to develop and promote a brand identity for the local farmer’s market. Those pictured include: IMC students Jack Whitaker, Zoe Barnes, Mary Chapman Johnson, Mayor Peebles; students Anna Grace Newsom, Wilson Coke and Isabelle McLeod; Farmer’s Market Director Julia McDowell, and Associate Professor Scott Fiene.

In Pontotoc, Fiene’s class is working to build a brand and increase awareness of the local farmer’s market.

“Pontotoc County is one of the tops in Mississippi in terms of truck gardens and raising garden produce, so the market has the potential to be a huge draw, not just in the county but in surrounding areas as well,” he said.

Five teams of students are working to develop a name, logo, web, and social media brand identity. They are also researching specific recommendations for communicating the market to various target audiences.

“Traveling to see the client and the product/service is very beneficial,” Fiene said. “That’s how we learn what we’re promoting and get a sense for the communities and the people our campaign will reach.”

The School of Journalism and New Media is focused on preparing students for long and successful careers in IMC and journalism, so Interim Dean Dr. Deb Wenger says experiences like this are essential parts of that process.

“Our students leave school with a portfolio of work that helps them show employers what they are capable of doing. Our faculty understand what the workplace requires and they dedicate countless hours to ensuring that our students are ready for that first job,” Wenger said.