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School of Journalism and New Media
University of Mississippi

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Hitson Reports for America on the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser

Posted on: September 28th, 2021 by ldrucker

We recently caught up with Hadley Hitson, former Daily Mississippian managing editor, to see where her career has taken her. Hitson, 22, graduated from UM last May earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minors in Spanish and digital media studies.

The Birmingham, Alabama native now resides in Montgomery, Alabama, covering the rural South and Black Belt communities for the Montgomery Advertiser. Her official title is “rural South reporter,” and she is a Report for America Corps member.

Q. Tell me a little about your career path after college and your current job and responsibilities? 

A. Report for America is a national service program that places journalists with local news outlets to cover under-served topics or communities, and after applying to the program while I was a senior at UM, I was matched with the Advertiser. Due to the collapse of local journalism over the past decade, news coverage has become limited in some of the poorest counties in the nation, including many in the Black Belt region. Report for America operates with the goal of filling these gaps in national coverage.

Through the program’s partnership with the Montgomery Advertiser, my job is to examine access to health care, education and other services while providing news coverage for these rural Alabama communities — not just about them.

Hadley Hitson stands in front of the Montgomery Advertiser sign.

Hadley Hitson stands in front of the Montgomery Advertiser sign.

Q. How did the UM School of Journalism and New Media help you prepare for the real world?

A. Apart from the basic skills of learning how to write a lead and structure a compelling article, the UM School of Journalism and New Media taught me how to think like a journalist. Starting my freshman year, my teachers and advisers encouraged me to ask questions beyond the obvious and carefully consider the context in which every story is framed.

I also worked at The Daily Mississippian for all four of my years at UM, which played a huge role in preparing me for the real world. I had a public audience reading my work, and I had very real deadlines to meet. Moreover, the DM showed me everything that a newsroom is about — pitching stories, defending angles and asking for help when you need it.

Q. What are your hopes for the future?

A. My hopes for the future are to continue providing news coverage to communities that need it and emphasizing the importance of Southern voices that often get lost in national media. I’m also looking forward to making UM (and the DM) proud. Hotty Toddy!

Former CBS journalist to join University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media as visiting professor

Posted on: September 9th, 2021 by ldrucker

A veteran, award-winning journalist, who has worked as a White House correspondent for CBS and as a reporter in Mississippi and throughout the U. S., will soon join the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media faculty as a visiting professor.

Randall Pinkston will teach a course in international reporting after his arrival in January.

“Prof. Pinkston will bring a level of expertise and experience to our school that only someone who has operated at the highest levels of the profession can contribute,” said Interim Dean Debora Wenger. “He has covered plane crashes and presidents, wars and severe weather — the skills he developed as a reporter and anchor — from Jackson, Mississippi to the CBS Evening News, Randall is just the guy that some of our most talented students need to learn from. We are delighted to have him in our classrooms.”

Pinkston was born in Yazoo County. He grew up in Jackson and attended public schools. He was also an active member of Mt. Helm Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson, and he participated in school organizations at Rowan Junior High and Lanier Senior High.

Randall Pinkston

Randall Pinkston

He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and transferred to Millsaps after the death of his father.

“I majored in history, intending to go to law school,” he said. “My father’s minister, the Rev. Wendell P. Taylor of Central United Methodist Church, suggested that I apply for a news trainee position at WLBT-TV. I was not accepted as a trainee, but did receive a job offer as a part-time announcer on WLBT’s sister station, WJDX-FM.”

Pinkston’s work at the radio station, while attending Millsaps, eventually led to a part-time job in the news department, as a weekend and 10 p.m. anchor and reporter.

After graduating from Millsaps, he attended a summer training program for minority journalists at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He later returned to Jackson and was promoted to 6 p.m. anchor at WLBT, becoming the first Black anchor of a major newscast at the #1 station in Mississippi

Today, Pinkston is a widely respected journalist who has worked in local and network news for more than four decades. He joined CBS as a White House correspondent and later was a general assignment reporter covering national and international stories. Along the way he also earned a J. D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Since retiring, Pinkston has taught journalism at Stony Brook University in New York, City University of New York and Morgan State University in Maryland.

Pinkston has also taught classes at UM. Throughout his career as an educator, he has taught media performance, communications law and ethics, financial reporting and international reporting.

“As a journalist and a Mississippian, I consider it an honor and privilege to be invited to serve as a visiting professor at the state’s ‘premier university’,” he said. “Based on my professional background and my experience as an instructor, I think I can assist students in preparing for careers in journalism and related fields. My goal is to provide students with instruction and exercises that will give them tools they use on the job. Overall, I hope to enhance their educational experience.”

Pinkston will also serve as an advisor for NewsWatch Ole Miss, the student-run TV news program produced from the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center, and he has been named as a fellow in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

To learn more about the School of Journalism & New Media’s programs, please visit  jnm.olemiss.edu or email jour-imc@olemiss.edu