School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘Kathleen Wickham’

School of Journalism and New Media professor named Chair of the Americas at University of Rennes

Posted on: May 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi journalism professor Kathleen Wickham served as Chair of the Americas/Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rennes in Brittany, France, while on sabbatical this spring.

It was Wickham’s second trip to France to teach. In 2016, while researching her book We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss, about the killing of French journalist Paul Guihard in Oxford, she gave lectures at the Pantheon Sorbonne University and the University of Rennes 2.

“Paul Guihard serves as the link between Brittany and Ole Miss,” Wickham said. “He is the only reporter killed during the civil rights era. The fact that it occurred on our campus is a shame, but it also creates an opportunity today to let the world know we are not the same campus that we were in 1962.”

UM journalism professor Kathleen Wickham (standing) talks with students in her media ethics class. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

After that visit in 2016, Wickham learned of the Chair of the Americas position, applied and was approved to go this spring.

Wickham lectured on a variety of topics related to media coverage of civil rights and media ethics, specifically on “fake news” and the status of American media. She is also working to further relations between Ole Miss and the University of Rennes by serving as a link between the two universities to develop a student exchange program.

“Our Office of Global Engagement is working with their Rennes’ counterparts,” Wickham said. “The goal is to start a one-on-one student exchange and then expand as interest develops.”

Wickham said she always wanted to work abroad and has been grateful for the opportunity to do so this semester.

“The administration, faculty and students have been supportive, welcoming and engaging,” she said. “We have shared stories of academic life, discussed research and world affairs. Student issues are universal; faculty life similar with research, service responsibilities and committee work.”

Wickham believes her students also have benefitted.

“For most, it was the first time they have interacted with an American,” she said. “I am an animated teacher who asks students questions to generate a discussion.

“They all follow American politics and know far more about American culture than, I expect, American students know about France. I hope they viewed me as a good ambassador of the U.S. and Ole Miss.”

Her future Ole Miss students will benefit from her experiences in France, as well.

“I am going to add more international examples to my ethics casebook to expand the worldviews of my students. I also plan on developing a course on ‘fake news’ based on the course I taught in France.

“The issue is universal, and news organizations are now staffing desks with personnel whose task it is to ascertain the accuracy of facts, photographs and sources.”

UM School of Journalism and New Media professor serves as ‘chair of the Americas’ at University of Rennes in France

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by ldrucker

Dr. Kathleen Wickham, professor of journalism, is on sabbatical this semester serving as “chair of the Americas” at the University of Rennes in Brittany, France. She will lead a semester seminar on fake news and give several lectures related to the civil rights movement and the media.

American Journalism has just accepted for publication her article on Eyes on the Prize and broadcast news, which forms one of the lectures she is giving in France.

Dr. Wickham has also been invited to lecture at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of New York in Prague on chapters from her book, We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss (Yoknapatawpha Press, September 2017).

Additional lectures in England and Ireland are pending.

1962 Ole Miss riot and news media’s vital role, then and now

Posted on: September 10th, 2017 by ldrucker

It was 55 years ago this month that the University of Mississippi campus was engulfed in a riot when James Meredith sought to enroll in the state’s flagship university.

Segregationists from around the South had descended on the campus and a riot ensued. More than 300 reporters traveled to Oxford to cover the story.

Some were beaten; others had their equipment damaged or set on fire. Agence France-Press reporter Paul Guihard was murdered, the only reporter killed during the civil rights era.

The issues then were as stark as they are today – as demonstrated by protests and demonstrations occurring in Memphis and across the nation regarding the existence of Confederate memorials on public grounds.

Screen grab from The Commercial Appeal of Dr. Kathleen Wickham’s guest column.

In today’s climate the emotions on both sides are as raw as when the monuments were installed, the beliefs as rigid and the hate as repulsive.

But at a time when claims of so-called “fake news” are used to undermine the press’s credibility, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the role of the press in reporting riots, protests and disturbances.

That role – granted by the First Amendment – is to monitor the actions of government and powerful people and institutions by providing a reliable source of information about how law enforcement, public officials and citizens react to events and protect people and property.

Attacks on the press for performing this work are an affront to democracy. Journalists report the news without fear or favor on behalf of the people.

The reporters who descended on Oxford in 1962 were doing just that. They were driven to seek the truth and inform the public about what was happening.

In my new book “We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss“, I explore the crisis through the words and experiences of journalists who were there.

They include Sidna Brower, the Memphis reared editor of the student newspaper; Claude Sitton of The New York Times, known as the dean of the civil rights press corps, Dorothy Gilliam, also a Memphis native who was the first African-American woman hired by The Washington Post; Michael Dorman of Newsday, who explored the town’s attitudes as evidenced by the Faulkner family; and Tupelo-native Neal Gregory of The Commercial Appeal, who wrote about the mood of Oxford’s religious community.

Guihard’s unsolved murder is also a significant aspect of the book. Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, another reporter who came to Oxford in 1962, spoke at the 2010 dedication of a memorial marker for Guihard.

Rather observed that the job of a reporter is to bear witness and “be an honest broker of information. To take the viewers to the scene …to get as close to the truth as you possibly can, recognizing that most of the time you can’t get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Journalism is viewed as the first draft of history. It is through such drafts that truth emerges. Journalists speak for their communities and create public conversations, emboldened by the belief that their stories shed light on public affairs and can change the world.

Dr. Kathleen Wickham, a former Memphian, is a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi. She is scheduled to sign copies of her new book at 5 p.m. Sept. 12 at Square Books in Oxford, and at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Novel bookstore in Memphis.

This column was originally published in The Commercial Appeal.