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UM School of Journalism and New Media welcomes Better Angels March 2-3

Posted on: February 24th, 2020 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media will welcome the Better Angels to campus March 2 and 3 in an effort to unite in a time of political division.

Better Angels is a citizens’ organization uniting red and blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America. They will be in Oxford Monday, March 2 and Tuesday, March 3 to host two events.

The March 2 event will be a Better Angels Debate from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Union Auditorium. Those who attend will discuss the university’s Confederate imagery and symbolism.

“The crux is that a group of people will think together, listen carefully to one another, and allow themselves to be touched and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas,” said UM School of Journalism and New Media professor Graham Bodie, Ph.D. “When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth, more aware of the validity in opposing views, and with tighter community relationships.

red and blue

red and blue

 After a participant speaks, the chair will ask for one or two questions from the body, Bodie said.

All questions will be addressed to the chair, limiting the feeling that opinions are being “challenged” and encouraging nuance and thoughtful discussion.

All speakers are encouraged to bring up new ideas as they wish, to place them in context of the prior speeches, and to directly express responses to prior speeches, Bodie said.

The March 3 event will be a Better Angels Red-Blue Workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Depot. The workshop is focused on university faculty and community members.

“The crux is that 6-7 self-identified ‘Reds’ and 6-7 self-identified ‘Blues’ come together for structured conversations that aim for us all to better understand the ‘other side’ (experiences and perspectives of people with whom we likely disagree),” Bodie said.

People who do not identify with one or the other are invited to be independent observers.

Bodie said Better Angels will illustrate the power and potential of listening first to understand, to demonstrate to students, faculty, and community members that perceived difference (based on ideology, political affiliation, or perspective) is not always as vast as the things we have in common.

“If we can respect the humanity of all people, focusing not on position but on what unites us, we can work together for positive change in our community,” Bodie said.

Students who are interested in participating on March 2, should email Bodie at gbodie@olemiss.ed

University of Mississippi students named Grand Champions at southeast regional journalism conference

Posted on: February 19th, 2020 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi students won the top prize in the onsite competitions last weekend at the Southeast Journalism Conference in Hattiesburg. 

SEJC is a journalism organization with more than 30 member universities and colleges in seven states. SEJC sponsors two major contests each year: The onsite competitions, and the Best of the South awards for best student work published/broadcast during the past year.

University of Mississippi students won 17 total awards in the Best of the South contest, awarded during a banquet Friday night. The Best of the South awards included four first-place awards, four second-place awards, and four third-place awards. In some Best of the South writing categories, there are more than 40 entries, and judges can award up to 10th place in those competitive categories.

Here are details about what our students won.

Online competition: 15 categories. Students cover an assignment on deadline during the conference, competing against students at the conference from other universities.

University of Mississippi: 1st place Grand Champions for the Onsite Competition, based on total points for the overall contest. UM students won a total of 7 awards in the onsite contests.

1st places:
Kenneth Niemeyer, News Writing
Madison Scarpino, TV Anchoring

2nd places:
Griffin Neal, Feature Writing
Sarah Biedermann, Karsyn King, Hannah Williamson, Public Relations team

3rd places:
Daniel Payne, Design/Page Layout
Matthew Hendley and Lydazja Turner, TV News Reporting
Will Stribling, Radio News Reporting

Best of the SouthEntries must have published Nov. 15, 2018, through Nov. 14, 2019. Each entry includes up to three examples of the student’s work.

University of Mississippi students won a total of 17 awards:

1st places:
Griffin Neal, Best Feature Writer
Will Stribling, Best Radio Journalist
Georgia Huddleston, Best Advertising Staff Member (advertising design)
Devna Bose, Best Multimedia Journalist, for her project on Puerto Rico emotional health after Hurricane Maria (category based on 3 formats used by a student to cover a single story)

2nd places:
Kenneth Niemeyer, Best Special Event Reporter
Skye Spiehler, Best TV Journalist
Hayden Wiggs, Best Radio Feature Reporter<
Rebel Radio, Best Radio Station

3rd places:
Daniel Payne, Best News Writer
Camryn Sidley, Best TV News Reporter
Lasherica Thornton, Best Journalism Research Paper
Rebel Radio, Best Audio Newscast

4th place: Gita Viswanathan and Jesus Escobedo, Best Advertising Staff Member (broadcast commercial)

5th place: Billy Schuerman, Best Press Photographer

7th place: Katie Dames, Best Opinion/Editorial Writer

8th place: Josh Clayton, Best Sports Writer

10th place: Daniel Payne, College Journalist of the Year

The University of Southern Mississippi hosted this year’s conference from Feb. 13-15. USM reported that 275 students and advisers registered for the conference, and 180 students participated in the 15 onsite competition.

Twelve students and Assistant Dean/Student Media Pat Thompson attended the conference.

TV broadcast division CEO named keynote speaker for MSPA spring convention

Posted on: February 18th, 2020 by ldrucker

The president and CEO of a national television broadcasting division has been named speaker for the Pam Hamilton Keynote Address at the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association statewide spring convention.

Emily Barr, president and chief executive officer of Graham Media Group – the television broadcasting division of Graham Holdings Company – will give the keynote address at the MSPA spring high school journalism convention Tuesday, March 31, on the University of Mississippi campus. MSPA conventions are the largest gatherings of high school journalists in the state, usually with more than 500 attendees.

Emily Barr

Emily Barr

“She’s a national-level media expert and one of the most accomplished women in the entire broadcast industry,” said MSPA Director R. J. Morgan. “She’s also passionate about educating young people, so she was a natural fit for such a key slot at our convention. We’re really excited to have her join us.”

Morgan said Barr oversees seven local media hubs – each in a top-70 market, representing just over 7 percent coverage in the U.S. The television stations, web and mobile platforms are recognized as news leaders across the media spectrum: KPRC-Houston (NBC); WDIV-Detroit (NBC); WKMG- Orlando (CBS); KSAT-San Antonio (ABC); a duopoly in Jacksonville: WJXT (Fully Local) and WCWJ (CW); and WSLS-Roanoke (NBC).

Barr serves on the boards of the Associated Press and the Television Bureau of Advertising. She is the chairman for television for the National Association of Broadcasters and serves on the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation.

Honored for her civic involvement, Barr is the 2018 recipient of the Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America and was awarded the Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association in 2014.

Mississippi Scholastic Press Association

Mississippi Scholastic Press Association

Barr and other professional journalists, educators, photographers, videographers and entrepreneurs from across the South will be sharing their skills with students in more than 40 different sessions at the MSPA convention. Students can also compete for awards in MSPA mail-in or carry-in contests.

Whether your interests are journalism, social media, news writing, feature writing, page design, photography, yearbook, web publishing, broadcast, literary magazine, leadership, Morgan said the spring convention will offer something for everyone.

Registration is $25 per student, which includes breakfast and lunch. Adviser registration is free.
To learn more or to register, visit and click on state conventions.

Click this link to register for the convention.

The hashtag for the event is #MSPA20.

To request an interview, contact MSPA Director R.J. Morgan at 662-915-7150 or

If you plan to attend and require accommodations for a disability, please contact Sarah Griffith at 662-915-7146 or For more information about our journalism or IMC programs visit

If you have a comment or question about this story, email

Overby Center spring lineup includes visit by Shepard Smith, latest Silver Em recipient

Posted on: February 11th, 2020 by ldrucker

The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi has announced its spring lineup of programs, including one of the first public appearances by Shepard Smith since he stepped down as the chief anchor of Fox News.

Smith, a Mississippi native, was also managing editor of Fox’s breaking news division. Besides his appearance at the Overby Center, Smith will be returning to his alma mater to receive the prestigious Silver Em award, which is given by the School of Journalism and New Media to a Mississippi-connected journalist whose career has exhibited “the highest tenets of honorable, public service journalism, inside or outside the state.”

Shepard Smith

Ole Miss alumnus Shepard Smith hosting FOX Report live from the Grove

“This spring’s programs offer great conversations with and about nationally recognized experts,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the center. “The audience will also have an opportunity to join these conversations.”

Each event will take place in the Overby Center Auditorium at 555 Grove Loop. The programs are free and open to the public, and parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the auditorium. The spring schedule includes:

Two nationally known journalists will discuss religion and the 2020 presidential election with Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center.  Terry Mattingly, an Overby fellow and editor of the daily blog GetReligion, and Richard Ostling, former chief religion writer for The Associated Press and former senior correspondent for Time Magazine, have written extensively about religion.

Wednesday, February 26, 5:30 p.m. – “ROBERT PENN WARREN: A VISION”
This documentary by the award-winning filmmaker Tom Thurman offers compelling insight into the life of the acclaimed writer Robert Penn Warren, whose novel “All the King’s Men” is considered one of the great dissections of Southern politics.

Tom Thurman

Tom Thurman

Thurman, a veteran filmmaker who has produced documentaries on director Sam Peckinpah, actor Harry Dean Stanton and writer Harry Crews, probes his fellow Kentuckian’s life, work, and evolution on race. Journalism Professor Joe Atkins will lead a discussion with Thurman after the film.


A former editor of the Des Moines Register and now a consultant who writes about the future of journalism, Overholser will discuss how journalists are helping — and hindering – the profession’s role in democracy.

Overholser, who served as an ombudsman with The Washington Post, will be interviewed by Charles Overby and Greg Brock, an Overby fellow. Politics is certain to be part of the conversation since the program comes the day after Super Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m. – “JOSEPH PULITZER: VOICE OF THE PEOPLE”
Today’s threats to press freedom would be nothing new to Joseph Pulitzer, a leading figure in journalism, who spoke of “fake news” and warned more than 100 years ago that suppression of news threatened our democracy. One of the producers of the documentary, Robert Seidman, will discuss his project for PBS with Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie.Tuesday, March 31, 5:30 p.m. – SHEPARD SMITH COMES HOME

In one of his first public appearances since leaving Fox News, Shepard Smith returns to Ole Miss, his alma mater, and his home state of Mississippi to talk about his career in broadcast journalism in a conversation with Overby and Wilkie. Smith joined the network at its inception in 1996 and is known for his former role as the chief anchor and managing editor of the breaking news division.

Shepard Smith speaks with students. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

Shepard Smith speaks with students and Dean Will Norton, Jr. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

Tuesday, April 7, 5:30 p.m. – ROBERT KENNEDY’S 1966 VISIT TO OLE MISS
The documentary “You Asked for the Facts” traces Robert F. Kennedy’s dramatic appearance at Ole Miss after law school students invited him to speak in hopes that it would derail former Gov. Ross Barnett’s drive to be elected again. It did, after Kennedy revealed details of the deals Barnett tried to cut with the Justice Department during the James Meredith crisis in 1962. Noted civil rights lawyer Barbara Phillips and a lecturer at Ole Miss’s law school, will discuss the film with the producer, Mary Blessey.

Cooper Manning to give keynote address at University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduation ceremony May 9

Posted on: February 11th, 2020 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi graduate and successful businessman who is also part of a famous football family will be the keynote speaker at the School of Journalism and New Media’s graduation.

Cooper Manning will address graduates at the event set for Saturday, May 9, at 3 p.m. in the Grove.

“We are delighted that a member of the great Ole Miss family, who also is a member of a great football family and an alumnus of our journalism program, will speak at the school’s graduation,” said Dean Will Norton, Jr. “Cooper is ready, and we believe our May 2020 graduates will be ready.”

Cooper Manning

Cooper Manning

Manning now works as the senior managing director of investor relations for AJ Capital Partners focusing on new business development and managing and curating investor relationships. He has been instrumental in raising capital for Graduate Hotels.

Prior to joining AJ Capital Partners, Manning was a partner at Howard Weil in New Orleans in institutional equity sales specializing in the oil and gas business, according to a bio provided. During his 16 years at Howard Weil, he helped position the company as a leader in the energy sector.

Manning is also entering his fifth year as a host for “The Manning Hour” on FOX NFL Sunday Mornings. He dedicates his time to the New Orleans Recreation Foundation and Idea Village, a local business incubator that helps educate aspirational business individuals and entrepreneurs. He often speaks at corporate outings and summits.

Cooper Manning

Cooper Manning

“Cooper Manning is just one more example of what some of our program’s alumni have accomplished,” said Assistant Dean Debora Wenger. “We’re so proud to see this broadcast journalism grad on FOX NFL Kickoff these days, and we know he will inspire the next group of our graduates to achieve great things themselves.”

If you plan to attend graduation and require accommodations for a disability, please contact Sarah Griffith at 662-915-7146 or For more information about our journalism or integrated marketing communications programs visit

This article was written by LaReeca Rucker.

Students Invited to Seek Career Advice from Broadcast Professionals at Annual Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day March 4

Posted on: February 7th, 2020 by ldrucker
University of Mississippi student Torry Rees speaks with radio broadcaster Jeff Covington during a past MAB event.

University of Mississippi student Torry Rees speaks with radio broadcaster Jeff Covington during a past MAB event.

Have your resume critiqued and meet hiring managers

School of Journalism and New Media (SoJNM) students can have their resumes critiqued and seek career advice during the annual Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day on Wednesday, March 4.

Broadcasters from around the state will visit the Student Media Center inside Bishop Hall on the University of Mississippi campus that day to meet students from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 1-2 p.m.

“Broadcasters want to meet journalism students at Ole Miss to help the students improve,” said professor Nancy McKenzie Dupont, who is leading the event. “They get some benefit, too. They get to see our students’ work first, and many internship and job offers have grown out of this day.”

Dupont said receiving a critique from a professional is key.

“Students get critiqued from professors all the time, but getting your work in front a professional is different,” she said. “They tell you what you need do to get a job or an internship. They can also tell what the job demands are. I hope students will get a real sense about what the working world is like.”

Students are encouraged to bring their laptops to show their work and a resume. Other SoJNM professors will attend, including Debora Wenger, Iveta Imre and Roy Frostenson.

“We hope that we’ll see more than just our journalism students at the event,” Assistant Dean Wenger said. “This is a chance for our integrated marketing communications students to network and explore career opportunities, too.”

Job and internship opportunities are not confined to reporting positions. Students who have participated in MAB Day have gone on to work or learn about sales, sports, digital production or news promotion.

For more details on MAB Day, contact Nancy Dupont at For more information about our journalism or IMC programs visit

Shepard Smith named University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Silver Em Recipient

Posted on: January 30th, 2020 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student who grew up in Holly Springs and became a leading network news anchor is the latest recipient of the school’s prestigious Silver Em award.

Shepard Smith, who spent more than 20 years anchoring FOX News before leaving the network last year, will receive the award during a ceremony Wednesday, April 1 at 6 p.m. in the Jackson Avenue Center.

“Shepard Smith embodies what a journalist should be — for decades, he has reported the news without fear or favor,” said Debora Wenger, assistant dean for innovation and external partnerships and professor of journalism. “Because he got his start in journalism here at the University of Mississippi, we feel extraordinarily proud of all he has accomplished. With this award, we hope to let him know how much he matters to our school and to a profession that many of us consider the foundation of our democracy.”

Shepard Smith speaks with students. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

Shepard Smith stands with UM School of Journalism and New Media Dean Will Norton, Jr., Ph.D. before speaking to the crowd in October. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

Dean Will Norton, Jr. said it was evident early on that Smith was going to be a dedicated journalist.

“When Shep Smith was in school, he always seemed to be in a hurry, carrying a big camera with lots of equipment trying to get to his next appointment,” Norton said. “As he looks back at those years, he credits journalism professor Jim Pratt, Ph.D. with preparing him for the profession.”

Norton said Smith worked tirelessly for the live student news program that Dr. Pratt began in the newsroom that is now Farley Hall Room 105.

“When viewers watch Shep today, they see someone devoted to the facts,” Norton said. “That same enthusiasm was so evident every day in those early years when he was on campus.”

Shepard Smith speaks with students. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

Shepard Smith speaks with Daily Mississippian editors Griffin Neal and Daniel Payne. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

A week after Smith announced his resignation from FOX News, he returned to the UM School of Journalism and New Media to speak to students. He said he learned truth is the foundation of journalism while pursuing his degree at UM. He also emphasized the importance of admitting and correcting mistakes.

“There’s no mistake you can’t undo,” he said during his talk with students in October. “You can correct every single mistake. You can stand up and be a human being about it and admit to those who count on you that you screwed it up. And you have to do the correction with the same fervor and emphasis that you made the mistake. Then you’re good.”

Smith said he attended the University of Mississippi on a music scholarship before studying journalism. He said his teachers emphasized journalism’s commitment to the public.

Shepard Smith speaks with students. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

Professors Samir Husni, Ph.D and Debora Wenger, Ph.D. speak with Shepard Smith, center, during his recent visit. All photos on this page are from professors and University Communications.

“You have a responsibility to people who rely on you to find out what in the world is going on,” he said in October, “and even if it’s just the car wreck, or the city council meeting, or the game you are writing about, you have responsibility to do as well as you can and tell the story as effectively as possible.”

Smith said he took that approach at Fox News.

“It’s a huge responsibility to have a platform where millions of people are watching you every day,” he said in October. “It’s really a big responsibility, and I learned that in Farley Hall.”

Shepard Smith will also join alumni Charles Overby and Curtis Wilkie as part of the Overby Center’s spring series of conversations. The public is welcome to attend the event on Tuesday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Auditorium.

For more information about our journalism or IMC programs visit

Tickets to the Silver Em event can be purchased here

They are $65 per person or $500 for a table of eight.

If you have a question or comment about this story, email

Global communications lead of League of Legends franchise speaks to UM students

Posted on: January 30th, 2020 by ldrucker

Ryan Rigney, the global communications lead of the League of Legends franchise, was the first speaker of the spring semester at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

He addressed an audience in the Overby Center auditorium Wednesday, Jan. 29, and was also one of the featured panelists during the 2020 Jobs Conference Thursday, Jan. 30 in Farley Hall.

Ryan Rigney

Ryan Rigney

Rigney, 28, a native of Poplarville, Mississippi, about 30 minutes south of Hattiesburg, said he enrolled in the University of Mississippi in 2010 with dreams of becoming a magazine journalist.

“While still in high school, I landed some gigs writing about video games for – first – websites, and later, small-press magazines like GamePro (R.I.P.),” he said in an interview. “By the time I was in college, I’d worked my way up the ladder of the magazine world enough to write for magazines like PC Gamer, and later WIRED and EDGE.”

Rigney wrote about mobile games, which culminated in the publication of his book Buttonless about iOS games. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles to work for a gaming-adjacent startup. About a year later, he landed his first job at Riot Games.

“The past five years have been sort of a blur since then, but over time, I basically converted from a creative/editorial writer into a communications strategist, a.k.a. a PR guy,” he said.

The League of Legends logo.

The League of Legends logo.

Riot Games is the developer and publisher of League of Legends, which, by player count, is the world’s most popular PC game and biggest esport, Rigney said. The company’s annual Worlds championship has drawn about 100 million unique viewers for a couple of years.

Riot Games was founded in 2006 by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill with the intent to change the way video games are made and supported for players. In 2009, the company released its debut title League of Legends to worldwide acclaim. The game has since become the most played PC game in the world and a key driver of the explosive growth of esports. Riot Games is headquartered in Los Angeles and has 23 offices worldwide.

“We also do a bunch of insane stuff like music videos that get over 300 million views on YouTube alone,” he said. “The ‘champions’ (characters) from League appear in virtual hip hop groups, in clothing partnerships with brands like Louis Vuitton, and soon in an animated series.”

Rigney said League of Legends is mostly known as a single video game today, but within a few years, people will know it as a series of 10+ games and pop culture media that isn’t limited to any one form.

A still photo from League of Legends showing some of the characters.

A still photo from League of Legends showing some of the characters.

“My job is global communications lead – League of Legends franchise,” he said. “On paper, I’m a people manager. I lead a team that includes our editorial lead and a quartet of senior/mid-level comms strategists who run all communications on three of Riot’s games. I operate at the ‘franchise’ level, which is just a fancy way of saying that they call me whenever we do something that covers more than one game.

“I’m a little unusual in that I also work as an individual contributor. I write a lot of Riot’s messaging directly. I act as a spokesperson for the company on social media (Reddit/Twitter especially), and I guide our overall approach to communications. Mostly, I sit in meetings and help developers figure out how to say stuff to players.”

Rigney predicts the games industry will get bigger and more ambitious. He said college students should consider pursuing it because there are more entry points and viable careers now than ever before.

Ellen Meacham, a professor with the UM School of Journalism and New Media, said Rigney arrived on campus as a student with big ideas and a lot of energy.

“He was a hard worker too,” she said. “In 2012, he won the university’s Gillespie Award for best business plan.”

Inside the Riot Games headquarters.

Inside the Riot Games headquarters.

Rigney, the overall Gillespie winner, was awarded $4,000 for his business plan, Utah Raptor Games. The competition is designed to foster entrepreneurship by encouraging students to develop business ideas.

“I think he will also have a lot to say about what the esports and gaming world is like now, what’s in the future, and how his work in communications will shape and be shaped by that,” she said.

Rigney said writing was one of the most valuable skills he learned at the UM School of Journalism and New Media.

“My j-school professors taught me how to write,” he said. “Which is to say, they taught me how to think clearly, and to structure information in a way that’s digestible for other people. Even though my job doesn’t match the degree I earned from Ole Miss, I think the lessons I learned about writing are 100 percent applicable to my current job.”

Inside the Riot Games headquarters.

Inside the Riot Games headquarters.

Rigney also remembers the professors who encouraged him to pursue his passion.

“I don’t know what sort of encouragement the current crop of Ole Miss students need, but I’d love to listen to their questions and share what limited knowledge I have to help them along their own paths,” he said. “I think sometimes people from Mississippi don’t think they can do the sort of work that successful people in the film industry, or literature, or gaming do. It all seems very distant, when you grew up in the woods, like I did. I would love to help people understand how achievable their goals are, if they’re strategic about their career.”

He said he doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all advice, but Rigney’s learned a few things about the business world.

“You have to ask for something if you’re going to get it,” he said. “That applies to jobs, and career opportunities, and chances to grow.”

For more information about our journalism or IMC programs visit

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

University of Mississippi graduate will work behind the scenes Super Bowl Sunday

Posted on: January 29th, 2020 by ldrucker

School of Journalism and New Media graduate part of Kansas City Chiefs marketing team

Many people will cheer for their favorite team this Sunday, Feb. 2 when FOX broadcasts the Super Bowl, featuring the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Seth Tanner, a School of Journalism and New Media IMC master’s graduate, who now works for the Chiefs, will be working behind the scenes of the Super Bowl.

Tanner grew up in Southern California and earned his undergraduate degree at Ball State University majoring in telecommunications, then spent his first two professional years in Birmingham working at the University of Alabama.

Seth Tanner

Seth Tanner

“From there, Ole Miss Athletics hired me as a producer, and I focused on creating entertaining gameday shows for the video boards at all the athletic venues,” he said. “I closed down the Tad Pad and opened up the Pavilion. I was there when the goal posts came down at Vaught-Hemingway, and I saw every home run shower in the right field from 2015-2017.”

During that time, Tanner pursued his master’s degree in integrated marketing communications, balancing his studies and a 60-plus hour work week in Athletics before graduating in May of 2017.

“I owe a lot of credit for that to my boss, Micah Ginn, the associate A.D. for Sports Productions and Creative Services, and Dr. Robert Magee over in the IMC program,” Tanner said. “Shortly after that, I was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs as a lead producer, and I continue to do some of the same work, putting people on Kiss Cam and making weird hype videos to get the crowd motivated.”

During the Super Bowl, Tanner will work as the crew’s technology and gear coordinator. He will create specific Super Bowl content for the Chiefs’ social media channels and will shoot some footage of the game.

Seth Tanner

Seth Tanner

If you want to work in an industry as competitive as sports management, Tanner said you better love it, because it’s a long road to the NFL.

“I truly do love the work I do,” he said. “Sunday, we won the (American Football Conference) Championship. Monday, I built a set in our studio; and today, I did a production shoot with what might be the most talented athlete on Earth.”

Tanner was referring to Patrick Lavon Mahomes II, a quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs and son of former Major League Baseball pitcher Pat Mahomes.

“I owe a lot of credit to Ole Miss for making me the person I am today… To this day, I still use lessons and theories taught to me during my IMC lectures, and those are the things that make me stand out to my superiors.”

Magee, assistant professor and director of the IMC graduate program, said Tanner understands the power of video and storytelling in IMC.

“Together, we conducted a social media analytics project that tested the effects of promotional content for sports teams,” he said. “He discovered actionable relationships that can make a sports organization more effective. Seth always stood out as an exceptional critical thinker in the courses I teach, and he was eager to make the most of the opportunities our program offers.”

There are a few other Ole Miss graduates who work with the Chiefs.

Player Breeland Speaks is a defensive end on the team, but Tanner said he experienced an injury he has endured all year. There is a Chiefs cheerleader who graduated from UM, but the organization asked that we not reveal her name to protect her from unwanted attention. Jayne Martin, director of fan experience, is also an UM graduate.

Tanner offered this advice to students.

“When you get frustrated that you have another assignment on typography and resume design, take a deep breath,” he said. “Pour your soul into even the most forgettable class projects, because they will pay off in the long run.”

The teams will battle each other at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida with the kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET. Tanner will be there with his camera and the knowledge he learned in the IMC master’s program.

For more information about the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s journalism and IMC programs, visit

2020 Jobs Conference Aims to Put Students to Work Thursday, Jan. 30

Posted on: January 21st, 2020 by ldrucker

School of Journalism and New Media graduates will return to discuss careers and offer advice

You can register and find out more about this event here.

Students interested in making industry connections and getting a jump-start on their post-graduation job search may want to mark their calendar for the School of Journalism and New Media’s 2020 Jobs Conference.

The event set for 10-4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 in the Overby Center and Farley Hall is a good place to start if you’re a student looking for a job opportunity.

Mark Burson, a professor with the School of Journalism and New Media who is leading the conference, said it’s an opportunity for graduating seniors to meet industry professionals and hiring managers and launch their job search.

Dream Job Sign

Dream Job Sign

“Alumni from both worlds of IMC and journalism will be available to answer questions, seek advice, review resumes and portfolios and most importantly – network,” he said. “Seniors will get a first-hand look at the types of jobs they can expect to secure with a degree from the j-school.”

Burson said they will learn:

  • Proven ways to land your first job
  • What to say/not to say in your hiring interview
  • How to create a winning impression
  • Tips to be successful from day one
  • The importance of finding your passion
  • Ways millennials can get along with Baby Boomer and Generation X bosses and colleagues

“At the very least, students will take away a dozen business cards of successful industry professionals who all share something in common with these seniors — a degree from Ole Miss,” Burson said. “Our hope at the conclusion of the day is that these seniors will be well on their way to completing their transition from student to professional.”

Ellen Meacham, another professor with the school who helped organize the conference, said it should be a fun and valuable event for students.

“It will be a day of panel discussions about finding that first job, networking, succeeding on the job, and other good advice, with (fairly) recent graduates, as well as opportunities for students to have one-on-one conversations with them too,” she said. “We have reached out to all of our grads and put together a list of participants from those who responded,  trying to bring in as many varied backgrounds as we could.”

Meacham said they hope to make the conference an annual event, or possibly hold it each semester. Some businesses represented at the conference by former students include Northeast Mississippi Health Systems, Wye Communications, Fruit of the Loom, Gannett News, WTVA, WMC5, and many more.

Ryan Rigney, global communications lead of the League of Legends franchise, is a 2014 graduate who will be part of the event. He will also be the first speaker of the spring semester at the School of Journalism and New Media in the Overby Center auditorium at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 before participating in the conference on Thursday.

To request an interview, contact Debora Wenger, assistant dean for innovation and external partnerships and associate professor of journalism, at 662-915-7912 or

Tickets are not required for the event. If you plan to attend and require accommodations for a disability, please contact Sarah Griffith at 662-915-7146 or For more information about our journalism or IMC programs visit