School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

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.

IMC Campaigns class on DeSoto campus works with community businesses

Posted on: April 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

Students enrolled in the School of Journalism and New Media’s integrated marketing communications program on the Ole Miss DeSoto campus are working hands-on in their communities with businesses as part of the IMC 455 Campaigns class with professor Patricia Overstreet-Miller.

Susannah Jones, 21, is a senior from Hernando enrolled in the class that pairs students with a real world client.

“It’s a nice break from all the simulations and practice and an exciting step into the post-college workforce,” she said. “The class is less lecture-based and much more hands on. We have three local non-profit organizations that we’re working with this semester, including Create Foundation, Desoto Grace, and BLDG Memphis.”

Each two- to three-person team collaborates with a business and comes up with an IMC campaign.

“This means that we get to be incredibly involved with the community,” she said. “My team will be working on a campaign for BLDG Memphis, a non-profit aimed at neighborhood revitalization. Throughout the semester, we will use our skills to integrate their messages on all platforms and channels to grow in developing and redeveloping Memphis communities. This will involve areas, such as special community events, social media, media coverage, print pieces, and website design.”

Jones said she’s learned a lot from the class. “This class brings every piece of what we’ve been learning and practicing together and gives us an opportunity to put together the whole puzzle,” she said. “I’m excited to understand more of the hands-on work that goes into IMC.

“I think students will have more of an understanding of the impact that IMC can have and be able to work with a team more efficiently. This class will be a giant step toward our goals as students. After years of class-time and hard work, this course is the long-awaited cherry on top that equips us to accomplish all that we have been trained for.”

Southaven native William Rustenhaven, 24, is also enrolled in the capstone class for all IMC students. The course takes all of the skills and knowledge obtained through the journalism, business, and IMC classes and utilizes that knowledge to create a marketing campaign for a selected client or business bridging school and the real world.

 “The professor reaches out to a business that the students will be doing a campaign for,” Rustenhaven said. “Once the business agrees to let the class create a campaign for them, it is the student’s duty to set up meetings, do analytic research, and create the campaign for the company . . .

“The company we are working with is called BLDG Memphis, which is a non-profit in Memphis. They help revitalize different parts of the community throughout the Memphis area.”

Rustenhaven said the real world experience of working with companies is important. “It will give them a taste of what the actual world is like outside of the academic classroom,” he said. “It will teach them how to communicate with professionals in the corporate and business world.”

Rustenhaven said he hopes others understand what the IMC program can offer. “It is such an amazing and interesting degree field, and it has a large amount of flexibility,” he said. “So many students have majors, such as business, marketing, communications, journalism, etc. However, with IMC, you can gain experience in all of those fields.

“As I have told people before, I can apply for a job as an event coordinator, travel up the road and apply for a job at a marketing agency, and then go somewhere else and apply for a business management position or even at a PR firm. These are just a few examples of what the IMC program can offer students, and that does not even begin to break the surface on the opportunities that the IMC program can provide for students.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker. For more information about our journalism and IMC programs, 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.

Meet Our Students: IMC student Ali Arnold

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ldrucker

Meet University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media IMC student Ali Arnold.

The Natchez native, 21, is a junior studying integrated marketing communication and general business, who spent her last two years of high school in Brookhaven, Mississippi studying visual arts at the Mississippi School of the Arts.

Arnold was determined to pursue an art degree in college, but later began thinking about studying advertising since it would allow her to channel her creativity. After learning about the IMC program, she declared a major and fell in love with her studies.

“IMC isn’t just a degree or a career path,” she said, “it’s a mindset and a philosophy on how to approach the world and solve problems.”

After an internship at Bright Rain Advertising in Orlando, Florida, Arnold decided public relations was not the right path for her. But she fell in love with brand strategy and research after taking classes on both in the IMC program.

She plans to work for an advertising agency after school in either Boston or Miami, her two favorite cities.

Meet Our Students is a new feature from Oxford Stories and the UM Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. To learn how you can become a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

UM students participate in Mississippi Today rebranding process

Posted on: February 26th, 2019 by ldrucker

A class of University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students participated in the rebranding process for a growing statewide news organization.

Mary Margaret White, marketing and branding manager for Mississippi Today, said her staff worked with the UM class while considering a brand rehaul. Both groups learned from each other.

“Working with the UM students helped solidify our decision to move forward with a full redesign of our logo, color scheme and home page,” she said. “We have a young, innovative team, and the original branding didn’t match the energy of our newsroom.

“We wanted something memorable that would give a nod to the legacy of traditional, in-depth reporting while recognizing that we are a new model for journalism in the way we approach, and disseminate, stories.”

White, who worked for eight years with the State of Mississippi for both the Mississippi Arts Commission and Visit Mississippi/Mississippi Development Authority, said the Mississippi Today homepage redesign now showcases more stories “above the fold” or “above the scroll” of your screen. It offers a nice balance between dynamic visuals and easy-to-access categories and sections, she said.

“The logo color is teal, which feels clean and modern,” White said. “Incorporating the talk box into the logo makes it clear that we are a digital outlet while inferring that our reporting is meant to drive conversation. The tagline ‘We report to you.’ encapsulates our nonprofit model while also making clear the public service mission for our newsroom.”

White, who is an advisory committee member for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, said the MT leadership team offered a real-world experience for the UM class.

“We didn’t take the student suggestions at face value, but challenged the students with the same level of questioning and market-based research we put in front of the designers we engaged to create the new look,” she said. “Clients often want to know why you are not including certain elements in a redesign rather than hear about the creative process behind the work. I think the students learned that when making a pitch, come prepared to answer questions about what is not in your presentation rather than what is included.”

Lauchlin Fields, the Mississippi Today web editor, said the redesign better represents what MT is as a news organization.

“It creates a renewed energy and a more user-friendly interface that helps us engage with our readers and increase reader loyalty,” said Fields, who began her career as a journalist at The Vicksburg Post.

The UM students were led by Ann Day Becker, a School of Journalism and New Media integrated marketing communication professor. She said students in her fall 2017 IMC 455 Campaigns class offered input about the rebranding.

“Campaigns is the capstone class for the IMC degree program,” said Becker. “Students leverage all their learnings to develop integrated marketing plans for actual businesses and organizations. The class provides excellent real-world experience for the students, a fresh perspective on new marketing ideas and approaches for the ‘clients.’”

Becker, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s degree in business administration, both from Millsaps College, brings to the classroom more than a decade of experience in corporate communications for Entergy Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, and a decade as editor of Mississippi Magazine.

“A redesign of Mississippi Today’s website and banner was a hallmark of the recommendations of the students,” she said. “The class felt strongly that the original design did not accurately reflect the forward-thinking, contemporary approach to reporting and delivering digital news that Mississippi Today was taking.”

While some actual design suggestions were presented to Mississippi Today by student “agencies,” Becker said ultimately MT pursued their own professional redesign, addressing some of the issues and opportunities noted by the students.

“Once Mississippi Today had narrowed their design concepts to three, a subsequent class tested the designs by providing their input through a survey,” said Becker. “The students had the benefit of meeting with key principals at Mississippi Today, learning their points of view and understanding their audiences and objectives.”

Mississippi Today reporters Larrison Campbell and Adam Ganucheau in the press room of the state capitol with sign featuring the old Mississippi Today logo. Ganucheau is a UM School of Journalism and New Media graduate.

From there, students conducted their own research, including surveys, to help make recommendations for future improvements, including suggesting ways to engage millennials.

“The students worked in teams, providing a wide range of recommendations, including music concerts and in-person news forums conducted in places students already enjoy,” said Becker. “This idea of the forums capitalized on the basic marketing concept of meeting your audience where they are.”

While Mississippi Today has not yet pursued one “student agency’s” idea of sponsoring a live Bruno Mars concert in the Grove at UM, Becker said they are hosting regular events called “Newsroom from the Taproom” that provide lively discussions on current news topics in popular watering holes around the state.

“I really like the new logo and color palette because it is eye-catching, contemporary and serious without being stuffy,” Becker said. “It does not look like other news resources, so you know immediately when you see it in your inbox or elsewhere that it’s Mississippi Today.”

Becker said students appreciated being on the cutting edge of developing a new information resource for Mississippians that is designed and delivered digitally and is employing young talent to seek out the stories that matter most.

“The students were keenly aware of the issue of fake news and responded very positively to MT’s commitment to accuracy and in-depth reporting,” Becker said. “I am certain that their experience in consulting with Mississippi Today provided insight and experience beyond the classroom that is invaluable as they begin their careers.”

Emily Valentine, 23, was one of the students who participated. The Charlotte, North Carolina native majored in IMC with minors in business and Spanish and now lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

“As a graphic designer and someone who really values good design and a brand’s look/feel, it was very important to me to make sure Mississippi Today had an impact that resonated visually with their target audience,” she said. “Younger people respond better to well done graphics and photography and like to look for reasons to have a personal connection with a brand.”

Valentine said she led her team, creating graphics for print and digital channels and a custom booklet outlining their rebranding process and ideas that was distributed to the client during her presentation.

“It was really interesting to provide a more creative viewpoint to a client like this as well as inject some humor and put a spin on the idea of old school reporting in a digital world,” she said. “This project really cemented my love for establishing a brand and working on the creative, design side of this process. I learned a lot about presenting a concept to a client and how much I enjoy sharing and improving a brand or new ideas.”

White said Mississippi Today has already seen substantial growth in readership both direct to the site and via their social media channels.

“Several loyal readers have reached out asking for mugs, stickers and T-shirts with the new branding,” said White. “Moreover, the update has been a great moral boost to our team, all who feel proud of the way we are visually represented.”

This article was written by LaReeca Rucker. For more information about the School of Journalism and New Media’s programs, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

Public relations student team takes first place in on-site competition at Southeastern Journalism Conference Competition

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ldrucker

Team Included IMC majors for the first time

For the first time, two integrated marketing communications majors were on the winning team in the public relations on-site competition for the Southeastern Journalism Conference Competition.

Team members were IMC majors Hayden Benge and Davis Roberts and journalism major Hailey McKee.

“I am so proud of what our students do,” said IMC Assistant Dean Scott Fiene. “And the fact that the winning three-person team is comprised of both IMC and journalism majors is testament to how students from both our degree programs work together and are prepared for real-world scenarios.”

For the competition, held on the campus of Middle Tennessee State on Feb.15, the team had two hours to complete a communications plan addressing a hypothetical public relations situation given them.

For the first time, IMC students were on the winning team that brought home first place in the on-site PR competition at the Southeastern Journalism Conference Feb. 15. Team members had two hours to create a communications plan for a PR situation they were given. Pictured, left to right, are team members IMC major Davis Roberts, Journalism major Hailey McKee and IMC major Hayden Benge and (Photo credit: Stan O’Dell)

“The situation was detailed, complex and longer than any of us expected,” McKee said. “Though there was temptation to become frozen with pressure, when we started tossing out different ideas and creative strategies for the campaign, I think we quickly found our groove and had a lot of fun with the situation we were given.”

Roberts attributes their success to what he learned in his IMC classes.

“In IMC, I’ve been taught to focus on a particular situation and learn everything I can in order to compose the right message for the right people and effectively deliver that message in a consistent manner across multiple channels,” Roberts said.

Benge and other team members particularly credited their PR classes.

“The 491 and 492 classes for the public relations specialization were very helpful in preparing us for the competition,” Benge said. “The assignments in the classes required us to create PR plans similar to the one in the competition. Having that background definitely assured us that we knew what we were doing.”

The students’ instructor for those classes, Senior Lecturer Robin Street, asked the students to enter the competition.

“I already knew how outstanding these students are, so I never doubted they would win,” Street said. “They all excel in planning, creating and implementing a communications strategy plan.”

Street has also nominated the students, all seniors, for a separate award from the Public Relations Association of Mississippi for Student of the Year.  Those awards will be announced in April.

At the SEJC conference, Assistant Dean of the JNM School Patricia Thompson was named Educator of the year. Six journalism students also placed in other on-site competitions. In addition, journalism students won multiple awards in the Best of the South competition for work they had completed during the school year.

For more information on the SEJC competition results, visit  https://jnm.olemiss.edu/2019/02/19/assistant-dean-students-earn-21-awards-at-journalism-conference/.

Students discuss UM’s new online IMC master’s program

Posted on: February 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media recently launched a new online integrated marketing communication master’s degree program. We asked a few students enrolled in the program their thoughts about it.

Caroline Hughes, 25, is working on her master’s degree in IMC via the online program. She said she plans to use her degree to establish a company that prioritizes ethical business practices and spreads awareness around environmental sustainability.

“Whether that be fashion or beauty, a crafted specialization and understanding of marketing communication I’ve learned as an undergraduate and graduate student will prove beneficial no matter the company focus or industry,” she said.

Hughes said the program began with an introductory IMC course that laid the foundation of overall brand messaging, competition and target audiences. Following that course, Hughes’ Insights and Measurements class emphasized the importance of market research.

“This included everything from conducting and facilitating studies to interpreting the data in order to make conscious marketing decisions,” she said.

Hughes said she likes the flexibility of the online IMC master’s program.

“As a marketing professional, it has been supremely beneficial to tackle my schoolwork outside of the working environment on my time,” she said. “Not only this, but having applicable work experience generates deeper understanding and connection with the material and projects assigned.

“My fellow classmates and I communicate often via discussion platforms, which creates a sense of interaction and community. Additionally, my tenure as an undergraduate IMC student provided both an introduction to the journalism professors as well as a strong foundation of marketing knowledge further expounded upon in the graduate program.”

Loidha Bautista, 37, is also enrolled in the online IMC master’s degree program. So far she’s taken IMC 501 – Introduction to IMC and IMC 503 – Insights and Measurements.

“I learned to look at communications differently,” she said. “Communications should be viewed as a string that ties internal communications in an organization to the external audience and distributors. It’s an integral step to understanding a brand and being able to effectively understand how your brand is viewed and how you want others to view your brand.”

Bautista said the online IMC master’s program is a rigorous program well designed for the working professional.

“The faculty is very knowledgeable and experienced in the field,” she said. “They offer a good pace and excellent observations and input.”

Hailey Heck, 23, is based in Houston, Texas and enrolled in the online IMC master’s program. She attended UM as an undergraduate and graduated with an IMC degree in 2017.

“Soon after graduating, I had the itch for more and decided to obtain a master’s degree in the very same program,” she said. “This school has led me (to) the best professors who encouraged and supported my love of writing and communication.”

Heck said she works on the PR team for a “Big Law” law firm in Houston. She spends her days maintaining awareness – both internally and externally – of the fast-paced landscape of the legal industry in a variety of practice areas.

“When a case is shifted to the opposing team’s favor or the regulatory landscape shifts, the brilliant minds in my office leap into action,” she said. “It is a thing of beauty to watch the choreographed chaos of former White House staffers, former governors and Ivy League scholars determining the best way to advocate for their clients.”

Heck said she took an Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication class last semester with professor Robert Magee, Ph.D., and an Insights and Measurements class with professor Graham Bodie, Ph.D.

“With both of these courses, we learned how the IMC principles can be applied in a variety of contexts,” she said. “In Dr. Bodie’s class, we learned different research methods and ways to analyze the data collected.”

Heck said she’s impressed with how much the IMC program has grown, and she values the convenience of the online IMC master’s program.

“Because I work full time, it was essential that the program I chose could be delivered entirely online,” she said. “When I first heard the news that my alma mater was developing an online program of the degree I loved so much, it was a no-brainer. I had to apply. During my undergraduate studies, I came across the most wonderful, supportive professors who challenged me to go the extra mile and dive deeper. This experience has been no different.”

To learn more about the online IMC master’s program, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

 

Not all University of Mississippi students who study journalism and marketing choose media fields

Posted on: February 5th, 2019 by ldrucker

A recent University of Mississippi business and marketing major, who was also a student in the School of Journalism and New Media, is proving that not all students who study journalism and marketing choose media fields.

Denver Wilson got a job out of college working as the manager of the new Nashville clothing store Dsquared. Wilson, who has worked at Dsquared since she was in high school, helped open their second location in Oxford in 2017. Last winter, owner Lea Easley asked about Wilson’s post-graduation plans.

“I told her that I’ve always wanted to be in Nashville because I wanted to be out of Mississippi, but in a city that is somewhat close to home,” Wilson said. “She asked me if I wanted to help open a Dsquared in Nashville and manage it, and I’ve always wanted to continue working in retail.”

Excited for the next chapter of her life and new responsibilities as the store manager, Wilson contacted a Nashville realtor last June to find the perfect location for the new store that originally opened in Jackson before expanding to Oxford in 2017.

What initially started as a dance store called Dancing Divas in 2009, owners began to focus on supplying contemporary clothing for area moms. Now the store appeals to a variety of ages.

“We realized we could cater to the younger crowd,” said Wilson. “We started off selling homecoming dance dresses, and then it took off.”

Wilson also uses her marketing and journalism skills to promote the store on Instagram. The account is updated with new content every few hours as the store receives orders. Wilson said people can call the store with their payment information, and they will set aside their purchase for pick up or ship it for a small fee.

Wilson said she updates the Nashville store’s Instagram with a variety of content ranging from flat-lay photos to people modeling their newest inventory. “I love taking pictures,” she said.

In recent years, Nashville has been a hot spot for young, post-college grad students and home to many new developments and businesses. Those unfamiliar with the city will quickly learn traffic is challenging, and parking may be worse.

Wilson said she looked for a store location in the 12th South neighborhood, which has taken off within the past few years and is home to some of Nashville’s hottest tourist spots, including Reese Witherspoon’s store Draper James and the I Believe in Nashville sign.

However, Wilson said high traffic flow and lack of parking spots was a significant concern and a make-or-break factor for the new location.

“I’d rather be in a location where you can drive by, and pop in, and not have to worry about paying for a parking spot or hunting one down,” said Wilson, who finally located a vacant store in the popular Green Hills neighborhood near Nordstrom’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Shake Shack, Pottery Barn and many other clothing boutiques.

“It felt like we needed to be here,” said Wilson, who walked into the empty store in the Bandywood shopping center and was shown the building. “It’s like we’re the very last touch in this shopping center.”

The store has a free-form layout. They keep merchandise together that they believe will sell together. “When you walk in, jewelry and sunglasses are arranged neatly on a table,” she said.

To give the store a more boutique feel and reduce clutter, they display an example of their shoes and keep the rest in inventory.

The Dsquared team goes to market four times a year to select merchandise for the store. This past summer, the team spent a week in Los Angeles shopping for their 2019 spring inventory.

Sales Associate Mary-Morgan Coburn said they go to market with a specific strategy and have set meeting times with specific vendors. However, Coburn said they find many new brands appealing.

“When we went to market in L.A.,” Coburn said. “We knew we wanted to order silk scarves for all of the Dsquared locations, but we had no specific brand in mind. We also happened to come across a new handbag brand that we now place a lot of orders with.”

When ordering for the Nashville store, Wilson said they ordered sweaters that would be immediately available because Nashville is colder than Mississippi. She said their spring inventory will arrive a month later in Nashville compared to the Oxford and Jackson store because it stays colder in Nashville.

Dsquared has a successful online business, which is relatively new, Coburn said. She said it’s different than other retailers because they do not keep their inventory in a warehouse.

Wilson said word of mouth and their convenient location has helped their success. She anticipates their customer base will grow.

This story was written by School of Journalism and New Media student Jane Anne Darken for OxfordStories.net originally.

UM School of Journalism and New Media students, faculty spend winter break on Puerto Rico reporting trip

Posted on: January 8th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media continues to offer students extraordinary reporting opportunities outside the mainland United States. A group of students and faculty were in Puerto Rico for Winter Intersession on a multimedia reporting trip to interview island residents about the impact of Hurricane Maria.

Brittany Brown interviews the mayor of Loíza. Loíza, in northeastern Puerto Rico, is the center of Afro-Puerto Rican culture.

Students used social media tools to identify sources before the trip, and while they were in Puerto Rico, they used social media to post frequent updates. One student was invited to join media professionals on a documentary project in Puerto Rico later this year. They were impressed with the content she posted from this trip.

A guided night tour of Old San Juan. Pictured are professors Iveta Imre and Pat Thompson, and students

The group has visited several cities and villages for interviews. Their content – articles, photos, video, audio, graphics and more – were produced for a website and available for other platforms.

Christian Johnson and Devna Bose take photos on a beach in Aguada in northwestern Puerto Rico.

 

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.