School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Knight Foundation writes about local news study co-authored by Meek School professor Wenger

Posted on: April 6th, 2018 by ldrucker

The Knight Foundation’s Beyond “Live at Five”: What’s Next for Local News? summarizes research the organization commissioned from Meek School of Journalism and New Media Assistant Dean Debora Wenger and Professor Emeritus Bob Papper of Hofstra University.

Local TV News and the New Media Landscape” focuses on the competing forces currently shaping local television news. With a decline in broadcast news ratings, local news leaders are trying to engage audiences on social media and other digital platforms.

The article reads: “Knight Foundation is supporting television news journalists and leadership by investing $2.6 million into efforts around digital transformation, diversity, audience engagement and investigative reporting. Today, we are complementing that effort by publishing new research on the state of the industry and its future.”

The article notes some key findings from the study Local TV News and the New Media Landscape, co-authored by Wenger and Papper. They include:

  • TV is a key source of news, but audiences are slowly shrinking.
  • While newspapers have lost employees to layoffs and industry changes, TV news employment is up.
  • Television stations are primarily innovating on digital platforms rather than on the air.
  • Social media engagement boosts television ratings.
  • Most local television news leaders believe newscasts must fundamentally change if they expect to survive into the future.

The Knight Foundation is a national foundation that invests in journalism, the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Its goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, believed to be essential for a healthy democracy, according to their website.

Oxford Stories students produce The Lorraine Motel: 50 Years After the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 by ldrucker

Last semester, journalism instructor LaReeca Rucker gave Oxford Stories journalism students a challenging final project. She wanted them and readers to learn about the effects of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination that happened 50 years ago on April 4, 1968 in Memphis.

The result of that was a project called The Lorraine Motel: 50 Years After the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal has partnered with Oxford Stories to run some of the students stories this week.

Recognizing the educational value of the historic event, Rucker said she also hoped to incorporate social justice reporting into classroom assignments that would challenge students to step away from common campus stories and learn firsthand about our state and surrounding area’s recent history from those who had endured it.

“Any assignment or journalism project you do with students is always experimental because you know some will deliver and others will not, so I wasn’t exactly sure what the completed project would look like,” she said.

Their objective was to interview someone about their lives, their memories of Dr. King’s assassination, and the impact they believe his life and death had on them and the world. Many returned with compelling stories.

One student found Mary Redmond, who had met King after one of his speeches. He shook her hand and told her “things were going to get better.” This was an important encounter and message for a woman whose father was beaten to death because, as a child, she accidentally bumped the arm of a white girl.

They interviewed Hezekiah Watkins, who met King after Watkins was jailed at age 13 for being one of the youngest Freedom Riders. When he and one of his young friends wanted to get a closer look at the people who were traveling through Mississippi fighting for equality, he said they rode their bikes to the Greyhound Station in Jackson. There Watkins, a child, was arrested and jailed along with the others.

Students interviewed Senator Samuel Jordan, who personally attended the trial of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, charged with the murder of Emmett Till, 14, in 1955. Pitching in a quarter each for gas, Jordan set out for Sumner, Mississippi with friends and watched reporters interview Mamie Till, Emmett’s mother.

They found and interviewed Roscoe Jones, a Meridian native and Bloody Sunday marcher, now 70, who had a personal relationship with Dr. King when he was president of the youth chapter of the NAACP during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

They also interviewed others with memories they can’t shake. When Belinda Carter was around 10, her school bus driver drove past Carter and her siblings for a week as they stood on the side of the road waiting for the bus because the driver refused to pick up black children.

As a kid growing up in the 1960s, Cut Miller was a member of a student boxing team. About 50 percent of the team was black, but only white members were allowed to use the restroom of a local restaurant because the sign on the door read “White Only.”

“Today, there is another wave of social justice activism happening in our country,” Rucker said. “Conversations are needed, but there is sometimes a lack of communication, listening and understanding – a roadblock for modern civil rights progression. There is also a difference in reading about history in books and meeting someone face to face who has lived it. That is why I intend to continue using this project as a teaching tool.”

Some students who participated in this journalism project, like Sarah Kane, said their thoughts about it changed after interviewing their subject. “I realized that this was more than just another project,” she said. “This assignment was very special, and the content needed to be delivered in a very respectful and proud way. I look at life in a different way now because of my interview with Ms. Carter, and I am extremely honored that I got to take part in this assignment.”

Student Katherine Johnson said the project made her realize how widespread King’s assassination was felt. “It was not consolidated to the African American population in any sense,” she said. “My time with Willingham allowed me to understand how this event molded the world that we see today. He shared with me his ideas on further breaking down the racial barriers in our society, and impressed that these were a continuation of King’s ideals. In my mind, this project changed from being about something isolated in the past to a topic that remains current and important in our modern world.”

To learn more about and read stories from the project, visit https://mlkmemories.wordpress.com/

Meek School alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. Pens ‘Black Panther’ Superhero Novel

Posted on: February 1st, 2018 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. was tapped by Marvel to reintroduce the world to the 1960s “Black Panther” superhero franchise through a new novel ahead of this weekend’s release of the blockbuster film about T’Challa, ruler of Wakanda.

Holland, a Holly Springs native who graduated from the university in 1994 with a degree in journalism, was tasked in 2016 with retelling the story through a 90,000-word origin story novel based on material in six comics. The goal was to create a new world for the main character, T’Challa, set in modern times.

The novel was released last fall as part of efforts to promote the new $200 million movie, which stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, and features Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o. Rap megastar Kendrick Lamar produced the soundtrack.

Jesse Holland Jr.

Being asked to write the novel, “Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?” was a dream come true, Holland said.

“I’ve been reading comic books my entire life,” Holland said. “When I was at Ole Miss, me and my friends would drive from campus all the way to Memphis to comic book shops on Wednesday or Thursday nights when the new ones came out and pick them up.

“I told Marvel I’d love to take it on and they offered to send me some Black Panther comic books for research, and I said, ‘Don’t bother. I already have them all in my basement right now.”

The movie is poised for a majorly successful box office opening weekend. Drawing attention as one of the first superhero movies to feature a person of color as the main character, it follows the release of “Wonder Woman,” which featured the first female superhero star on the big screen.

Audiences are clamoring for something different from traditional Hollywood superhero movies, and there’s a much broader appeal than normal that is driving the high expectations, Holland said.

“This is not a recycled superhero story,” he said. “It is not the third different actor playing the same character. This is something that is completely new, completely different as far as superhero movies go.

“One of the things we are going to see behind the success of this character is that we as Americans don’t need to see the same story over and over. We are accepting of new heroes and new mythologies, and in fact we’re more accepting of heroes of all colors and genders. America is ready for a different type of hero.”

In the film, T’Challa returns home to the isolated, but technologically advanced, African nation of Wakanda to succeed the throne that was recently vacated when his father, the king, died. The country is able to be technologically advanced because it’s the only source of an advanced metal known as vibranium.

UM alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. has written a novel for Marvel to reintroduce its 1960s superhero ‘Black Panther,’ the main character in a new blockbuster film.

When another nation attempts to invade Wakanda to take the ultrarare material, T’Challa is forced into a role as his nation’s protector.

He is a complicated character, Holland said.

“When people ask me about T’Challa, I tell them to imagine if the president, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the pope were all the same person,” Holland said. “On top of that, he’s a superhero.

“His superhero outfit is bound with vibranium, which makes him almost indestructible. He also takes a special herb that gives him super powers.”

“Black Panther” is drawing high marks from critics. The New York Times called it, “A jolt of a movie,” and said it “creates wonder with great flair and feeling partly through something Hollywood rarely dreams of anymore: myth. Most big studio fantasies take you out for a joy ride only to hit the same exhausted story and franchise-expanding beats. Not this one.”

Over six months, Holland wrote the updated origin story based on a 2005 version.

“It’s actually pretty cool to not have to start from scratch and to take a storyline by an absolutely great writer like Reginald Hudlin,” Holland said. “He based his work (in 2005) on the great work that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby started with.

“To be able to take that work and make it your own and be able to add and subtract and mold it to something you’re happy with is just fabulous.”

Doing this kind of work is nothing new for Holland. Disney Lucasfilm Press commissioned him to write the history of the Star Wars franchise’s newest black hero, “Finn.” He told his story in the 2016 young adult novel “Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finn’s Story.”

He’s also penned award-winning nonfiction. His book “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slavery in the White House” (Lyons Press, 2016) won the 2017 silver medal in U.S. History in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

He teaches creative nonfiction writing as part of the Master of Fine Arts program at Goucher College in Townson, Maryland. He is also a race and ethnicity writer for The Associated Press.

Holland recently saw a screening of the movie, which he said is “fabulous.” He expects the release will create a major payday for everyone involved.

“From everything we’re seeing – all of the sold-out movie theaters, pop-up bars, pop-up art shows and pop-up screenings, it seems like this is going to be a record-breaking weekend for Marvel, and maybe the movie industry,” Holland said. “It’s going to be amazing to see the final numbers.”

By

Meek students attend viewing of “The Post” and offer reviews

Posted on: January 19th, 2018 by ldrucker

A group of Meek School of Journalism and New Media students recently gathered for a viewing of “The Post.” The crowd arrived at the Malco theater on Jackson Avenue in Oxford to watch the film starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

Streep portrays Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper – The Washington Post. Graham and Editor Ben Bradlee put everything on the line and make a tough decision to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets related to the Vietnam War.

Meek student Madison Stewart, who attended the group viewing, said she enjoyed learning more about history from the film. “Having Meryl Streep as the owner of a newspaper company during that time really showed how women were treated and how times have changed,” she said. “… They showed how many men made up a lot of those newspaper companies back then.

A scene from the film.

“The Meek School (has) a ton of women students and professors, so it really shows how women have evolved in the journalism industry. The movie illustrated how important journalism is to the world. I think a lot of people do not think it is necessary sometimes. Without journalism, many people would not know what is going on in the world if journalists were not there to report on it.”

Meek student Leah Davis also attended the event.

“I absolutely loved it,” said Davis, adding that Graham’s wisdom proved to be what the paper needed. Davis said she liked the movie because it demonstrated the battle between “saving oneself and following moral standards.”

The Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, though going against the government’s wishes, was guided by the burden and responsibility of the press to accurately inform the people instead of hiding behind the government,” she said. “One line that stuck out to me from the movie was, ‘The press serves the governed, not the governors.’ I think this quote sums up the job of journalists and the importance they have in society.”

To read more about journalism movies, check out this recent NewsLab.org post.

Meek School of Journalism and New Media welcomes alumni to tailgating events

Posted on: November 12th, 2017 by ldrucker

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media knows how to tailgate. Here is a gallery of photos from a recent Grove get-together before the Louisiana State University game. Meek School instructor Timothy Ivy took the photos.

The Meek School held three events this year during football game days to greet and welcome Meek School alumni. Plans are in the works to do it again next year. We hope to see you there.

Atkins inducted into East Carolina University Educators Hall of Fame

Posted on: November 2nd, 2017 by ldrucker

Joe Atkins, longtime professor of journalism in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, was inducted into the East Carolina University Educators Hall of Fame in Greenville, North Carolina, Oct. 28.

Atkins received his undergraduate degree in English and philosophy from ECU in 1970. He later studied at the University of Munich and received a master’s degree in journalism from American University.

A veteran journalist and former congressional correspondent, Atkins has taught at Ole Miss since 1990. Sponsored by members of his graduating class at Sanford (North Carolina) Central High School, Atkins was recognized for his work as a writer, journalist, and advocate for social justice and for his many years of teaching.

Meek School to host fourth annual Data Day Thursday, Nov. 2

Posted on: October 21st, 2017 by ldrucker

Data Day is back.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi will be hosting its fourth annual Data Day in Farley Hall’s Overby Auditorium Nov. 2.

Data Day is designed to expose UM students to data-driven storytelling and decision-making. The event gives students access to tools and methods that lead to data-driven journalism, content analysis, and digital marketing.

Dr. Jason Cain, event organizer, said Data Day helps students succeed in their careers.

“Understanding data and being able to communicate insights drawn from data has become an essential skill touching all areas of mass communication,” Cain said, “regardless of whether you’re in journalism, IMC, PR, or any other area related to the field.”

Not only does Data Day allow students to gain insight and understanding from top industry professionals, students network and learn from professionals.

“The Meek School hosts Data Day … to demonstrate that working with data is not just a purely analytical pursuit, but very often a creative one as well,” Cain said.

This year, students will hear from Erica Huerta, intelligence manager at Amazon & Whole Foods. Huerta has more than eight years of private sector experience in analytics where she developed strategies for companies such as Expedia and Home Depot.

Data Day will also feature Max Freund, managing editor of digital for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He also teaches at the University of Iowa. Previously, Freund served as a product manager and web developer for Fusionfarm, a creative marketing agency.

“Data is everywhere,” Freund said. “And journalists need to learn how to wrangle, understand and, ultimately, visualize that data for the reading public. But that road is fraught with many dangers.

“Whether it is a misleading visualization, a complicated presentation, or simply the wrong analysis of the data, journalists must learn what ways work to visualize data, and what ways don’t.”

Freund will speak at 8 a.m., followed by Huerta at 11 a.m. Both events are open to the public.

Meek School alumnus named deputy White House press secretary

Posted on: October 15th, 2017 by ldrucker

A Meek School alumnus has been named deputy White House press secretary.

Check out this story by The Daily Mississippian about J. Hogan Gidley, 41, of South Carolina, who is a 1998 graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in political science.

Media outlets have reported that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has confirmed Gidley’s position in numerous press reports.

See the NewsWatch video here.

Gidley is pictured below with Meek School faculty members Senior Lecturer in Journalism Robin Street and Dr. Jim Lumpp. He returned to the Meek School to speak to students several years ago.

Meek School offers exciting special courses for wintersession and spring 2008

Posted on: October 5th, 2017 by ldrucker

The Meek School of Journalism and New media at the University of Mississippi will offer a few exciting new courses during wintersession and spring of 2018. From sports marketing, fashion merchandising and data literacy to crisis communication, pop culture criticism and audio editing, we’re offering a variety of unique journalism and IMC classes. Take a look at the list, and we bet you’ll find a topic that interests you.

WINTERSESSION

IMC 580 – Topics in IMC II: Collegiate Sports Marketing
The course is offered MTWTF from 1-4:30 p.m. in Farley 202

Professional sports executive Scott Pederson will lead this dynamic course exploring how the world of collegiate sports has become a profitable multi-billion dollar industry. It’s more than just stats, favorite teams and trivia – students will examine how collegiate sports create impulses, sales and recognition. The dramatic growth of college sports over the past 30 years has motivated many to seek careers in this compelling field. Due to its status and importance in people’s lives, sports are considered a profitable and sustainable marketing communications source now utilized by virtually every industry.

SPRING

IMC 361 – IMC Explorations I (Fashion Promotion)
Tuesdays 6-8:30 p.m. Farley 125

Joe Sherman, a former McRae’s merchandising executive, will explore with students the essential elements of the fashion industry with an emphasis on merchandising and buying. The course also will spotlight today’s trends and keys to successful marketing and branding.

IMC 362 – IMC Explorations I (Data Literacy/Intro to Big Data)
MWF 10-10:50 a.m. Bishop 108

Led by Dr. Jason Cain, this course teaches students how to properly read and interpret data-driven research and collect, analyze, and present data generated from online sources. Moderate proficiency in Microsoft Excel along with introductions to SPSS, R, and Tableau are also taught.

IMC 509 – Special Problems in IMC (Targeting and Testing)
T-Th 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Room (To be announced)

Led by Dr. Robert Magee, targeting and testing students will learn how to use surveys to assess a market target’s attitudes and behaviors and how to use experiments to test campaign materials.

IMC 580 – Topics in IMC II (Designing for Print Publications)
MW 6:30-7:45 p.m. in Farley 10

Led by Instructional Assistant Professor Stefani Goodwiller, this advanced course will focus on design considerations for print publications, including magazines, brochures and posters. Students will learn about type management, nested styles, libraries, multi-page publications, color models and master pages. Students will also explore various types of printing technologies and learn how to produce the right kind of file for the appropriate printer.

IMC 591 – Explorations I (Crisis Communication)
T-Th 1-2:15 p.m. Farley 121

Led by Instructional Assistant Professor Debbie Hall, this course centers on addressing crisis communication professionally, including how to handle multiple stakeholders and public crisis conditions. The practical application of theories, strategies and tactics from a public relations perspective will be explored. Students will have opportunities to apply skills learned.

JOUR 362 – Journalism Explorations II (Criticism)
T-Th 9:30-10:45 a.m. Hume 112

In some cases, our credibility as reviewers is what lends us currency in the digital space. Led by Associate Professor Cynthia Joyce, students will learn about professional practices, ethics and standards for writing about the arts and pop culture. Students will also learn how to “cover” cultural works as more than just commercial products, and will be introduced to writings by Pauline Kael and Anthony Lane (film), Lester Bangs and Kalefa Sanneh (music), Ada Louise Huxtable and Christopher Hawthorne (architecture), Carina Chocano and Heather Havrilesky (TV and film) among others. Students will develop an appreciation for how meaningful criticism frequently challenges the status quo – as was the case with both jazz and hip hop, for example – and they may ultimately deepen their popular understanding of entire art forms.

JOUR 580 – Topics in Journalism II (Podcasting)
T-Th 4-5:15 p.m. Farley 138 

Led by Assistant Professor Alysia Steele, students will explore the power of audio storytelling in a digital world. Pre-req: JOUR 375. The best multimedia stories have awesome audio. This class will help students with audio collection and basic production in Adobe Audition, and will focus solely on audio news and feature stories with a goal of producing award-winning content. Students will learn how to write scripts, create a concept for their own shows and produce audio stories to be pitched for Rebel Radio. Students will be required to purchase professional quality headphones and buy or rent a Zoom H1 recorder.

JOUR 591 Journalism Explorations I (Writing on Food)
Tuesday 2:30-4:45 p.m. Room (To be announced)

Led by Rien Fertel, this course will provide an introduction to reading and writing on the relationship between people and what they eat, cook, grow, serve, embrace, and disdain. It will cover the great cornucopia of food writing: personal essays, journalistic reporting, profiles, criticism, history and even the literature of recipes. Professor Rien Fertel has written for Garden & Gun, The Oxford American, and he recently published the book, The One True Barbecue.

JOUR 592 – Journalism Explorations II – Sports Broadcasting
Mondays 4-6:30 p.m. Lamar 126

Led by David Kellum, the “Voice of the Rebels,” who has served 38 seasons as the Ole Miss Radio Network’s play-by-play announcer for football and men’s basketball, this class will help you learn the presentation skills necessary for high quality sports announcing.

Join the Meek School family in the Grove on three special game days

Posted on: August 29th, 2017 by ldrucker

Football games are kind of like a family reunion, and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is part of the University of Mississippi family.

This fall, game days will offer an opportunity for Meek School students, alumni and faculty to reconnect and network during three themed events.

“We thought it would be fun to bring smaller groups of our graduates and students together so they could network, reminisce and reconnect with each other and some of their favorite professors,” said Debora Wenger, assistant dean for innovation and external partnerships, and associate professor of journalism.

The events include specific days for alumni from the Meek School’s integrated marketing communications program, the broadcast journalism program, and The Daily Mississippian and yearbook staffs. They will be held on the following dates:

Saturday, Oct. 14 – Rebels vs. Vanderbilt – IMC Alumni Day

The IMC program saw its first graduates walk across the stage in 2013. IMC Alumni Day is a chance for everyone with an IMC degree to come help celebrate the growing IMC program and alumni success.

“We hope the IMC event brings some of our alums back to campus, helps them connect with current students, and gives us a chance to highlight some of the new things happening with our program,” said Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment, and assistant professor of IMC.

Saturday, Oct. 21 – Rebels vs. LSU – DM/Yearbook Alumni Day

The Daily Mississippian and The Ole Miss yearbook have been part of the university for more than 100 years. Event organizers hope to see anyone who has ever worked on these publications join others in the Grove before the game.

“Many of our recent graduates return to the Student Media Center to visit us on football weekends, but this will be the first official alumni event since we celebrated The Daily Mississippian’s 100th anniversary in 2011,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media, and assistant professor of journalism. “We’re proud of our graduates’ accomplishments, and our current DM and The Ole Miss yearbook students look forward to networking with them.”

Saturday, Oct. 28 – Rebels vs. Arkansas – Broadcast Alumni Day

UM broadcast journalism graduates are working in TV, radio, movies and many other exciting careers. They are invited to come back to campus to talk about what they’re doing and meet and encourage other students who want to follow the same path.

“For the broadcast event, in particular, Dr. Nancy Dupont and I are hoping to catch up with some of our amazing graduates and to introduce them to current students,” Wenger said. “The plan is to have NewsWatch reporters using Facebook Live to cover the event for grads who can’t be there for the game, too.”

The events are open to everyone, including prospective students who want to stop by to inquire about the journalism and IMC programs. For more information about the programs or events, email meekschool@olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7146.