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University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘MSPA’

Morgan named fellow at Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics

Posted on: February 8th, 2022 by ldrucker

Dr. R.J. Morgan, an award-winning teacher and director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, has been named a Fellow at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at Ole Miss, according to chairman Charles Overby.

His role at the center will focus primarily on scholastic media, journalism education and related topics. He will also coordinate scheduling and operations for the center and function as a liaison between it and the School of Journalism and New Media, where he is an instructional associate professor.

“R.J. has the practical experience, enthusiasm and engaging personality that students love,” Overby said. “He will help energize the Overby Center, and he will help promote First Amendment values for our next generation.”

R.J. Morgan speaks at a podium.

R.J. Morgan.

Morgan is a nationally-recognized speaker, judge and scholar in the field of high school journalism. He has served as MSPA director since 2013 and recently launched the Integrated Marketing Communication Association, a national high school media/marketing organization housed at the University of Mississippi.

He sits on executive/advisory boards for multiple scholastic media organizations, serves on the national certification committee for the Journalism Education Association, and was named Awards Chair for the Scholastic Media division of the Association for Educators of Journalism and Mass Communication last fall. He received the Elizabeth Dickey Distinguished Service Award from the Southern Interscholastic Press Association in 2018 and earned Master Journalism Educator status from JEA in 2020.

“I’ve been involved in student media in one role or another since I was in the eighth grade,” Morgan said. “The time I spent on my high school and college newspaper staffs was easily the most influential and rewarding experience of my educational career, so being able to help create those same powerful learning environments for successive generations of students has become my life’s work. As a lifelong Southerner and a strong First Amendment advocate, I am beyond excited to continue these efforts through the Overby Center.”

Among other university appointments, Morgan is a member of the School of Journalism and New Media’s executive committee and leads the school’s Talbert Fellows honors cohort. He was elected to the University of Mississippi Faculty Senate in 2021.

Morgan has a Ph.D. in K-12 education leadership from the University of Mississippi. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Mississippi State University and began his teaching career at Starkville High School, where he received several honors including STAR Teacher, Third Congressional District Teacher of the Year and the Paul Cuicchi Innovative Educator Award.  He also advised the school’s newspaper, yearbook and broadcast programs and was thrice named MSPA Adviser of the Year.

Morgan spent 16 years covering college sports for The Associated Press and has written pieces for Religion Unplugged, Sporting News magazine, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, among others. He is currently working on his first book-length project about the folk and civil rights movements of the early 1960s.

Latest COVID-19 Updates from the UM School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: March 25th, 2020 by ldrucker
  • Apart Yet Together: UM School of Journalism and New Media faculty offer thoughts about school changes caused by COVID-19. – posted Thursday, March 26, at noon.
  • A message from the Dean of the School of Journalism and New Media about COVID-19 – posted Monday, March 16 at 3:48 p.m.
  • Samir Husni, Ph.D., has announced that the Magazine Innovation Center at the School of Journalism and New Media will postpone its ACT 10 Experience magazine conference until Monday, Oct. 5 through Wednesday, Oct. 7. The event with the theme “Change is the Only Constant” was originally scheduled to be held April 21-23 – posted Monday, March 16, at noon.
  • The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media will postpone the Silver Em award ceremony that was originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 1 at 6 p.m. in the Jackson Avenue Center. We are hoping to reschedule the event.
  • The school has canceled the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association spring high school journalism convention that was originally set for Tuesday, March 31, on the University of Mississippi campus.
  • The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, which is housed inside the School of Journalism and New Media, has canceled its final three programs for the spring 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, Charles Overby, chairman, announced on Friday. “We regret having to cancel these programs, but we agree that public safety is paramount.” The Overby Center’s decision is in line with the university’s announcement that it is canceling on-campus instruction and all events.  The Overby programs were to have been on March 24, March 31 and April 7. Decisions about fall programs will be made at a later date.

No other information has been provided at this time, but we will be updating this post as we receive more.

Journalism Work About the COVID-19 Pandemic

Professor Michael Fagan’s journalism and IMC students vlog about life in the time of the coronavirus

Publishing During A Pandemic: Magazine media industry leaders Talk to our own Mr. Magazine™

The Daily Mississippian’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

Hotty Toddy’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

NewsWatch Ole Miss coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

Oxford Stories coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic


*The University of Mississippi announced yesterday that it will cancel classes March 16-20 and move classes online following an extended break.

UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce released a statement Thursday saying the decision is a response to the rapidly evolving situation with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

University leaders hope the decision will help maximize social distancing, and slow transmission of the virus.

Click this link to read the chancellor’s entire statement.

Click this link to read the latest University of Mississippi updates about COVID-19.

The last 48 hours have presented new challenges to our entire community. Our compassion and love for one another makes the Ole Miss family unique. Support members of our community who need us now more than ever. Give to the Rebel Relief Campaign –

It is important to understand the COVID-19 symptoms as well as preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of this virus. (THREAD)

The UM Call Center is now open to answer your questions. COVID-19 Hotline (662)-915-3600. Health Services Hotline (662)-915-3700. Available: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. all week.

Mississippi Scholastic Press Association establishes endowment to invest in youth

Posted on: September 23rd, 2019 by ldrucker

More than 500 aspiring teenage writers, publishers and journalists from all corners of the state shared their work and learned from high-profile communicators last spring at the 72nd Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Statewide Spring Convention, hosted by the University of Mississippi.

Now MSPA Director R.J. Morgan hopes the association’s recent $60,000 gift establishing the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Endowment will ensure that these students and more like them will continue to enjoy robust annual conventions and other strategic support from MSPA for years to come.

“This endowment is a historic moment for us, and it comes at a critical time for both journalism and education in our country,” Morgan said. “We are hoping to build a financial foundation that will allow us to continue meeting the needs of our current members while better positioning us for long-term growth and success deep into the distant future.”

High school students attending the 72nd Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Statewide Spring Convention, hosted by UM, receive awards for their outstanding work.

High school students attending the 72nd Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Statewide Spring Convention, hosted by UM, receive awards for their outstanding work.

MSPA was founded in 1947 to support, promote and nurture journalism and marketing communications programs in the high school setting. It achieves its goals through workshops, competitions and conventions and by providing ongoing assistance and advice for teachers and students involved in producing their schools’ student publications.

With a current membership of 110 publications from 67 different schools, MSPA is open to any Mississippi school that has a newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, online publication, broadcast and/or journalism or marketing class.

MSPA hosts two statewide student conventions each school year — at UM and the University of Southern Mississippi — and a three-day institute each summer for teachers who advise student publications.

“The conventions are great opportunities for Mississippi high school students to get a taste of life on a college campus,” said Morgan, an instructional associate professor in the UM School of Journalism and New Media. “They learn a lot while they’re here — practical ideas they can take home to improve their school publications.

“But the conventions also serve as a rallying point and pep rally for many students, because often they are not praised as highly as, for example, their football team or marching band,” he continued. “We want students to know this is something they should feel proud of, something they can hang their hat on.”

The spring convention’s Pam Hamilton Keynote Address was delivered by Ronnie Agnew, an Ole Miss alumnus and director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Agnew is a veteran of the newspaper and news industry, previously serving as the executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.

Other past speakers include longtime anchor and reporter Howard Ballou of WLBT in Jackson, award-winning author Kiese Laymon, Mississippi Today’s Marshall Ramsey, and Lori Oglesbee-Petter, a nationally recognized newspaper and yearbook adviser who serves as an advocate for First Amendment rights.

At the convention, the MSPA awards student work in over 100 categories, including statewide publications of the year, Mississippi High School Journalist of the Year, the Orley Hood Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism and other portfolio-based All-Mississippi recognitions. Between the fall and spring conventions, more than 1,000 individual pieces of work were submitted for consideration.

“The awards are really what the kids get most excited about,” Morgan said. “There’s nothing more rewarding than working extremely hard behind the scenes on designing a yearbook, shooting a killer football hype video or chasing a juicy news story and then having your audience absolutely love it. But then to get recognized for that work at the state level? It just positively reinforces the skills they’ve learned and justifies a lot of long nights in the editing room.”

Will Norton, dean of the UM School of Journalism and New Media, holds the MSPA’s work in high regard.

“One of the overarching goals of the University of Mississippi is extending excellence to the state’s communities through the programs we sponsor. The MSPA is the cream of the crop in this capacity, truly the best of the best,” said Norton. “I am truly proud of the work MSPA leaders are doing, investing in the youth of our state.”

The MSPA Endowment accepts gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, mail a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the endowment’s name in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or online at

To support the School of Journalism and New Media, contact Nikki Neely Davis, executive director of development, at 662-915-6678 or

This story was written by Bill Dabney and Justin Whitmore and first appeared on the University of Mississippi Foundation website.