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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/

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.

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