School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘integrated marketing communications’

Column: I was anxious to leave Delaware, but Mississippi felt like the place I belonged

Posted on: June 18th, 2019 by ldrucker

As I look back on my time as a student at the University of Mississippi, I have nothing but fond memories.

From my first day freshmen year, moving to a new state, not knowing a single soul, I met a random roommate from Minnesota who was so homesick she tried to move home the entire first month of school.

I went to the dining hall at the wrong time every day and couldn’t figure out why only half the food stations weren’t open. I even missed my first college exam because it was given on Blackboard on a Friday night, and I forgot to take it.

Now these may not sound like amazing memories to you, but they are how my college experience began. As a second semester senior, I look back on all of those memories and wish I could go back to my very first day and relive everything again. I would love to have my undergraduate experience repeat over and over again.

Alli George

Farley Hall

Fast forward to senior year. I still live with my random Minnesota roommate who turned out to be one of my best friends.

I finally found something I was really passionate about, and I switched majors from public policy leadership to integrated marketing communications.

The School of Journalism and New Media has provided me with some amazing opportunities over the past few years. My public relations class assisted me in obtaining an internship. Through experiences with my classes, I have obtained two other internships during my college career. One was last summer as a marketing intern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The other was a marketing internship with the Oxford Community Market during my sophomore year.

Besides the academic opportunities that Ole Miss has given me, it also created an environment for me to grow as a person and grow socially. When I first moved to college, I was anxious and nervous. I had never lived anywhere besides Delaware. However, I knew I needed to move somewhere new or I might never leave my hometown.

My senior year of high school, I applied to many schools in the South. I figured at no other point in my life would I live in the South, and I wanted to experience the culture. My parents took me to visit all of the schools I was accepted into. I honestly really liked most of them, but I always felt a stronger connection to Ole Miss.

Lyceum. Photo by Alli George.

From the day I took my tour, I felt at home on the Ole Miss campus. As anxious as I was to leave home, it felt like the place I belonged. I wanted to move to a place that made me feel uncomfortable, as crazy as that might sound.

I knew Mississippi, as a state, had different political viewpoints than I did and stronger religious beliefs. I wanted to put myself in a place where I didn’t necessarily agree with everything that was going on. Mississippi proved to be a very good place to do that.

I came here with a certain perception of Mississippi, and I didn’t think that would change over my four years as a student. However, now as I’m about to leave Mississippi forever, I have such a fond view of this state. Even though there may be some aspects of the state’s past and present political views that I may not agree with, Mississippi has changed my life forever.

I will always be grateful for the state of Mississippi for building a university that provided me with much more than an education. I became a writer, joined a large Greek organization, became a leader on campus and came out of my shell socially. I have made friends that will hopefully last a lifetime.

I have had many of my “lasts” in Oxford. My last senior dinner with my sorority sisters. Finishing my last classes to get my degree in integrated marketing communications.

I’m nervous and anxious all over again, except this time, it’s about going home. I found a home in Oxford these past four years, and now I have to re-establish that home back in Delaware. I don’t have a plan for what’s next. I have applied to just about every marketing job in the state of Delaware. I have also applied to graduate school to pursue my master’s degree in business administration.

Whatever the future might hold, I am so thankful and grateful for Ole Miss. This university has helped me grow in so many ways. I’m sure if I had attended another school, I could have had a similar experience. However, I would have never had my first Saturday in the Grove, all my memories on the Square with my incredible friends, and all the sunsets I watched set over Sardis Lake.

Most importantly, I would have never been a Rebel. For the rest of my life, I will be proud and honored to say I am an Ole Miss alumnus. Hotty Toddy!

This column was written by Alli George before graduation. To learn more about our journalism and IMC programs, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

 

Faculty Profile: Burson teaches students to find their passion

Posted on: May 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

Mark Burson began teaching at the University of Mississippi Jan. 27, 2016, but not before spending 43 years in California.

“My only regret is that it took me so long to discover Oxford, Mississippi,” he said. “I wish I had done it 30 years ago.”

Growing up, Burson had no desire to teach. He wanted to play baseball.

“I went to a private school,” he said, “and I was the first freshman to start all four years. I made all-league those four years as well. So by the time I was a senior, I thought I was really good.”

With no collegiate offers to play ball, Burson decided to walk on at the University of Southern California. At the time, USC had a freshman team and a junior varsity team that held open tryouts for walk-on athletes. He made the team.

“I spent two weeks on that team,” he said, “and I was amazed at how good everybody else was. I soon realized that I had never seen a real curveball before. I had never seen athletes who were so fast and could jump so high.”

Reality began to set in, so he talked with the coach, asking when was the last time that someone from the freshman team made it to JV or varsity? “The coach said, ‘Oh that’s easy. Fred Lynn.’”

Fred Lynn is a former center-fielder who had an impressive career in the Major Leagues. Burson said he then realized he had to do something else with his life.

While studying art history, only because he registered late for classes, Burson discovered he really enjoyed it. “It was through art history that I developed this appreciation of just looking at the world, and then being able to tell stories about what I saw,” he said. “And while I didn’t know it at the time, that was the business that I would end up in.”

Burson graduated from USC in 1977, but decided to stick around for graduate school. He earned his master’s degree in public relations in 1979.

If you’re in the public relations business, you’ve probably heard of Harold Burson, his father, who co-founded Burson-Marsteller in 1952.

“I had no intention of ever working for my father’s company, and that happened just through serendipity,” he said.

Burson joined the Santa Monica-based firm in 1985, but left in 1997 to run the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for seven years before returning to Burson-Marsteller.

“Through accident of birth, I was born into a PR family,” Burson said. “I didn’t have a choice; it just happened. Because of that, I’ve had a unique ringside seat to the growth of this business.”

Burson said the business that has only been around for about 100 years has changed a lot. If you’re an integrated marketing communications major at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media, you may have an idea of this change.

“This business used to be about relationships between the agency and the client,” Burson said, “and when I first started, that’s what really appealed to me, because you could develop, not only business relationships with the client, but also real friendships.”

Burson feels the industry has moved past these relationships and is now in a more “What can you do for me today?” state of mind. He said the things he loved most about the business has been slowly vanishing and transitioning into what he calls PR or publicity stunts – doing a random act to attract the public’s attention.

“That’s not what I signed up for,” Burson said.

With the nature of the business changing, Burson said he knew he wasn’t going to be able to do the things he really liked doing, so he developed an interest in endurance competitive cycling. After competing in several signature events, Burson thought about starting a company that would help promote those events, but nothing took off.

It wasn’t until a friend invited him to guest lecture a course at USC Annenberg School of Communications, Burson thought: “Wow. This is a pretty cool gig.”

With two of his children out of the house and the third about to graduate high school, Burson began to consider teaching. When his daughter graduated high school, she decided to attend the University of Mississippi because she heard about it through Burson’s father, Harold Burson, who earned his degree from UM.

Burson moved his daughter to Oxford and said, “I just fell in love with Oxford and the university and inquired about how to get a teaching job here in the school of journalism, and what would I teach,” he said. “The subject that I knew most about was how to put together a campaign from start to finish, and then build an environment within that team that would optimize success. So that’s what I teach here and why I’m here.”

Burson doesn’t just teach a class; he makes connections with each student, and he builds relationships that last. Anessa Guess, who took a class under Burson, said he is a wonderful teacher whose aim is to positively impact student lives.

“In just a short time, he inspired a classroom full of hopefuls to go beyond the normal realm of dreaming and tear down the veil to seek limitless dreaming with a sturdy foundation to start with,” she said. “He is a teacher capable of so many things, and the most important is instilling hope, grounding, diligence, and character in the youth of tomorrow with tools learned from the past.”

Audrey Ryan, who was also enrolled in a class Burson taught, said he is her favorite instructor. “His enthusiasm for not only IMC, but teaching is inspiring,” she said. “He is interested in each individual’s path and wants to learn about every student he teaches.

“You can tell his passion is teaching just by the way he interacts with his students, and the way he can build a bond with each student, and always have a way to relate to them. He is phenomenal at what he does, and as a person.”

Burson has found his passion, and he teaches students to never give up searching for what you’re passionate about. Take chances. Live life. Do what makes you happy, no matter where it might take you.

This story was written by Brandon Hancock for OxfordStories.net. To learn more about our program, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

UM students sweep awards from Public Relations Association of Mississippi

Posted on: April 17th, 2019 by ldrucker

One student named Outstanding PR Student in the state

University of Mississippi public relations students swept the awards in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition recently, including one student being named Outstanding PR Student in the state.

Students and recent graduates from the School of Journalism and New Media won 16 of the 19 student awards presented for public relations projects at the PRAM state conference in Vicksburg on April 12.

In addition, IMC major Davis Roberts from Grenada was named Outstanding PR Student in Mississippi. He was selected from 13 nominees from statewide colleges for the award that came with a $500 scholarship. Journalism major Hailey McKee and IMC major Hayden Benge were also recognized as nominees for the award.

For the competition for PR projects, the students entered public relations campaigns they produced in Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s advanced PR class during 2018.  Each student created a campaign to increase awareness or change opinion on a topic of their choice. Topics included prescription drug abuse, the detrimental effects of loneliness, the importance of registering to vote, equal pay for women, eating disorders in men, sex trafficking, suicide prevention, the physical and emotional health benefits of having a pet, the dangers of e-cigarette use, autism, and the dangers of bullying among teenagers.

School of Journalism and New Media Students and their instructor at the Public Relations Association of Mississippi Student Prism Awards Luncheon April 11 awaiting the results. Pictured are: counter-clockwise from far left are Kendall Patterson, Davis Roberts, Hayden Benge, Ally Langston, Anna Bess Pavlakovich, Barrett Climer, Senior Lecturer Robin Street, Melanie Wierzbicki, Hailey McKee, Holly Lasker, Madison Stewart and Chloe Parrish.

Each campaign required multiple aspects including writing news articles, shooting video and photos, planning creative events, conducting research and creating online and social media posts.

“Today’s communication specialists require skills in research and planning, as well as in all forms of communication including writing, designing, photography, video, social media and website creation,” Street said. “These students demonstrated that they excel in this diverse skill set. Their awards are a tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the School of Journalism and New Media.”

University of Mississippi public relations students and recent graduates swept the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition recently, winning 16 of the total 19 awards presented for PR projects. In addition, IMC major Davis Roberts was named Mississippi Outstanding PR Student. Pictured, left to right, are some of those winners: Front row: Hayden Benge, Chloe Parrish, Maggie Crouch, Senior Lecturer Robin Street, Anna Bess Pavlakovich and Aleka Battista. Second row: Samantha Metz, Calyn Hoerner, Kendall Patterson, Hailey McKee, Holly Lasker and Ally Langston. Third row: Davis Roberts and Melanie Wierzbicki. Not pictured are Barrett Climer, Caroline Hewitt and Madison Stewart. Photo credit: Stan O’Dell

Comments from the judges, who remain anonymous, on the students’ entries included “solid research and planning,” “very thorough and impressive,” “exceptional,” “very creative,” “comprehensive and well done,” “thoughtful campaign to bring awareness and assistance to a difficult topic” and “creative and thought provoking.”

Davis Roberts, an IMC major from Grenada, was selected as Outstanding PR Student by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi from nominees representing colleges around the state. Here, he is congratulated by his nominating professor, School of Journalism and New Media Senior Lecturer Robin Street.  Davis was previously named a winner of the Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medal, the university’s highest academic honor. Photo credit: Stan O’Dell

Matt Martin, PRAM vice president for awards, commended the students’ entries.

“The award-winning work submitted by the students of the University of Mississippi is notable for its creativity and solid understanding and use of the public relations process,” Martin said. “While their awards will add stars to their resume, it’s their mastery of these fundamentals that will lead to successful careers as PR practitioners.”

Multiple students can win in the same category if they earn the required number of points as scored by the judges. No awards were given in the highest category called the Prism. The Excellence Award is the next highest award, followed by the Merit Award.

Winning Excellence Awards were Benge from Tulsa, Oklahoma; Calyn Hoerner, an IMC graduate from Houston; Holly Lasker, an IMC major from Seattle; and McKee, from Dyersburg, Tennessee. Street also won an Award of Excellence in the professional media writing category.

Winning Merit awards were Aleka Battista, an IMC graduate from Tupelo; Barrett Climer, an IMC graduate from Jackson; Maggie Crouch, a journalism major from Westmont, Illinois; Caroline Hewitt, a journalism graduate from Covington, Louisiana; Ally Langston, a journalism major from Dallas; Samantha Taylor Metz, a marketing and corporate relations major from Hernando; Chloe Parrish, an IMC graduate student from Germantown, Tennessee; Kendall Patterson, a journalism major from Corinth; Anna Bess Pavlakovich, a journalism major from Denver; Roberts; Madison Stewart, an IMC graduate from Dallas; and Melanie Wierzbicki, a double major in Spanish and marketing and corporate relations from Waxhaw, North Carolina.

For more information, contact Robin Street at rbstreet@olemiss.edu.

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 Karsyn King is a junior from Monroe, North Carolina who is earning a dual degree in Spanish and journalism. She is an Ole Miss ambassador, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, and an anchor for NewsWatch Ole Miss. Last semester, she interned with Fox 46 Charlotte. She hopes to earn an MBA after graduation and work in the business world.

“I also hope to be able to travel all over the world, but on the top of my bucket list right now is Spain so I can put my seven plus years of language learning to the test,” she said.

King said she wanted to become an OL to show incoming students the magic Ole Miss offers. “Beyond the beautiful campus, the renowned professors, and the diversity of students, there is something special about the Ole Miss experience that can’t really be told, but rather must be experienced,” she said.

“Coming from out of state, knowing only one person at Ole Miss, I was not sure what to expect. Never did I ever think I would wind up at the University in Mississippi. It was definitely not on my radar until very late into the game.

“Fast-forward three years later, and I have met so many incredible people, have been given amazing opportunities, and cannot imagine myself anywhere else. Ole Miss has given so much to me in the most unexpected ways and has helped shape me into the person I am today. I can only hope to show new students that they have the capability to make their mark and be the change-makers of the future generation. And it all starts here.”

King said OLs are often one of the first people students encounter when coming to college. “The transition to college is scary,” she said. “I hope to be a familiar, smiling face that strives to be kinder than I have to each day, and leave each person I encounter feeling like they are capable of doing anything they put their mind to. After all, we are all family, now and for forever. Once a Rebel, always a Rebel.”

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.”

From Mississippi to Wisconsin: A School of Journalism and New Media graduate’s journey to the Green Bay Packers

Posted on: September 15th, 2018 by ldrucker

Becoming a book editor had always been a dream for recent School of Journalism and New Media graduate Hannah Fields. However, fate worked its way into her life to lead her down a different career path.

Originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, Fields moved to Clinton, Mississippi, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in English writing at Mississippi College (MC) with hopes of landing a job among book editors in Nashville.

Before attending The University of Mississippi, Hannah Fields received her bachelor’s degree in English writing at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Hannah Fields.

She searched for jobs in the publishing industry, but came up empty handed. She said she learned that lack of networking gave her a setback chasing her editorial dream. With her background in English writing, Fields was able to land a job as a sports columnist for Rantsports.com—a professional and college sports website—which allowed her to sustain a living in her new city.

“I was covering the Tennessee Titans and some SEC football,” she said.

Before landing the job as a sports columnist, she said she never really had a passion for football until she was introduced to the sport while attending MC. Realizing the popularity of the sport within her friend group, Fields had to jump on board if she wanted to spend quality time with her friends.

“I didn’t know a lot about [football],” she said, “But when I started writing that sports column it reinforced this idea that I wanted to work in sports.”

While reading Paul Finebaum and Gene Wojciechowski’s book, “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference,” Fields started to regret not attending an SEC school with her newfound love for football. She said she wasn’t going to make a career out of her sports column, and becoming a homebody while writing allowed depression to creep in. She realized she needed to make another career change.

Fields said she gained the confidence to follow her new passion after becoming more sports-confident.

“I said ‘I know enough to write this sports column, so why don’t I know enough to work for an [NFL] team?’” she said.

Steps In the Right Direction

Leaving the Music City behind, Fields was on a search for not only a graduate program to further her newfound career, but one with a football program she could grow to love and support.

After looking at several SEC schools with programs in the journalism field and competitive football teams, it was only natural she chose The University of Mississippi since her sister attended Rebel Nation for her undergraduate degree.

“I knew Oxford and the campus,” she said. “Then Ole Miss also had integrated marketing communications (IMC), which turned out to be the perfect fit for what I wanted to do…plus it got me back to Mississippi.”

Hannah and her mother Karon Fields at Lambeau Field Atrium, the home of the Green Bay Packers. Photo courtesy of Hannah Fields.

Fields visited the School of Journalism and New Media to sit in on a variety of IMC classes, including mobile and social media marketing, which cemented her decision to attend Ole Miss.

Fields thoroughly immersed herself in the program by writing class papers on women in sports, said Chris Sparks, associate professor of IMC.

“She is a great example of someone who sets a goal and goes after it,” Sparks said. “She decided she wanted to be in sports marketing at the beginning of her first year in the graduate program at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and committed to making it happen.”

Sparks said Fields is an excellent example of someone who not only followed her dream but made it happen.

Fields graduated from the IMC program in May 2018 with the goal of being a social media coordinator for an NFL team in sight. Upon graduation, Fields applied for a position with the NFL Green Bay Packers through teamworkonline.com—a website designated to connect people to sports jobs with professional sports teams.

Having experience through an internship with the WNBA Atlanta Dream, along with her background in writing, Fields expertly landed the job. She now had her foot in the door working her dream job in the NFL.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is awarded each year to the Super Bowl winner. The trophy is named in honor of NFL coach Vince Lombardi, who led the Green Bay Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowl games. Photo courtesy of Hannah Fields.

Now as the e-commerce marketing intern for the Packers, Fields assists with promotional marketing for the Packers Pro Shop—the official retail store of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers since 1989. She said she has mostly been writing copy for products, emails and social media.

“Hopefully this will be a launching pad from which I can do what I want to do, which is social media,” she said.

Reminiscing Over Her Roots

Although she’s on track in her dream field, Fields said there are many things she does miss about the South and Mississippi, such as the southern hospitality.

She said Southerners like herself are known for being extroverts, which seems to be lacking in her new Midwestern home.

Wisconsin might be known for its cheese and dairy, but according to Fields, midwesterners do not relish in starches, carbs and savory delights like their southern neighbors. She said the difference in food variety was something she expected when she made the move to the cheese state, but she didn’t realize it was something that would be so drastically different.

“Little stuff like food… you don’t realize is unique to where you live until you move out of [your state],” she said.

Fields might miss the warm temperatures, sweet tea and foods indicative to Mississippi, but she said she’s excited to embark on a new journey to achieve her goals as a social media coordinator in the NFL.

By Talbert Toole, Hotty Toddy lifestyles editor.

School of Journalism and New Media sophomore, cancer survivor makes most of gift of life

Posted on: July 31st, 2018 by ldrucker

In 2013, Allie Allen was the 14-year-old captain of her junior high dance team when she started to feel strange every day around lunch. After the brief, but indescribable sensation passed, she would become exhausted.

She shrugged it off until a practice at Schilling Middle School in Collierville, Tennessee, when the spell hit so hard she completely stopped dancing. She saw a doctor who first thought it was anxiety, or simple exhaustion from being an active person in a growing body.

But Allen soon found out it was something far worse. She had been suffering focal seizures and was diagnosed with a golf ball-size brain tumor.

Allie Allen, a UM sophomore majoring in integrated marketing communications, has been battling a rare form of brain cancer since she was 14. She caries a full courseload and is determined not to let her diagnoses define her. Submitted photo

She faced the tough decision of having surgery or delaying the procedure to go to nationals with her dance team. She danced, but once the competition was over, she opted for surgery, an eight-hour ordeal that led to the discovery that her tumor was an extremely rare form of brain cancer found almost exclusively in toddlers. The teen was told she wouldn’t live to graduate from high school. But her story didn’t end there.

After two bouts with cancer, she’s a University of Mississippi sophomore majoring in integrated marketing communications. She had a 4.0 grade-point average her first semester and finished her freshman year with a 3.6 GPA.

“I won’t let cancer define me,” she said. “I take 126 pills each week, but I try to live life as much as I can. I just have to work twice as hard as everybody else.”

Her upbeat demeanor belies the struggle her life has been. After treatment stopped the tumor from growing in 2013, it began to grow again in 2015. On top of that, her mother, Debbi Allen, had been neglecting a concerning lump in her breast while her daughter underwent treatment. Once she saw a doctor, Debbi found out she had breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.

“We both lost all of our hair,” Allie said. “We were baldies together. It was a unique experience.”

The two found themselves going through radiation treatments together after Debbi completed her chemotherapy. They moved into an apartment in downtown Memphis to be closer to hospitals for seven months while they underwent treatment.

“It was bonding,” Debbi said. “We spent every second together.”

Allie’s determination to live a normal life despite her long, difficult battle with cancer is inspiring, her mother said. She wrote about her experiences on her blog, “dancerwithcancer,” which she wanted to use as a tool to help others going through the same struggles. Her nature definitely had an effect on Debbi, who drew strength from Allie during her own health struggles.

“I’m very, very proud,” Debbi said. “I’m raising a good one.”

Debbi’s cancer is gone. Allie still has a small tumor in her brain. Her kind of cancer has a high rate of recurrence, so she has to get scans at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital about every two months.

“I’m not in remission,” Allie said. “We’re just watching my tumor and praying that it doesn’t grow because they haven’t discovered a cure for me yet.”

UM sophomore Allie Allen (left) has been battling a rare form of brain cancer since she was 14. She and her mother, Debbi Allen, both were treated for cancers at the same time in 2015. Submitted photo

It’s easy to wonder why the two wound up in the incredibly unlikely scenario of a mother and daughter having cancer at the same time. Debbi says her daughter has one theory that makes her sad.

“She says to me, ‘I heard you praying over me when I was in the hospital,” Debbi said. “I heard you asking God to take cancer from me and give it to you.’ I got my cancer a few months later.”

Despite being dealt such a tough hand, Debbi said her husband, Eric Allen, a pilot for Fed Ex, has been extremely strong and caring as his wife and daughter have gone through their treatments. She credits him and the couple’s son, Zach Allen, for being there for her and her daughter.

These days, Allie doesn’t dance anymore, not because she can’t. She’s just a busy college student with a full schedule of classes and being active with Tri Delta sorority. She also has a new passion that she learned while being treated at St. Jude.

Being bald during the awkward teen years was tough, but she found that she loved doing her makeup.

“When I was bald, makeup was something I loved,” Allie said. “It showed that I am a girl and into girly things.”

She works with a spa, doing makeup for brides and others. She finds that work extremely rewarding.

“I love making girls feel pretty,” Allie said.

She also raises money and makes appearances on behalf of St. Jude. She hopes to work full-time for the hospital one day so she can help support its mission to help children with cancer.

Though she battles side effects from medicines and treatments, Allie doesn’t do any less than a normal college student would, including handling her own laundry and chores. She has parts of the workings of her brain missing, she said, so she has to work harder than most on schoolwork.

She also lives every day with a reminder of what she’s been through in the form of a spot on the side of her head where her hair won’t grow back. Her mom gives her credit for rocking a pixie haircut that suits her, nonetheless.

The positive vibe her presence gives off doesn’t match up with what someone might expect from a person who has fought cancer twice and lives with a brain tumor.

Allie’s drive to be “normal” comes partially from a realization that many of the friends she made who also had cancer are no longer alive. She lives for them.

“I really think about that all of the time,” Allie said. “It’s called survivor’s guilt. I think about my last dance. Then, my tumor was stable and it hadn’t grown. A lot of my friends had gotten re-diagnosed with their brain cancers around then. That should have been me.”

While she works through survivor’s guilt, she also takes comfort in knowing that she has been given a gift: the opportunity to keep on living.

“They told me I wouldn’t make it to my high school graduation,” Allie said. “Statistics don’t mean anything to me, but only God knows when my time will come. No one really knows what is going to happen. I know that there is a plan for me out there.”

This story was written by Michael Newsom for Ole Miss News.

Our Graduate Programs

Posted on: July 25th, 2018 by drwenger

The School of Journalism and New Media offers two master’s degrees — one in journalism and one in integrated marketing communications. For the M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications, students can choose from two delivery methods — residential or online. For the M.A. in Journalism, students can choose from two tracks — professional or academic.

M.A. in Journalism

It would be hard to imagine a better place for a journalist to study the art of storytelling at the graduate level than the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. This fabled place that William Faulkner once called his personal “postage stamp of native soil” was indeed fertile soil for writers even before Faulkner began penning his stories and novels. Famed theater critic, journalist and novelist Stark Young lived and taught here at the turn of the last century. A long list of other writers and journalists—from legendary Harper’s editor Willie Morris to former Boston Globe correspondent and current faculty member Curtis Wilkie—have contributed to the mystique of this unique and special place where storytelling, whether written, spoken or seen in vivid images, is the very core of our mission as a journalism program.

Let us show you our state-of-the-art media center and see where many generations of top journalists have learned their craft, journalists such as former Freedom Forum Executive Director Charles Overby (also now on our faculty), Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, and author and top national Associated Press correspondent Jesse Holland. Our journalism graduate program features two distinct tracks—professional and academic. The professional master’s track offers courses in multimedia storytelling, documentary-making and long-form narrative writing that allow journalists to hone their craft to the highest level as they create lasting works of nonfiction, whether in print, online or on a screen. Students in the academic track can do this, too, but they will also take courses specifically designed to develop their research and theoretical skills, preparing them for a future in teaching as well as practicing journalism.

Preliminary Requirements: In addition to meeting graduate school admission requirements, applicants must submit a letter detailing their reasons for wishing to pursue the M.A. in journalism. Please send this letter directly to the School of Journalism and New Media (jnm@olemiss.edu). Applicants also should provide three letters of recommendation, including one addressing the applicant’s mass media experience, if applicable.

Applicants who do not have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in journalism may be required to take up to 12 hours of approved undergraduate journalism. This requirement may be waived for applicants who have significant work experience in the field of journalism.

Course Requirements for journalism tracks:

Academic: Students take a 30-semester-hour program of study, as follows: Jour 651, 652, 654, and 655; 12 hours of elective graduate course work either in the school or in an area of concentration outside the school; and 6 hours of Jour 697 to complete a thesis or thesis project. A thesis project must be a professional work in an appropriate medium equal in scope to a formal thesis, i.e., based on a formal proposal encompassing problem analysis, literature review, method statement, and bibliography. Both the thesis and the project require pre-approval of a written prospectus and an oral examination.

Professional: Students take a 30-semester-hour program of study, as follows: Jour 578, 590, 610, and 668; 12 hours of graduate-level electives (Jour or non-Jour); and 6 hours of Jour 697 to complete a thesis project. A thesis project must be a professional work in an appropriate medium equal in scope to a formal thesis, i.e., based on a formal proposal encompassing problem analysis, literature review, method statement, and bibliography. The project requires pre-approval of a written prospectus and an oral examination. Read more about the professional track here.

Graduate-level journalism courses:

501. MAGAZINE SERVICE JOURNALISM PUBLISHING. Conceptualization, market research, and production for a prototype and media kit for a service journalism magazine. Prerequisite: Jour 401 with a minimum grade of C. (3)

513. THE PRESS AND THE CHANGING SOUTH. An analysis of politics in the southern United States; examination of the role of the press in covering social issues; techniques used to inform the public about phenomena such as protest movements and their impact on social, political, and economic change. (3)

553. SERVICE JOURNALISM MANAGEMENT. Business aspects of magazine publication. Personnel management with emphasis on getting productivity and quality results from creative people. Prerequisite: Jour 401 with a minimum grade of C. (3)

571. COMMUNICATIONS LAW. (3)

572. HISTORY OF MASS MEDIA. (3)

573. MASS COMM, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY. The theory of mass communications technology in relation to media functions, responsibilities, and influence in society. (3)

574. PUBLIC OPINION AND THE MASS MEDIA. Effects of language, culture, and ideology. Communication in the formation and action of crowds, masses, and publics. Mass and personal persuasion and propaganda techniques. The diffusion of ideas. Community power structures. Public opinion measurement. (3)

575. MASS MEDIA ETHICS AND SOCIAL ISSUES. Formulation and discussion of professional ethics for journalists. Analysis of social forces affecting media performance. (3)

577. DEPTH REPORTING. Investigative and interpretative news writing; coverage of courts and legislative bodies; use of public records. Prerequisite: Jour 377 with a minimum grade of C or professional equivalent. (3)

578. MULTIMEDIA DOCUMENTARY REPORTING. Development of skills in conceiving, documenting, recording, and presenting information at broadcast standards as mini-documentaries in newscasts or as 30-minute and 60-minute documentary programs. Prerequisite: Jour 378 with a minimum grade of C or professional equivalent. (3)

580. TOPICS IN JOURNALISM. Perspectives on issues such as international mass communication, media and society, journalism ethics, diversity, etc. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Instructor Approval Required. (3)

590: MULTIMEDIA STORYTELLING I. Students learn effective communications using graphical content, multimedia and interactive elements, creating a deliberate blend to add value to their storytelling. They acquire “hard” as well as “soft” skills needed in an unceasing news cycle. (3)

599. MEDIA PROBLEMS. Directed individual study or professional project. (May be repeated once for credit). Prerequisite: Consent of Department Chairperson Required. (1-3)

610. MULTIMEDIA STORYTELLING II. Expands on principles and techniques learned in Jour 590 as students marry new production skills to evolving news sensibility, producing potentially rules-bending, “out of the box” projects as selected areas of digital media are investigated in-depth. Prerequisite: Journalism 590. (3)

651. RESEARCH IN MASS COMMUNICATIONS. Introduction to basic procedures for gathering and evaluating information in mass communications. (3)

652. SEMINAR IN MASS COMMUNICATION THEORY. A survey of mass communication theory. (3)

653. PROBLEMS IN PUBLIC OPINION. Integration of theory with research methods for the production of a research project. (3)

654. SEMINAR IN COMMUNICATIONS LAW. Continuation of Communication Law with a concentration on specific areas of law in regard to the mass media. Prerequisite: Jour 371. (3)

655. SEMINAR IN HISTORY OF MASS MEDIA. Concentrated analysis and discussion of readings on media history. Prerequisite: Jour 301. (3)

664. JOURNALISM PRACTICES AND ETHICS. Analysis of the people who report the news within the context of a time period, an ethical issue, a specific media or any other construct that provides a cohesive whole. Issues covered will range from professional problems to the human, social, and other consequences of news, news practices and news technology on the people who report the news. (3)

668. NARRATIVE JOURNALISM. In-depth, non-fiction narrative writing course for print, radio and online, consisting of features, profiles, personal essays, travel writing and sports analysis. Considers the practice of narrative journalism within the context of American journalism-literary history and within the context of daily news, giving student writers an expansive platform to explore topics of interest. (3)

680. ADVANCED TOPICS IN JOURNALISM. Advanced perspectives on issues such as international mass communication, media and society, journalism ethics, diversity, communication theory, etc. May be repeated for credit. (3)

697. THESIS/THESIS PROJECT. No grade. (1-12)

M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications

The M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication is a tightly-focused professional master’s degree in which you can learn to create and manage coordinated communications that connect people and organizations. The curriculum blends theory, insight, and real-world application with a focus on the strategic integration of several media fields, including advertising, public relations, brand strategy, digital media, direct mail, content marketing, and research.

By taking an audience-centered approach, you can create consistent and effective messages that influence audience behavior. Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in advertising and PR agencies, corporate communication, media firms, nonprofit organizations, health promotion, political communication, sports marketing, or government.

To explore the residential and online degrees, please visit our program website or explore the course offerings below.

Graduate-level IMC Courses

IMC 501.  PROFESSIONAL IMC SEMINAR.  An intensive survey of basic IMC disciplines, plus an examination of “vertical” interactive organizational components that can influence marketing planning and processes, e.g., management’s mission, distribution, product development.

IMC 502.  CONSUMER BEHAVIOR – UNDERSTANDING THE TARGET AUDIENCE.   Applies insights and techniques of the social sciences to understand and predict how people will respond to messages, products and distribution channels.  This course will focus on the practical application of ideas about consumer behavior to management decision making.  Special attention will be given to recent developments in the discipline, including ideas about online behavior, the creation and manipulation of trends, the rise of marketing consciousness among consumers, the application of anthropological techniques to the study of consumer behavior, and others.

IMC 503.  INSIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS.  Introduces specific methods for generating and acquiring information and data useful for IMC applications.

IMC 504. CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT AND DIRECTION.  Covers – from start to finish — the many facets of IMC creative development and management, all of which are combinations of both right and left-brain thinking.

IMC 505.  INTERNET AND MOBILE MEDIA:  EVOLUTION OF THE DIGITAL SPACE.  This course addresses the ways in which the Internet has changed marketing practice, combining all IMC practices specialized for the Internet platform, so that they can be studied as an integrated whole.  The course includes online consumer behavior, the creation of the website as a business’s basic marketing platform – as catalog and collateral and retail platform and customer service provider.  Search engine optimization, mobile marketing, online research and web videos are also included, as are widgets and other viral strategies.  Search advertising, affiliate marketing, permission-based email marketing, Internet public relations applications, digital promotions and the rapidly expanding business of social marketing are also examined.

IMC 507.  DIRECT AND DATABASE MARKETING.  This course covers multiple methods of marketing to customers and potential customers directly and individually, in contrast with less precise, more broadly focused mass marketing media.

IMC 508.  ADVANCED MEDIA STRATEGY AND ANALYSIS.  This course is a detailed survey  of new media planning and buying that is evolving in the 21st century.  It covers multiple trends and challenges, including: client demand for Integrated Marketing Communications and greater accountability, audience fragmentation, media proliferation and new technologies.

IMC 509.  SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN IMC.  Directed individual study or professional project.  May be repeated once for credit.  Course requirements will reflect a difference between graduate and undergraduate students.

IMC 555. THE INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN. A capstone course involving tactical application of IMC skills and disciplines, and to develop team-building skills. Alternative and competing IMC campaigns will be presented and judged by both professor and client.

IMC 556. MULTICULTURAL MARKETING COMMUNICATION.  Investigation and analysis of cultural diversity in integrated marketing communications and their effects on values, lifestyles and consumer behavior in international markets and within the United States.  Students will learn to anticipate cultural problems and optimize communications for different societies.

IMC 557. BRAND AND RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES.  Focuses on critical thinking and problem solving in choosing the goals and tactics that will enable a firm to grow its business and develop its brand and relationships with key customers.  Includes detailed examination of classic brand-building strategies and the ways in which marketers have developed and communicated strategies.

IMC 601.  ADVANCED ACCOUNT PLANNING.  Presents principles and practices of the account planning process to develop skills, insights and strategies to use in different methods of influencing consumers’ behavior.

IMC 602.  DESIGN AND VISUAL THINKING.  This course will focus on visuals as a means to communicate ideas through the practice of integrated marketing communications. In this class students will be led through exercises that will better facilitate an encompassing view of visual communication and the way it affects a message from concept to creation. Both theory and practice are emphasized.

IMC 692.  REPUTATION MANAGEMENT:  PUBLIC RELATIONS AS A MARKETING TOOL.  This course covers public relations as a key component of integrated marketing communications, interacting with other disciplines to manage a client’s reputation among all publics and stakeholders.

UM PR students win top award from Southern PR Federation: Lantern award recognizes It Starts with (Me)ek campaign

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017 by ldrucker

A Meek School of Journalism and New Media campaign asking students to “just pause” before stereotyping others has won a top award from the Southern Public Relations Federation.

The Lantern award was presented in the internal communications category at the Southern Public Relations Federation conference in Tupelo Sept. 26. Awards are presented at three levels in multiple categories, and the Lantern is the highest level.

The winning campaign, It Starts with (Me)ek, was created and implemented by a team of 31 students led by Senior Lecturer Robin Street. Judges for the competition repeatedly praised the “great job” the team did.

ISWM was a week of speakers, programs and communications encouraging inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, mental health, religion or other factors. UM alumnus Shepard Smith spoke at two of the events.

A Meek School anti-stereotyping campaign won a top honor, the Lantern award, from the Southern Public Relations Federation. Pictured here are some of the 31 Meek students who served on the campaign committee under the leadership of Senior Lecturer Robin Street, far right. Front, from left, IMC major Kaitlin Childress from Brandon and IMC graduate student Bianca Abney from Moss Point. Back, from left IMC majors Kendrick Pittman from Kosciusko and Zacchaeus McEwen from McComb, with journalism graduate student Chi Kalu from Nigeria. Photo by Stan O’Dell.

Student committee members enrolled in an integrated marketing communications course helped create the campaign. They met weekly to plan events, videos, communications, competitions and social media posts.

“Our students worked for months to plan and implement all the components of the campaign,” said Street, who taught the class. “They spent every Wednesday night in class and countless additional hours working on their individual tasks and assignments. I was so proud to see all their hard work and true dedication be recognized.”

Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment and assistant professor, directs the IMC program at the Meek School. He attended the award ceremony with Street and several students.

“Our student team entered in the professional category,” Fiene said. “So they were judged, not by student criteria, but by professional standards. I noticed that they were the only students to win a professional award that night.  The award exemplifies how well all our faculty prepare our students for their careers in journalism, public relations and integrated marketing communications.”

For more information on the Meek School, visit meek.olemiss.edu.

School of Journalism and New Media is back in action

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by ldrucker

We’re back in action at the School of Journalism and New Media, and we have a great event coming up that all students who are interested in journalism, public relations and marketing might enjoy attending.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media will host a Meek & Greet event welcoming students to campus Thursday, Aug. 24, from 2-4 p.m. We will have music, snow cones, a Snapchat Meek & Greet geofilter, photo props, representatives from student organizations and local employers.

It is a great opportunity to interact with other Meek students and faculty. If you are interested in majoring or minoring in journalism or integrated marketing communications, this is a great time to gather information and ask faculty members how you can get involved in the journalism and IMC programs.

Harold Burson, ‘Father of Public Relations,’ Named to SPR Hall of Fame

Posted on: July 25th, 2017 by ldrucker

Harold Burson, a University of Mississippi alumnus known as the “Father of Public Relations,” was inducted Friday (July 21) into the Southern Public Relations Hall of Fame in recognition of his decades as a giant figure in the industry he helped invent.

Burson, a 1940 Ole Miss graduate who has been described by PRWeek as the 20th century’s “most influential PR figure,” founded the powerhouse public relations firm Burson-Marsteller with Bill Marsteller in 1953. The firm created the concept of total communication strategies, which became the industry standard for decades.

Will Norton, dean of UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, was among those who wrote a letter supporting Burson ’s nomination to the Hall of Fame. Norton notes Burson has had a long and exceptional career and brought honor to the profession. He’s also made enormous contributions to the success of the Ole Miss journalism school.

“We have worked with Harold to initiate the integrated marketing communications degree program at Ole Miss that now attracts nearly 1,100 majors to the Meek School,” Norton said. “His sage advice in developing the curriculum and his interaction with faculty and students have been crucial for the program’s gaining recognition from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.”

“Without the guidance of Harold Burson, the Meek School would not be what it is.”

A Memphis native, Burson was an exceptional student, so much so that he entered Ole Miss at age 15. When he was 19, he served as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, and in 1945, he worked as a reporter for the American Forces Network and was assigned to cover the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

After leaving the military, he used a connection he had forged with an engineering firm, which became the first client of his new PR company. Later, Burson-Marsteller was born.

The PR business grew from there and for many years, Burston-Marsteller was one of only two major PR firms in the world. In 1969, Burson’s firm was making about $4.4 million a year, according to PRWeek, but by the early 1980s, revenue was about $64 million, and Burson was head of a firm with 2,500 employees in 50 offices worldwide.

In 1983, it officially became the world’s largest PR firm, with regional headquarters in New York, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and London.

His firm handled several major accounts.  For example, it  help ed Johnson & Johnson with its response to the deaths of  eight  people who had taken Tylenol in 1982. The company was not faulted, but it assumed responsibility and took the product off the market and halted advertising.

Representatives showed complete transparency and openness and made themselves available at all times to answer questions. The  response to the Johnson & Johnson case led to Burson being credited with creating the template for crisis management.

The British government called on Burson-Marsteller ’s help  during  an epidemic of mad cow disease. He also counseled Union Carbide, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant after a famous meltdown in 1979 and BP after its Torrey Canyon oil tanker sank .

The Southern Public Relations Hall of Fame is co-sponsored by the Southern Public Relations Federation and Mississippi State University’s Department of Communications. The names of the Hall of Fame members adorn the walls in the Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU.

Inductees must have 25 years of professional experience that brings honor to the profession and show strong contributions to their organization, city, state or region, among other criteria.

Burson’s son, Mark, is an adjunct instructor in integrated marketing communication at UM. He accepted the recognition on behalf of his father, who could not attend the ceremony Friday.

Scott Fiene, director of the school’s integrated marketing communications undergraduate program, said it’s fortuitous for Ole Miss that the “father of public relations” got his start here.

“He’s counseled royalty and shaped the image of many top global brands , but he’s always remained involved and partnered with the university on so many projects,” Fiene said. “His influence on the profession isn’t just what he has accomplished, but on the lives he has touched and the students he has mentored.

“The seeds he has sown will live for generations to come.”

Rick Dean and Kristie Aylett, agency principals with The KARD Group, a PR and marketing firm based in Mississippi, also  were among those writing letters in support of Burson’s nomination .

“Kristie and I have studied and respected Harold’s contributions to our industry since we were students and, as professionals, we continue to use things learned from him,” Dean said. “To have played a role in Harold’s well-deserved nomination and induction into the Hall of Fame was our honor.”

Story by Michael Newsom