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Graduation is Saturday, May 11. Here’s your graduation checklist.

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

It won’t be long until students put on their cap and gown and march in line during the University of Mississippi’s graduation ceremony.

Graduation will be held Saturday, May 11. The morning commencement ceremony will be at 9 a.m. in the Grove. The School of Journalism and New Media graduation will be in the C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum at 3 p.m.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the group chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, will be the graduation speaker.

Students had the opportunity to participate in a graduation expo March 19-21 that answered many questions about the graduation process. Now they can refer to the commencement website for more information.

http://commencement.olemiss.edu/commencement-timeline/

Here are a few reminders by month:

April

  • If you expect to graduate with Latin honors, find out when and where your college or school will be distributing honors cords.

May

  • Verify the time and location (including inclement weather location) for your college or school ceremony.
  • Pick up cap and gown from the C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.
  • All monetary type holds should be cleared before you leave.
  • Diplomas will not be mailed if you have a bursar, financial aid or library hold.
  • May 11 – Commencement Day. Congratulations and Hotty Toddy!
  • Gowns should be returned at the conclusion of your college/school ceremony.  Instructions will be given at the ceremony.

A Winter Week in Puerto Rico: Journalism students visit island to produce hurricane recovery report

Posted on: March 20th, 2019 by ldrucker

For a week during winter break, University of Mississippi journalism students Brittany Brown and Devna Bose traded the comforts of home for waking up each morning at the first sign of light on an island they had never visited.

They were struck by the juxtaposition between the beauty provided by Puerto Rico’s mountains, beaches and rainforests and the lingering effects of one of history’s worst natural disasters.

But, the two Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students in the university’s School of Journalism and New Media did not visit the island to see the views.

Brown and Bose were part of a group that went with a mission: to tell stories of recovery 16 months after Hurricane Maria. The hurricane is linked to 3,000 deaths and shook the infrastructure of the United States territory to its core.

UM student Brittany Brown (left) interviews artist Raúl Ayala at his shop in Loíza, Puerto Rico. Photo by Jasmine Karlowski

“Puerto Rico was of interest because, after doing some initial research, we knew that there were still good stories to tell about how its residents were coping after the two hurricanes that devastated the island, particularly in impoverished areas and in communities of color,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media. “We also found ties between Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts and Mississippi students, residents and companies.”

For Brown, the trip was not solely for educational purposes. Her father is Puerto Rican, and she wanted to further understand her ancestry by visiting his family’s homeland.

“I really don’t know a lot about the Puerto Rican culture,” said the senior print journalism major from Quitman. “So, it was very much a personal reason I wanted to go to Puerto Rico, and with this opportunity I thought, ‘Why not go there while also doing something I love, which is journalism and reporting.’”

They packed so much work into the short winter intersession trip that not much spare time was available for sightseeing.

“We traveled all over the island,” Brown said. “We covered as much ground as we could. Every day we were up with the sunrise driving to the ends of the island. We were there to work – to talk to people and tell stories.

“We really got to dig into the culture of Puerto Rico. We were embedded into small communities and building relationships with everyday Puerto Ricans who are living with the effects of the hurricanes still.”

The Ole Miss multimedia team included journalism student Christian Johnson, photojournalism mentor and recent graduate Ariel Cobbert, and M.F.A. graduate student Jasmine Karlowski, who also is a Study Abroad staff member. The project was led by Thompson and assistant professor Iveta Imre.

The trip was an opportunity for students to stretch their legs journalistically and put the lessons they are learning to the test in a practical environment. Weeks of phone calls and emails before the trip, along with the interviews, photographs and video from the week in Puerto Rico, will be used to produce multimedia stories that will be published this semester.

“(Once it’s published) I’m going to feel like we really accomplished a lot,” said Bose, a senior journalism major from Philadelphia. “I feel like I was pushed on the trip and I gained a lot as a reporter and as a person. It really forced me to learn how to communicate.

UM student Brittany Brown (left) interviews Minerra Ramos-Osorio in Loíza, Puerto Rico. Photo by Jasmine Karlowski

“This is going to be the only clip I have like this, where I have a hand in the photos, the video and graphics that are being made. It’s one of the most thorough pieces I’ve written. So, I’m going to feel like I put to use all the skills that I’ve learned here at Ole Miss.”

Bose and Brown said they were inspired by how the residents of Puerto Rico welcomed them, the hospitality of the people, and their passion and vigor for life despite traumatic experiences.

“Many people are still hurting,” Brown said. “Some literally have PTSD, and if it rains too hard or the wind blows too hard, it can be scary. But the people of Puerto Rico are still so passionate and they refuse to sit in pity and wallow about their situation. I would describe them as resilient.”

Bose’s project will focus on the mental and emotional impact the storms had on residents.

“I am looking at how the people were affected and what’s being done to improve mental health on the island since the hurricane,” she said.

Bose said the residents were open and hospitable to them as reporters, and they seemed to embrace having their stories told instead of viewing the students with skepticism.

“We were really careful to make sure we weren’t exploiting anyone’s tragedy or taking advantage of their situation,” she said. “But no one seemed to think like that. It didn’t seem to cross anyone’s mind. They were just so eager to share their voice, which was amazing to me.”

Some of the students spent time examining recovery and the impact of the hurricanes on Loíza, a small, majority Afro-Puerto Rican town in the northeastern part of the island. In a few ways, Loíza drew comparisons to Mississippi in terms of the Magnolia State’s relationship to the rest of the United States.

“The story I’m working on shows a lot of parallels between Loíza and Mississippi,” said Brown, who aspires to one day be a documentary filmmaker. “Loíza has one of the highest percentages of black Puerto Ricans; Mississippi is one of the states with the largest percentage of African-Americans.

“It is one of the poorest cities on the island; Mississippi is one of the poorest states. But there is a resilience and a will to keep moving despite not having access to many resources, living in poverty and family members leaving the island. We deal with those things here, too.”

In more rural locations on the island, English becomes less commonly spoken. Brown said her ability to speak Spanish was tested during interactions in parts of the island, and she was glad she was able to get out of her comfort zone and practice her Spanish.

“This was my first time really reporting in Spanish,” she said. “My minor is Spanish, and I feel confident in my ability to report in Spanish, but this was the first time I’ve really put the pedal to the metal and really tested myself.”

Thompson said the students represented the university exceptionally well on the trip.

“Watching our students expand their storytelling skills as they explored other cultures (was most memorable for me),” she said. “Several sources complimented our students on their interviewing skills, saying they were as good or better than national media who had interviewed them.”

Bose said she is grateful to Thompson for her leadership and work to make this opportunity possible for students.

“It amazed me that she pulled this trip together in such a short timeframe,” Bose said. “We never would have been able to do anything that we were able to do without her guidance, so I’m just really grateful to her.”

The School of Journalism and New Media works with the university’s Study Abroad Office to offer students a variety of reporting trips to locations around the globe.

This story was written by Justin Whitmore of UM Communications. If you are interested in learning more about our programs or becoming a student, please email umjourimc@olemiss.edu.

The Truth About Fake News: Washington Post columnist speaks at Wednesday event

Posted on: March 18th, 2019 by ldrucker

With the phrase “fake news” increasingly used in jokes and memes, the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics will convene a panel of journalists on Wednesday, March 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Mississippi for a conversation on the sobering truth about fake news and how the phenomenon is undercutting the foundation of our democracy.

Leading the discussion will be Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for The Washington Post, who has called on the media to retire the phrase. “ ‘Fake news’ has had its 15 minutes of fame,” she wrote in a column. “Let’s put this tainted term out of its misery.”

Although Sullivan agrees that the media must deal with problems like mistakes, disinformation and conspiracies, she wrote that “putting them all in a blender and slapping on a fuzzy name doesn’t move us forward.”

Before joining The Washington Post, Sullivan was the fifth public editor of The New York Times, and the first woman to hold that job. She was also the first woman to be top editor and managing editor of the Buffalo News, her hometown paper. She began there as a summer intern and went on to become a distinguished reporter and columnist before running the paper.

Joining Sullivan in the conversation will be Charles L. Overby, chairman of the Overby Center and a long-time newspaper executive. He is also the former chairman and CEO of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and Diversity Institute.

In addition, Greg Brock, a senior fellow at the Overby Center will join Sullivan, with whom he worked at The New York Times. Brock was an editor for 20 years at The Times before retiring in 2017. In his final role as senior editor for standards, he worked closely with Sullivan during her time as public editor.

A conversation about “fake news” will be impossible to have without taking into account President Trump’s use of the term, which Sullivan noted in a column in February he has used at least 400 times since becoming president. Wrote Sullivan: “It’s as simple as this: Trump doesn’t believe that the news about him is fake. No matter how many times he says it. He merely objects to the fact that it doesn’t reflect well on him.”

The program is the fourth in the Overby Center’s schedule for the spring. It is free and open to the public, like all of the center’s events. A reception will be held following the program. Free parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the Overby Center Auditorium.

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.

Associated Press reporter Emily Wagster Pettus named Silver Em winner

Posted on: March 8th, 2019 by ldrucker

Between 2003 and 2014, U.S. newspapers lost 35 percent of their statehouse reporters, a percentage slightly higher than newspaper staffing nationwide, the Pew Research Center reports.

As news staffs shrink across the country, state government reporters have become an endangered species. Those who remain in the role understand the importance of their work in our democracy.

That’s one reason Emily Wagster Pettus, who has been reporting on Mississippi government since 1994, was selected as the 2018 Silver Em winner.

Emily Wagster Pettus

“When there are fewer news outlets sending local reporters to cover the state capitol, there is less coverage of local issues considered by the Legislature,” she said.

Pettus, who grew up in Texas, spent a year between high school and college as an exchange student in West Germany, then attended the University of Mississippi, majoring in journalism and German. She graduated in 1989 and worked for nearly a year at the Vicksburg Evening Post.

In May 1990, she began working for The Clarion-Ledger as the Rankin County reporter. Two years later, she moved to Ocean Springs in 1992 to work as the newspaper’s one-person Gulf Coast bureau reporter.

“It was a great job because my editors were hours away and they trusted me to cover the biggest stories in the region,” Pettus said.

During the fall of 1993, Pettus was on loan from The Clarion-Ledger to USA TODAY in Virginia, working as a copy editor for the international edition of USAT. In 1994, she was back in Jackson working as a legislative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger.

She began working for the Associated Press in January of 2001 covering mostly Mississippi politics. Pettus said she’s aware the job is particularly important during challenging times for news organizations.

The latest Pew Research Center study about statehouse reporters found that there were around 1,500 U.S. journalists who work to inform the public about the actions and issues of state government. Of those, nearly half do it full time, averaging 15 full-time reporters per state, even though numbers vary per state, often depending on population.

Emily Wagster Pettus during a recent Overby Center program about Mississippi Politics.

“I always think it’s better having more reporters covering state government, obviously, to hold the government accountable to the general public,” Pettus said. “In Mississippi, we used to have a full-time press corps of eight people. That declined a while, but it has actually gone back up in the last couple of years.”

Pettus estimates the number of Mississippi statehouse reporters is equal to the Pew Research Center study’s national average of 15 per state.

The Pew study also reported:

  • Fewer than a third of U.S. newspapers assign any kind of reporter – full time or part time – to the statehouse.
  • A majority of local TV news stations – 86 percent – do not assign even one reporter – full or part time – to the statehouse.
  • About one in six, or 16 percent, of all statehouse reporters work for nontraditional outlets, such as digital-only sites and non-profit organizations.
  • Students account for 14 percent of statehouse reporters.
  • Around 9 percent of all state legislative reporters work for wire services like Pettus. The majority of wire service reporters work for the AP.

While her main responsibility has been covering Mississippi government – (you can read her observations in real time at the hashtag #msleg on Twitter) – Pettus said she has covered a variety of stories.

“One of the greatest things about having a general assignment job is I’ve gotten to cover some interesting civil rights stories,” she said. “In 2005, I covered the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted for the 1964 killings of civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County. In 2007, I covered the federal trial of (Ku Klux Klan member) James Ford Seale, who was convicted in the kidnapping that led to the death of two young black men, Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, in Southwest Mississippi, also in 1964.”

Pettus said she is honored to be among other Silver Em award winners and proud she spent part of her career working for UM’s campus newspaper The Daily Mississippian and The Oxford Eagle.

Will Norton, Ph.D., dean of the UM School of Journalism and New Media, said Pettus is smart, a hard worker, and a terrific reporter.

“She has more than a quarter of a century experience,” Norton said. “She has devoted herself to covering Mississippi. She has reported in-depth, on deadline and always accurately . . . Emily is a person of integrity. She can be trusted.”

Curtis Wilkie, Overby Fellow and assistant professor of journalism, agrees that Pettus has earned the trust of her readers.

“She is one of the best reporters around and has been for as long as she has been reporting, quickly and reliably, all the news out of Mississippi for the Associated Press,” he said.

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

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

 

Two student journalists from NewsWatch place first in Southeast Journalism Conference competitions

Posted on: March 1st, 2019 by ldrucker

Congratulations to Matthew Hendley and Madison Scarpino for winning first-place awards in Southeast Journalism Conference competitions.

Hendley, a NewsWatch Ole Miss anchor and correspondent, won first place in the SEJC onsite anchoring competition. Judges said the entries were unusually strong this year, and Hendley, a sophomore, came out on top.

Scarpino, a junior, was named Best TV Hard News Reporter for packages that aired on NewsWatch Ole Miss last year about Hurricane Michael and the Journalism and New Media forum after Ed Meek’s Facebook post. Scarpino was social media producer for NewsWatch last semester.

JNM Professor Nancy Dupont is NewsWatch adviser and has worked with both students.

“They’re both incredibly talented student journalists,” Dupont said. “I’m not surprised that Madison took first place in reporting because she’s an excellent storyteller. Matthew is the one of the best at interpreting the news, but I’m so proud of him for taking first place in anchoring, which is a really competitive category.”

The SEJC conference was Feb. 14-16 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro near Nashville. For the anchoring onsite category, Hendley was given about 10 minutes to read the script, and then he went on the air for about five minutes reading the script and doing a sign-off in a virtual newsroom. It was a mini-newscast with four or five local Tennessee stories, requiring him to switch from one camera to another after the anchor intro.

“It was neat to see another school’s newsroom,” Hendley said, “though I was not a fan of the virtual newsroom…of everything being painted green! But it was another great experience and an honor that I will always remember.”

Abbie McIntosh, NewsWatch Ole Miss student manager, shared a second-place award with Scarpino in the onsite TV reporting team category.

“Having Madison take home the top prize for Best TV Hard News Reporter made me so happy because I know how hard Madison works on her projects,” McIntosh said. “I was able to witness the work that was put into the packages we submitted for SEJC, and I was beaming with pride, not only as her friend, but as her student manager,” McIntosh said. “And having Matthew take home Best TV Anchor made me grin from ear to ear. Matthew is such a character on the desk and I’m so glad everyone else realized that, too.”

UM School of Journalism and New Media grad lands job with New York Daily News

Posted on: March 1st, 2019 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student who worked in student media just landed a job as a reporter with New York Daily News.

Blake Alsup wrote to tell us it has been hectic trying to move and settle into his new apartment.

“I started my new job as a national breaking news reporter at the New York Daily News on Feb. 25,” he said. “For years, I’ve dreamed of living and working as a journalist in New York. Now I’m working with an online team that seeks out relevant and interesting news around the country for our readers.

“I’m thankful for experience I gained as a journalism student at Ole Miss in classes and while working at The Daily Mississippian as a reporter and later as an editor.”

Alsup said he wouldn’t have landed the job if he hadn’t participated in The King’s College New York City Semester of Journalism in the fall 2017. He took classes and interned at the Daily News during experience.

“That’s where I met and worked for my current editor,” he said. “He kept up with my work when I returned to Ole Miss and interned at The Detroit News and offered me a job after graduation, so that’s how I ended up here.”

Are you a recent School of Journalism and New Media graduate who has landed your dream job? If so, we want to hear from you. Email ldrucker@olemiss.edu to share your story.

To learn more about the King’s College program, click here.

Next Society of Professional Journalists meeting set for March 6 at 4 p.m. in Farley

Posted on: February 28th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter will meet Wednesday, March 6 at 4 p.m. in the lounge area of Farley Hall. If you are interested in becoming an SPJ member, please join us to learn how you can become involved.

We want to hear your ideas about how we can grow our SPJ chapter. We’re also looking for members who want to be representatives or ambassadors of the organization.

Some of our members are planning to attend the regional SPJ conference in March.

You can find us on Facebook at this link.

Those who officially join the chapter and pay their dues receive a free SPJ T-shirt.

Our SPJ officers for this year are:

Grace Marion – president
Brooke McNabb – vice president
Ashton Riad – secretary
Briana Fkirez – secretary
Aly Rezek – SPJ officer
Walter Demasi – SPJ officer

The Society of Professional Journalists is also hosting a photo contest. If you take an interesting photograph on campus or in Oxford and Lafayette County, tag us @umjourimc on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We may republish your photo the School of Journalism’s social media accounts.

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

Posted on: February 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Posted on: February 5th, 2019 by ldrucker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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