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University of Mississippi journalism professor’s Black Mirror Project mentioned in Harvard Political Review

Posted on: January 1st, 2019 by ldrucker

Last week, Netflix dropped the first feature film released by the popular, science fiction anthology series “Black Mirror.” “Bandersnatch” is the story of a “programmer creating a video game based on the fantasy novel of an unhinged genius,” Mashable reports.

This is exciting to fans and some University of Mississippi students because the UM School of Journalism and New Media has its own class that incorporates episodes of “Black Mirror.”

Harvard Political Review recently mentioned The Black Mirror Project created by a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media journalism professor that envisions the future of media through the lens of the science fiction television series.

After learning about the history of media, professor LaReeca Rucker asks students in Journalism 101 to envision the near future of media after watching several specific episodes of the series. They are asked to use their imagination to write a synopsis of their own “Black Mirror” episode. The most creative and original responses are published on The Black Mirror Project website: https://blackmirrorideas.wordpress.com/

“Black Mirror” is a British science fiction television anthology series set in the near future that explores the potentially dark consequences of technology and social media. Each episode has a different cast with a unique story and, like most science fiction, it offers a speculative warning about what could happen if we lose control and allow technology to control us.

The show, created by Charlie Brooker, was first broadcast on British television in 2011. It is now a Netflix original series, and some have called it a modern day “Twilight Zone.” Recognizing its potential for the discussion of modern and future media, some colleges and universities across the country have incorporated “Black Mirror” into their journalism and communications classes.

 

Harvard Political Review recently published the article Primetime Paranoia that mentions Rucker’s “Black Mirror” Project. The article explores “Black Mirror” and modern anxiety.

It reads, “At the beginning of most Black Mirror episodes, viewers enter a near-future world with a technology that appears novel, even benign. Then this technology goes horribly, unpredictably wrong. In this chaos are echoes of our paradoxical anxiety, which grows worse and worse in a world becoming better and better. Black Mirror has resonated. The series has earned huge ratings, prestigious awards, and praise from figures ranging from Jordan Peele to Stephen King.”

The School of Journalism and New Media also plans to offer a different, but similar “Black Mirror” class this summer as an elective. Those who are interested may email Rucker at ldrucker@olemiss.edu.

Read the Q & A with Rucker about “Black Mirror.”

Q: What is the Black Mirror Project? Why did you get involved with it, and what results has it borne?

A: The Black Mirror Project is a website I created and an ongoing assignment I give my mass communication students each semester. After they spend most of the semester studying the history of media, we shift the focus to the future of media. I assign four specific episodes of “Black Mirror” for them to watch and ponder.

I have always been a fan of science fiction, and when this series came out, I thought it was mind-bending. I also liked that the first season of the series focused a lot on social media usage and offered some scary episodes regarding social media that seemed very plausible. I like that the show is set in the near future – not hundreds of years away. I think that makes it more frightening and relevant.

As a result of starting this project, I have been contacted by people from several different states and countries who have used “Black Mirror” in their college and high school classes. Some have reached out asking if they can submit their students’ Black Mirror Reflections to be published on our website, and I have encouraged them to do that. I love collaborating with others.

 

Q: How have you integrated Black Mirror into your teaching, and what does it add to your classroom?

My students are asked to write a Black Mirror Reflection by thinking about the episodes of the show they have been assigned while pondering technology and social media in the near future. Then they are asked to research the future of technology by Googling and reading several articles on the subject, and talking to friends, family and professors to get ideas.

They are asked to imagine that they’ve just been hired as a writer for the show. It’s their job to come up with a storyline for their own episode, but they only have a week to do it or they (fictionally) get fired. They are told to imagine it will be featured in the next season of “Black Mirror.”

Students write a one-page, double-spaced report describing their episode and the characters they imagine starring in it. They discuss what technology is used and how? They think about a scenario involving technology and social media, and take that idea to an extreme. That’s the story.

I read them and select the best ones to publish on our Black Mirror Project website. You will find a collection of creative “Black Mirror” responses there. I think the exercise helps students begin to think about their personal relationship with technology, social media and electronic communication. Some have said it was “eye-opening.”

Q: In what way is Black Mirror a “modern day Twilight Zone,” as the Black Mirror Project website says? Does the show diverge from the Twilight Zone in any noteworthy ways?

I think one of the differences is that “Black Mirror” seems to be set in the near future. To me, that makes it more frightening and plausible because many of the episodes involve scenarios that we are on the verge of experiencing now. While some of “The Twilight Zone” episodes were like this, many were set many years in the future and were often more fantastical than reality-based.

I wanted to show students several episodes of “The Twilight Zone” that could be compared and contrasted with “Black Mirror,” hoping in my research I would find some “Twilight Zone” episodes from more than 50 years ago that had envisioned the future spot on, but I had difficulty finding episodes that I thought would be a good fit. However, the Harvard Political Review article does offer up a lot of interesting points about what the “The Twilight Zone” has meant to our culture.

I do show one “Twilight Zone” episode called “Number 12 Looks Just Like You” that is about the idea of beauty and perfection, which is still very relevant to viewers today.

I think the scenarios that “Black Mirror” presents are warnings about the near future in the same way “The Twilight Zone” warned us about our world. They both were important shows with confrontational, yet helpful messages that we should pay attention to.

Science fiction is prophetic vision.

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

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harden said each new experience provides an opportunity for growth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: November 29th, 2018 by ldrucker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: November 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meek School continues to experience growth

Posted on: September 15th, 2018 by ldrucker

OXFORD, Miss. – The Meek School of Journalism and New Media continues to experience significant growth. Enrollment increased 5.6 percent, growing from 1,557 students in fall 2017 to 1,644 this year. The Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications accounted for much of this growth, with an 11.7 percent increase in enrollment.

The university experienced strong growth across a number of graduate and undergraduate programs.

“The desire to maintain excellence and a caring environment within our academic programs led us to add faculty and staff in such areas as our Meek School of Journalism and Patterson School of Accountancy,” said Noel Wilkin, UM provost and executive vice chancellor. “We also have added new programs to be responsive to the changing national economy and emerging fields.”

The University of Mississippi enrolled 23,258 students across its six campuses for fall 2018 – fourth-highest enrollment in the university’s history – while its first-year retention rate climbed to 86 percent, second-highest in school history.

Total 2018 enrollment reflects a 2.2 percent decrease from last year. At the same time, the university continues to rank among the nation’s fastest-growing universities, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, as national demographic trends have produced a 5.2 percent decrease in the number of college and university students across the country since 2010.

During a decade of unprecedented growth, the university has adopted a series of progressive steps to manage growth to maintain the quality of the student experience and the expected level of service. As a result, the university is attracting a higher proportion of well-prepared students to its excellent academic programs while maintaining its commitment to access.

“We are seeing the benefits of a number of investments and strategic choices made in recent years to assure a stellar academic and campus life experience for students,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “Students at the University of Mississippi study in high-quality academic programs, bolstered by an academic support system that enables them to stay on track, graduate and compete effectively in today’s global job market.”

Another Accomplished Freshmen Class

This year’s freshman class of 3,455 students delivers on several indicators that reflect the university’s ongoing focus on academic excellence. Over the last five years, the average ACT score has increased from 24.1 to 25.1. Likewise, the average GPA has grown from 3.46 in fall 2013 to 3.57 – a testament to the outstanding programs created by UM faculty that attract high-quality students.

This year’s first-time students include 84 class valedictorians, 48 salutatorians, 96 student body presidents, 100 Eagle Scouts and nine Girl Scouts who achieved the Gold Award, the organization’s highest youth honor.

The university continued to attract high-achieving students from across the state and nation.

This fall, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College enrolled a record 1,605 students, a 7.2 percent increase over last year’s class and more than double the enrollment of 781 students from fall 2008. This includes 416 new Honors College enrollees, with 55.8 percent of them Mississippi residents.

The Honors College class posted an average ACT of 31.5 and an average high school GPA of 3.98.

The Provost Scholars program, which recruits and rewards high-achieving students with special seminars, workshops and other academic opportunities, has enjoyed significant growth from 394 students when the program was established in 2010 to 2,704 scholars this fall.

The freshman class also includes seven Stamps Scholarship recipients, among the largest and most prestigious scholarships in the state. Funded through the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, the 13th class of Stamps Scholars includes 230 students nationwide selected from almost 300,000 applicants. UM is among only 41 universities nationally that is able to admit Stamps Scholars.

Along with exceptional scholars, the university attracts students uniquely interested in being campus leaders in the short term and state, national and global leaders in the long term, said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs.

“The Ole Miss experience provides flagship academic programs coupled with personalized and transformative engagement programs where students develop holistically and excel as leaders,” Hephner LaBanc said.

Supportive Environment Resulting in Higher Retention and Graduation

The university’s focus on investing and fostering a supportive academic environment continues to return great dividends. With efforts to help new students adjust to college life and achieve success, including programs such as the First Year Experience and FASTrack, student retention remained near record levels, with 86 percent of last year’s first-time students returning to continue their studies this fall.

Retention rates have climbed steadily since 2015, when student retention efforts and programs were combined within the Center for Student Success and First Year Experience. In addition, the university took steps to enhance coordination across all first-year programs and collaborate on piloting new ideas.

The center provides academic advising to about 80 percent of the freshman class and other students who have not declared a major, and it coordinates several first-year student experience initiatives. The center also offers resources targeting the needs of approximately 1,300 students who are veterans of the military or their dependents.

“Enrollment is not simply about attracting more students; it is about helping students at all levels of personal and academic preparation succeed (and) first-year retention is the primary indicator of a university’s ability to do this,” Hephner LaBanc said. “Through our myriad academic, residential and leadership communities, our students find meaningful connections with faculty and staff, resulting in unparalleled levels of support and a true sense of care and community.”

The university also recently recorded its highest-ever five-year graduation rate and anticipates similar gains for the six-year graduation rate when it is announced later this fall. That graduation rate data will be fueled in part by a distinction for the Class of 2018, which earned 910 degrees in STEM fields – the highest number of STEM degrees ever conferred by the university.

Since 2013, STEM degrees awarded by the university have increased 117 percent.

The Mississippi University of Choice

A clear majority of Ole Miss students, 58.3 percent, are residents of Mississippi, representing 221 high schools across all the state’s 82 counties. At the same time, the university continues to attract a geographically diverse student body as nonresident students, who make up 41.7 percent of the student body, come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 90 foreign countries.

For the Oxford and regional campuses, minority enrollment totals 4,821 students, or 23.6 percent. African-American enrollment totals 2,559 students, or 12.5 percent of overall enrollment. The university experienced a 6.3 percent increase in the number of African-American transfer students.

The university’s focus on investing and fostering a supportive academic environment continues to return great dividends. With efforts to help new students adjust to college life and achieve success, including programs such as the First Year Experience and FASTrack, student retention remained near record levels, with 86 percent of last year’s first-time students returning to continue their studies this fall. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Enrolling for a Healthier Mississippi

Enrollment at the University of Mississippi Medical Center saw a 1.7 percent decrease to 2,840 students, but the UM School of Medicine enrolled its largest class ever. After opening its new building last August, the school has enrolled 165 first-year medical students, up from 155 last year.

In only its second year, the John D. Bower School of Population Health’s enrollment grew from five students to 24. One of only three population health schools in the United States, it has been designed to offer new strategies and capacity to improve health status of Mississippians.

“We are working hard to grow the physician workforce in Mississippi,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UM vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the medical school. “As we graduate more students, we’re also proud of the fact that we are among the most effective schools at retaining our medical graduates to practice in-state, ranking sixth in the nation.”

Continued Academic Growth at All Levels

 

The Patterson School of Accountancy continues to offer innovative graduate programs that reflect the university’s commitment to the future of the audit and tax professions. Enrollment in accountancy graduate programs has skyrocketed 66 percent, thanks in part to two new degrees developed in partnership with KPMG in the high-growth field of data analytics.

The Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics and the Master of Taxation and Data Analytics both require 30 credit hours to complete and are the only programs of their kind in the state.

For eight consecutive years, the school’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs have been ranked among the nation’s top 10 by Public Accounting Report.

The university’s biomedical engineering program, in its second year, also has experienced meteoric growth, with 105 students, three new full-time faculty positions and a new School of Engineering dean, David Puleo, who is a biomedical engineer.

This program capitalizes on existing strengths to prepare engineering students to meet the expected demand in biomedical industries in Mississippi and across the nation. It also will provide additional human resources for the practice of medicine and to address public health issues.

“The rapid growth of our biomedical engineering program demonstrates the desire for this discipline in Mississippi and for the application of engineering principles to drive discovery of new knowledge in the life sciences and development of advanced biomedical technologies,” Puleo said.

“In addition to enhancing the state’s biomedical device workforce with top-notch students, the collaborative nature of the discipline will promote interaction between departments within the school, across the Oxford campus and with the Medical Center in Jackson.”

Construction crews have reworked the roundabout in front of Guyton Hall to align with Guyton Place and Magnolia Drive. The new design, which opened Aug. 10, allows for a safer roadway for pedestrians and motorists. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Building for the Future

To enable academic excellence and enhance the campus environment, the university is managing $709 million in building projects planned or underway across its campuses, including renovations and construction of new facilities. Just days before the fall semester commenced, the Oxford campus opened a new pedestrian plaza and street improvements in front of Guyton Hall, home to the School of Education, to improve access and safety.

Several major projects are scheduled to be completed in the new academic year, including the expansion and renovation of the Ole Miss Student Union. The $59 million project increases the Student Union’s size from 97,000 to 173,000 square feet, adding space for student government offices, a ballroom and an expanded food court, which opened last fall.

When renovations are complete in early 2019, Paul B. Johnson Commons East will house Developmental Studies and the Center for Student Success and First Year Experience. University and Public Events will be housed on the second floor, alongside three renovated event spaces.

Other projects on tap for completion in 2019 include the 121,000-square-foot South Campus Recreation and Transportation Hub, which also will house the William Magee Center for Wellness Education. In addition, renovation work is underway on Garland, Hedleston and Mayes, which will accommodate the School of Applied Sciences.

For more information on enrollment and programs at UM, go to http://www.olemiss.edu.

Story and information from University Communications.

Meek School is proud of its two Miss America contestants

Posted on: September 8th, 2018 by ldrucker

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media faculty and students were rooting specifically for two Miss America contestants when the pageant aired Sunday, Sept. 9, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

While Miss Mississippi Asya Branch and Miss Tennessee Christine Williamson, both who have Meek School ties, were not selected among the final 15 contestants, Meek School leaders were proud that they represented the Meek School and the University of Mississippi in the competition.

Branch, a University of Mississippi junior, is a current Meek School student. According to her pageant bio on the Miss America website, Branch said the competition empowered her to embrace her past while helping children of an incarcerated parent find their way.

“Having the backbone and financial base of our family stripped away through incarceration and arrest left me hurt, confused, scared, bullied, and withdrawn,” she said. “Through the Miss America Organization, I have been able to face my fears and insecurities brought on by my father’s imprisonment. Now, I am boldly working to help other children who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances fulfill their greatest potential and realize they have an uninhibited future.”

Williamson, 22, attended UM and the Meek School as a broadcast journalism major. While at Ole Miss, she was a news anchor for NewsWatch.

According to Williamson’s pageant bio, she is an advocate for Alzheimer’s because she has lost four family members to the disease, including her grandfather, who she helped her mother take care of for 11 years.

“I watched the lengthy demise of someone I loved, and vowed to be a catalyst for change,” she said. “As a National Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Association, I have lobbied U.S. and state congressional leaders for three years on Alzheimer’s initiatives. I have raised $25,000 for Alzheimer’s Association to help the 5.7 million Americans and their caregivers fighting America’s most expensive disease.”

Meek School leaders also helped lead a Miss America watch party sponsored by the Student Activities Association inside the Student Union ballroom. Debbie Hall, a Meek School instructional assistant professor, said the watch party was organized to give UM students a way to celebrate the Meek School’s two Miss America contestants. Refreshments and games were offered.

Hall said the Meek School’s Event Planning class conducted a fundraiser for the two contestants’ platforms prior to the pageant as a way of recognizing and honoring them.

Students, faculty and alumni were encouraged to use the hashtag:  #MeekMissAmerica Sunday night.

“I think this is just a further indication of the quality students we have in our Meek School programs,” Hall said.

Meek School professor meets with Ethiopian leaders in Washington, D.C.

Posted on: September 6th, 2018 by ldrucker

Dr. Zenebe Beyene, a Meek School of Journalism and New Media instructional assistant professor and coordinator of international programs (second from left), is pictured with Dr. Oyvind Aadland, a representative of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and Ethiopian leaders at a meeting on nation-building in the Charles L. Overby Boardroom at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Participants were primarily from the East Coast: New York, Virginia, Maryland and D.C. with one each from Memphis, Atlanta and North Carolina. They are lawyers, IT experts, software developers, political scientists, economists, a graphic designer, theologians, etc.

The  Meek School is grateful to the Freedom Forum for making the boardroom available. The boardroom is named for Charles Overby, a graduate of Ole Miss.

Meek School magazine students visit Meredith Corp. in Birmingham

Posted on: May 2nd, 2018 by ldrucker

Samir Husni, Ph.D., also known as Mr. Magazine, recently took six magazine students with him to visit the Meredith Corp. in Birmingham, publisher of Southern Living, Coastal Living, Cooking Light and Food & Wine.

They spent a day with magazine editors and toured the famous test kitchens.

Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living and Coastal Living, and Hunter Lewis, editor-in-chief of Cooking Light and Food & Wine magazines reviewed and commented on the magazine students’ magazine ideas.

The one-day trip ended with an hour and a half meeting with the director of human resources at Meredith in Birmingham, Carole Cain. Hannah Willis was one of the students who attended.

“Throughout the day, we toured their incredible food studios, seeing shoots in progress and talking to food studio professionals,” she said. “People from all parts of the four magazines (Southern Living, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, and Cooking Light) came and talked to us about the day-to-day working of their magazines. It was an incredible opportunity to see the industry up close.”

Willis said she learned a lot.

“Most importantly, I learned that this is a constant job that requires an individual to stay on top of all trends while creating excellent content and navigating the differences between their print and digital platforms,” she said.

Lana Ferguson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, the University of Mississippi’s campus newspaper, said students met and interacted with different people in charge of different parts of the magazines and brands.

“We toured the infamous Time Inc. Kitchen Studio and saw the behind-the-scenes making of recipes, videos, and even .gifs,” she said. “And throughout the rest of the day, we met with experts in areas from social media, travel, video, food and more.”

Ferguson, who said she remembers flipping through the pages of Southern Living magazine before she could read, said she was surprised by some of the things she learned during the tour.

“As someone who has interned with a magazine and held editor roles in a newspaper, I thought I had an idea of how these legacy brands were run, but this experience was eye opening,” she said. “I now know some of the intricate details and effort that goes into every page of a magazine, the scheduling of production months in advance, and the developing of digital pieces that supplement the already-established print products.

“A lot of the people we spoke with mentioned ‘the reader is your boss,’ and that reminded me of how I got into journalism to serve people, and most of them did too, so I really appreciated that as well.”

Student Brittany Abbott said she was impressed by many things, including the building.

“We saw the Time Inc. test kitchens that are on the top floor paired with the camera studios for the magazine work,” she said. “We also saw the basic building process from beginning to end for the magazine.”

Abbott said she learned it takes a team to make a successful magazine like Parents or Southern Living.

“Everyone had a very specific job and a time to do that job,” she said. “They worked together so well. It was wonderful. I’m so grateful I got to go.”

Meek School students and alumni well represented at Public Relations Association of Mississippi conference

Posted on: April 16th, 2018 by ldrucker

Meek School students and alumni were well represented at the recent Public Relations Association of Mississippi conference, most of whom are Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s former students.

Front row, from left, Paul Katool, Bianca Abney, Kendrick Pittman, Robin Street, Mary Margaret Turner Busby and UM alum Rob Pettit.

Back row, from left, Emily Blackwell Pickering, Jace Ponder, Alex Hicks, Selena Standifer, Ryan Whittington and Brian Von Foregger.

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.