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University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘best communications programs’

Ethiopian Airlines graduate cohort flying high with University of Mississippi master’s degrees

Posted on: January 14th, 2022 by ldrucker

Partnership puts 17 employees through UM School of Journalism and New Media integrated marketing communications program

Though they’re rising stars working for Africa’s largest airline and already have impressive resumes, 17 integrated marketing communications students soon will be able to add master’s degrees from the University of Mississippi to their qualifications.

The cohort is the fruit of a partnership between the UM School of Journalism and New Media and Ethiopian Airlines. The students began the program in 2019 and have continued their studies during the pandemic, and several of them have finished their coursework.

Zebiba Miftah, manager of group advertising and sales promotion for Ethiopian Airlines, recently completed her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications at the School of Journalism and New Media. Miftah, who is based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, said she uses the knowledge and insights gained from the program on a daily basis in her job. Submitted photo

Zebiba Miftah, manager of group advertising and sales promotion for Ethiopian Airlines, recently completed her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications at the School of Journalism and New Media. Miftah, who is based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, said she uses the knowledge and insights gained from the program on a daily basis in her job. Submitted photo

UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce shared how this partnership and the students’ achievements are helping the university meet its mission of offering enriching and life-changing educational opportunities.

“At the University of Mississippi, we’re committed to increasing educational access and opportunities,” Boyce said in a video message of congratulations to the cohort. “We’re also committed to making sure that our students are prepared to compete in a global economy. Our collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines – and your success in the IMC online graduate program – reflect that commitment.”

Interim Dean Debora Wenger

Interim Dean Debora Wenger

The program has many benefits, said Debora Wenger, the journalism school’s interim dean. The cohort brings together seasoned professionals with their own experiences to interact with the other students in the IMC master’s program.

“They are already highly successful professionals who realize that to help their company thrive, they need to do a different kind of marketing and communication, and our IMC program is ideal for this group,” Wenger said.

“These are top executives in the largest airline in Africa. They get stationed all over the world. The exponential reach of our program through them is something we think is incredibly valuable.”

Zenebe Beyene, UM assistant professor and coordinator of international programs for the School of Journalism and New Media, and Marquita Smith, the school’s assistant dean for graduate programs, lead the program.

The partnership has provided the university with a group of enrolled students who were eager for “one of the best educations,” Beyene said. The cohort has exposed other students to their cultures and added to the diversity of the program, while gaining skills to help their company reach the next level.

Zenebe Beyene, Ph.D.

Zenebe Beyene, Ph.D.

Beyene is from Ethiopia. When he was a student at the naval academy there in 1990, he found himself captured by the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front and became a prisoner of war. He has deep ties to the region, which has helped the program succeed, Wenger said.

The chancellor noted that many in the cohort managed a full-time job, family obligations and the challenges of distance learning, all during a global pandemic.

“You are to be commended for your perseverance, hard work and focus, all of which led to your graduation,” Boyce said. “The invaluable insight, experience and knowledge that you have gained from the program will yield tangible outcomes for yourself, your employer and your career.

“The skills you have acquired will enable you to take Ethiopian Airlines to the next level.”

Samson Arega, the airline’s area manager for Canada, is among those who have completed the program. He said it has given him greater confidence in his academic prowess and also in his ability to move into positions of leadership.

Since enrolling, he’s helped his company through the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused business to decline severely.

“You can easily imagine how challenging it was with the existing new company responsibility, and being a dad of two little boys who need a lot of their parents’ cuddling, and at the same time, pursuing my studies at Ole Miss,” Arega said. “So, I had to develop new skills to manage multiple tasks at once, and now I know how persistence, passion and hard work pays off.”

Tadesse Tilahun, who lives in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia, has been with the airline for 20 years. He said he was initially unsure what he would gain from the program, but after a few classes, he clearly saw its potential to help anyone working in sales or marketing.

“I became highly interested and enjoyed all the readings and exercises,” Tilahun said. “The knowledge I gained from the program and the ideas and experiences shared with my classmates gave me the confidence to work as an IMC professional, which I hope will be applicable in my job.”

Tilahun said he came away impressed with the breadth of the skills he has mastered.

“I never expected that I would be able to get this much practical knowledge from the program,” he said. “The program gave me a number of opportunities to grow and explore my skills.

“I really enjoyed the two years in the program and I have done my level best to benefit the most out of it.”

Zebiba Miftah, the airline’s manager of group advertising and sales promotion based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, just completed her studies. She said she understands that she must read constantly to stay on top of ever-changing market trends and always be aware of the needs of her target audience, while having a good handle on the relationship her brand has to its customers and the media.

She has seen her value to her company grow, she said.

“It has been quite an experience for me to see as the knowledge and insights gathered from each course added value to my daily activities and decision-making process,” Miftah said. “Now, I can contribute to the organization I am in or anywhere in the field of marketing with the knowledge and insight from the master’s program.

“I feel like a marketing expert, and it is a great feeling.”

This story was written by Michael Newsom for University Communications.

University of Mississippi journalism graduate creates Gulf Coast publication Seaside Social News

Posted on: January 5th, 2022 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi journalism graduate has started an online publication on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that showcases its people and culture.

Amanda B. Compton-Ortiz, who moved from Memphis to Mississippi with her family when she was 12, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi in 2002. Today, she is founder/publisher of Seaside Social News, a positive, online news source she created as a tribute to the Mississippi Gulf Coast where she now resides.

She formerly served as editor of the Long Beach Breeze in Long Beach, where she lives with her husband and two German shepherds.

While her career in journalism has offered incredible opportunities over the years, from a fly-along with Air Force pilots to exclusive interviews with influential leaders in her home state and across the globe, Compton-Ortiz said she relishes most the connections she makes in the communities she serves. Creating Seaside Social News was her way of “paying it forward” coupled with her mission to promote positivity.

“Combining the crafts of photography and storytelling, we will bring the best of the Gulf Coast home to our readers,” she said. “We hope that you feel a sense of community when you venture through our stories of the vibrant coast life.”

Amanda Compton-Ortiz

Amanda Compton-Ortiz

Seaside Social News debuted July 31, 2019.

“Sometimes in the world of reporting and publishing, we get bogged down in the drudgery of the everyday news,” she said, “but Seaside Social News allows us the opportunity to explore the fun and colorful side of the area.

“In each online edition, we’ll profile interesting people and places in our communities. We’ll talk with musicians, entrepreneurs, city and county leaders, and others. We’ll spotlight local businesses and organizations. We’ll also take tons of photographs of folks attending area parties and special meetings and functions to help illustrate the best of who and what makes our beloved towns and cities special with pictures featuring our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and who knows, maybe even you.”

Compton-Ortiz was recently recognized as one of “100 Successful Women to Know 2020” by Gulf Coast Woman Magazine. She said she was also selected by the local American Cancer Society as a 2021 Shuck Cancer Gulf Coast Honoree. As one of 17 business professionals on the Mississippi Gulf Coast charged to raise funds to fight cancer, her work benefited a Mississippi Community Transportation Grant Program that awards grants to local health systems to aid in transporting patients to facilities for treatment.

She said her journalism career was shaped in the early 2000s by UM professors, such as the late Stuart Bullion and Samir A. Husni, a.k.a. “Mr. Magazine,” founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center, among others.

“My newspaper career began as a student reporter and photographer at Ole Miss’ The Daily Mississippian,” she said.I’ve had the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented people and a special crop of reputable publications throughout the state, many of which were major successes in print media and who have successfully transitioned into the age of the internet.”

Some include The Democrat in Senatobia, her first reporting job as a summer intern; and the DeSoto Times-Tribune in Nesbit, where she worked in the mid-2000s as a staff reporter and photographer under the newspaper’s former name, DeSoto County Tribune, with then publisher Layne Bruce, who is now the Mississippi Press Association’s executive director.

“Having had the opportunity to study inside the university’s historic Farley Hall that houses the School of Journalism and New Media and graduate into the newspaper business during a time when printed publications were booming and the practice of ethical journalism was on the forefront to now managing my own online publication in today’s fast-paced digital world has equipped me with a unique skillset,” Compton-Ortiz said. “I feel I have much more to bring to the table in my profession, as well as a more well-rounded approach as I strive to meet the needs of our readers and grow the publication into something I and my team of writers and photographers can be proud of.”

During her time as a UM journalism student,  Compton-Ortiz said she was nominated for Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities in 2001. And in 2002, she said she placed second in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications Student Magazine Contest in the Individual Magazine Start-Up category among 224 universities competing across the United States and Canada for Reach, a personally designed 86-page women’s magazine.

She was a member of the university’s Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi). The same year, she said she was awarded a journalism scholarship from the late Terry Keeter, a UM graduate and longtime political reporter for The Commercial Appeal.

In October 2016, she relocated from Holly Springs to Long Beach.

“Though I had always known about the horrific storm and its devastation to the area, seeing remnants of it for myself, in person, planted a seed; one that has continued to root itself deep within my heart,” she said. “A seed I have discovered I share with many others here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. One that keeps growing through connections with people who truly take pride in their communities by supporting small businesses, participating in service projects, school and city functions, churches and charitable causes, volunteering, keeping their parks, beaches and neighborhoods clean, and so much more.”

Compton-Ortiz said seeing this daily is the evidence she is where she should be.

“I feel honored to be a part of such a strong network of places and people who won’t quit when the seas get rough or when the going gets tough,” she said. “They will stand up, they will recover, they will rebuild, and they will flourish.

“It’s this strength in community that makes me excited for another day in the life in Coastal Mississippi and proud I have continued my work as a journalist. I’m proud to join the multitude of others who are living, working and sharing the possibilities of the future. Like-minded people who have the courage to face the storm, not once, but twice.

“I reference here to Hurricane Camille that made landfall in August 1969. And I have no doubt, they would do it all hundreds of times over if that’s what it takes. Thank you, Coastal Mississippi, for teaching me the meaning of true love for community. I look forward to giving it back.”