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Films of five UM School of Journalism students will be shown at Oxford’s Burns-Belfry

Posted on: January 11th, 2019 by ldrucker

The films of five UM School of Journalism and New Media students will be shown during an upcoming event called Mississippi Movie Mondays at the Belfry on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Oxford Film Festival and Southern Foodways Alliance will partner with Oxford’s Burns-Belfry Museum & Multicultural Center and Lens Collective to host a special movie screening and panel discussion at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21 in Oxford’s Burns Belfry at 710 Jackson Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

It will feature the work of UM students Devna Bose, Ariel Cobbert, Natalie Seales, Gracie Snyder and Maddie Beck.

Alysia Steele, a UM School of Journalism and New Media professor and coordinator for Lens Collective, a multimedia storytelling conference, said she was pleased and encouraged that student work will be shown at the event.

“The students work incredibly hard, with such short deadlines, to produce these stories,” she said. “In fact, from documenting to producing, students have less than 24 hours turnaround time. So, it demonstrates to me that, not only are students learning, but they’re applying those practical skills in thoughtful, quality projects.”

Steele said this lets students know they can do great work on tight deadlines and take pride in what they have accomplished.

“It is quite rewarding to see their smiles when they watch their work on the big screen,” she said. “It becomes emotional for many of us, and that’s a good thing.”

This is the UM School of Journalism and New Media’s second year to offer Lens Collective. Steele said she hopes more students will see value in participating in special projects.

“It’s not easy work, but it’s quite rewarding,” she said. “Students are having fun, bonding with students from other universities, and learning from award-winning photojournalists. The mentors take time off from work to help, and they do it because they care – just like the professors who volunteer their time.”

Steele said this is a networking event that provides skill sets that will help in any journalism or integrated marketing career. And she said multimedia skills – highlighting audio/video and photography – are applicable to many career fields. It’s also a great confidence booster.

“The mentors care, the students care, and the professors care, so it doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. “We appreciate the journalism administrators valuing these out-of-classroom experiences, such as Lens Collective. We are producing great work from diverse opportunities, and I hope students will take advantage of what’s being offered here at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media. Learning outside of the classroom is just as important, and life-changing, as being in a classroom. Real world experiences, right here, right now.”

The series of short films provided for free to the community will include:

Bright at Night – The Sunday evening experience at Foxfire serves up a slice of life in Marshall County, Mississippi, where culinary and musical traditions have always been closely interwoven.

Counter Histories Jackson – In this piece, attendees will hear from Colia Clark, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Bill Minor, Daphne Chamberlain and the Rev. Ed King about the historic sit-in at the 1963 Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi.

Country Platter – Jimmy Williams has been the owner of Country Platter in Cleveland, Mississippi since 1994. In its history, Country Platter was previously Lilley’s Soul Food Cafe, a meeting place during the Civil Rights Movement for many influential figures, including Dr. Martin Lather King Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Amzie Moore. Today, Williams works to give back to his community, remembering his past to influence his present.

Delta Dreams – A look at the music of the Delta and the new Grammy museum.

Faith, Hope, & Inspiration – Members of the Clarksdale, Mississippi community reflect on the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King’s visit to First Baptist Church during their civil rights struggles in the 1950s and ’60s.

Otha Turner – In the late 1950s, fife and drum legend Otha Turner began hosting annual Labor Day picnics at his property in Gravel Springs, Mississippi. Turner would butcher and roast goat, pork, and fish, drawing neighbors with the smell of his cooking and the sounds of his fife and drum.

Signs – A short documentary examining the ongoing vandalism of signs marking Emmett Till’s brutal murder.

Vishwesh Bhatt: The South I Love – Vishwesh Bhatt is a Southern chef using flavors from his childhood to add to the lexicon of Southern Food. A short film by Southern Foodways Alliance summer documentary intern Nicole Du Bois.

A full-length trailer of the upcoming Oxford Film Festival will also be played.

Je’Monda Roy, a UM MFA student will serve as Q&A facilitator with special guests including filmmakers and subjects of the films.

Memphis Public Relations Society Chapter Names UM School of New Media alumnus Otis Sanford 2018 Communicator of the Year

Posted on: January 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

Otis Sanford, Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis, has been selected by the Memphis Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America as its 2018 Communicator of the Year.

The organization will honor him at its monthly luncheon Thursday, Jan. 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the University Club.

“I am so humbled to be recognized as the PRSA Memphis Chapter’s 2018 Communicator of the Year,” said Sanford. “This is quite a surprise and an honor to receive such a prestigious award.”

Sanford, a Mississippi native and 1975 graduate of the University of Mississippi, began his professional journalism career at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. He joined The Commercial Appeal in 1977 and was part of the reporting team that covered the 1977 death of Elvis Presley, rising through the newsroom to become managing editor and editor of opinions and editorials, before moving into academia in 2011.

Screenshot from otissanford.com

Sanford now serves as the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis, and is the author of the critically acclaimed book, From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics. Sanford also writes a weekly political column for the Daily Memphian online news site and serves as political analyst and commentator for WATN-TV Local 24 News.

This will be the 42nd year that the Memphis Chapter of PRSA will honor its Communicator of the Year. The award is given to a member of the community who exhibits the ability to communicate effectively to general or specific publics; has public visibility and is a respected member of the community, who invests his or her time and talent conveying a specific message.

“In choosing Sanford, PRSA Memphis recognizes his ability as a communicator to raise public awareness concerning the challenges that have affected Memphis over the last 40 years,” said Sarah Sherlock, president of the Memphis Chapter of PRSA.

A nationally recognized speaker on journalism ethics, education, and the First Amendment, Sanford is also the recipient of the Silver Em Award from his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, and the annual print journalism award at the University of Memphis was named in his honor. He is past president of the Associated Press Media Editors and past board chairman of the Mid-America Press Institute. In 2014, he was inducted into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame.

The Communicator of the Year award was established in 1976 with Bud Dudley, founder of the Liberty Bowl, its first recipient. The list of honorees includes, Ron Terry, Cecil Humphreys, Fred P. Gattas, Olin Morris, D’Army Bailey, Judith Drescher, Fred Jones, Gerry House, Dr. Scott Morris, Arnold Perl, Linn Sitler, W.W. Herenton, John Calipari, Beverly Robertson, Bob Loeb, Toney Armstrong, Dr. Todd Richardson, PhD, and Mauricio Calvo.

Tickets to the luncheon are free for PRSA members, $25 for non-members, and $15 for students. For more information or to register for the award luncheon visit: www.prsamemphis.org.

Computer science and UM School of Journalism and New Media researchers combat health disinformation

Posted on: January 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

Two UM professors received an interdisciplinary research grant to develop an automated method for identifying health disinformation in the news.

Naeemul Hassan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Computer Science and Information Department, and Kristen Swain, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Journalism and New Media, received one of the first Big Data Flagship Constellation seed grants in January.

“Even though trusted, reliable media outlets do spread health misinformation, most intentional health disinformation originates from unreliable media sources,” Swain said. “There is little existing research on health disinformation patterns in social media. We hope to uncover how health news framing is exploited to spread disinformation and then develop algorithms to help journalists, readers and news providers differentiate credible health news from disinformation.”

In their one-year project, “CHORD: Combating Health Oriented Disinformation,” the professors plan to build and analyze a large-scale repository of print and broadcast health news stories that appeared on social networking sites. Then they will analyze media content patterns across reliable and unreliable stories and identify network characteristics and engagement patterns among readers in different age groups. Finally, they will conduct reader surveys and focus groups to identify health disinformation challenges.

The project synthesizes applied natural language processing, big data, network analysis and media content analysis, Hassan said. The team ultimately hopes to develop a computer program that can automatically identify health disinformation, as well as recommendations for new policies to discourage health hoax propagators.

Kristen Swain, Ph.D.

The team initially will develop a scraper program to automatically collect articles from media sources’ websites, automatically separate health-oriented news articles from non-health articles, and gather social media engagement metrics, such as comments, shares and likes for each article. Algorithms also will identify story characteristics including headlines, bylines, leads, captions, video and other images, topics, sourcing patterns, factual and opinion statements, and quote types.

Reliable sources will include CNN Health, Cancer.gov, WebMD, etc., and unreliable sources will include sites like REALfarmacy.com and HealthNutNews. Unreliable story characteristics include disease mongering, vague sourcing, and failure to identify financial conflicts of interest.

Previously, Hassan developed a data collection program that curated about 66,000 news articles from 27 reliable media outlets and 20 unreliable outlets. The preliminary findings helped him design the new project.

“We hope to identify new recommendations for journalists who cover health topics and develop a computer application to provide instant feedback on their draft stories,” Swain said. The new computer application also could help commercial third-party news aggregate applications such as Yahoo News, Flipboard and Bundle News automatically flag health disinformation that should be removed from news feeds.

Naeemul Hassan. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

After completing the content analysis, the team will model reader behaviors by interviewing young people and seniors who read, share and engage with health stories, Hassan said. To explore whether age, gender, education level and news consumption behaviors predict susceptibility to health disinformation, the team will conduct focus groups of readers younger than 18 and seniors 65 and older. They will use the Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service to collect feedback about the middle-range readers ages 18-64.

“We hope our findings will inform development of new media literacy educational materials to help people of all ages learn how to identify health disinformation,” Swain said.

The 2019 seed grant will support a computer science graduate assistant in spring 2019 and a journalism graduate assistant in fall 2019. In 2020, the team plans to produce conference presentations, scholarly articles, and an external grant proposal.

The Flagship Constellation initiative, now in its second year, supports interdisciplinary research projects at UM and UMCC that focus on big data, community wellbeing, disaster resilience and brain wellness. In November 2017, UM alums Thomas and Jim Duff contributed $1 million, which supports the constellation grant competitions.

“If our study can reduce the number of people believing in health disinformation, this could improve the overall health condition of people throughout Mississippi and the U.S.,” Swain said.

Eleven University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students selected to be new orientation leaders

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

Eleven students from the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media have been selected as UM orientation leaders.

Martin Fisher, associate director of admissions with the UM Office of Admissions, helps lead the orientation leader program. He said orientation leaders are trained to assist new students and their families in transitioning to the University of Mississippi – academically, culturally and socially.

“They lead small groups of new students, serve on panels in front of hundreds of family members, and continue to be a resource to their peers beyond the two-day orientation program,” he said. “The transition process is ongoing, and the orientation leaders are critical to that process. Their service to the Ole Miss community impacts thousands each year.”

Fisher said being an orientation leader is a great opportunity to represent the university and develop transferable skills that students can take with them forever.

“My hope is that they enjoy the process of growing through service,” he said.

Orientation leaders from the School of Journalism and New Media include:

  • Susannah Abernathy, an integrated marketing communications major from Longview, Texas
  • Tavia Moore, an integrated marketing communications major from Wiggins, Mississippi
  • Shelby Carrico, an integrated marketing and communications major from Magee, Mississippi
  • Chloe Dwyer, an integrated marketing and communications major from Southlake, Texas
  • Charlie Googe, an integrated marketing and communications major from Saltillo, Mississippi
  • Asia Harden, an integrated marketing and communications major from Greenville, Mississippi
  • Austin Newcomb, an integrated marketing and communications major from Corinth, Mississippi
  • Jessica Shipp, an integrated marketing and communications major from Southaven, Mississippi
  • Andrew Wildman, an integrated marketing and communications/French major from Laurel, Mississippi
  • Karsyn King, a journalism and Spanish major from Monroe, North Carolina.
  • Nick Weaver, a public policy leadership and integrated communications major

Orientation Leader Susannah Abernathy is an active member of the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she serves on the New Member Committee welcoming incoming women. Although she is an IMC major, she also hopes to attend dental school after earning her undergraduate degree.

“Coming from a small town in Texas, I knew very few people when I set foot on campus for orientation,” she said. “I did not have the same session as my other friends, so I hung out with my orientation leader the whole time. She made sure that I felt welcome here and introduced me to two other orientation leaders who were just as kind to me.”

Abernathy said she never expected orientation leaders to be so inclusive. She thought it would be rewarding and a way of “paying forward” the same things her orientation leaders provided for her.

“I believe that orientation leaders are like the welcoming committee to college,” she said. “They are the first people you meet when you get to Ole Miss, and they want to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Not only are they helping with the transition into college, they also genuinely want to be your friend.

“It is my hope that I can lead the incoming Ole Miss students through an orientation that alleviates their fears about college and leaving home, and prepares them for a very smooth transition into college, academically, socially and emotionally.”

Orientation Leader Andrew Wildman is a member of Delta Psi fraternity at St. Anthony Hall. He is also a big fan of food and cooking. He hopes to attend grad school, earn a doctorate in literature and teach at the college level.

“I wanted to become an orientation leader because of just how much I love Ole Miss,” he said. “I have been a lifelong fan of this university. It’s the only place I toured because I knew it was the only place I could call home.”

Wildman said he is excited to represent Ole Miss as an orientation leader and wants incoming freshmen to be excited.

“I am just thankful for the opportunity to show them that they have a home here in the Ole Miss family,” he said. “… The team is such a diverse representation of students from the university . . . I’m excited about the memories that are going to be made with my fellow orientation leaders.”

Orientation Leader Tavia Moore is a transfer sophomore whose activities include “studying, losing sleep, and more studying.” During her free time, she reads, explores Oxford, and spends quality time with friends.

“I don’t have any cliche career aspirations,” she said. “I just want to find a career that makes going to work feel like going to a playground. I want to be able to enhance my creativity while traveling the world and meeting people of all backgrounds and cultures.”

Moore was a student ambassador at her previous college. “My only hope is to build as many relationships within my Ole Miss family as possible,” she said. “I want to be able to recognize people on a first-name basis because I expect to spend the majority of my time interacting and developing those types of relationships with them.”

Orientation Leader Chloe Dwyer is also an ambassador for the School of Journalism and New Media, an Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity executive member and upcoming vice president, a member of the TEDx University of Mississippi planning committee, a member of the Student Activities Association Special Events Committee, and a Alpha Delta Pi member. She said she wants a career in advertising and graphic design.

Dwyer was selected to be an orientation coordinator, which is a second-year orientation leader. She said the selection process is very competitive. They only chose six previous orientation leaders – three boys and three girls.

“When I originally applied to be an orientation leader, I wanted to feel a deeper connection to the university and its people,” she said. “Ole Miss has a large population, and by holding this position, I knew it would break the population down into smaller groups and open up a new way to form relationships with people in our community.

“I wanted to be an orientation coordinator so that I could continue to take the passion I have for Ole Miss and show incoming students what they have to look forward to. Orientation is so special, and I can’t wait to go through the experience again with new faces and stories.”

Dwyer said she has met some of her best friends through orientation. “These friendships mean so much to me, and I know they will last far past my college years,” she said.

Orientation Leader Asia Harden is a staff writer for the Ole Miss Yearbook, a communications intern at the UM School of Business Administration, and the public relations chair of Lambda Sigma Honor Society.

“The root of why I want to apply to be an orientation leader stems from my growing love for this university, its people, and the opportunities it has afforded me,” she said. “As an orientation leader, I want to give back to this wonderful place that I get to call home and share my love of this university with new students to further ensure them that they can find a home in this place as well.”

Harden said each new experience provides an opportunity for growth.

“As an orientation leader, I want to be able to find growth in the challenges, triumphs, and pure joy that comes with the job,” she said. “And I hope that I can be able to lead incoming students down a path of growth as they enter the university as well.”

Orientation Leader Charlie Googe is a sophomore and member of Delta Gamma sorority who dreams of becoming a marketing specialist for Vogue magazine.

“I had an amazing experience when I attended orientation, so I simply want to give other new incoming students the same awesome experience,” she said. “I love this university so much, and I want to also share that love with others, so that they can learn to love it as much as I do.”

Orientation Leader Nick Weaver is a public policy leadership and integrated marketing communications major. He is an ASB senator, a member of Chi Psi Fraternity, an FLL Greek ambassador, and a member of the Oxford Church of Christ. He plans to attend law school.

“Over the past two years at Ole Miss, I’ve met countless people who have taken me in and helped me feel at home here in Oxford,” he said. “These people include students I met at orientation, fraternity brothers, church members, and professors whose classes I’ve taken. Regardless of how I met these people, they all share a special place in my heart. It wasn’t long ago that I moved into Pittman Hall as a nervous, lonely freshman in desperate need of belonging.

“I’m a religious person, and I distinctly remember sitting alone in Paris-Yates Chapel praying that God would send me friends and mentors who would guide me and build me up. In the months following move-in, I was blessed with more loving people around me than I ever dreamed of. Because of this, I have a debt I need to repay.”

As he transitioned from high school to college, Weaver said he received love from students and staff at Ole Miss. Now, it’s his turn to give back.

“My hope is that, as an orientation leader, I can exhibit the same genuine and kind friendship that I received as a freshman,” he said. “I feel a responsibility to give back to the school that’s given so much to me, and this opportunity allows me to do just that.”

Weaver said he hopes to gain a greater understanding of the diversity of students who call Ole Miss home.

“When we get into our normal routine, it feels like we’re only interacting with a limited group of people on campus, but as an orientation Leader, I have the opportunity to talk with everyone and welcome them to such a fantastic university.”

UM School of Journalism faculty plan for Media Workshop 2.0 in fall

Posted on: December 3rd, 2018 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media introduced a new workshop this semester. The Media Workshop was held for nine Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. with a goal of introducing first and second year students to technology, software and instructors of upper level classes.

Brad Conway talked about social media. Darren Sanefski presented on InDesign and demonstrated how to make a logo quickly and Photoshop cut-outs. Emily Bowen-Moore taught students how to prepare resumes.

Deb Wenger, Ph.D., taught social media video. Iveta Imre, Ph.D., led a session on Premiere Pro and basic sequencing. Ji Heo led a virtual reality and 360 video session.

Mark Dolan, Ph.D., covered iPhone photography techniques and apps, and Michael Fagans led a visual communicating and Instagram session.

“I hope they (students) were introduced to faculty they would like to work with in the future as well as software and technology that they will utilize later in their time in our school,” said Fagans, one of the workshop organizers.

He said a good mix of journalism and IMC students attended the workshop.

“One of our other ‘secret agenda’ items is to start expanding our culture of working at the school so they are not just banking hours,” he said. “Students who did participate in the workshop were also offered the opportunity to volunteer at a sporting event that was needing social media savvy. So there was a direct experiential moment because students participated.”

Fagans said they aren’t planning to offer the Media Workshop again in spring, but hope to lead one next fall.

Students are encouraged to get involved.

Meet IMC Student Olivia Nash: She says IMC offers a variety of career paths

Posted on: November 29th, 2018 by ldrucker

Meet IMC student Olivia Nash. Nash, a freshman, is from a small town called Sikeston, Missouri.

“I came to Ole Miss because I fell in love with the town first,” she said. “Oxford is such a special place, and the people in it make it even better. But, the town was not the only thing I fell in love with, as the Ole Miss campus is beautiful and the camaraderie from the people is unbeatable.”

IMC stands for integrated marketing communication. “I chose IMC as my major, because as a freshman, I really do not know exactly what I want to do,” she said. “My cousin, who also attends Ole Miss, is an IMC major, and through her, I figured out that I could find multiple careers through this major.”

There are many IMC-related careers, such as advertising account executive, social media manager, and sales executive.

“I honestly do not know the exact career I want to have when I get out of college,” Nash said, “but I do know that being an IMC major will allow me to keep my options open and available.”

Nash is driven and excited for her future. She is young, full of new ideas and ready to be an expert in her field.

“I truly am excited for what this major, Ole Miss, and my new experiences will have to offer me,” said Nash.

She will continue her education at the University of Mississippi, and she is determined to make her impact on the world. – By Rhylan Hillis.

Jaz Brisack named University of Mississippi’s 26th Rhodes Scholar, first female Rhodes winner

Posted on: November 17th, 2018 by ldrucker

Jaz Brisack is the 26th Rhodes Scholar and the first female Rhodes winner in University of Mississippi history. She is a general studies major who plans to study public policy during her time at the University of Oxford.

In April, she was named the university’s 15th Harry S. Truman Scholar. The junior was one of three UM finalists selected for the coveted scholarship. UM Communications reported that Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter told the Oxford native and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College student about her win.

“Jaz Brisack is upholding our strong and distinguished tradition of student excellence and public service,” Vitter said in the news release at the time. “We are so pleased to offer programs and learning opportunities that prepare our students to be competitive on a national stage.”

Joe Atkins, professor of journalism, has taught at the University of Mississippi since 1990. He teaches courses in advanced reporting, international journalism, ethics and social issues, media history, and labor and media.

Atkins has taught Brisack in six courses, including Honors 101, Honors 102, Honors 399 (feature film and social issues), Journalism 580 (documentary and social issues), Journalism 301 (media history) and Honors 391 (conversations on social issues). He is also advising her and chairing her committee for her honors thesis.

“She is one of the most amazing students I’ve met in my nearly 28 years of teaching,” he said. “She visited me before I ever taught her, asking if she could get in my already closed Honors 101 course. She had researched me and my labor interests, and in our discussion, I was so impressed with her that we opened the class for her.”

Atkins said Brisack arrived at UM with a deep knowledge of labor and social history and a deep commitment to social justice issues, which she has demonstrated in a wide variety of activities, ranging from teaching in the Mississippi Delta to working with the United Auto Workers in the Nissan campaign in Canton.

“She has amazing intellectual breadth and a razor-sharp mind that I’m sure has helped her greatly in her debate sessions,” he said. “She has all the promise of being a true leader on a national and even international level.”

Atkins noted Brisack’s excellence in the classroom, fine writing skills, and commitment to a wide range of important activities beyond the classroom.

“She has boundless energy as well as a quick intellectual grasp of issues backed up by research and much reading,” he said. “She’s also engaging and good in working with people, proving herself again and again in her labor and political campaigns, working with American Indians in the Midwest and the poor in the Mississippi Delta. How she finds time to do all the things she does I don’t know, and I’m sure the Truman Scholar judges wondered about that, too.”

Curtis Wilkie, Meek School Overby fellow and an associate professor of journalism, has taught Brisack in three courses. Last semester, she was enrolled in Wilkie’s Honors College course on presidential debates. Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates who was instrumental in bringing the first 2008 debate to the Ole Miss campus, has been the guest lecturer for the past two weeks.

“Jaz not only gets high grades and is active in extracurricular interests,” Wilkie said, “but I found her to be one of the best-read students I’ve had in 17 years teaching at Ole Miss. That came across in the first class she had with me, when it was apparent she had already read so many of the books I mentioned. That was impressive.

“She’s also the kind of student who will drop by my office just to talk about current events or her political efforts outside the classroom. As you may know, she was home-schooled. I think she’s an extraordinary student, and I’m very proud of her accomplishments while at Ole Miss – whether its filling the Lyric for a rally for Jill Stein in the fall of 2016 or the unpopular (in Mississippi) causes she supports on behalf of laborers or American Indians or Palestinians.”

UM Communications reports that Brisack’s honors include having an article, “Organizing Unions as Social Policy,” published in the Global Encyclopedia of Public Policy, being a winner in the Creative Nonfiction division of the Southern Literary Festival and receiving the UM Outstanding Freshman award.

Brisack is also a National Merit Scholar finalist, a member of the UM debate team, and a recipient of the Honors College Extraordinary Research Funds and the Penny Leeton Service Award, UM Communications reports. She is also an Opinion columnist for The Daily Mississippian, the campus newspaper

Brisack told UM Communications her plans include earning a master’s of fine arts degree in creative writing and working with a small and independent union or network of unions to help empower workers to bring democratic processes to their workplaces.”

“I want to help create a network of independent locals with self-determination that retain nationwide leverage while maintaining a decentralized approach,” Brisack said in the news release.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is highly competitive scholarship of up to $30,000 given to college juniors who have leadership potential and a commitment to public service. It was created in 1975 in honor of the 33rd president.

For more about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit http://www.honors.olemiss.edu.

The UM Communications news release mentioned in this post was written by Edwin Smith.

University of Mississippi graduate and The New Yorker staff writer Paige Williams signed books in Oxford and Tupelo

Posted on: November 13th, 2018 by ldrucker

From Square Books: Paige Williams, a University of Mississippi graduate and staff writer at The New Yorker, signed her new book The Dinosaur Artist at Off Square Books Tuesday, Nov. 13, followed by a book discussion. She was at Reed’s in Tupelo the following Friday.

New Yorker magazine staff writer Paige Williams explores the riveting and perilous world of fossil collectors in this “tremendous” (David Grann) true tale of one Florida man’s attempt to sell a dinosaur skeleton from Mongolia –“a triumphant book” (Publishers Weekly) that is “steeped in natural history, human nature, commerce, crime, science, and politics.” (Rebecca Skloot).

In 2012, a New York auction catalogue boasted an unusual offering: “a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton.” In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. The fossils now on display in a Manhattan event space had been unearthed in Mongolia, more than 6,000 miles away. At eight-feet high and 24 feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded the winning bid was over $1 million.

Click this link to read the full article on the Square Books website.

Eric Prokopi, a 38-year-old Floridian, was the man who brought this extraordinary skeleton to market. A onetime swimmer, who spent his teenage years diving for shark teeth, Prokopi’s singular obsession with fossils fueled a thriving business hunting, preparing, and selling specimens to clients ranging from natural history museums to avid private collectors like actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

But there was a problem. This time, facing financial strain, had Prokopi gone too far? As the T. bataar went to auction, a network of paleontologists alerted the government of Mongolia to the eye-catching lot. As an international custody battle ensued, Prokopi watched his own world unravel.

In the tradition of The Orchid Thief, The Dinosaur Artist is a stunning work of narrative journalism about humans’ relationship with natural history and a seemingly intractable conflict between science and commerce. A story that stretches from Florida’s Land O’ Lakes to the Gobi Desert, The Dinosaur Artist illuminates the history of fossil collecting–a murky, sometimes risky business, populated by eccentrics and obsessives, where the lines between poacher and hunter, collector and smuggler, enthusiast and opportunist, can easily blur.

In her first book, Paige Williams has given readers an irresistible story that spans continents, cultures, and millennia as she examines the question of who, ultimately, owns the past.

About the Author
Paige Williams is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a Mississippi native. A National Magazine Award winner for feature writing, she has had her journalism anthologized in various volumes of the Best American series, including The Best American Magazine Writing and The Best American Crime Writing.

She is the Laventhol/Newsday Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and has taught at schools including the University of Mississippi, New York University, the Missouri School of Journalism, and, at M.I.T., in the Knight Science Journalism program. Williams has been a fellow of The MacDowell Colony and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

At The New Yorker, she has written about suburban politics in Detroit, the death penalty in Alabama, paleoanthropology in South Africa, and the theft of cultural palimony from the Tlingit peoples of Alaska.

The above article was printed with permission from the Square Books website.

National politics and Mississippi’s senate runoff analyzed

Posted on: November 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

Two veterans of Mississippi’s politics — a Republican and a Democrat  reviewed the results of the Nov. 6 election and offered commentary on the extraordinary runoff for a U.S. Senate seat during the final program of the fall season at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Austin Barbour, who held prominent roles in past Senate campaigns of Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, joined Brandon Jones, a former member of the state House of Representatives and co-founder of the Mississippi Democratic Trust, in an hour-long discussion with two former national political reporters, Charles Overby, chairman of the center, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie.

A focus of the program was the Nov. 27 runoff between Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican appointed to fill a seat vacated by Cochran’s resignation, and Mike Espy, a former Democratic congressman from Mississippian who served as President Clinton’s secretary of agriculture. Hyde-Smith and Espy both won more than 40 percent of the votes in the midterm election, but because neither topped 50 percent, it triggered a rare runoff to determine who would take the remaining two years of Cochran’s term.

The panel also discussed the state of politics in the rest of the country and what the mid-term elections will mean to the 2020 presidential campaign.

“The end of the midterm elections signals the beginning of the presidential race,” said Overby before the event. “We will talk about the ramifications of the midterms in Mississippi and beyond.”

Barbour comes from a First Family of Republicans in the state. His father, Jeppie Barbour, became one of the first members of the GOP to serve as a mayor in Mississippi when he was elected to the post in Yazoo City nearly 50 years ago. Former Gov. Haley Barbour is Austin’s uncle. As a result, Barbour has worked in and around campaigns all his life.

He is managing partner of the Clearwater Group, a regional public affairs firm in Jackson, and also a partner in Strategic Partners & Media, a national advertising group based in Annapolis, Maryland.

Jones is an attorney with Baria-Jones, a law firm with offices in Jackson and Bay St. Louis. (His partner, David Baria, ran unsuccessfully against Wicker for the other U.S. Senate seat at stake this month.)

Jones has also worked as an advisor for Democratic candidates in a number of other state and local campaigns in Mississippi.

IMC students use research skills to improve The Meridian Star’s marketing strategy

Posted on: November 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

As our capstone course for the integrated marketing degree program at Ole Miss, we are applying our skills of marketing and research to boost new objectives of The Meridian Star. We have analyzed the company needs and what the organization could do to grow its business.

The Meridian Star is positioned uniquely, and we intend to identify ways the organization can preserve this uniqueness. By understanding audiences and sharing ideas in class, we are gaining a more detailed understanding to help The Meridian Star realize these objectives for their daily business.

Ole Miss students (from left) Darby Frisbie, Kedrick Smith, Molly Chain and Hayley Day are simulating an integrated marketing communications agency, gaining real-world experience by developing a promotional plan for brand awareness and expanded services of The Meridian Star.

For our generation, the ways people get news and information is different from how they did in the past. We have come up with different ideas and strategies for making it easier for people in the Meridian area to access relevant information at their convenience.

We also want to figure out the type of information people want to read about and recommend how The Meridian Star can put more of that information out there. We also want to learn what kind of services might add value. We have provided surveys for residents and businesses to gain this information. By the end of this class, we hope to help The Meridian Star reach as many people as possible by using this information to develop effective marketing recommendations.

With closer research and proper surveying, we believe we will be able to accomplish the repositioning of The Meridian Star. We hope to gain insights that haven’t been brought to light such as: “What is preventing local residents from engaging with The Meridian Star?” and “What would make the publication and its services the most attractive to Meridians?”

We have assumed that the lack of visibility of staff in the Meridian community and the dated design and delivery of the paper are a few problems that have resulted in these issues. Luckily, we will be able to clearly see through our research if these hypotheses are actually contributing to the main issues of The Meridian Star. Once we identify the root problems, we can then recreate the brand image of The Meridian Star by taking the right steps toward a specific solution.

By Darby Frisbie, Kedrick Smith, Molly Chain and Hayley Day. They are students in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. For more information on this project, contact Alexander Gould, publisher of The Meridian Star. This piece was originally published on the Mississippi Press Association website.