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Posts Tagged ‘best IMC programs’

It all started with a Tweet: Collierville native will pursue IMC sports career after graduation

Posted on: May 6th, 2022 by ldrucker
Jackson Sepko has worked for Ole Miss Athletics for three years and plans to pursue a career in digital marketing for a sports company.

Jackson Sepko’s college journey into social media marketing began with a Tweet.

“The summer before my freshman year, I sent a celebratory tweet after a big Ole Miss Baseball win that got a good number of likes and retweets,” he said.

When the dust settled, Sepko saw he had a message from someone named Debbie Hall, whose bio said she taught in the School of Journalism and New Media’s integrated marketing communications (IMC) program.

“She said, ‘You have a way with words. Are you by chance an IMC major?’ I said I was, and we got to meet early in the semester.”Hall recommended that Sepko pursue a social media internship at the Sanderson Farms Championship, a PGA Tour event in Jackson, and with her help, he became the first freshman ever hired there.

“That experience showed me that sports social and digital media was the path for me,” said Sepko, who is just one of the school’s 2022 graduates who shared his Journey to Commencement.

Following that internship, Hall introduced him to Scott Fiene, associate professor of integrated marketing communication, who was teaching a large introductory IMC class that semester.

Jackson Sepko stands in the Grove in front of Farley Hall.

“Mr. Fiene helped me get an internship covering sports and doing email marketing with HottyToddy.com,” Sepko said. “That experience, paired with my earlier social media work, led me to Ole Miss Athletics, where I’ve been a digital media marketing assistant for the past three years. This work helping to promote the teams I grew up cheering for has been so rewarding and confirmed that I want to continue working in this field.”

That role with Athletics also led Sepko to become involved with the School of Journalism and New Media’s social media, with a particular focus on Instagram. He said getting to highlight the accomplishments of his peers has been exciting.

In addition to his work with Ole Miss Athletics, Sepko is a member of the Honors College.

“That campus community has pushed me to be a better student and a more involved community member and has given me some of my very best friends,” he said. “I also got the opportunity to conduct my capstone thesis on college sports social media marketing, which I defended this November.

“Mrs. Hall and Mr. Fiene were my advisors, and getting to work with two professors who have been professional and personal mentors to me since my freshman year was really gratifying and a kind of ‘full-circle’ moment. That work exposed me to different approaches across five different athletic departments and seven team-specific accounts, and I have no doubt it will be a big help to me in my next professional steps.”

Sepko said he has enjoyed all of his classes, but two stand out. IMC 104, an introductory class, got him hooked on IMC.

“I had Mr. Fiene for that class, and I now have him for Honors IMC 455, the campaigns class,” he said. “Getting to have him again, work on one big campaign team with friends I’ve had for a long time, and apply all the IMC knowledge I’ve learned for this project for The Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood has been another cool ‘full-circle’ moment.”

In Oxford, Sepko works as an English tutor at Oxford High School, and he is a member of Pinelake Church.

“The teaching and community there have kept me and my perspective grounded and reminded me that we exist to be a light and serve others,” he said.

Going through COVID in the middle of college was a unique challenge for Sepko and others, but he said the way everyone united and returned to school and work taught him a lot about the importance of resilience and the power of community.

Jackson Sepko stands in the Grove in front of Farley Hall.

“I’m thankful to all our professors and school officials who worked to get us back on campus, and especially grateful for a relatively ‘normal’ close to college,” he said.

Sepko is interviewing for sports jobs in social and digital media right now.

“Sports jobs hire a little later than most other jobs coming out of school just because the off-season for most sports is the summer,” he said. “That’s a little nerve-wracking for sure, but I have wonderful bosses and professors who have all been huge help to me, and I’m excited to see where I end up.”

Fiene notes Sepko’s passion and expertise is in sports promotion and social media.

“This started in high school, where as a freshman, he volunteered to keep statistics for his high school football team,” Fiene said. “His creative and clever way of making the statistics interesting led him to become one of the football broadcast announcers halfway through the season, then he started announcing basketball.

“In his sophomore year, he worked with the school administration to upgrade the broadcasting equipment, took the show on the road and eventually assumed responsibility for the coaches program, which had previously been outsourced. Mind you, he was 15-16 years old at the time, but what this demonstrates is that his journey to excellence started well before Ole Miss, and he entered our program with more experience than some students leave with.”

This year, Sepko received the school’s Excellence in IMC award, but in his junior year, he received the Taylor Medal, the University’s highest academic honor. Typically, the award is only given to seniors, and Fiene said Sepko exemplifies all of the things that make our top students special:  Perfect 4.0 GPA, Honors College, Chancellor’s Honor Roll, Kappa Tau Alpha Honors Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Lambda Sigma, volunteer experiences, and several internships.

“He’s also tutored Oxford Middle School students in Latin literature and Greek-Roman history …,” said Fiene, “but what strikes me as his greatest strength is his drive, his passion, and his ability to apply his learning and make a difference in the media profession well before he finishes his undergraduate studies.”

Sepko said he initially thought he would need to double-major in communications, marketing or sports management.

“I then discovered the IMC program and realized I had been searching for IMC without realizing it,” he said.

His advice: “I would tell students to soak up every moment and take advantage of every opportunity because college goes by quickly, but it’s full of lots of wonderful opportunities. Don’t be shy about talking to your professors. That will lead to a lot of those opportunities.”

Sepko said UM journalism and IMC students are fortunate to learn from many people who are teaching from their own personal experience in the type of jobs students eventually want to land.

“So take advantage of their real-world connections and soak up all the professional experience you can in your four years,” he said. “Be sure to find the right balance and make lots of good memories with your friends along the way, too.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

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.

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.

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students win awards

Posted on: March 7th, 2022 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students consistently win awards. Here are some of their recent honors.

Students won the following awards in the NATIONAL Associated Collegiate Press 2021 contest.

  • NewsWatch Ole Miss was named one of seven Pacemaker national finalists. Pacemakers honor overall excellence for “best of the best.” Judges take into consideration frequency of broadcast, whether the newscast is recorded or live and school enrollment. The broadcast Pacemaker award is relatively new; it was added as a category in 2020. Brian Barisa was NewsWatch student manager in 2020-21.
  • Kaylee Crafton, NewsWatch anchor/correspondent, won 4th place in the broadcast news or feature category for her package about UM remote education during the pandemic in fall 2020 (Ole Miss Parents and Students Concerned with Quality of Education).
  • The Daily Mississippian Photo Editor Hannah Grace Biggs won 5th place for sports game/action photo, for her coverage of an Ole Miss vs. Arkansas football game.
  • Rabria Moore and Billy Schuerman were awarded honorable mention in the multimedia news story category for a project they worked on with adjunct assistant professor Ellen Meacham.

    Here is a brief update on what some of our 2020 and 2021 SMC student leaders are doing:

    Award

Hadley Hitson, Report for America reporter assigned to the Montgomery Advertiser to cover rural South and Black Belt communities;

Eliza Noe, environmental/education reporter at Craig Press in Craig, Colorado;

Brian Barisa, producer, KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas;

Maddie Nolan, December 2021 graduate and NewsWatch student manager for fall semester, reporter for WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi;

Billy Schuerman, graduate student in visuals communication at Ohio University, headed to an internship in photography at the Virginian-Pilot this summer;

Daniel Payne (2020 graduate), recently promoted at Politico in D.C. from fellowship to full reporter on the global health care beat.

Aman scores position with Dallas Cowboys Creative Media Department

Posted on: March 2nd, 2022 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate who wasn’t afraid to tackle what Ole Miss Sports Productions threw at her has scored a position with the Dallas Cowboys.

When Madison Aman was in high school, she photographed and videoed local sporting events. That helped her land a job with UM’s campus television station NewsWatch and Ole Miss Sports Productions.

Today, she is an editor and producer for the Dallas Cowboys Creative Media Department, which journeys with the team to document their activities and tell their stories.

The Dallas native, who studied broadcast journalism with a minor in digital media studies and an arts emphasis, was a sports anchor at NewsWatch for about a year. She interned with Ole Miss Sports Productions from 2015-to 2019 gaining experience that led to her current job.

Madison Atman videos an athlete.

Madison Aman videos an athlete.

“After I graduated, I was able to get a job at the Dallas Cowboys (through former Ole Miss and journalism school alum, Dave Kennedy),” she said. “I started out in the broadcast department, where my main job was to create several documentaries about former Dallas Cowboys players.”

After her first Cowboys season ended in 2019, Aman began creating what became an Emmy-nominated documentary that she continued working on throughout the initial wave of COVID-19 in 2020. She remained in the broadcast department until the summer of 2021 when she was promoted to the newly-created Creative Media Department as an editor and producer.

Aman just finished her first season in the new position.

“I was able to shoot on the sidelines at the games, travel with the team, and continue to create storytelling videos for the Dallas Cowboys’ social media accounts,” she said.

During the season, a typical week can be busy. Aman shoots practices and creates videos for the Cowboys’ Social Media Department. She also helps produce sponsored videos at different locations throughout Dallas.

Their work all leads up to promoting the big game on Sunday. If it is a home game, the department of six (including Aman) travels to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Aman said she typically shoots the game from the sidelines and hands footage off to one of the editors to quickly post to social media. Once the game ends, they start over working to create the best content they can leading up to the next game.

Madison Atman today works for the Dallas Cowboys. Here she stands in front of a blue wall.

Madison Aman today works for the Dallas Cowboys.

“One of the reasons I picked this career was that I am able to do something different each day, whether that be shooting practice, events, etc., and/or editing a video for social,” she said. “Having a career in sports is such a fast-paced environment, but it provides the opportunity to meet so many new people and experience so many new things.”

Aman said her time at Ole Miss Sports Productions prepared her for working in real-world situations in this field.

“I love being able to tell the story of the person underneath the jersey and below the lights,” she said. “It’s such a unique opportunity and a big privilege that most do not have, and I am grateful for it every day.”

Her advice to other professionals in the field is to take care of yourself mentally and physically.

“You don’t have many chances to catch a break during the season, but it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can continue to stay fresh and create the best content possible,” she said.

Another tip: appreciate each moment.

“I think a lot of people in this career field get so used to being so close to the action, that it can become very ‘normal,’” she said. “But each week and each game is an experience that so few people in the world get to have. We have the opportunity to change and inspire others through our work and on such a large stage as well.  It’s important to never lose touch with that and to always stay focused.”

Aman said student journalists should stay focused and shouldn’t get discouraged.

“The sports media world can be quite intimidating,” she said. “But don’t lose sight of your goals and dreams for yourself. I would’ve never been where I am today if it wasn’t for believing in myself and pushing myself to meet the goals that I have.”

She also advises students to get out and shoot games at any level.

“It’s important to have experience and practically required to have a reel in addition to your resume,” she said. “In high school, I was able to shoot our football and basketball games. Through that, I used that experience and footage to help me get jobs at NewsWatch and Ole Miss Sports Productions.”

Debora Wenger, interim dean of the School of Journalism and New Media, agrees that it’s important to gain experience in your field while in college.

Madison Atman today works for the Dallas Cowboys is seen shooting video of an athlete.

Madison Aman, who today works for the Dallas Cowboys, shoots video of an athlete.

“One of the things about pre-professional programs like ours is that employers will expect you to already have had some experience doing journalism or creative work before you get hired,” she said. “Our Student Media Center and other experiential learning opportunities help you build the kind of portfolio that can really help you get that first job.”

Wenger said dozens of our students work or intern with UM Athletics every year.

“The students who love sports broadcasting, marketing and production get an incredible experience when they go to work for Athletics, and we offer many additional opportunities for students who are passionate about sports.”

Micah Ginn, associate athletics director of Sports Productions and Creative Services, said student workers from journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) have been an important part of what they do.

“We’ve had students plug in during their undergrad years and carry that over into graduate assistantships,” Ginn said. “We’ve also had students work here and use the experience to quickly land a job after graduation.

“We provide real-world opportunities for our student workers with the goal being that we are able to do more for our sports programs with the extra help, and the students develop skills that make them confident and ready to enter the workforce.”

Aman shot local football games for NewsWatch and continued to add to her reel, which allowed her to shoot larger events at Ole Miss Sports Production (OMSP).

“Through OMSP, I was on the sidelines shooting football games and shooting practice, which led me to the job I have today,” she said. “I’d tell students that they don’t always have to start at the top pro/collegiate level, but can start at the bottom with high school sports and work their way up. Don’t get discouraged and never lose focus on your dreams.”

For more information about our programs, visit https://jnm.olemiss.edu/

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.

UM’s 2021 Homecoming King and Queen have studied journalism and IMC

Posted on: October 14th, 2021 by ldrucker

Congratulations to the 2021 University of Mississippi Homecoming King and Queen, who have both taken classes in journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

Students Kenzee Blount and Bradford Stewart were voted as Ole Miss royalty.

Bradford Stewart is a Birmingham native studying IMC.

She started a fashion blog with her sisters called Poema, Spanish for poem, that was inspired by a Bible verse, and she dreams of turning the blog into a clothing store with her sisters, according to a story in The Daily Mississippian.

Homecoming King and Queen, from left, Bradford Stewart and Kenzee Blount. Photo from the Ole Miss social media account.

Homecoming King and Queen, from left, Bradford Stewart and Kenzee Blount. Photo from the Ole Miss social media account.

Stewart is involved in the Rebelettes and The Grove Retreat, a Christian-based student organization that welcomes incoming freshmen to Oxford. Her older sister founded the group. Stewart is also involved in Tri Delta sorority, serving as membership experience chair. You can read the full story at this link. 

Blount is a senior in the School of Business Administration who is earning a bachelor’s of business administration in general business. He has taken journalism classes and written for Oxford Stories.

Blount was co-director for special events for the Active Minds organization, and he served as a learning and engagement ambassador, MPower peer leader, director of Rebel Run, and as an orientation leader, according to a DM story. You can read more about the Independence, Mississippi native below.

Thank you for joining us for the School of Journalism and New Media’s birthday event

Posted on: August 26th, 2021 by ldrucker

Thank you for joining us on Thursday for the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s birthday event.

This year, our school is celebrating its 75th Journalism and 10th IMC birthdays, and we hosted a welcome event Aug. 26 in front of Farley Hall.

Our Ambassadors helped organize the event that featured carnival games, prizes, a cornhole tournament, an involvement fair and CAKE!

If you missed the event, but you want to learn more about our journalism or integrated marketing communications (IMC) programs, email us at jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

We also encourage you to get involved with our student organizations on campus. And if you aren’t certain, but think you might be interested in journalism or IMC, take a class!

Carothers works as news producer at WMC Action News 5 in Memphis

Posted on: August 26th, 2021 by ldrucker

Malia Carothers, 23, is forging a path in the journalism world as a news producer working for WMC Action News 5 in Memphis. Carothers joined the broadcast journalism department in college and graduated from the University of Mississippi.

Since college, Carothers has worked as an associate producer for WTVA news and is now one of the producers for Channel 5 News. She lived in Mississippi all her life until moving to Memphis.

Q: What made you want to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism?

A: I was in the yearbook club in high school. I have always been a media person. What sold me on going to the broadcast program at Ole Miss was that I went to a Future Farmers of America (convention) . . . I made it to nationals with one of my projects. They had a sit-down at this thing to broadcast for one of their channels, or something like that. I was like, “I like this,” so I decided to do journalism. And honesty, I only heard of two colleges at the time that offered journalism, and it was Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and between the two, Ole Miss had the better program.

Malia Carothers

Q: How did you become a producer. Had it always been in your plans to be a producer for news stations?

A: Well, honestly, (it’s) all a funny story on how I am a producer now. I just fell into this spot. I’m not going to lie to you; I just fell into it. So when I tell people that no one believes me, it’s like they say, “You’re lying, and this is what you are supposed to be doing.” But I asked Dean Jennifer Simmons of the School of Journalism at Ole Miss if she knew of any video production internships because we need internships for our program. I needed an internship, and she thought I was talking about news producing, which was not what I meant. I like editing, and I like documentaries and things of that nature, so I was looking for a video production internship, and I got in touch with Dean Debora Wenger. She mentioned to me about a producing internship with WTVA. I was interviewed for the spot, and based on the writing test that I took for WTVA for my internship, they asked would I like to be an associate producer instead of doing an internship, and I was like, “Yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?”

Q: Do you think being African American has any affect on your job ethic? Do you feel you have to work harder because you are African American?

A: No, I do not. I work for Action News 5 out of Memphis, and there are many black people working here. I don’t feel pressured by the color of my skin. My work ethic speaks for itself.

Q: How do you pick your stories? Do you bring diversity to the stories?

A: Yes, I always liked being around different people. (That) made me a better producer. It helps me stay grounded and neutral to tell the story. I have always talked and hung out with different types of diverse people. So I believe that being open and diverse helps me bring that in my stories. It all depends on what you know and how you can relate to certain stories that makes it a success.

Q: How do you think your productions have improved the quality of Action News 5 television station?

A: Yes, I am a critical and creative design person, so I brought in different visuals for our section. I also rework how the news goes for the news show. In the beginning, the station ranked at three, and now it is at a six, so I doubled the ratings. So I feel like I am making a difference because I bring in many visual elements, which is a big part. After all, your audience does not want to see the same things over and over.

Q: What type of experience do you have with working with the latest or most current news formatting software?

A: At Channel 5, we use a software called ENPS. It is updated regularly, and we normally don’t make changes to it. The station has been using it, and I don’t have to make any changes. So it’s a learned experience, and it doesn’t change. Each station or shop has different software.

Q: What type of changes can you make to scripts to improve your quality of newcasts?

A: Creative writing. The biggest challenge I have right now is creative writing. My writing is good, but for it to hit higher, I believe I need to be a little better at my creative writing to keep my newscast soaring and improving – playing on words and catching people’s eyes with your words, instead of just visual.

Malia Carothers

Malia Carothers

Q: Why do you think being the news producer at Action 5 is the right fit for you?

A: I wouldn’t necessarily say it is the right fit for me, but I do enjoy what I am doing. As I said, the job fell in my lap, so I decided to work hard and equip myself with this skill to get a job. I decided to keep working in production because I never really cared much about going out and reporting for one. I mean, I will, but I (would) rather be behind the scenes. Another reason is that you do not make that much money by reporting. So it fits with the skills that I have and what I want to do. I chose production because I like to control things, so being a producer, you have that type of control, and it just fits me better than reporting. I guess I like telling people what to do instead of doing it.

Q: As a producer have you done any stories that have been stressful or affected your life in a certain way?

A: No, not really. But only because I don’t think that I am the type of person who gets impacted or affected by things. I think it is how I grew up. Most things do not change my emotional state. It does to others, but It doesn’t stress me out or affect me.

Q: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

A: Well, my contract is for two years with Action 5. It will end the next year – 2022. I do not plan on staying. I have lived in Oxford all my life, and Memphis is only a skip and a hop away from Oxford, so I plan to move away. I want to experience other places, and I want to go beyond Memphis. I don’t plan to keep producing, but I would still like to be a regular producer if I do. I’m getting my master’s in marketing communications right now, and I want to get into marketing to become a business consultant to help people grow their business. Being a producer is equipping me to be prepared for my future business career. I want to be the best me.

Q: Do you have any advice for future journalism students who want to become producers?

A: Honestly, it’s God how I landed here. That’s all I can say. And even if I don’t like the job, I believe it is my drive – my drive to do my best and to work hard, that has brought me to where I am now. I always strive to get better even if I don’t like the job, and I am going to do my best to be the best. My main point is that you need to be a journalist before anything. When it comes to writing a story, whether you’re a reporter or a producer, I feel like you should never focus on any trends. If you want to be in this field, talk to more people, meet more people, doing this will help you to be more diverse, and write. You have to learn how to write because you will need the experience.

This story was written by student Nikki Marzette.

University of Mississippi IMC major picked as national student representative for Lamda Sigma honor society

Posted on: May 18th, 2021 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi junior has been selected to serve as a national student representative for Lambda Sigma, a national honor society for sophomores.

Margaret “Maggie” Walker, a dual public policy leadership and integrated marketing communications major from Suwanee, Georgia, was chosen to be the primary liaison between the national board and all Lambda Sigma presidents.

She will be in charge of facilitating communication among and between the chapter presidents, as well as assisting with the coordination of the Presidents Conferences. As a voting member of the national board, Walker will participate in the discussion and decision-making processes.

Maggie Walker

Maggie Walker

“I am immensely honored to have been chosen to serve Lambda Sigma as a national student representative,” said Walker, who will serve for two years, attend two summer board meetings and two fall President Conferences.

“I look forward to embracing the opportunities to connect with students and adults alike that share an enthusiasm for fellowship, scholarship and service. I know that these connections will be ones of depth and longevity.”

A Stamps Scholar, Walker is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Trent Lott Leadership Institute. As president of the university’s Iota Chapter of Lambda Sigma, Walker’s primary responsibility was to facilitate effective communication with the rest of the executive board and the chapter as a whole, and to ensure the mission of Lambda Sigma was advanced.

She booked speakers, planned and led bimonthly meetings, and communicated with chapter adviser Jacob Ferguson and Lambda Sigma nationals.

Beyond these responsibilities, Walker also worked closely with chapter co-service chairs and the secretary to organize numerous service and fellowship opportunities. These included writing Valentine’s Day letters for local teachers, decorating pumpkins for Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the Baptist Cancer Center, donating to the Jackson water crisis and planting trees with Hill Country Roots.

Under Walker’s leadership, nearly all the members were involved in RebelTHON, the Big Event and other Ole Miss service and leadership organizations.

“As I approached the end of my tenure as president of the Iota Chapter, I found myself never wanting the experience to end,” Walker said. “Seeing the passion and impact of our Iota Chapter was beyond inspiring. Serving as a student representative means I can aid in fostering this shared passion for change throughout the country.”

Walker said the organization has influenced her immensely on a local level, and that she can only imagine how these service, leadership and fellowship experiences will affect her on a national level over the next two years.

Maggie Walker makes a heart sign while wearing a T-shirt that says Oxford Love

Maggie Walker.

“Serving this chapter has opened my eyes to the power student leaders have when they come together for a shared vision of service,” Walker said. “Not only have I been able to facilitate service initiatives and assist our members in catalyzing community change, but I have been able to connect with our member’s passions, stories and aspirations.

“Working with the executive board has been an honor in itself, as I have had the opportunity to grow closer to some incredible student leaders.”

Walker has been a model president and will represent the university well as a student representative, Ferguson said.

“Maggie made my job as adviser easy because I could always count on her to take initiative, make plans and execute meetings, service opportunities and her presidential duties,” said Ferguson, an admissions counselor with the School of Education. “This was even more impressive considering that Maggie and the executive board had to juggle COVID-19 restrictions, hybrid meetings and limited in-person service opportunities.

“I am so proud of the work that Maggie has done and overseen in the past year, and I know that she will excel as a national student representative.”

Walker said that the key to the chapter’s success has been working through unprecedented times together, and continuous open, honest and collaborative communication. This year, the members established Lambda Sigma family groups and threw a Fellowship Field Day.

Through these events, the chapter grew closer by fostering genuine relationships absent of school and personal stressors.

“They made my job significantly easier and stood by me throughout the entire year,” Walker said. “I am forever thankful for their hard work.”

For more information about Lambda Sigma, click here.

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

This story was written by Edwin Smith for University Communications.