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An Inktober Q & A with Emily Bowen-Moore, instructional assistant professor of media design

Posted on: October 25th, 2022 by ldrucker

A Q & A graphic featuring professor Emily Bowen-Moore's artwork.

It’s Inktober for Emily Bowen-Moore, instructional assistant professor of media design. We asked her a few questions about her journey as an artist, designer and illustrator.

Bowen-Moore joined the faculty in the spring of 2015. She earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and journalism at Ole Miss in 1997, and after several years of teaching, she earned a master’s degree in illustration.

She has been a freelance illustrator and designer for the last 20 years, and her work has appeared in various printed media, including music CDs, children’s books, and large printed murals.

In 2004 and 2006, she was awarded Earthwatch Institute S. A. Rosenbaum Fellowship through the Phil Hardin Foundation. In recent years, she has been illustrating, designing, and publishing her own children’s books.

 

Q: Tell me a little about your drawing journey. When did you start? Why did you become interested in drawing? What has your career path been like as an artist and professor?

A. My drawing journey started at a very young age. I have been doodling since I can remember holding a pencil in my hand. I knew that drawing and design were a long-term goal, as I knew that I had not only a passion for it but also talent in it as well.

In undergraduate college, I became a little discouraged because there wasn’t as much support for designers being in a small town. There always seemed to be a disconnect with making art a career path. However, later in my college career, I started to do some commissioned work, painting murals and designing other things like album covers, and I developed momentum for living a life as an artist.

After I decided to live in Oxford permanently, an art position opened up at the Oxford Middle School. I had a good friend at the time, who was also teaching, and she was a huge inspiration to me. I decided to take the job, and I have been designing and teaching art and design ever since.

Q. Why did you decide to begin doing your series of Inktober drawings? Can you describe some of them for us and the thought process behind them.

A. After teaching for several years, I decided to get my MFA in illustration. This led me to my instructor position at the university. I began using my graphic design expertise more, and I found that I was doing less traditional/free-hand illustration and design as a general practice.

When I discovered Inktober on Instagram, I thought it would be a great way to stay in practice with drawing and illustrating. Even though I use digital media (my iPencil and iPad with Procreate, a drawing app), this enables me to practice my drawing and illustrating skills, but in a more efficient manner.

With the individual drawings themselves, I take the word prompts for each day and brainstorm a concept for a drawing/illustration. I gather whatever visual resources I need to reference for my drawing concept, and then I draw. Ideas do not always come easily, but that is expected when drawing every day.

After my first year participating in Inktober, I received several requests for prints. After that, I decided to design illustrations that could also be reproduced easily, and I started my own print shop on INPNT.com. This made it easy for people to access my illustrations and choose what media and size they want with any particular illustration. My store also offers framing options. This site has been an efficient way to provide these choices while cutting out the extra leg work in printing all of them myself at a higher expense.

UM assistant professor of IMC earns honor for study about vaccine discourse on social media

Posted on: September 2nd, 2022 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media assistant professor has earned an honorable mention in the Nafziger-White-Salwen dissertation award juried competition.

Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, Ph.D., assistant professor of integrated marketing communications (IMC), said her three-part dissertation examined vaccine-related social media advertising and organic vaccine discourse on social media in the early months of COVID-19 (March to May 2020).

“Notably, the World Health Organization identified vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to our societal health in early 2019, well before the spread of the novel Coronavirus,” Bradshaw said. “Thus, this work has implications beyond COVID-19 and is not limited to the current health crisis, but rather contributes to the formulation of effective social media messaging strategies to combat vaccine hesitancy holistically – including COVID-19.”

Amanda Bradshaw stands outside with trees behind her.

Amanda Bradshaw, Ph.D.

Bradshaw said she became interested in this topic while managing strategic communication for a medical group that specialized in pediatrics.

“Anecdotally, we were seeing more expectant and new mothers coming in who were unprepared to make childhood vaccine choices and were choosing to delay or decline one or more standard childhood vaccines,” she said. “The policy of the practice, at the time, was to dismiss these patients rather than engage in dialogue or shared decision making.”

When Bradshaw began working on her doctorate at the University of Florida, she sought to explore better ways to communicate about vaccines with expectant and new mothers — both in clinical settings and via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that mothers frequently access seeking health information.

She said her first study utilized the theoretical foundation of framing theory to explore the framing of vaccine-related advertisements in the Facebook Ad Library. She believes it is only the second study to use the Facebook Ad Library tool, invented in 2018, to examine vaccine-related advertisements, and the only study since Facebook implemented new policies to eliminate vaccine misinformation on its platform.

“I compared my findings with previous baseline findings to discern whether vaccine advertisements were framed differently on Facebook following a series of steps taken by the largest social media platform to actively lessen health misinformation in its sponsored posts,” she said.

Bradshaw said her second study utilized counterpublic sphere theory to explore the discourse related to #DoctorsSpeakUp, a hashtag invented by pro-vaccine doctors to collectively promote vaccines on Twitter, but which was instead hijacked by anti-vaccine advocates. She said analysis revealed that the majority of tweets subverted the original message and advocated against vaccines, instead.

Her third study explored what source credibility cues mothers rely on when evaluating the trustworthiness of vaccine messages on social media, and whether a mixture of positive and negative comments, as appear organically on Facebook, influence mothers’ willingness to share these messages.

“In its entirety, this work illuminates the strategies that pro-vaccine campaigns on social media should employ to resonate the most with their target audience and to achieve greater reach, awareness, and ultimately increase vaccine uptake, being mindful of potential backlash such as what was experienced in the #DoctorsSpeakUp hashtag hijacking,” she said.

Gregory P. Perreault, Ph.D., an associate professor of digital journalism in the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University, said the Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award is the gold standard for excellence in dissertations in the field of communication.

“Our entire research committee, which includes scholars with impressive qualifications in every aspect of mass communication, reads and evaluates all of the finalists for this award,” he said. “The competitiveness of this year is impressive, not only because of the sheer number of submissions–one of our highest–but because of the quality of the submissions, which were absolutely remarkable given the challenges that doctoral candidates faced in accomplishing their research in the midst of the pandemic.

“Dr. Bradshaw’s dissertation is emblematic of the analytical quality that we ask for in the award, but could never have expected under such difficult conditions. Her work is testament to the sort of scholarship that deserves recognition and attention within our field.”

The school’s associate dean, Dr. Deb Wenger, said the award helps confirm what the school knew about Bradshaw when they hired her.

“Dr. Bradshaw is already having an impact on the field of communication and in our classrooms. We are lucky to have someone with her skills as a scholar and as a teacher as part of the integrated marketing communications program,” Wenger said. “We look forward to celebrating many more of her accomplishments in the future.”

These were some of Bradshaw’s key takeaways from the study.

Vaccine hesitancy is not new, and vaccine decision making is complex and multi-faceted.

“Vaccine hesitancy has existed long before COVID-19 and was in fact, labeled a top-10 global threat in early 2019, prior to the pandemic,” Bradshaw said. “Thus, it is not a new phenomenon.”

Bradshaw said vaccine decision making is complex and multifaceted, and there is no one-size-fits-all PSA or communications campaign that will encourage everyone to vaccinate. Vaccine choices are nuanced and influenced by many factors, including the perception of safety and efficacy, antigen, individual factors related to a person’s health and history and social influence.

“But, pro-vaccine campaigns can be used to move the needle and encourage some fence-seekers who are still undecided about vaccines to vaccinate,” Bradshaw said.

They can also encourage pro-vaxxers to share vaccine-positive messages that may influence others in their peer network to make similar choices by helping to normalize vaccination, she said.

Effective pro-vaccine messages are two-sided, focused on individual benefits rather than community immunity, and are not shaming

Since COVID-19, Bradshaw said the topic of vaccination has become more politicized, and pro-vaxxers are more hesitant to engage in the topic, especially on social platforms, due to worries over controversy or the perception that deciding to vaccinate is a personal choice.

“Thus, effective pro-vaccine messages should seek to be two-sided and encourage a dialogue rather than being shaming or moralistic,” she said.

The participants in Bradshaw’s third study, who all identified as pro-vaccine, disliked messages that had a moralistic undertone or shaming message (e.g., everyone who is smart vaccinates without question), she said.

“In fact, they related more to the idea that good parents do ask questions — and seek credible sources to answer those questions,” she said.

Bradshaw said she learned that messages centered on personal health benefits tend to be more effective in promoting childhood vaccination than messages that encourage individuals to vaccinate for the sake of others in the community.

“These messages should be grounded in research and point users to credible links/sources to do additional research,” she said, “particularly for those who tend to process information more centrally and who want to access more than peripheral cues about vaccination.”

The need for stakeholder buy-in and credibility 

Before undertaking a vaccine campaign on social media, Bradshaw said the effort should be carefully thought out and strategized, garnering buy-in from major stakeholder groups.

“In the case of the #DoctorsSpeakUp campaign, the voices of the medical community were quickly drowned out by anti-vaccine advocates, and only a small minority of tweets studied (<17%) originated from pro-vaccine doctors, despite the campaign’s original intent to bring the medical community together to promote vaccines,” she said.

Bradshaw said the campaign could have been more impactful if organizations such as the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc. endorsed it, actively participated in it, and encouraged their members to do the same.

“Interestingly, at the time of data collection in Study 1, most of the aforementioned organizations, state health departments, universities, and other major medical entities were silent and not publishing paid vaccine content on Facebook,” she said,” which was a bit surprising due to the timing and context of the research (March-May 2020).”

Bradshaw said Study 1 also revealed that 26% (n = 41) of advertisers representing an array of vaccine stances were individual political candidates or their political campaign representatives, which may have contributed to the continued politicization of vaccines, including the (then-hypothetical) COVID-19 vaccine.

“In short, despite the potential backlash, there is an important role for medical professionals and organizations to play in communicating about vaccines on social media,” she said.

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker

School of Journalism and New Media professors offer advice for college students

Posted on: August 19th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic features a cork board with pins and reads Advice for Students

A new semester has begun at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, and some of our professors are offering the following advice to students:

Graham Bodie

Graham Bodie

Listen to Other Perspectives. Graham Bodie, Ph.D., professor of integrated marketing communication, said go to class and ask questions that provide deeper understanding, especially around issues that are complex and infused with multiple diverse perspectives.

“Learn to hold two or more seemingly contradictory perspectives as plausible before accepting or rejecting anything out-of-hand,” he said. “Try to read something or talk to someone who disagrees with you every day.”

Speak Up. Bodie said speak with passion and confidence toward a position you feel strongly about and about which you have some knowledge and/or experience, and always listen like you might be wrong.

You Might Be Wrong. “Don’t be surprised when you are wrong, and don’t treat others’ wrongness as a weapon to wield in a battle over who gets to win an argument that may not actually have a single right answer,” he said.

When you have the privilege of being in a position of power, Bodie said “leverage the diversity of views and perspectives on those large, messy, complex problems with which you have been tasked, and take risks on solutions that involve collective intelligence.”

Fail. And remember, we sometimes learn by failing.

“Fail here, while you can do so in a ‘safe’ environment,” he said. “Don’t read ‘safe’ as an environment that makes you feel comfortable. You should sometimes be uncomfortable.”

Emily Bowen-Moore

Emily Bowen-Moore

Communication is Key. Emily Bowen-Moore, instructional associate professor of integrated marketing communication, said to communicate with instructors.

“It makes all the difference in the world,” she said.

Elizabeth Allen Estes

Elizabeth Allen Estes

Read the Directions. Elizabeth Allison Estes, adjunct instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, shared this message:

“Dear Gen Z Student, You are so wonderful in so many ways. But having grown up entirely immersed in digital technology, you tend to assume that you can accomplish tasks intuitively. You will save us both a lot of extra work and sadness if you will read the directions FIRST, and then just follow them. With great affection, Professor Gen X.”

Senior Lecturer Robin Street discusses a class project with two students in her PR Case Studies class. From left, are IMC major Jessica Lanter, Street and IMC major Naiomei Young. Photo by Maddie Bridges.

Robin Street

Record Due Dates in a Calendar. Robin Street, adjunct instructor of integrated marketing communications, said her advice is basic, but effective.

“At the beginning of the semester, get all your syllabi together,” she said. “Then get a calendar, either a hard copy or a digital one. Carefully go through each syllabus and highlight every due date. Then, one by one, put all those dates on your master calendar.

“Yes, it will be tedious, but it will help you so much. If due dates change, be sure and go back and change your calendar.”

Write Reminders. Street said it’s helpful to make note of items a week or two before the due date.

“Write on your calendar on Oct. 15 that a paper is due in two weeks. That way, dates don’t sneak up on you.”

Work Each Day. Street’s second piece of advice is to devote a little time daily towards a big project.

“The longer you put that project off, the bigger it gets,” she said. “I do this myself when I have a lot of papers to grade. I devote one hour to grading. I don’t get them all graded, of course, but it makes headway. Then, the next day, I devote another hour.”

Kristen Alley Swain

Kristen Alley Swain

Build Your Skills. Kristen Alley Swain, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism, said search for ads for your dream job(s). Then make a list of the skills and background these employers want that you could obtain while enrolled at UM.

“College is the easiest time to do this – because right now, you have the resources and support to do it,” she said. “For instance, you might produce content for a nonprofit or campus office, attend events related to your interests to help you network, and volunteer for leadership roles in a student club.

“Use every course to help build your professional ‘toolbox’ — add skills, perspectives, experiences, knowledge, content, publications, and other deliverables that will help you succeed in a tough job market. Demonstrating tenacity, a strong work ethic, effective time management habits, and a willingness to actively participate in every class will greatly help you get good references and launch a fantastic career.”

Stefanie Goodwiller

Stefanie Goodwiller

Talk to Your Professors. Stefanie Goodwiller, adjunct instructor of media design, said don’t be afraid to ask questions.

“If you are unsure of something, ask your professor before asking your peers,” she said.

Debbie Woodrick Hall

Debbie Woodrick Hall

Set Goals. Debbie Woodrick Hall, instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communication, shared a few Ole Miss Student Survival Tips written by Bonnie Brown. 

“So maybe you haven’t answered the question of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up,’” Brown said. “The Career Center can help with that. But you can set some goals for the semester—a certain GPA, some type of behavior modification, establish an exercise routine, actively participate in class. Whatever it is, make it yours, and set yourself up for success! You got this!”

Robert Magee

Robert Magee

Use Memory Recall. Robert Magee, Ph.D., associate professor of integrated marketing communication, said a good way to prepare for a test is to use a blank sheet of paper.

“Write down everything you can remember,” he said. “Then, compare it to your notes to see what you missed. Recall memory is much more difficult than recognition memory, so this will give you an idea of how well you are prepared.”

Define a Concept. “When you’re trying to master a concept, see if you can define it in your own words in no more than two sentences,” Magee said. “If you can’t define it in two sentences or less, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s a sign of muddled or half-baked thinking. To write well, you first must think well.”

Lynette Johnson

Lynette Johnson

Look for Opportunities. Lynnette Johnson, Ed.D, said, “Be open to unexpected opportunities that arise. Walk through that door of opportunity…you never know where it may lead. If you don’t ask, then the answer is already ‘No.’”

Ellen Meacham

Ellen Meacham

Get Involved. Ellen Meacham, adjunct assistant professor of journalism instruction, said attend every panel discussion, guest speaker or free event you can.

“It’s a great chance to learn about the world from people who are out there in it,” she said. “You will never have such a distinguished, informed, cross-section of experts so easily accessible again. You will learn a lot, and it’s also a great way to make contacts and network for future internships and jobs.”

Mike Tonos

Mike Tonos

Come to Class. Mike Tonos, journalism coordinator and instructional associate professor, said show up and get to know your instructor, even if that means a one-time, short, one-on-one meeting. This applies across the board, not just to in-person classes.

“For all, do the work you’re assigned,” he said. “In my classes, you’ll get at least some credit for turning in your assignments. The alternative is an automatic zero.”

Debora Wenger

Debora Wenger

Remember — it all matters. Debora Wenger, Ph.D., associate dean, said there’s no such thing as “syllabus day.”

“Seriously, make every class period count and stay on top of assignments,” she said. “It’s always going to be easier to do well in a course if you avoid falling behind.

“Pro tip: Take advantage of every extra credit opp — you never know when you’ll need those three more points.”

School of Journalism and New Media Assistant Dean Simmons promoted to Provost’s Office

Posted on: August 12th, 2022 by ldrucker

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi community members have been promoted to executive positions in the Office of the Provost.

Virginia Rougon Chavis and Jennifer Simmons, former assistant dean of the School of Journalism and New Media, have been named associate provost and assistant provost, respectively. They will assist Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, in supervising personnel and supporting office operations.

“Both Professor Chavis and Ms. Simmons have been long-time, valued members of our university community, and are well-respected by their colleagues,”  Wilkin said.

Virginia Rougon Chavis

“While they have fulfilled different roles and responsibilities on our campus – Professor Chavis rising in the faculty ranks and Ms. Simmons rising in the staff ranks – both will bring their unique experiences and expertise to the office. I am excited about the valuable contributions they both will make to the Office of the Provost and the University of Mississippi.”

Chavis served as chair of the Department of Art and Art History for almost seven years. She also served on the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Council and the Honors Selection Committee, and was selected as an SEC Academic Leadership Development Program fellow.

“I enjoy working with people and talking to them,” Chavis said. “I enjoy solving problems, coming up with the best solution and seeing things through the eyes of others.”

Her short-term goals are to make improvements to some of the things she learned over the past year as acting associate provost, including providing structured opportunities for administrators to have conversations about addressing challenges and celebrating accomplishments in their units.

Chavis also plans to continue monthly chair and director workshops and include interactive exercises on the agenda along with the regular announcements.

“I am working to create a yearlong curriculum for new chairs,” she said. “This curriculum will equip those new administrators with the resources and contacts they need to be provide successful leadership within their own units.

“Lastly, I have been working with the Counseling Center on campus to address their needs to help individuals on campus. The need for mental health care is important to the health of all individuals on campus.”

Jennifer A. Simmons

Chavis’s long-term goals include addressing the lack of space on campus, creating a pathway for personnel to advance professionally and expanding the Early Learning Program to fruition.

“It is important to note that last year, the first Provost Faculty Research Scholar for Institutional Transformation was selected,” she said. “This new position supports the expansion of university efforts to build a collaborative research team dedicated to the efforts of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Simmons earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s in higher education from the University of Southern Mississippi. A member of the Ole Miss faculty since 2002, she has served on numerous academic and administrative committees.

Simmons said she believes her perspective is somewhat unique since she has worked in both student affairs and academic affairs.

“My former position in the School of Journalism and New Media was a student affairs-type role in an academic unit,” she said. “I understand what it takes to get students to attend UM and what it takes to get them to graduate from UM.

“I want to be a listening ear to be someone who can become a valuable resource to students and faculty by answering questions and providing guidance on concerns they may have.”

What’s Next? Journalism and IMC graduates tell us their next career moves

Posted on: August 1st, 2022 by ldrucker

Many of our University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduates are embarking on new adventures in jobs or internships. Here are some of our most recent updates about grads who are taking on the #RealWorldRightNow.

This is a photo of Thomas Lee standing in front of green trees.

Gulfport native Thomas Lee, a University of Mississippi graduate, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in International Conflict and Cooperation and Arabic with a minor in Spanish. He is now an IMC graduate student.

He said he decided to shift to IMC for graduate studies because he has always had a passion for language, culture, and graphic design. He has been working as an intern at BBDO (short for Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn, a merger between two companies), one of the largest advertising agency networks in the world with more than 15,000 people in 289 agencies across 81 countries.

Lee said his best advice to other journalism and IMC students is to “always have an open mind and apply, apply, apply.”

“I went on a massive LinkedIn internship hunt and got hundreds of rejection emails, but it’s important to not get discouraged,” he said. “ . . .  I truly believe that I would not have been in this position if I did not put myself out there – you never know what can happen if you do.”

Crick holds her diploma while wearing her cap and gown at graduation.

Greenwood native Micah Crick, 22, started working remotely as an account management intern at BBDO Atlanta before moving there to continue working for the company.

“I found the job by deciding I wanted to work for one of BBDO’s offices,” said Crick, who was originally assigned to an account management team working on competitive research and providing support before she was promoted to business affairs coordinator. Now, she assists business managers in the Business Affairs Department.

The recent UM graduate, who studied integrated marketing communications with a specialization in visual design and a minor in general business, felt like she wasn’t involved in campus activities until her senior year of college. Then, she decided to say “yes” to everything she could. That led to new opportunities, including work with BBDO.

Crick became the visuals editor for The Daily Mississippian her senior year, sold advertising for HottyToddy.com, was involved with the National Student Advertising Competition with Instructional Associate Professor Chris Sparks’ campaign class, and she interned for Parents of College Students/662 Marketing.

The graphic features people climbing a ladder and reads: Our grads tell us What's Next?

Liz Corbus graduated from Ole Miss in 2017. The IMC graduate now works at TikTok.

After graduation, Corbus was employed as a digital account coordinator at Warner Media. That led to her current job as a client solutions manager at TikTok for their Beauty and Personal Care Department. She works directly with mid-market beauty advertisers to grow their brand identity through marketing efforts using the TikTok platform.

Liz Corbus

“Month over month, I’m responsible for making sure that clients meet their key performance indicators (KPI),” said Corbus, “but ultimately, we want them to grow their business using TikTok. My day-to-day includes a lot of creative best practices.

“A lot of people are still trying to figure out how advertising works on TikTok because they think it’s apples-to-apples like Instagram or Facebook. But, creativity is the number one driver of success on TikTok. So, if you don’t have the resources or the creative strategy to run ads on TikTok, it’s gonna be a little bit harder.”

Daniel Payne

Daniel Payne graduated in 2020 with a journalism degree and started his career as a reporter for The Desoto Times-Tribune. He said his experience as editor-in-chief for The Daily Mississippian taught him a lot about what was to come in his professional career.

“The Mississippian was maybe the most important part of my education at UM,” said Payne. “Every aspect of that work showed me what a newsroom was all about and gave me a taste of what a career in journalism would actually be like. It confirmed my love for journalism.

“There’s no replacing planning, writing, and editing stories that will have real impact, even if it is just in the university or Oxford. I wasn’t sure if I was up to the challenges that came with all that, but I am so thankful for everyone who encouraged me to go for it. There really isn’t a workday that I don’t use what I learned at The Mississippian.”

Payne landed his first job at The Desoto Times-Tribune, then a full-time fellowship with POLITICO. He is now a full-time reporter at POLITICO after completing his fellowship there.

Natalie Pruitt

Natalie Pruitt graduated with an IMC degree in 2021. After going through the arduous process of job hunting, Pruitt finally landed her current job with FleishmanHillard (FH) as an assistant account executive, but she said her job is more like that of an assistant designer.

“I still can’t believe that I get to do design every single day,” she said, “Working as a designer makes every day so much fun and different from the last. It’s also rewarding being able to use and to strengthen the skills I learned as an IMC major.”

Pruitt also offered advice for incoming freshmen and graduating seniors. She said there are many things she could have done differently in college. However, her best advice is to work hard.

”Never let the fear of judgment stop you from unleashing your inner ‘try-hard.’” said Pruitt. “Being a ‘try-hard’ is what gets you noticed and opens doors that leave you asking, ‘How did I end up here?’”

Billy Schuerman is pictured in this black and white photo.

Billy Schuerman is pictured in this black and white photo.

Billy Schuerman graduated in 2021 and completed his first year in the visual communication master’s program at Ohio University. He has worked as a photographer and writer at a newspaper in Colorado and had a photo internship at the Virginian-Pilot.

He was also one of the 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 Schuerman were winners for the project that tied for 16th place in the Hearst contest with a project from Elon University. The project was about water supply problems in the community of Taylor, Mississippi.

“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.”

This article was compiled from recent student stories.

If you are a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate, feel free to email us with your career update.

Putting Yourself Out There: UM School of Journalism and New Media students land jobs with BBDO Worldwide

Posted on: July 27th, 2022 by ldrucker

When Kirsten Flanik, president and CEO of BBDO New York, spoke during an Overby Center presentation last year, she mentioned that the company was interested in interviewing more University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students.

Flanik brought Olivia Dames, vice president and director of agency marketing for BBDO New York, who is a 2017 UM graduate. Dames earned a degree in business/commerce with minors in marketing and French.

Gulfport native Thomas Lee was in that audience, and his story proves that putting yourself out there sometimes pays off.

“Following the conclusion of the event, I walked up to thank both of them and handed both of them my resume,” said Lee, a UM graduate student. He said, “I really enjoyed your presentation and would love to intern with you all if you have any positions available.’

“We stayed in touch after the event. I sent a lot of emails throughout the fall and spring to both of them just trying to keep myself at the top of their minds. Kirsten encouraged me to apply for the internship program. I applied and landed the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The graphic features a world with people standing on top of it and reads: Putting Yourself Out There.

The graphic features a world with people standing on top of it and reads: Putting Yourself Out There.

Flanik and Dames spoke about the global presence of BBDO Worldwide. BBDO (short for Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn, a merger between two companies) is one of the largest advertising agency networks in the world with more than 15,000 people in 289 agencies across 81 countries.

Flanik said she’s had to bring in new voices, like Dames, to keep up with changing times. But she’s not the only UM grad working for the company.

Other UM School of Journalism and New Media grads who have worked for BBDO, according to LinkedIn, include Samantha Rippon, Abbie DeLozier, Jasmine Meredith, Mallary Goad, Micah Crick and Lee.

This is a photo of Thomas Lee standing in front of green trees.

Lee, a UM grad who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in International Conflict and Cooperation and Arabic with a minor in Spanish, said he decided to shift to IMC for graduate studies because he has always had a passion for language, culture, and graphic design. He puts those skills to use at BBDO.

Greenwood native Micah Crick, 22, started working remotely as an account management intern at BBDO Atlanta before moving there to continue working for the company.

“I found the job by deciding I wanted to work for one of BBDO’s offices,” said Crick, who was originally assigned to an account management team working on competitive research and providing support before she was promoted to business affairs coordinator. Now, she assists business managers in the Business Affairs Department.

Crick holds her diploma while wearing her cap and gown at graduation.

Crick holds her diploma while wearing her cap and gown at graduation.

The recent UM graduate who studied integrated marketing communications with a specialization in visual design and a minor in general business said she has also learned that putting herself out there can be rewarding.

Crick felt like she wasn’t involved in campus activities until her senior year of college. Then, she decided to say “yes” to everything she could. That led to new opportunities, including work with BBDO.

Crick became the visuals editor for The Daily Mississippian her senior year, sold advertising for HottyToddy.com, was involved with the National Student Advertising Competition with Instructional Associate Professor Chris Sparks’ campaign class, and she interned for Parents of College Students/662 Marketing.

Lee, who spent the summer working with BBDO as an account intern in New York City, said his best advice to other journalism and IMC students is to “always have an open mind and apply, apply, apply.”

“I went on a massive LinkedIn internship hunt and got hundreds of rejection emails, but it’s important to not get discouraged,” he said. “ . . .  I truly believe that I would not have been in this position if I did not put myself out there – you never know what can happen if you do.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

Why Internships Matter: Hard work and the right internships can prepare students for the future

Posted on: July 11th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic reads: Why Internships Matter and features a cartoon laptop and notebook.

 

This story was written by Abby Hamelton for The Review.

Over the years, The University of Mississippi has had many successful alumni that have begun their careers at the bottom and worked their way up. Whether they majored in integrated marketing and communications (IMC) or journalism, they all made their impact on this world by starting out on the right foot with a degree from the School of Journalism and New Media.

Liz Corbus

Liz Corbus

Liz Corbus graduated from Ole Miss in 2017 and has been building her career ever since. Being an IMC major, Corbus could have chosen several different career paths, but chose to stick with media. Now, as a result of her decision, she works at TikTok. While still in college, Corbus worked at two different internships, which she believed helped her better understand what she wanted to do after graduation. Although her internships did not necessarily relate directly to her eventual position after college, she believes that her internships in college helped her acclimate quickly to new work environments and responsibilities. Corbus explained that her first internship was for Comedy Central and was PR related. Her second was working in production at a television station.

“I would say most of the internships that I did in undergrad didn’t set me up to know how to do this job,” explained Corbus. “I think that’s the great thing with each new experience in the workforce. Most things you won’t know how to do until you start the job. So it’s really just a mentality of your work ethic and being open to learning. In general, when everyone’s applying for different roles, as long as in the interview you come across like you’re willing to work hard and learn, well, that’s what they’re looking for.”

While completing her internships, Corbus continued to take courses at the University to improve her knowledge in the field of marketing. Corbus believes the classes she took helped her best prepare for the real world.

“Overall, you really get to learn every different area of the IMC world through these classes,” said Corbus. “I think it gives you a very holistic approach. Even if it’s not necessarily what you do after graduation, you really learn each touch point in the business. The class that I was very excited about, which was one of my favorite classes, was a sales class that we had. It was the most useful class for what I do in my day-to-day job now because it was about how to pitch, the sales cycle, and how the sales world works.”

After graduation, Corbus was employed as a digital account coordinator at Warner Media. During her three years at Warner, she was able to learn more about the industry, and her interest in and understanding of the different areas of marketing increased. According to Corbus, her time spent at Warner was productive, and it led to her current job at TikTok, which is yet another new opportunity for her to hone her skills in another area of marketing.

“I would say they’re pretty different. The role at Warner Media was on the publishing side. This role is very much a strategy role, as well as a sales role. But basically, throughout my whole week, I am tasked to understand my clients’ needs and how they’re ultimately trying to drive sales,” said Corbus.

Corbus has been at TikTok for seven months and is working as a client solutions manager for their Beauty and Personal Care Department. In her position, she works directly with mid-market beauty advertisers to grow their brand identity through marketing efforts using the TikTok platform.

“I am responsible for growing the advertisers,” said Corbus. “Month over month, I’m responsible for making sure that clients meet their key performance indicators (KPI), but ultimately, we want them to grow their business using TikTok. My day-to-day includes a lot of creative best practices. A lot of people are still trying to figure out how advertising works on TikTok because they think it’s apples-to-apples like Instagram or Facebook. But, creativity is the number one driver of success on TikTok,” explained Corbus. “So, if you don’t have the resources or the creative strategy to run ads on TikTok, it’s gonna be a little bit harder.”

Daniel Payne

Daniel Payne

Daniel Payne graduated in 2020 with a journalism degree and started his career as a reporter for The Desoto Times-Tribune. Like Corbus, Payne also had two internships in college; however, he found that his experience as editor-in-chief for The Daily Mississippian helped teach him a lot about what was to come in his professional career.

“The Mississippian was maybe the most important part of my education at UM,” said Payne. “Every aspect of that work showed me what a newsroom was all about and gave me a taste of what a career in journalism would actually be like. It confirmed my love for journalism. There’s no replacing planning, writing, and editing stories that will have real impact, even if it is just in the university or Oxford. I wasn’t sure if I was up to the challenges that came with all that, but I am so thankful for everyone who encouraged me to go for it. There really isn’t a workday that I don’t use what I learned at The Mississippian.”

Although Payne had a lot of experience showcased on his resume, finding work after graduation was not easy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because I graduated just as the pandemic was starting, a lot of publications were not hiring, and others canceled their fellowship and internship programs,” explained Payne. “So, I just kept applying and doing the work I could and everything worked out.”

Payne finally landed his first job at The Desoto Times-Tribune, where he worked for seven months until later landing a full-time fellowship with POLITICO. He described how the work environments differed from one another.

“Those were very different environments, but both were really important and taught me a lot in their own ways. The DeSoto Times-Tribune had a very small staff where I was busy reporting, editing, designing and planning coverage with a couple of other people. It was sort of like my time at The Daily Mississippian — trying to do impactful work that really mattered for the community, but overseeing that work from idea to execution, interviews to product redesigns,” Payne explained. “What I do at POLITICO is very different in some ways, but that mission of reporting for the good of a community is the same, even if that community is much larger. My reporting is focused in one area, and I’m not doing much besides reporting and writing — just trying to do it at the highest level I can. I’m thankful for time at both places, though. I wouldn’t have the skills, perspective or drive I have now without both environments.”

Payne is now a full-time reporter at POLITICO after completing his fellowship there.

“There are still a lot of great development and education opportunities in the newsroom,” said Payne.

Looking back at his time at Ole Miss, Payne has some advice for incoming freshmen and for graduating seniors. He believes freshmen should begin reporting the news as soon as they can, and graduating seniors should be prepared to fill out a lot of applications.

“There’s really no replacement for doing journalism yourself in order to learn it,” Payne said. “Also, I have told friends who are graduating to get ready to apply for a lot of openings. It may have just been my experience, but it took a lot of time and perseverance to get a job in journalism that I really wanted. But it was absolutely worth it. The time invested is worth getting to do what you really love.”

Natalie Pruitt

Natalie Pruitt

Natalie Pruitt graduated with an IMC degree in 2021.

“During my spring semester, senior year, I essentially applied to every job that sounded remotely interesting to me as well as some that didn’t out of pure desperation. I spent a week perfecting my online resume and portfolio,” said Pruitt. “I also applied to post-grad internships at companies that were known for having excellent internship programs, since I felt my qualifications matched those of an intern role rather than the jobs advertised at larger firms.”

After going through the arduous process of job hunting, Pruitt finally landed her current job with FleishmanHillard (FH) as an assistant account executive, but she explained that her job is more like that of an assistant designer.

“Assistant account executive is the title given across the board to all junior level staff at FH,” said Pruitt. “The title that more accurately describes my role is assistant designer. I still can’t believe that I get to do design every single day. Working as a designer makes every day so much fun and different from the last. It’s also rewarding being able to use and to strengthen the skills I learned as an IMC major.”

Pruitt explained that having a job that is rewarding to her makes the hard work she put in at school all the more important to her. She explained that her internship at FH was also important because it led to her current position at the company.

“I was lucky enough to convert to the role of assistant account executive/assistant designer at FleishmanHillard after working as an intern for six months,” said Pruitt. “Honestly, the transition has been so smooth, and I felt very prepared to take on the new role and the new responsibilities that came with it. Before my internship at FH, the role that most prepared me for my current position was when I worked as a content marketing intern at Ole Miss in the Office of Marketing and Communications. It was while working in that position that I realized how much I love design. While there, I was given a multitude of opportunities to develop my design skills.”

Pruitt also offered advice for incoming freshmen and graduating seniors. She explained there are many things she could have done differently in college. However, her best advice is to work hard.

”Never let the fear of judgment stop you from unleashing your inner ‘try-hard.’” said Pruitt. “Being a ‘try-hard’ is what gets you noticed and opens doors that leave you asking, ‘How did I end up here?’”

Liz Corbus, Daniel Payne, and Natalie Pruitt have all had great success with their careers after graduating from the University of Mississippi. They are proof that hard work and the right internships can help to better prepare anyone for the future.

To read more stories from The Review: https://issuu.com/mrmagazine123/docs/the_review_all_pages_final

To learn more about our programs: https://jnm.olemiss.edu/

To follow our school on social media @umjourimc: https://linktr.ee/umjourimc

Apply now: https://bit.ly/36t5f3l

 

The graphic features a student sitting at TV monitors and reads: Turn Your Dreams Into Reality.

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, former 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.


You can read additional graduation stories at this link.

Click the images below to read their stories.

By LaReeca Rucker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.