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Two University of Mississippi journalism students place in prestigious Hearst competition

Posted on: June 20th, 2022 by ldrucker

Congratulations to two University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students who recently placed in the Top 20 in the prestigious national Hearst journalism competition in the team digital news/enterprise category.

Rabria Moore and Billy Schuerman were winners led by editor/adviser Ellen Meacham, according to Patricia Thompson, former director of the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center at Ole Miss.

Thompson said the project tied for 16th place in the Hearst contest with a project from Elon University. The Top 5 winners in that category were students from Western Kentucky, Syracuse, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Oregon.

The project, about water supply problems in the community of Taylor, Mississippi, was published during the spring semester of 2021, and this is one of several major awards it has won since then, Thompson said.

Rabria Moore is pictured in the photo.

Rabria Moore is pictured in the photo.

Moore is entering her senior year at UM and is The Daily Mississippian editor-in-chief for 2022-23.

Schuerman graduated in 2021 and just completed his first year in the visual communication master’s program at Ohio University. He spent winter break as a photographer and writer at a newspaper in Colorado and has a photo internship this summer at the Virginian-Pilot, Thompson said.

Moore, 20, is a Durant, Mississippi native entering her senior year at the university studying journalism and political science.

“I was very excited to find out I received a Hearst award for this project,” Rabria said. “When I started this project, I didn’t think about winning any awards. My main goal was to tell a story about a woman who’s been fighting for access to water, and hopefully bring attention to the issue of water access, especially in Mississippi. I’m happy to receive the award, but I definitely take more pride in knowing that the story has reached a broader audience.”

Moore said working on this project was different from others.

“For months, I was able to visit Ms. Ilean’s home to hear about and see the problems she was facing without access to community water,” she said. “I hope others, especially people living in Mississippi, understand that not everyone has access to the same resources. Water is something we take for granted and something we don’t typically think about, but I hope people can appreciate the ‘small’ things that we don’t have to figure out on our own.”

She said learning to listen was one of the things she took away from the project.

“So many times, we think we know someone’s story or situation,” Moore said. “I think listening gives people the opportunity to tell their stories without us injecting ourselves into those stories.”

Billy Schuerman is pictured in this black and white photo.

Billy Schuerman is pictured in this black and white photo.

Schuerman, 23, who is from Houston, Texas, said he was elated to hear that their hard work was recognized in the competition.

“I am more hopeful that this recognition helps provide a future for the community we reported on,” he said. “Awards are secondary to the communities we serve.”

He said the project was meaningful.

“Before we are journalists, we are humans, and this is a human story,” he said. “This was not a project we could just walk into. We dedicated our time to telling a meaningful story about something that really matters. I hope other students can take away that in order to tell the rough draft of history, we must truly dedicate ourselves to the people we serve.”

His advice to other journalists is to find time to do important stories.

“Not everything you work on will come through,” he said, “but when you have an opportunity to really do something important, it’s important to take it head on.”

What you need to know to apply to the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: June 13th, 2022 by ldrucker
An outside shot of Farley Hall with students entering the building.

 

Are you or someone you know thinking about applying for admission to the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media?

On July 1, we encourage you to begin the application process.

Students will apply online at https://admissions.olemiss.edu/

It’s a simple process. Here are the steps:

  • Students apply online, pay the application fee, or submit an ACT/SAT fee waiver.
  • They must supply transcripts from high school and/or all colleges they have attended.
  • While the university is currently considered test optional, students are encouraged to submit ACT and/or SAT scores for consideration for some scholarships and placement in some courses.
  • Once all needed documents are received, the Admissions Office will communicate the admissions decision to the student.

Jennifer Simmons, an assistant dean of the School of Journalism and New Media, said she encourages students to apply even if they are unsure if they plan to attend.

“Students who apply to the UM School of Journalism and New Media will get hands-on, real-world experiences in their major courses that they can carry forth into the workforce,” Simmons said.

Fun classes await.

“There are opportunities to become involved with study abroad, internships, HottyToddy.com, the Student Media Center, and UM Athletics opportunities the first year,” Simmons said.

Students who attend other schools may wait until they are upperclassmen to be considered for similar opportunities.

Simmons said students can become involved in activities their freshman year that could catapult them into the careers of their dreams when they graduate.

Apply online today at https://admissions.olemiss.edu/

Meet some of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s outstanding 2022 graduates

Posted on: May 13th, 2022 by ldrucker

Journey to Commencement

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media congratulates the Class of 2022. Here are a few profiles of some of our outstanding graduates. The students shared thoughts on what drew them to UM, what they learned on their Journey to Commencement, their favorite classes and professors, and their future plans.

Click the images below to read their stories.

By LaReeca Rucker

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

Posted on: March 17th, 2022 by ldrucker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This story was written by Deja Errington for Oxford Stories.

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.

Dandridge, a broadcast journalism graduate and lawyer, is member of Now & Ever fundraising committee

Posted on: February 23rd, 2022 by ldrucker

Kimbrely Dandridge — a member of the Now & Ever Steering Committee and a native of Como, Mississippi — credits her Ole Miss experience with helping her develop grit and fearlessness. Those traits propel her to seek new experiences and strengthen her leadership style. Dandridge earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Mississippi before attending law school.

The Now & Ever campaign is a $1.5 billion UM fundraising initiative powered by decades of outstanding teaching, research, health care, service and innovation.

Kimbrely Dandridge's video about the Now & Ever campaign.

Kimbrely Dandridge’s video about the Now & Ever campaign.

Link to Video about Dandridge and the Now & Ever campaign.

Dandridge is currently associate corporate counsel at Amazon, according to her LinkedIn bio. Prior to joining Amazon, she served as counsel/director in the global legal department at Gap Inc., and provided legal counsel to the family of brands including Old Navy, Athleta, Gap, and Banana Republic.

In addition to practicing law, Dandridge is a published writer and has contributed to publications like Forbes, Teen Vogue, Hechinger Report, and The Well. While in law school, Dandridge completed an internship at the White House, under the Obama administration, in the Office of Presidential Personnel.

In 2012, Dandridge was elected to serve as the first African-American female student body president at the University of Mississippi, according to her LinkedIn bio. She has been honored on several occasions and has received several awards including University of Mississippi Hall of Fame, Diversity Activism Award, Women in Leadership Award, NPHC Achievement Award, and Because of Them We Can Award.

UM grad Maria Martin still winning the game as sports anchor, reporter at 11Alive in Atlanta

Posted on: January 24th, 2022 by ldrucker

Maria Martin, a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate, has been in the game of sports reporting since graduating in 2014. Her latest win is working at 11Alive, WXIA-TV in Atlanta.

“I am a sports anchor and reporter,” she said. “I have a podcast, a 30-minute sports show every Sunday, and the daily responsibilities and grind of being in a top market.”

A native of the West Palm Beach, Florida area, Martin graduated from UM in 2014, earning a degree in broadcast journalism with a minor in English.

“After I graduated from UM, I moved back home and worked three different jobs trying to break into the sports industry whatever way possible,” she said. “I worked in the University of Miami communications department doing everything from shooting practice video to doing sit-down interviews with players during fall camp.”

Maria Martin

Maria Martin

Martin also worked at “SEC on CBS” as a production assistant, traveling the country with the team and learning from the sideline reporter. At ESPN West Palm on WPTV, she was involved in both radio and television, preparing for an opportunity.

“A coworker of mine at WPTV told me I really needed to go somewhere where I got on-camera opportunities every day,” she said, “so I took the leap and did exactly that. I built my reel up and found my next landing spot to be Montgomery, Alabama with WSFA. This was my first full-time on-air position in the television business, and I was the weekend sports anchor and reporter.”

Martin stayed there for three years.

“It was the best decision I ever made professionally and personally,” she said. “I grew exponentially being on camera consistently every day. I covered three straight national championships, three straight SEC championships, a Final Four, a College World Series, multiple first-round draft picks in the NFL, and even the first overall pick in MLB.”

Martin said it was an incredible ride with a lot of national sports exposure and experience.

“I genuinely believe that having small market experience is crucial for young journalists,” she said.

From there, Martin took the job at 11Alive, WXIA-TV in Atlanta where much is expected daily.

“I am never not busy at work, especially in a sports market like Atlanta,” she said. “I’m always either live on location, turning a feature story, aiming to break sports news, anchoring shows, or working on long-form projects.”

Martin hosts a 30-minute sports show every Sunday called “Sports Extra,” featuring several guests who have in-depth conversations about sports teams in the market.

“Traditionally, it has been radio personalities, former athletes and beat writers in the market,” she said. “This year, I’ve started to push the show a step further and get coaches, current athletes and general managers on to keep the rotation of guests exciting.”

She also created her own podcast called “Married to the Game,” for which she “interviews coaches’ and athletes’ wives to show the side of sports the average fan never gets to hear from.”

“I am a football coach’s wife,” she said, “so it is easy for me to be empathetic towards the difficult, but an incredible lifestyle that comes with that.”

Martin said challenges in her industry include traveling a lot for work, and many companies don’t pay beginning journalists well compared to the long hours they put in. She often works until midnight or later and on holidays. Free weekends are rare in sports, she said.

Her advice to other industry professionals: Find what makes you unique and use that to your advantage.

“Find your own voice,” she said. “Oftentimes, when you’re just getting started as a journalist, you try to replicate what someone else is doing or has done. The moment you find your own voice is when you can start honing in on your craft and pushing yourself to new heights professionally.”

Tip #2: Jump out of your comfort zone often.

“It only helps you become more well-rounded as a journalist,” she said. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. I am as passionate as they come when it comes to sports journalism, and I truly hope that’s evident by you watching even two minutes of my work, but I am incredibly blessed to do this every day.

“It’s a lot of work. I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where I am and where I know I’m going. But I’m talking about sports and meeting incredible people every day. This job is rewarding and fun, and I hope you remember that, especially when it gets hard.”

Her advice to students: Throw yourself at every opportunity that arises in college.

“That also means not putting yourself in one box when it comes to journalism,” she said. “Bosses want to know you can do it all these days. The more people you can connect with and show that you’re driven and eager to learn, the better off you are when it comes to getting a job.”

Another tip for students is: Always be willing to take criticism.

“It’s how you will grow,” she said. “Understand that this job takes tremendous sacrifice. I graduated in 2014, and after this football season will be the first time in my entire career I will have Friday and Saturday off. Sports are on the weekends. Sports happen on holidays. It’s incredibly rewarding, but just make sure you’re passionate about it.”

Her last tip: Be kind.

“Above all else, kindness wins in this industry,” she said. “It helps you break stories, build relationships, and climb the ladder in this wild business. I love talking to young, aspiring journalists, so please reach out to me.”

You can find Martin on LinkedIn.

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.”

Talbert Fellows are an elite cohort at the UM School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: November 3rd, 2021 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Talbert Fellows are journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) students from Mississippi and beyond who are part of an elite program launched last year.

Members include Carleigh Holt, Davan Reece, Emma Harrington, Grace Massengill, Lily Sweet King, Brittany Kohne, Virginia White, Travis Coopwood, Justice Rose, Chloe Calo, Kelby Zendejas, Rabria Moore, Erin Foley, Shayna Saragosa, Summer Keith, Brady Wood, Sahara Portlance, Zoe Keyes, Paleif Raspberry, David Ramsey, Julieanna Jackson, Ava Johnson and Layton Lawhead. We will be sharing their photos and stories on social media.

From left, Grace Massengill, Paleif Raspberry and Chloe Calo attend the latest Talbert Fellows meeting. They listened to a guest speaker who talked about a New York internship program.

From left, Grace Massengill, Paleif Raspberry and Chloe Calo attend the latest Talbert Fellows meeting. They listened to a guest speaker who talked about a New York internship program.

“We are really happy you have joined our school, because in order to be a member of the Talbert Fellows, you have to have shown something exceptional,” Dr. Debora Wenger, interim dean, said during the Talbert Fellows first meeting of the semester.

Dr. R. J. Morgan, instructional associate professor of journalism and director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, said investing in the Talbert Fellows will be a good investment for the school.

“The other vision is that it would also give you the opportunity to invest in each other,” he said.

Talbert Fellows are selected based on a portfolio of their best work in journalism, integrated marketing communication, video, photography, and other media skills, rather than their GPA or ACT scores. Applicants submit work in the fall and follow the UM scholarship application process.

The Talbert Fellows program offers a scholarship, access to special events, personalized attention and coaching from faculty, among other perks.

“Students have a lot of choices when it comes to finding the right university, and we think the Talbert Fellows program might be just the little extra incentive some need to choose the School of Journalism and New Media,” Wenger said in an earlier interview. “From scholarship money to unique experiential learning opportunities to networking options, the students accepted to become Talbert Fellows will find themselves positioned to become future leaders in the fields of journalism and integrated marketing communications.”

There are many high school students across the country who are proving they are skilled thinkers and innovators at a young age, Morgan said.

“Students like that need to be honored, but more than that, they need to be challenged to reach their full potential,” he said. “This program will help us better identify those students from the outset so that once they arrive on campus, we can focus our best resources on pushing them to an elite level of success.”

The Talbert Fellows program is named after Samuel S. Talbert, Ph.D. The versatile administrator and author wrote three academic books on journalism, several plays and a column published in more than 100 newspapers. He chaired the UM Department of Journalism from 1951 until his death in 1972.

Talbert Fellows selections will follow the university’s annual calendar with new students notified in April and admitted each fall semester. New, transfer and current students are also eligible to apply. Awards are renewable for up to four years.

Applicants must submit a link to their online portfolios and the information required through the University of Mississippi scholarship application portal.

To learn more, contact Morgan at morgan@go.olemiss.edu.

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.