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What you need to know to apply to the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: June 13th, 2022 by ldrucker
An outside shot of Farley Hall with students entering the building.

 

Are you or someone you know thinking about applying for admission to the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media?

On July 1, we encourage you to begin the application process.

Students will apply online at https://admissions.olemiss.edu/

It’s a simple process. Here are the steps:

  • Students apply online, pay the application fee, or submit an ACT/SAT fee waiver.
  • They must supply transcripts from high school and/or all colleges they have attended.
  • While the university is currently considered test optional, students are encouraged to submit ACT and/or SAT scores for consideration for some scholarships and placement in some courses.
  • Once all needed documents are received, the Admissions Office will communicate the admissions decision to the student.

Jennifer Simmons, an assistant dean of the School of Journalism and New Media, said she encourages students to apply even if they are unsure if they plan to attend.

“Students who apply to the UM School of Journalism and New Media will get hands-on, real-world experiences in their major courses that they can carry forth into the workforce,” Simmons said.

Fun classes await.

“There are opportunities to become involved with study abroad, internships, HottyToddy.com, the Student Media Center, and UM Athletics opportunities the first year,” Simmons said.

Students who attend other schools may wait until they are upperclassmen to be considered for similar opportunities.

Simmons said students can become involved in activities their freshman year that could catapult them into the careers of their dreams when they graduate.

Apply online today at https://admissions.olemiss.edu/

IMC Connect! experts share top 10 career advice lessons for IMC students

Posted on: April 1st, 2022 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA, hosted a Q&A Job Prep Panel: The Connection Between Research and Practice with top experts in the field of marketing and communications on Thursday March 31 in the Overby Center Auditorium.

The panel was moderated by Professor Scott Fiene, an associate professor of integrated marketing communications (IMC), and featured distinguished professionals:

 

Chris Chiames, Chief Communication Officer for Carnival Cruise Line

Dr. Timothy Coombs, a Professor at Texas A&M University

Steve Holmes, VP of Corporate Communications and External Affairs at The Home Depot

Renee Malone, President and Founding Partner at KQ Communications

Jenny Robertson, SVP, Integrated Marketing & Communication at FedEx Services

Amy Rosenberg, Digital Media Director at KQ Communications

Dr. Rebecca Britt, Associate Professor at the University of Alabama

Reade Tidwell, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Chick-fil-A

Dr. Candice Edrington, Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina

 

IMC Connect! speakers share career advice in the Overby Auditorium inside Farley Hall

IMC Connect! speakers share career advice in the Overby Auditorium inside Farley Hall

The invited speakers came together in this informal conversational panel to share their words of wisdom and best career advice with interested students. The top 10 career advice lessons shared by these experts in the field include:

 

  1. Be curious and spend time learning about the industry you are interested in. – Dr. Timothy Coombs
  2. Know that you are worthy and can achieve pretty much anything you can do. – Renee Malone
  3. Don’t sell yourself short. – Steve Holmes
  4. Be on time, work hard and don’t be a jerk. Take advantage of unexpected opportunities. – Reade Tidwell
  5. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to be in the game. – Jenny Robertson
  6. Don’t always seek the easiest path. – Chris Chiames
  7. Don’t define success as those around you. The less you compare yourself to others, you can reflect on your success. – Dr. Rebecca Britt
  8. Create a culture where you care about the people you work for and who you work with. – Renee Malone
  9. Learn how to be solution-oriented and a trouble-shooter. – Amy Rosenberg
  10. Don’t live to work, work to live. – Jenny Robertson

 

IMC 580 students Jaclyn Mansour, Nicole Wishard, Haughton Mann, and Margaret Savoie helping check in students before the panel began.

IMC 580 students Jaclyn Mansour, Nicole Wishard, Haughton Mann, and Margaret Savoie helping check in students before the panel began.

 

The PRSSA panel was the first of many events for IMC Connect! Students and guests will continue this fun-filled roundtable experience all day Friday April 1 with panels focused on crisis communication, social justice, social media, building your brand and more.

Carothers works as news producer at WMC Action News 5 in Memphis

Posted on: August 26th, 2021 by ldrucker

Malia Carothers, 23, is forging a path in the journalism world as a news producer working for WMC Action News 5 in Memphis. Carothers joined the broadcast journalism department in college and graduated from the University of Mississippi.

Since college, Carothers has worked as an associate producer for WTVA news and is now one of the producers for Channel 5 News. She lived in Mississippi all her life until moving to Memphis.

Q: What made you want to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism?

A: I was in the yearbook club in high school. I have always been a media person. What sold me on going to the broadcast program at Ole Miss was that I went to a Future Farmers of America (convention) . . . I made it to nationals with one of my projects. They had a sit-down at this thing to broadcast for one of their channels, or something like that. I was like, “I like this,” so I decided to do journalism. And honesty, I only heard of two colleges at the time that offered journalism, and it was Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and between the two, Ole Miss had the better program.

Malia Carothers

Q: How did you become a producer. Had it always been in your plans to be a producer for news stations?

A: Well, honestly, (it’s) all a funny story on how I am a producer now. I just fell into this spot. I’m not going to lie to you; I just fell into it. So when I tell people that no one believes me, it’s like they say, “You’re lying, and this is what you are supposed to be doing.” But I asked Dean Jennifer Simmons of the School of Journalism at Ole Miss if she knew of any video production internships because we need internships for our program. I needed an internship, and she thought I was talking about news producing, which was not what I meant. I like editing, and I like documentaries and things of that nature, so I was looking for a video production internship, and I got in touch with Dean Debora Wenger. She mentioned to me about a producing internship with WTVA. I was interviewed for the spot, and based on the writing test that I took for WTVA for my internship, they asked would I like to be an associate producer instead of doing an internship, and I was like, “Yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?”

Q: Do you think being African American has any affect on your job ethic? Do you feel you have to work harder because you are African American?

A: No, I do not. I work for Action News 5 out of Memphis, and there are many black people working here. I don’t feel pressured by the color of my skin. My work ethic speaks for itself.

Q: How do you pick your stories? Do you bring diversity to the stories?

A: Yes, I always liked being around different people. (That) made me a better producer. It helps me stay grounded and neutral to tell the story. I have always talked and hung out with different types of diverse people. So I believe that being open and diverse helps me bring that in my stories. It all depends on what you know and how you can relate to certain stories that makes it a success.

Q: How do you think your productions have improved the quality of Action News 5 television station?

A: Yes, I am a critical and creative design person, so I brought in different visuals for our section. I also rework how the news goes for the news show. In the beginning, the station ranked at three, and now it is at a six, so I doubled the ratings. So I feel like I am making a difference because I bring in many visual elements, which is a big part. After all, your audience does not want to see the same things over and over.

Q: What type of experience do you have with working with the latest or most current news formatting software?

A: At Channel 5, we use a software called ENPS. It is updated regularly, and we normally don’t make changes to it. The station has been using it, and I don’t have to make any changes. So it’s a learned experience, and it doesn’t change. Each station or shop has different software.

Q: What type of changes can you make to scripts to improve your quality of newcasts?

A: Creative writing. The biggest challenge I have right now is creative writing. My writing is good, but for it to hit higher, I believe I need to be a little better at my creative writing to keep my newscast soaring and improving – playing on words and catching people’s eyes with your words, instead of just visual.

Malia Carothers

Malia Carothers

Q: Why do you think being the news producer at Action 5 is the right fit for you?

A: I wouldn’t necessarily say it is the right fit for me, but I do enjoy what I am doing. As I said, the job fell in my lap, so I decided to work hard and equip myself with this skill to get a job. I decided to keep working in production because I never really cared much about going out and reporting for one. I mean, I will, but I (would) rather be behind the scenes. Another reason is that you do not make that much money by reporting. So it fits with the skills that I have and what I want to do. I chose production because I like to control things, so being a producer, you have that type of control, and it just fits me better than reporting. I guess I like telling people what to do instead of doing it.

Q: As a producer have you done any stories that have been stressful or affected your life in a certain way?

A: No, not really. But only because I don’t think that I am the type of person who gets impacted or affected by things. I think it is how I grew up. Most things do not change my emotional state. It does to others, but It doesn’t stress me out or affect me.

Q: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

A: Well, my contract is for two years with Action 5. It will end the next year – 2022. I do not plan on staying. I have lived in Oxford all my life, and Memphis is only a skip and a hop away from Oxford, so I plan to move away. I want to experience other places, and I want to go beyond Memphis. I don’t plan to keep producing, but I would still like to be a regular producer if I do. I’m getting my master’s in marketing communications right now, and I want to get into marketing to become a business consultant to help people grow their business. Being a producer is equipping me to be prepared for my future business career. I want to be the best me.

Q: Do you have any advice for future journalism students who want to become producers?

A: Honestly, it’s God how I landed here. That’s all I can say. And even if I don’t like the job, I believe it is my drive – my drive to do my best and to work hard, that has brought me to where I am now. I always strive to get better even if I don’t like the job, and I am going to do my best to be the best. My main point is that you need to be a journalist before anything. When it comes to writing a story, whether you’re a reporter or a producer, I feel like you should never focus on any trends. If you want to be in this field, talk to more people, meet more people, doing this will help you to be more diverse, and write. You have to learn how to write because you will need the experience.

This story was written by student Nikki Marzette.

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media welcomes four new professors

Posted on: August 26th, 2021 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has four new faces.

The faculty and staff has welcomed Dr. Amanda Sams Bradshaw, Ike Brunner, Brad Conaway and Dr. Marquita Smith to new positions.

Amanda Sams BradshawDr. Amanda Sams Bradshaw, assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, conducts research that focuses on how social network interactions impact maternal health decision-making, specifically childhood vaccine hesitancy. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Alabama, Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University, and Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida.

Her professional experience includes three years as the public relations manager of Preferred Medical Group, a multi-disciplinary, multi-location medical practice, where she rebranded the company, co-led a merger, wrote and produced 18 television commercials, and generated $875,000 in potential revenue.

She later held the role of director of sales and brand growth for Chick-fil-A in Lawton, Oklahoma, resulting in an outside sales increase of 600 percent over one year. Simultaneously, she owned and operated a social media consulting firm for more than two years before beginning her Ph.D.

Ike BrunnerIke Brunner, instructional assistant professor of social media and data analytics, is part of the IMC faculty specializing in social media, data analytics, and influencer marketing. He has over a decade of industry experience in market research and digital/social media marketing and has worked with all types of businesses, from local SMBs to top international global companies. He has expertise in digital marketing and social media training, strategy, research, and evaluation.

Ike received his Ph.D. in communication studies from Bowling Green State University and previously taught at Wright State University and Texas Tech University.

Brad ConawayBrad Conaway, instructional assistant professor of social media and data analytics, earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Texas – one in radio/TV/film and one in English literature, with a history minor. Following a 15+ career in television content producing, now he studies and specializes in emerging forms of digital communication, especially social media.

As a digital manager, he created a social media strategy that was named “Best in Company” in terms of “engagement” analytics. As the corporate digital content manager, Conaway led Raycom’s push to think “digital first” using social media.

Conaway has covered several events from a local shooting at a courthouse, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia upon re-entry in 2003, and the morning of Super Bowl 45 in 2011 that blanketed Dallas for two days caused by a super freeze resulting in injuries. He was an Emmy nominee, Best Morning Newscast-Large Market and TAPB winner, and Best Morning Newscast-Large Market winner in 2010.

Marquita SmithMarquita Smith, Ed.D., is the assistant dean for graduate programs. Smith earned her doctorate from the University of Arkansas focusing on curriculum and instruction and faculty leadership. She believes graduate education is a privilege and opportunity for students to gain outstanding communication and research skills.

Her vision for the school’s graduate programs is for students to acquire advanced and enhanced knowledge of journalism and integrated marketing communications. The goal is for each degree program to provide a unique experience for those interested in professional practitioner development, media production expertise and leadership, or the generation of new knowledge in the field.

Smith has a background in journalism and has worked in various newsrooms in Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia for 16 years. Her last newsroom position was the Virginia Beach bureau chief at The Virginian-Pilot.

In 2008, Smith went on leave from The Pilot to complete a Knight International Journalism Fellowship in Liberia. During her time in West Africa, she created a judicial and justice reporting network. Both networks continue to operate in the post-war country today. Smith, selected as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana for the 2016-2017 academic year, is passionate about teaching and researching in West Africa.

In 2012, Smith, an associate professor, was named to the JournalismDegree.org list of Top 50 Journalism Professors. Prior to moving to Oxford, Smith served as the Communication and Fine Arts Division Chair and Coordinator of Diversity Relations at John Brown University. She is a past chair for AEJMC’s Commission on the Status of Minorities and a past member of the national organization’s board of directors. Her research interests focus on media development, public health communications and topics on diversity and inclusion.

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/.