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University of Mississippi journalism student’s News21 team wins Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

Posted on: June 4th, 2021 by ldrucker

For the third straight year, students in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program have won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award recognizing the best collegiate reporting in the country on social justice issues. A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate was part of the project.

Matthew Hendley, who graduated last month, was part of the 2021 winning project, “Kids Imprisoned.  Hendley was one of 35 student journalists from 16 universities across the country who spent eight months reporting on the state of the country’s juvenile justice system.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this team of talented journalists,” Hendley said. “Unfortunately, neither our work nor this award will fix the problems within the juvenile justice system, but I hope we’re able to bring these issues to light with our efforts and take one step closer toward truth and justice for all youth.”

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

“Working virtually from their home states during the pandemic, the students investigated private companies that run programs in detention facilities, conditions in detention facilities, policing practices, employee misconduct, and the impact of the juvenile justice system on families, communities and victims,” the news release reads. “They worked under the direction of News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.”

You can read more about Hendley’s thoughts on the News21 program here.

For more information about our journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) programs, visit this link.

UM senior working on News 21 project wins top college honors in Louisiana-Mississippi AP competition

Posted on: June 29th, 2020 by ldrucker

The Reward of Public Service

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student, who is spending his summer reporting for News 21 – an award-winning investigative reporting project from the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University – recently won two top awards in the college division of the Louisiana – Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters and Media Editors competition. Matthew Hendley won first place in the TV Reporter category, and his television reporting work was named Best In Show.

The two-state competition, which received more than 1,200 entries, is sponsored by the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. The AP is a not-for-profit news cooperative representing thousands of U.S. media organizations.

“I believe it was for my 2019 reporting reel, in which I covered the pro-Confederate marches, the Associated Student Body resolution to move the Confederate statue, and several feature stories, including one on Ole Miss’ male cheerleaders and another on student-firefighters at Ole Miss,” said Hendley, who was happy to be recognized for stories he was interested in telling.

“The awards have been fantastic and very affirming,” he said. “But the last few years have taught me that the real reward in journalism is knowing that you’ve done a public service, that your work has made a positive impact and has instituted real change.

“That’s why I’m pursuing a career in this field. I hope to be able to say that is what my work has accomplished at the end of my career. The stories are what matter, not the awards.”

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Hendley is now participating in the national investigative reporting project News 21. Each year, partner universities nominate top students to participate in the spring seminar and summer project that investigates a relevant topic. UM graduate Brittany Brown participated in News 21 in 2018 that explored the topic “Hate in America.”

“This summer, our project is ‘Kids Imprisoned,’” Hendley said. “We’re investigating the ins and outs of the juvenile justice system, from the school-to-prison pipeline to the across-the-board disparities that minority youth face,” he said. “I’m diving into two main storylines this summer: one being an in-depth investigation into gang-affiliated youth and their involvement in the juvenile justice system, and the second is an investigation into what juvenile justice looks like for Native American youth.

“It has really been a blessing because last fall I got to witness and be a part of such thorough research and storytelling at ’60 Minutes.’ A few months later, I joined this project and started filling research binders and developing source contacts for News 21. I’m quite literally using every skill I learned both at ’60 Minutes’ and at Ole Miss. It’s been a very fulfilling project so far.”

Hendley said he’s part of an excellent News 21 team this year.

“Most of our reporting is being done virtually from an Airbnb in Phoenix because of COVID-19,” he said. “But our editors are allowing us to use this opportunity to tell these stories in an unconventional way rather than letting the virus limit what we can do.”

Terry Cassreino, a 1985 graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and radio and TV, worked more than 24 years in Mississippi newspapers before becoming the communications director and journalism teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison. He taught Hendley before he enrolled in UM.

“During the spring of his junior year at St. Joe, Matthew auditioned for an anchor spot on Bruin News Now for the fall,” Cassreino said. “Up to this point, Matthew had never delved into journalism. I could tell, though, from his audition that he had the potential to be a strong anchor for our weekly video school newscast, Bruin News Now.”

By midway through the first quarter of his senior year, Cassreino said he could tell Hendley had strong news instincts and could easily connect with the audience as anchor.

" Matthew had the ‘IT’ factor, the intangible quality that made him strong in front of the camera. He also did some news reporting and put together some strong features. But his strength was anchoring the newscasts. He became our regular weekly anchor with other co-anchors rotating every week.”
Terry Cassreino
Terry Cassreino

“Matthew had the ‘IT’ factor, the intangible quality that made him strong in front of the camera,” Cassreino said. “He also did some news reporting and put together some strong features. But his strength was anchoring the newscasts (he became our regular weekly anchor with other co-anchors rotating every week).”

Hendley also produced the Coach’s Pre-Game show, a weekly 10-minute radio show that preceded the student-produced live coverage of St. Joe varsity football that streamed live over Bruin Sports Radio and aired live over WJXC Jackson, Mississippi Catholic Radio.

This, like the Bruin News Now newscasts, was student-produced, student-hosted and student-driven. Again, Hendley demonstrated a strong voice for the radio and was a natural fit for the live sports programming.

“Matthew was a dedicated, hard-working student who took my class – and his responsibilities of being the chief news anchor – seriously,” Cassreino said. “His dedication and steadily growing interest was evident. He eventually went on to win Best News Anchor at the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association state convention in the spring of his senior year.”

News 21
The News 21 project

Cassreino said he has kept in touch with Hendley as much as possible and has followed his UM career.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of his accomplishments,” he said. “I told him that if he was interested in broadcast journalism that he would enter Ole Miss with a distinct advantage over other freshmen because he took my class.

“It came as no surprise when I learned he won an anchor spot at NewsWatch Ole Miss in his freshman year. And the AP award he received for radio work was for a live program he and another of my alumni, JoJo Katool, produced for Ole Miss radio about the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sanctions against the football program. I listened to the show. It was great.”

With his “60 Minutes” internship and his work with News 21, Cassreino said Hendley is positioning himself to have an incredibly successful career as a broadcast journalist.

“He can do anything he wants,” he said. “Matthew can write his own ticket. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him anchor a major network nightly news cast – he is that talented and determined. He is hard-working, talented, determined and honest. He gets journalism. He understands the importance of solid journalism.”

Dean Debora Wenger, Ph.D., said nothing Hendley achieves surprises her.

“He is just one of those students who is always willing to work harder and grab more opportunities to grow as a journalist,” she said. “We look forward to the day when Matthew is an investigative reporter for a major national news outlet and comes back to campus to help the next crop of students on their way.”

Right now, the UM senior plans to return to campus this fall.

“I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t love having my face on TV and feeling that what I’m saying matters to people,” he said. “I think that comes from fighting for attention as the youngest child. Being on-air is very stimulating. Ideally, though, I’d like to take the anchor chair on a network newscast – after earning my stripes reporting in the field, of course.”

Hendley said he would be remiss if he didn’t speak up on what’s happening in our country and on our campus, subjects he’s currently learning more about in the News 21 project.

“To address underclassmen directly, we have a role to play in the battle for equality in law and society,” he said. “Students are enrolling in our j-school at a very critical point in our university’s history. You don’t want to graduate feeling as if you could have done more to fight for truth. Take advantage of the role we’ve been given as journalists – there’s no reason that we can’t make our campus a better place.”

To learn more about the News 21 project, visit the website here. The project will launch at the end of July. You can follow Hendley on Twitter @MattHendley.

There were a number of University of Mississippi students who won awards in the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters and Media Editors competition. For a list of all winners, visit this website.

Q & A with Matthew Hendley; 60 Minutes intern and News21 fellow

Posted on: November 27th, 2019 by ldrucker

Matthew Hendley, a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student, has been selected for News21, a national college journalism program that tackles one tough subject every year.

Hendley is a junior broadcast journalism major from Madison, Mississippi. He has worked as a NewsWatch Ole Miss anchor, play-by-play announcer for Rebel Radio and local government reporter at the Beat Reporter. In his freshman year, Hendley won first place in the Southeast Journalism Conference TV newscast anchoring competition.

We asked Hendley a few questions about the program and other journalism opportunities he has experienced through UM.

Q: In 2020, News21 will be examining violent crimes committed by juveniles across the country and how they are treated before, during and after incarceration. Do you think this will be an interesting topic to explore?

A: This project is going to be extremely interesting to dive into. I’ll be in a class for the entire spring semester dedicated solely to this topic. Nearly 53,000 youth are held in facilities away from home as a result of juvenile or criminal justice involvement on any given day. Though I’m still fresh on this topic, I think it will be fascinating to look deeper into the more serious crimes that juveniles commit, and how that affects their image in the eyes of the justice system, as well as society.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Q: Brittany Brown, another student who was enrolled in our program, worked with News21 recently. Have you had a chance to talk to her about her experience?

A: Brittany thinks very highly of the program. I think the experience was great for her, and the work she and her team produced is evidence of that. “Hate in America” (the name of the documentary Brown and her team produced) was excellent journalism. Brittany gave me tips for my application and even put in a good word. She and others made it a very smooth process.

Q: What led you to apply for the opportunity?

A. The school sends an application to the program on behalf of one student, so when Dr. Wenger asked me if I would consider applying, I jumped on the opportunity. I owe my gratitude to my advisors, mentors and deans. I feel very honored.

Q: What do you hope to gain from the experience?

A: It’ll be cool to be at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State. Chasing the story around the country will be fun. I look forward to working with a team of journalists from places vastly different than Mississippi. Dublin? British Columbia? That’s pretty awesome. I’m excited to see how we approach this project given our various backgrounds. My hope is that my lens continues to widen as I’m exposed to the experiences and difficulties of those involved in our investigation. The News21 teams in the past have produced impressive, award-winning works of journalism. I have faith that we’ll do the same.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Q: You are currently interning in New York with the long-running television news program “60 Minutes.” What has that experience been like?

A: “60 Minutes” is going well and just about to wrap up. It’s always interesting working in a news environment in the time we live in. Obviously, “60 Minutes” isn’t your typical newsroom. I’m observing and learning how to take it slow and really investigate a story through research and preparation. It is incredible to see how many elements are involved in creating what ends up going on air. The editorial eye here is world class, and I feel privileged that they even let me in the building.

News21’s participating universities include Butler University, DePauw University, Dublin City (Ireland) University, Elon University, Kent State University, Morgan State University, St. Bonaventure University, Syracuse University, University of British Columbia, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Mississippi, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In addition, approximately a dozen ASU students will be part of the program.