School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘meek school’

Third annual SPJ Scary Potluck for Journalists set for Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

Posted on: October 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

Wohoho! Hahaha Hohoho! Wohaahaahaa! (Scary laugh.)

You are invited to bring a snack to the third annual SPJ Scary Potluck for Journalists!

Set for 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30, all journalism and IMC students are invited.

In fact, all majors are welcome.

The event will be held in Room 126 inside Haunted Farley Hall.

Those who attend are asked to bring a snack to share with others.

You’re also asked to bring a few ideas about how we can grow our Society of Professional Journalists chapter that is open to both IMC and journalism students.

Costumes are encouraged, but not required.

Invite a friend. All are welcome. The event is open to anyone interested in journalism.

Come, if you dare!

Share the event to invite others!

For more information, contact LaReeca Rucker at ldrucker@olemiss.edu.

Documentary UM student helped create wins Student Edward R. Murrow Award

Posted on: May 4th, 2019 by ldrucker

A documentary that a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student helped create has won the Student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Digital Reporting.

The 2018 Carnegie-Knight News21 documentary “Hate in America” that UM student Brittany Brown helped create also recently won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in the college category.

Brown was one of the students selected to participate in the national investigation into hate crimes in the U.S. as part of the 2017 Carnegie-Knight News21 multimedia reporting initiative.

The Quitman native has worked for the Student Media Center as a digital content producer, anchor and correspondent for NewsWatch Ole Miss, and as writer and assistant news editor for The Daily Mississippian.

She was an intern at WTOK-TV in Meridian and a research intern in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Summer Research Program. She is former president of the University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists.

Previously, Brown was honored for her work by the Radio-Television Digital News Association, the Broadcast Education Association and the Editor & Publisher EPPY Awards honoring the best in digital media.

Headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, News21 was established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to demonstrate that college journalism students can produce innovative, in-depth multimedia projects on a national scale.

Students from journalism programs across the U.S., as well as Canada and Ireland, joined Cronkite students for the 2018 investigation. They examined the major issues surrounding hate crimes in America.

The students participated in a spring semester seminar in which they conducted research, interviewed experts and began their reporting. The seminar was taught in person and via video conference by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post and Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism, and News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former senior editor for investigations and enterprise at the Houston Chronicle.

“We chose hate crimes and hate incidents as this year’s timely News21 topic because of the apparent increase throughout the country of such acts – from bullying and vandalism to assaults and murders – involving racial, religious, nationality, gender and sexual orientation bias,” Downie said in a news release.

Following the seminar, students moved into paid summer fellowships, during which they worked out of a newsroom at the Cronkite School in Phoenix and traveled across the country to report and produce their stories.

“We will be able to do what many newsrooms cannot, which is to deploy dozens of student journalists to investigate the culture of hate and related acts of violence in every state in the nation,” Petchel said in a news release. “Not only do recent attacks on people of different races and religions call for it, it is the right thing to do in the name of public service journalism.”

Over the past eight years, Carnegie-Knight News21 projects have included investigations into voting rights, post-9/11 veterans, marijuana laws and guns in America, among other topics.

School of Journalism and New Media professor and grad featured on MSNBC

Posted on: September 17th, 2018 by ldrucker

Check out this video of Curtis Wilkie, a School of Journalism and New Media Overby Fellow and associate professor of journalism. School of Journalism and New Media graduate Adam Ganucheau, who is now a reporter at Mississippi Today, is also featured.

Link: https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/curtis-wilkie-i-resent-trump-s-attacks-on-the-media-1320532547611?v=railb&

School of Journalism and New Media professor meets with Ethiopian leaders in Washington, D.C.

Posted on: September 6th, 2018 by ldrucker

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

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

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

Our Graduate Programs

Posted on: July 25th, 2018 by drwenger

The School of Journalism and New Media offers two master’s degrees — one in journalism and one in integrated marketing communications. For the M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications, students can choose from two delivery methods — residential or online. For the M.A. in Journalism, students can choose from two tracks — professional or academic.

M.A. in Journalism

It would be hard to imagine a better place for a journalist to study the art of storytelling at the graduate level than the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. This fabled place that William Faulkner once called his personal “postage stamp of native soil” was indeed fertile soil for writers even before Faulkner began penning his stories and novels. Famed theater critic, journalist and novelist Stark Young lived and taught here at the turn of the last century. A long list of other writers and journalists—from legendary Harper’s editor Willie Morris to former Boston Globe correspondent and current faculty member Curtis Wilkie—have contributed to the mystique of this unique and special place where storytelling, whether written, spoken or seen in vivid images, is the very core of our mission as a journalism program.

Let us show you our state-of-the-art media center and see where many generations of top journalists have learned their craft, journalists such as former Freedom Forum Executive Director Charles Overby (also now on our faculty), Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, and author and top national Associated Press correspondent Jesse Holland. Our journalism graduate program features two distinct tracks—professional and academic. The professional master’s track offers courses in multimedia storytelling, documentary-making and long-form narrative writing that allow journalists to hone their craft to the highest level as they create lasting works of nonfiction, whether in print, online or on a screen. Students in the academic track can do this, too, but they will also take courses specifically designed to develop their research and theoretical skills, preparing them for a future in teaching as well as practicing journalism.

Preliminary Requirements: In addition to meeting graduate school admission requirements, applicants must submit a letter detailing their reasons for wishing to pursue the M.A. in journalism. Please send this letter directly to the School of Journalism and New Media (jnm@olemiss.edu). Applicants also should provide three letters of recommendation, including one addressing the applicant’s mass media experience, if applicable.

Applicants who do not have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in journalism may be required to take up to 12 hours of approved undergraduate journalism. This requirement may be waived for applicants who have significant work experience in the field of journalism.

Course Requirements for journalism tracks:

Academic: Students take a 30-semester-hour program of study, as follows: Jour 651, 652, 654, and 655; 12 hours of elective graduate course work either in the school or in an area of concentration outside the school; and 6 hours of Jour 697 to complete a thesis or thesis project. A thesis project must be a professional work in an appropriate medium equal in scope to a formal thesis, i.e., based on a formal proposal encompassing problem analysis, literature review, method statement, and bibliography. Both the thesis and the project require pre-approval of a written prospectus and an oral examination.

Professional: Students take a 30-semester-hour program of study, as follows: Jour 578, 590, 610, and 668; 12 hours of graduate-level electives (Jour or non-Jour); and 6 hours of Jour 697 to complete a thesis project. A thesis project must be a professional work in an appropriate medium equal in scope to a formal thesis, i.e., based on a formal proposal encompassing problem analysis, literature review, method statement, and bibliography. The project requires pre-approval of a written prospectus and an oral examination. Read more about the professional track here.

Graduate-level journalism courses:

501. MAGAZINE SERVICE JOURNALISM PUBLISHING. Conceptualization, market research, and production for a prototype and media kit for a service journalism magazine. Prerequisite: Jour 401 with a minimum grade of C. (3)

513. THE PRESS AND THE CHANGING SOUTH. An analysis of politics in the southern United States; examination of the role of the press in covering social issues; techniques used to inform the public about phenomena such as protest movements and their impact on social, political, and economic change. (3)

553. SERVICE JOURNALISM MANAGEMENT. Business aspects of magazine publication. Personnel management with emphasis on getting productivity and quality results from creative people. Prerequisite: Jour 401 with a minimum grade of C. (3)

571. COMMUNICATIONS LAW. (3)

572. HISTORY OF MASS MEDIA. (3)

573. MASS COMM, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY. The theory of mass communications technology in relation to media functions, responsibilities, and influence in society. (3)

574. PUBLIC OPINION AND THE MASS MEDIA. Effects of language, culture, and ideology. Communication in the formation and action of crowds, masses, and publics. Mass and personal persuasion and propaganda techniques. The diffusion of ideas. Community power structures. Public opinion measurement. (3)

575. MASS MEDIA ETHICS AND SOCIAL ISSUES. Formulation and discussion of professional ethics for journalists. Analysis of social forces affecting media performance. (3)

577. DEPTH REPORTING. Investigative and interpretative news writing; coverage of courts and legislative bodies; use of public records. Prerequisite: Jour 377 with a minimum grade of C or professional equivalent. (3)

578. MULTIMEDIA DOCUMENTARY REPORTING. Development of skills in conceiving, documenting, recording, and presenting information at broadcast standards as mini-documentaries in newscasts or as 30-minute and 60-minute documentary programs. Prerequisite: Jour 378 with a minimum grade of C or professional equivalent. (3)

580. TOPICS IN JOURNALISM. Perspectives on issues such as international mass communication, media and society, journalism ethics, diversity, etc. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Instructor Approval Required. (3)

590: MULTIMEDIA STORYTELLING I. Students learn effective communications using graphical content, multimedia and interactive elements, creating a deliberate blend to add value to their storytelling. They acquire “hard” as well as “soft” skills needed in an unceasing news cycle. (3)

599. MEDIA PROBLEMS. Directed individual study or professional project. (May be repeated once for credit). Prerequisite: Consent of Department Chairperson Required. (1-3)

610. MULTIMEDIA STORYTELLING II. Expands on principles and techniques learned in Jour 590 as students marry new production skills to evolving news sensibility, producing potentially rules-bending, “out of the box” projects as selected areas of digital media are investigated in-depth. Prerequisite: Journalism 590. (3)

651. RESEARCH IN MASS COMMUNICATIONS. Introduction to basic procedures for gathering and evaluating information in mass communications. (3)

652. SEMINAR IN MASS COMMUNICATION THEORY. A survey of mass communication theory. (3)

653. PROBLEMS IN PUBLIC OPINION. Integration of theory with research methods for the production of a research project. (3)

654. SEMINAR IN COMMUNICATIONS LAW. Continuation of Communication Law with a concentration on specific areas of law in regard to the mass media. Prerequisite: Jour 371. (3)

655. SEMINAR IN HISTORY OF MASS MEDIA. Concentrated analysis and discussion of readings on media history. Prerequisite: Jour 301. (3)

664. JOURNALISM PRACTICES AND ETHICS. Analysis of the people who report the news within the context of a time period, an ethical issue, a specific media or any other construct that provides a cohesive whole. Issues covered will range from professional problems to the human, social, and other consequences of news, news practices and news technology on the people who report the news. (3)

668. NARRATIVE JOURNALISM. In-depth, non-fiction narrative writing course for print, radio and online, consisting of features, profiles, personal essays, travel writing and sports analysis. Considers the practice of narrative journalism within the context of American journalism-literary history and within the context of daily news, giving student writers an expansive platform to explore topics of interest. (3)

680. ADVANCED TOPICS IN JOURNALISM. Advanced perspectives on issues such as international mass communication, media and society, journalism ethics, diversity, communication theory, etc. May be repeated for credit. (3)

697. THESIS/THESIS PROJECT. No grade. (1-12)

M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications

The M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication is a tightly-focused professional master’s degree in which you can learn to create and manage coordinated communications that connect people and organizations. The curriculum blends theory, insight, and real-world application with a focus on the strategic integration of several media fields, including advertising, public relations, brand strategy, digital media, direct mail, content marketing, and research.

By taking an audience-centered approach, you can create consistent and effective messages that influence audience behavior. Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in advertising and PR agencies, corporate communication, media firms, nonprofit organizations, health promotion, political communication, sports marketing, or government.

To explore the residential and online degrees, please visit our program website or explore the course offerings below.

Graduate-level IMC Courses

IMC 501.  PROFESSIONAL IMC SEMINAR.  An intensive survey of basic IMC disciplines, plus an examination of “vertical” interactive organizational components that can influence marketing planning and processes, e.g., management’s mission, distribution, product development.

IMC 502.  CONSUMER BEHAVIOR – UNDERSTANDING THE TARGET AUDIENCE.   Applies insights and techniques of the social sciences to understand and predict how people will respond to messages, products and distribution channels.  This course will focus on the practical application of ideas about consumer behavior to management decision making.  Special attention will be given to recent developments in the discipline, including ideas about online behavior, the creation and manipulation of trends, the rise of marketing consciousness among consumers, the application of anthropological techniques to the study of consumer behavior, and others.

IMC 503.  INSIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS.  Introduces specific methods for generating and acquiring information and data useful for IMC applications.

IMC 504. CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT AND DIRECTION.  Covers – from start to finish — the many facets of IMC creative development and management, all of which are combinations of both right and left-brain thinking.

IMC 505.  INTERNET AND MOBILE MEDIA:  EVOLUTION OF THE DIGITAL SPACE.  This course addresses the ways in which the Internet has changed marketing practice, combining all IMC practices specialized for the Internet platform, so that they can be studied as an integrated whole.  The course includes online consumer behavior, the creation of the website as a business’s basic marketing platform – as catalog and collateral and retail platform and customer service provider.  Search engine optimization, mobile marketing, online research and web videos are also included, as are widgets and other viral strategies.  Search advertising, affiliate marketing, permission-based email marketing, Internet public relations applications, digital promotions and the rapidly expanding business of social marketing are also examined.

IMC 507.  DIRECT AND DATABASE MARKETING.  This course covers multiple methods of marketing to customers and potential customers directly and individually, in contrast with less precise, more broadly focused mass marketing media.

IMC 508.  ADVANCED MEDIA STRATEGY AND ANALYSIS.  This course is a detailed survey  of new media planning and buying that is evolving in the 21st century.  It covers multiple trends and challenges, including: client demand for Integrated Marketing Communications and greater accountability, audience fragmentation, media proliferation and new technologies.

IMC 509.  SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN IMC.  Directed individual study or professional project.  May be repeated once for credit.  Course requirements will reflect a difference between graduate and undergraduate students.

IMC 555. THE INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN. A capstone course involving tactical application of IMC skills and disciplines, and to develop team-building skills. Alternative and competing IMC campaigns will be presented and judged by both professor and client.

IMC 556. MULTICULTURAL MARKETING COMMUNICATION.  Investigation and analysis of cultural diversity in integrated marketing communications and their effects on values, lifestyles and consumer behavior in international markets and within the United States.  Students will learn to anticipate cultural problems and optimize communications for different societies.

IMC 557. BRAND AND RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES.  Focuses on critical thinking and problem solving in choosing the goals and tactics that will enable a firm to grow its business and develop its brand and relationships with key customers.  Includes detailed examination of classic brand-building strategies and the ways in which marketers have developed and communicated strategies.

IMC 601.  ADVANCED ACCOUNT PLANNING.  Presents principles and practices of the account planning process to develop skills, insights and strategies to use in different methods of influencing consumers’ behavior.

IMC 602.  DESIGN AND VISUAL THINKING.  This course will focus on visuals as a means to communicate ideas through the practice of integrated marketing communications. In this class students will be led through exercises that will better facilitate an encompassing view of visual communication and the way it affects a message from concept to creation. Both theory and practice are emphasized.

IMC 692.  REPUTATION MANAGEMENT:  PUBLIC RELATIONS AS A MARKETING TOOL.  This course covers public relations as a key component of integrated marketing communications, interacting with other disciplines to manage a client’s reputation among all publics and stakeholders.

Oxford Stories reporters talk about MLK reporting project in Daily Journal podcast

Posted on: April 21st, 2018 by ldrucker

Oxford Stories reporting classes recently completed a special journalism project about the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Oxford Stories worked in partnership with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal to republish some of the stories student reporters wrote.

Chris Keiffer, of the Daily Journal, later contacted Oxford Stories and asked to do a podcast about the project. Oxford Stories reporters Alexis Rhoden and T’Keyah Jones were interviewed for the podcast. You can listen to their interview at the link below.

http://memo.djournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/The-Memo-04.20.18-MLK-memories.mp3

You can read stories from the project at the website: The Lorraine Motel: 50 Years After the Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

School of Journalism and New Media students win 11 awards in annual Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press contest for college journalists

Posted on: April 8th, 2018 by ldrucker

Students in the Meek School’s Student Media Center won 11 awards in the annual Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press contest for college journalists, including five first-place awards for NewsWatch Ole Miss; Lana Ferguson; Alana Mitius; Clara Turnage and Malachi Shinault; and Matthew Hendley and Joseph Katool.

NewsWatch Ole Miss won first place in the TV newscast category for its Dec. 1 show about NCAA sanctions against the football team. Judges said about the newscast: “Ole Miss athletics got hammered. The Ole Miss journalism students hit a home run. Comprehensive coverage of a story that impacted the Oxford campus. Well thought out. Live shots added to the overall presentation.”

 

Lana Ferguson won first place for feature writing for her story about an Oxford church’s efforts to help a Texas community rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. Alana Mitius won first place in the radio feature category for a package about a debate competition. Clara Turnage and Malachi Shinault won first place for multimedia for their report about activist Correl Hoyle. Matthew Hendley and Joseph Katool won first place for their radio coverage of the NCAA sanctions decision.

Second places were awarded to Ethel Mwedziwendira, for newspaper layout and design; Lana Ferguson and Clara Turnage, for breaking news, for coverage of the arrest of a student for election sign vandalism; NewsWatch Ole Miss, for sportscast or sports program, for its live reports about NCAA sanctions; Abbie McIntosh and Marlee Crawford, in the documentary category, for a package about Orange, Texas, recovering from Hurricane Harvey; DeAndria Turner, in the radio sports category, for a recap of the Ole Miss vs. LSU football game; and Italiana Anderson for radio news, for a package about the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

Unlike in previous years, this year there was no “best newspaper” or “newspaper general excellence” category.

The awards were presented Saturday, April 7, at the Louisiana-Mississippian convention at the World War II museum in New Orleans. In attendance from the Meek School were Lana Ferguson, Matthew Hendley, Ethel Mwedziwendira and Collin Rivera.

Take a virtual tour of the School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: March 20th, 2018 by ldrucker

Have you ever wanted to take a tour of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Here’s your chance!

Link to video.

Husni names The Magnolia Journal as 2017 magazine Launch of the Year

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

In the hit HGTV series “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Joanna Gaines own and operate Magnolia Homes, a remodeling and design business in Waco, Texas. The show chronicles their adventures turning dilapidated houses into showplaces while helping revitalize neighborhoods throughout central Texas.Houses aren’t the only thing that have benefited from the duo’s magic touch. The couple’s magazine, The Magnolia Journal, won the 2017 magazine Launch of the Year Award at the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City Feb. 6.

Dr. Samir Husni, professor, Hederman Lecturer, and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, presented the award along with the MPA: The Association of Magazine Media.

From a field of 212 new magazines launched with a regular frequency between Oct. 2016 and Dec. 2017, Husni said they selected 20, then carefully chose 10 finalists for the top honor.

What made The Magnolia Journal stand out? Husni said the magazine will launch its spring issue Feb. 13 with a $1.2 million rate base.

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 06: Doug Olson and Samir Husni speak on stage at the American Magazine Media Conference 2018 on Feb. 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for The Association of Magazine Media)

“It’s been a long time since a magazine has generated as much buzz in the marketplace as The Magnolia Journal has,” Husni said. “The connectivity of the content and the design made, and continues to make, this magazine fly off the shelves. Under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Joanna Gaines, this print product creates a very interactive experience for readers. All in all, The Magnolia Journal burst onto the scene, and in less than a year, floated to the top, deserving the Launch of the Year Award – an honor well-deserved.”

Husni said the magazine has had amazing success on newsstands. The first issue sold out immediately, and Meredith Corp. had to issue a second printing. “It’s rare in that industry that takes place,” Husni said.

He said one reason the magazine has been successful is because of the couple’s strong connection to their fans. “People who watch their television program always tell me how close they are,” he said. “You feel like you are just talking to them. So the magazine was just an extension. It brought the pixels-on-the-screen-experience to something you can actually hold in your hand. Only print can give you that experience.”

Chip and Joanna Gaines, who serve as the editor-at-large and editor-in-chief, respectively, sent a video response about the award that played during the award ceremony. Joanna Gaines said they were honored that the Waco, Texas-based title won the 2017 Launch of the Year Award, and they thanked Husni.

“For us, this has been such an amazing journey watching these issues come to life,” Joanna Gaines said. “We’ve loved every minute of it … We are really excited about what’s to come with The Magnolia Journal.”

The event was held during the American Magazine Media Conference, the largest magazine media conference in the country. Among the top 10 finalists were titles such as Airbnbmag, Alta, Bake it up!, goop, MILK Street, The Golfer’s Journal, The National, The Pioneer Woman and TYPE Magazine.

“Almost every major magazine publisher published at least one new magazine last year,” Husni said. “That’s why I called 2017 the Year of the New Magazine. He said that’s evidence print magazines are not a dying medium.

Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines, accepted the Launch of the Year Award from Husni. “We’re super excited about it for lots of reasons,” Olson said in a video. “Number 1, it was a huge team effort starting with Chip and Joanna Gaines and their vision and our execution on that. Second, Meredith doesn’t win very many of these awards, so we are super excited and very much appreciate the recognition.”

Husni has a busy season ahead of him with magazines. He is currently preparing for the ACT 8 Experience, an event organized annually by the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism set for April 17-20 in Oxford. The 2018 theme is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

And Newell Turner, one of Husni’s former UM magazine students, who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, at a campus event during the ACT 8 Experience. The event will be held held April 18 in the Overby Auditorium in Farley Hall on the UM campus at 5:30 p.m.

The Silver Em award dates to 1958, and recipients must be Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.

CONTACTS:

 Dr. Samir Husni | 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 | samir.husni@gmail.com

School of Journalism and New Media alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. Pens ‘Black Panther’ Superhero Novel

Posted on: February 1st, 2018 by ldrucker

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

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

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

Jesse Holland Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is a complicated character, Holland said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By