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University of Mississippi journalism students learn with the best, thanks to donation

Posted on: March 31st, 2021 by ldrucker

Memphis news station WREG-TV donates anchor desk to ‘Ole Miss NewsWatch’ team

To help prepare University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media journalism students for life after graduation, Memphis news station WREG-TV donated its station’s anchor desk to “NewsWatch Ole Miss,” providing a true real-world broadcast journalism experience on campus.

The university’s student-run broadcast news operation, NewsWatch, also serves Oxford and Lafayette County as its only complete local newscast. It airs at noon Wednesdays and Fridays during the academic year.

Brian Barisa, station manager and fourth-year NewsWatch member, said the significance of the desk donation and the partnership with the Memphis news outlet is immeasurable.

Memphis news station WREG-TV donated its station's anchor desk to 'NewsWatch Ole Miss,' the University of Mississippi’s student-run broadcast. Submitted photo

Memphis news station WREG-TV donated its station’s anchor desk to ‘NewsWatch Ole Miss,’ the University of Mississippi’s student-run broadcast. Submitted photo

“This new desk symbolizes the future of NewsWatch and where we will grow in the future,” Barisa said. “This gift allows for us to take leaps and bounds in modernizing our studio and evolving NewsWatch into the current look of TV studios.”

Appearance is not the only thing the future journalists receive while reporting with NewsWatch. Students combine their class knowledge with their on-air experience to learn new techniques in journalism.

“The Ole Miss School of Journalism has taught me storytelling tools and techniques that have helped me through reporting and producing content not just in news-oriented spaces, but also in other outlets of media production,” said Barisa, who plans to continue in the world of collegiate video production after graduation.

Besides producing the student-run broadcast, NewsWatch serves as a learning laboratory and creates opportunities for all students, regardless of experience level.

NewsWatch plays a pivotal role in the complete development of students who are ready to hit the ground running after graduation, said Debora Wenger, interim dean and professor of journalism.

“‘NewsWatch Ole Miss’ is a key part of the hands-on experiential learning, which is a hallmark of our school’s programs,” Wenger said. “Students, whether they are studying integrated marketing communications or journalism, have the opportunity to work for the newscast and a number of public-facing news outlets that are part of our school.

“Students who work for NewsWatch and these other platforms graduate with solid experience on their resumes, which in turn makes them more competitive in the job market.”

The Memphis station not only donates gifts, but sets an example for Ole Miss journalism students and NewsWatch staff members.

“WREG and all of the stations in our area have been wonderful partners in educating our students,” Wenger added. “They hire our graduates, and they are generous with their time and expertise. We can’t thank the station enough for reaching out and providing this donation.”

Ron Walter, WREG general manager, said he is happy to see the desk go to a good home.

“We are proud to support the aspiring young journalists and broadcasters in our area, knowing we may one day work alongside them,” Walter said. “The desk served our anchor teams very well, and we hope it does the same for University of Mississippi journalism students.”

WREG also donated a second station desk to the school for students taking news reporting classes in Farley Hall.

This story was written by Michael Taplin for University Communications. Read the full story here.

University of Mississippi IMC student ‘bridges the gap’ between nonprofits, need

Posted on: March 24th, 2021 by ldrucker

Senior Natalie Pruitt develops website for students to complete assignments listed by nonprofit groups

A University of Mississippi student has created a website to help “bridge the gap” between Mississippi nonprofit organizations and Ole Miss students interested in expanding their resume through community involvement.

Natalie Pruitt, a senior integrated marketing communications major and member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, developed the project as part of her IMC capstone class and Honors College thesis project after noticing the level of need among many nonprofit organizations in the community.

“After researching and interviewing multiple local nonprofit organizations and learning about their need for assistance with projects relating specially to digital marketing and graphic design, I realized there was such untapped potential for UM students to work alongside these organizations,” said Pruitt, from Knoxville, Tennessee.

With that information in mind, Pruitt set out to develop a website exclusively for students interested in digital marketing, graphic design internships and freelance assignments. With this mindset and multiple university connections, UM Creative Connect was born.

“My hope is that a mutually beneficial relationship will form between local North Mississippi nonprofit organizations and UM students,” Pruitt said. “It was a need that I saw a fix to, so I had to try to close that gap in any way I could.”

Natalie Pruitt, a Knoxville, Tennessee native, developed the project as part of her IMC capstone class and Honors College thesis project after noticing the level of need among many nonprofit organizations in the community. Photo by Michael Taplin/University Marketing and Communications

Creative Connect helps connect Ole Miss students to Mississippi nonprofit organizations looking for assistance in a variety of areas such as digital marketing, graphic design and other freelance work. Photo by Michael Taplin/University Marketing and Communications

After two weeks of the website’s launch, seven nonprofit organizations have posted eight job listings with projects ranging from digital marketing, graphic design, social media management, photography and content creation.

Carson Harris, a sophomore integrated marketing communications major from Ocean Springs, was one of the students who applied for a website/graphic design-related job listing. Harris said Creative Connect is a great resource for students to get involved in the community while at Ole Miss.

“Having a resource like this one is crucial for students to succeed,” Harris said. “I applied for both the freelance and internship positions offered by 2nd Chance Mississippi because I find it important for students to succeed outside of the classroom.”

Harris’s perspective on the nonprofit organization is the same as Pruitt’s reasoning to build a website: students need opportunities to demonstrate their skills outside the classroom.

Natalie Pruitt, a Knoxville, Tennessee native, developed the project as part of her IMC capstone class and Honors College thesis project after noticing the level of need among many nonprofit organizations in the community. Photo by Michael Taplin/University Marketing and Communications

Natalie Pruitt, a Knoxville, Tennessee native, developed the project as part of her IMC capstone class and Honors College thesis project after noticing the level of need among many nonprofit organizations in the community. Photo by Michael Taplin/University Marketing and Communications

“This gives me the opportunity to be creative and focus on building upon my skills I have learned in the classroom,” Harris added. “I hope my creativity will help 2nd Chance Mississippi give back to our community.”

Pruitt said the project would not be possible without the nonprofit organizations that expressed interest in the project from the beginning.

“I want to thank the amazing nonprofits and community partners that took time out of their incredibly busy schedules to sit down and talk with me to provide insight into the creation of the website,” Pruitt said.

“Getting to develop relationships with these kind people and see how their lives could be made easier from it made the entire project worthwhile. I really appreciate all of the support the Oxford, Lafayette nonprofit community has given me.”

Participating nonprofit organizations include Mississippi Printers Network, 2nd Chance Mississippi, Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council/Lafayette Oxford-University Chamber of Commerce.

To learn more about UM Creative Connect, visit https://umcreativeconnect.com/ or email creativeconnect@olemiss.edu.

This story was written by Michael Taplin for UM Communications. Click the link to view the original story.

COVID-19 pandemic leads University of Mississippi IMC student to build Blonde Boomerang business

Posted on: March 21st, 2021 by ldrucker

Online shopping has become more popular because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s one reason Kylie Cockrell, a junior Integrated Marketing Communications major, launched her online boutique Blonde Boomerang in January.

There, you can find an organized assortment of turtlenecks, sweater vests, corduroy pants, and even a pink metallic puffer coat. While shopping at Blonde Boomerang, you get a sense of what fashion means to Cockrell.

Cockrell, a Madison, Mississippi native, decided to create an online boutique after working at Arco Avenue, a clothing boutique in Ridgeland near her hometown. During the first few years, she worked the floor, styled customers, paid bills and made purchases, later managing the store. After Cockrell learned what it was like to run a small business, she created the online boutique.

Kylie Cockrell

Kylie Cockrell

Cockrell is on the creative team of Square Magazine at the University of Mississippi. Part of her role is to help with planning and designing photo shoots for the website and social media accounts, and to figure out innovative ways to make each photo shoot unique, whether that is the shoot location or the hair and makeup for the models that correlate with a specific article written by the editorial team.

Being able to incorporate what she has learned from her involvement at Square Magazine and through her IMC fashion promotion and merchandising specialization led Cockrell to create the business.

“I didn’t really know anyone else in college who had started a business or who I could turn to for advice,” she said.

Her previous boss, Katie Miller, at Arco Avenue helped.

When it comes to everyday fashion, Cockrell said her go-to outfit is a pair of straight-legged, light washed jeans, a white button-up shirt and a pair of orange Nike Air Force Ones.

“Those are my prized possession,” she said excitedly.

Cockrell used the time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue her dream. That allowed her to complete all the necessary business tasks. This involved getting sales permits and tax licenses that took many months. Then Cockrell realized she needed a name for her boutique.

“My mom was actually the one to come up with the name,” she said.

In an Australian Aboriginal language, “Kylie” translates to “boomerang.” Cockrell’s mom, Vicki Welch, thought this would be an innovative business name since Cockrell has blonde hair. Before she knew it, Blonde Boomerang was born, and on Jan. 24, Cockrell officially launched her online boutique.

Welch has supported her in creating Blonde Boomerang. She has seen all the hard work Kylie puts into developing her business.

“She did everything,” Welch said.

From making important phone calls to designing the website and choosing inventory, Cockrell took charge. Welch knew customers would fall in love with Cockrell’s unique sense of style.

“Throughout this whole process, I have seen Kylie become so independent,” she said.

Kylie Cockrell and some of her merchandise.

Kylie Cockrell and some of her merchandise.

Welch said this is the perfect time and age to get involved with something you are passionate about, and to not be afraid to fail while doing so.

“I know she has what it takes to make this business go further,” Welch said.

Cockrell said, “There were so many times I second-guessed myself.”

However, she adopted Miller’s motto, “You never know until you just go for it.”

Although Cockrell was nervous about launching her boutique, she was excited when someone from Connecticut purchased an item from Blonde Boomerang.

“It’s the little things like that that remind me of how glad I am to have started my business,” said Cockrell. “It definitely makes my day.”

As a full-time student taking 18 hours of classes, being involved with Square Magazine, and running an online business, Cockrell said it has taken a lot of self-discipline to stay on top of her everyday tasks.

“The business staying up and running relies solely on me,” she said.

If you are a student who aspires to create your own business, it is important to stay confident and true to yourself. Whatever you are passionate about, make it happen, said Cockrell.

“The more work you put into something you are passionate about, the more benefits you will get in return,” she said. “Once you make that commitment to yourself, you are already one step further towards your goal…You can only go up from there.”

Cockrell aspires to open a physical location for Blonde Boomerang.

“Make it from the ground up, and gradually it will become what you want it to be,” she said.


This story was written by Cloi Bryan for Oxford Stories.

Are you a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student who has created their own business? If so, we want to hear from you. Click this link to share your business story. 

Click this link to learn more about our undergraduate and graduate programs in IMC and Journalism.

What is IMC or Integrated Marketing Communications? Learn more about our bachelor’s and master’s programs

Posted on: March 20th, 2021 by ldrucker

What is Integrated Marketing Communications?

If you are trying to decide on an educational career path, why not choose a versatile major that is important in every field of business?

Experience the dynamic field of IMC at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. It’s where marketing meets creativity in a future-focused, real-world curriculum.

IMC is about crafting communication across all forms of media to shape brands and influence behaviors.

You can earn a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree in IMC at UM.

Click here to learn more about the IMC bachelor’s degree program, and to apply.

Click here to learn more about the IMC master’s degree program, and to apply.

Rather than focus on one thing, why not choose a major that allows you to do everything?

 

A picture of different forms of media

A picture of different forms of media

 

University of Mississippi journalism team studies Climate Change in Mississippi

Posted on: March 15th, 2021 by ldrucker

Climate Change in Mississippi

Nationally and globally, much of the conversation about climate change has been territorial and political.

In Mississippi, state leaders have spoken of it rarely, if ever. However, the state’s science, industrial, agricultural and energy sectors have been working to address change and devise strategies.

A desire to explore the issue more in-depth led University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professors and students to study the topic within the state. The result is the project Climate Change in Mississippi that focuses on what is, not what if. Practices, not policy.

Jared Poland, left, and Jacob Meyers launch a drone for video of the Steele Bayou Control Structure while working on the Climate Change in Mississippi project.
Jared Poland, left, and Jacob Meyers launch a drone for video of the Steele Bayou Control Structure while working on the Climate Change in Mississippi project.

Journalist and Professor Charlie Mitchell, who helped lead the Climate Change in Mississippi project, said the premise was that too many people have formed opinions about climate change without seeing how it relates to their daily lives. The project aims to report this relevance as a factual resource among political chatter. 

 “Climate change is a super-broad topic and much reporting is along political lines or appeals to emotion,” he said. “The students worked to identify front-line people in Mississippi dealing with change directly or indirectly and tell their stories about what’s happening, what’s being researched and what’s expected. The point was to deal with fact, not speculation or opinion.”

Anderson Jones, left, was interviewed by Climate Change in Mississippi project member Jared Poland about repetitive flooding of Jones' home in the lower Mississippi Delta.
Anderson Jones, left, was interviewed by Climate Change in Mississippi student reporter Jared Poland about repetitive flooding of Jones' home in the lower Mississippi Delta.

Jared Poland, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Chattanooga, plans to work in public relations after graduation at an agency, non-profit, or for a political action committee.

“I saw this class as an opportunity to use my public relations skills to shed light on the effects of climate change felt by everyday Mississippians,” he said. “The depth reporting class gave me the opportunity to spend time creating a series of stories that describe at length the 2019 floods in the Mississippi Delta and how the backwater flooding related to climate change and affected individuals.”

Poland said he immersed himself in the issue, traveling to the Delta twice and spoke with community leaders, locals, a climatologist, and other knowledgeable individuals about the floods and the pumps.

“I was able to see firsthand the hardships they had faced due to the flooding and was able to speak with them about the proposed pump project that almost everyone believed was the solution to the floods,” he said. “I also learned about their lives, their families, their passions and their hardships caused by the floods.”

“Climate change is a super-broad topic and much reporting is along political lines or appeals to emotion,” he said. “The students worked to identify front-line people in Mississippi dealing with change directly or indirectly and tell their stories about what's happening, what's being researched and what's expected. The point was to deal with fact, not speculation or opinion.”
Charlie Mitchell
Journalist and Professor

Students honed their research, interviewing and writing skills and worked to become better at identifying relevant facts and sources, then weaved the information into a understandable and compelling narrative.

Mitchell said the school has a history of producing relevant depth reports on national and international topics ranging from the emerging economy in post-war Sri Lanka to the intersection of good food and poor health in the Mississippi Delta.

“Former Dean Norton identified this topic as crucial, and it was decided students here and students at the University of Nebraska would tackle the topic simultaneously,” he said.

The UM student reporting team included Danielle Angelo, Anne Florence Brown, Lydia Cates, Will Corley, Abbey Edmondson, Cody Farris, Jacob Meyers, Eliza Noe, Jared Poland, Billy Schuerman, Tamara Tyes and Lauren Wilson.

Team advisers included John Baker, Michael Fagans, Charles Mitchell, Will Norton Jr., Darren Sanefski and Hannah Vines.

Jared Poland
Jared Poland

Poland said the most interesting part is it’s an issue that has affected Delta residents since the early 1900s.

“The project that is believed to be the solution to the floods was originally proposed in 1941,” he said. “I was able to speak with individuals who have spent their entire life dealing with floods and fighting for solutions to prevent them.

“As someone deeply interested in politics, I was fascinated by the pumps project and the political discourse and conflicts that have unfolded surrounding it, including the EPA’s veto of the project in 2008. It has been a heavily contested political issue and remains one today.”

Poland said others who take the course should use it as an opportunity to deeply explore the topic.

“It was the first project of this size I have ever taken on, but with the help of my instructors, it truly was one of my favorite experiences during my time at Ole Miss,” he said.

William Schumerman
William Schumerman

William Schuerman is a senior journalism major with a print emphasis and an environmental studies minor.

“I enrolled in the class because, after I heard about the project, I knew there would be an opportunity to produce content about a subject I am very passionate about,” he said.

Schuerman, who hopes to work as a photojournalist and be published in National Geographic someday, said the class was different from other classes. He traveled across the state helping other students create multimedia.

“Projects like this are where I have learned the most in my time at the University of Mississippi, so it was a logical step forward for me,” he said. “… I feel that I always learn more when working in the field than purely sitting in the classroom.”

Professor Michael Fagans, a project adviser, said he tried to ask questions to get students thinking about how to better cover their story area and how to tell it with infographics, photos or illustrations.

“As with many of our ‘outside the classroom’ reporting opportunities, students learn valuable lessons when they get out into Mississippi and meet, interview and tell the stories of our residents,” he said.

Providing feedback and encouragement leads to growth, Fagans said.

“I hope that our students were able to gain insight into how to be better journalists, what kind of effort can go into a project and the value of getting out ‘into the field,’ sometimes, quite literally,” he said.

“I hope that, because of this project, people recognize that climate change is real and it is causing real repercussions, even in Mississippi. Mississippi is rural and not nearly as populated as other areas of the country that are experiencing major effects of climate change. So I feel like it often gets overlooked in the big picture of climate change."
Abby Edmonson
Abby Edmonson
STUDENT JOURNALIST
Abby Edmonson
Abbey Edmonson

Abbey Edmonson, a senior journalism major with minors in English and creative writing and an emphasis in social media, said she was curious about the effects of climate change in our state.

Her focus was on saltwater aquaculture on the Gulf Coast, where she traveled with Fagans and Schuerman.

“Throughout the trip, we interviewed several people who are involved in the commercial fishing industry, specifically the oyster industry,” she said. “We toured the last oyster-shucking house in Mississippi, watched how oysters are bred, and rode a boat out to an oyster farm. That trip is something I’ll hold onto forever because we got to interact firsthand with people who are experiencing real issues as a direct result of climate change.”

Climate Change Website
Climate Report Website

She said students also interviewed people about possible solutions in the works, which “added a bright spot to an otherwise disheartening situation.”

“I hope that, because of this project, people recognize that climate change is real, and it is causing real repercussions, even in Mississippi,” she said. “Mississippi is rural and not nearly as populated as other areas of the country that are experiencing major effects of climate change. So I feel like it often gets overlooked in the big picture of climate change.

“I wanted to learn more about it, because I honestly didn’t know much about it to begin with. I also wanted to be able to tell people about the changes that are visibly happening and, I think, are underrepresented in the media. Everything is so interconnected, and it’s important to recognize that when one area gets affected by climate change, other areas will follow.”

To learn more about the project and read student work, visit the Climate Change in Mississippi website.

UM School of Journalism and New Media student continues media work with Coca-Cola campus job

Posted on: March 11th, 2021 by ldrucker

Meagan Harkins, the face of Coca-Cola on campus, is using her undergraduate years to prepare for a career in creative media.

Harkins was named Coca-Cola campus ambassador after a friend thought she would be perfect for the position and told her about the opportunity.

The job entails sampling events, product drops, attending monthly webinars, bringing products to groups on campus, and running advertisements and information through her own social media account.

Meagan Harkins

Meagan Harkins

“One of my main responsibilities is to bring brand love,” Harkins said.

Read more of Ava Jahner’s story about Harkins on HottyToddy.com.

Holland inspires University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists students

Posted on: March 8th, 2021 by ldrucker

“There are few professions where you can make a difference and be guaranteed immortality. Journalism is one of them. Which is why you have to be so careful about what you put your name behind.”

That was just one of the memorable pieces of advice from journalism alumnus Jesse J. Holland to members of the University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists at their March virtual meeting. Holland was one of the founders of the campus UMABJ chapter when he was a student in the early 1990s.

Jesse Holland Jr.

Holland shared anecdotes about his new book — “Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda” — and his experiences as a journalist, author, educator and comics strip creator. The new Black Panther book is an anthology of short stories from acclaimed writers like poet Nikki Giovanni, who wrote her first piece of fiction for the anthology. Holland edited the book and wrote one of the stories. It is scheduled for release on March 9.

“I truly enjoyed the session,” said AJ Norwood, broadcast journalism major and UMABJ president. “From the very beginning, I could tell that he is an absolutely amazing storyteller. The insight that he was able to provide to not only myself, but to other students that attended was so valuable.

“One of the main things that I learned from Mr. Holland was that you should utilize all of your resources and find mentors who are already doing what you’re doing. If you’re able to do that, learn from their mistakes because you shouldn’t have to make the same mistakes that they have made.  It was an honor to moderate an event with someone with the credibility and grace of Jesse Holland.”

Jesse Holland

Jesse Holland

When he was a student at UM, Holland was a multiple-platform journalist long before it was embraced as something every journalist and communications specialist should be. He was Daily Mississippian editor-in-chief — only the second African-American editor in the student newspaper’s history. He hosted two Rebel Radio shows – one was The Night Train, a rap show that aired at midnight – and worked for the TV newscast and the yearbook. He and two student editor friends created a comic strip called Hippie and the Black Guy.

After he graduated, Holland was a writer for the Associated Press for 25 years. He covered the statehouse in South Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress and the White House, and he was on AP’s national race & ethnicity reporting team. He hosts the Saturday edition of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and was recently named assistant professor of journalism at George Washington University.

He is the author of two nonfiction books, but he is perhaps best known for writing two novels tied to Star Wars and Black Panther. His first Black Panther book was nominated for a national NAACP Image Award for best fiction in 2019.

“The publishing industry loves journalists because journalists know how to write, and journalists know and respect deadlines,” Holland said.

Jesse Holland

Jesse Holland

Holland’s conversation with the students lasted more than 90 minutes. He spoke at length about his work ethic – just one example: His C-SPAN gig requires him to get up at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings for a show that begins broadcasting at 7 a.m. – and how he fell in love with journalism after he figured out it was “the best way to meet interesting people, go interesting places and do interesting things.”

He talked about how UM students are lucky to benefit from the passionate “fraternity and sorority” of journalism graduates all across the nation who can help them, and he told detailed and sometimes amusing stories about a few who helped him along the way.

“There’s only one job you can do and you’re literally writing history on a daily basis,” he said. “…Years from now, when people read about the donations of Rosa Parks’ archives to the Library of Congress, they’re going to read that the person who discovered Rosa Parks’ material in a warehouse in New York where it had been languishing for 15 years was a guy named Jesse J. Holland. Years and years and years from now, when historians go back and read the stories from Ferguson, Missouri, and ask who was Michael Brown and what happened, the story they’re going to pull up was written by a guy named Jesse J. Holland.”

Remembering Joey Embry: Rebel’s legacy continues with latest scholar

Posted on: February 11th, 2021 by ldrucker

Lillian Lindsey, a University of Mississippi freshman from Water Valley, is the 2020-21 recipient of the Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship, expanding the legacy of a beloved student and football player.

Lindsey is an integrated marketing communications major in the UM School of Journalism and New Media. She hopes to work in the field of social media marketing after receiving her undergraduate degree.

“Since I was a little kid, I have wanted to attend Ole Miss,” she said. “Both of my parents went here, and I grew up so close that it always felt like home,” said Lindsey, a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Ole Miss women’s club volleyball team.

Lillian Lindsey

UM freshman Lillian Lindsey, an integrated marketing communications major from Water Valley, is the 2020-21 recipient of the Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship. Photo by Keli Lindsey Photography

Joey Embry, who the scholarship was named after, was actively involved on the Oxford campus and dedicated to his academic pursuits. He excelled academically, making both the UM Athletic Association and Southeastern Conference academic honor rolls, and left a positive impression on the Ole Miss community through his leadership and commitment on and off the playing field.

Tragically, Embry died in a drowning accident May 19, 1998, just before his fourth season with the Rebels. He was expected to be a major contributor on the offensive line.

The 1998 season was dedicated to Embry, and his teammates memorialized him by wearing his number on their helmets. To have his legacy present at Ole Miss and to keep his spirit alive, the Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to help other UM students.

“I am so thankful to have received this scholarship,” Lindsey said. “I’ve heard my dad speak of Joey Embry in the past and how much he thought of him when they played football together at Ole Miss.”

Stephen Lindsey was a kicker for the Rebels during the 1996 and 1997 football seasons.

“I’ve also known Joey’s brother, Brad, who taught me at Water Valley High School, and I’ve known his parents for years,” Lindsey said. “Knowing them makes this scholarship even more special to me.”

Embry scholars must be from Calhoun and Yalobusha counties – the Mississippi counties in which the Embrys have lived. Students interested in applying for the scholarship should speak with their high school guidance counselor.

Gwen Embry, Joey Embry’s mother, said she and her husband, Bill, know Lindsey and her family through church and are “very proud for her.”

Likewise, Joey Embry would be honored that his legacy is continuing in this way, she said.

“Joey gave everything for there to be this scholarship, and we want to make sure it’s used to the best of its ability – that the students will devote their time and efforts to school and keep their priorities in the right direction.”

The Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. Checks may be mailed to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the endowment noted in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655. Gifts can also be made online by visiting https://give.olemiss.edu.

This story was originally written by Bill Dabney for UM Communications.

A ‘Gentle Insistence on Excellence’​: Dr. Dupont will retire from UM School of Journalism and New Media after spring semester

Posted on: February 9th, 2021 by ldrucker

A 'Gentle Insistence on Excellence'

At the end of the spring semester, Dr. Nancy Dupont will retire from the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. She has been a vital part of the school since 2006 – teaching across a wide swath of the curriculum and playing a critical role in the growth and achievements of the broadcast journalism program. 

While the entire faculty will miss her, that absence will be strongly felt by Interim Dean Debora Wenger, who has worked with Dupont in one way or another for more than 30 years.

Dr. Nancy Dupont teaches a class.
Nancy Dupont teaching students.

When Wenger moved to Charlotte, N.C. to produce the 11 o’clock news more than 30 years ago, Dupont was the 6 o’clock producer, supervising the station’s hour-long show.

“Despite the fact that she was under an incredible amount of pressure in that role, Nancy was always funny and fun to be around,” Wenger said.

Wenger’s responsibilities included coming into the station about 2 p.m. and monitoring the news feeds that came from the network and other sources so she could alert Dupont about any great video she should include in her show. She also helped write breaking news stories for the 6 p.m. news and led the production of the late show.

“My first impression (of Nancy) was that she was good at her job, and that I could learn something from her,” she said. “My second impression is that she was someone I wanted to be friends with because she sure knew how to make people laugh and to like her.”

Not much has changed, Wenger said.

Dean Debora Wenger
Dr. Debora Wenger, interim dean.

“After 30+ years of knowing Nancy, I still learn things from her, and I still enjoy being her friend,” she said. “When my husband, Mitch, was interviewing for a job at the University of Mississippi, Nancy was the first person to put my name forward as a candidate for an open position in the then Department of Journalism.

“Once I got the job, she was a huge help in getting me settled into my new role – and for the past 10 years, she has been a source of great ideas for making our program stronger, and she has been a great advocate for me always.”

For many years, Dupont was the faculty adviser for NewsWatch Ole Miss, and Wenger said Dupont deserves immeasurable thanks and credit for taking the program to a higher level. She was also a key driver behind the curriculum development that has made our broadcast program a much more relevant and robust component of the school. 

“My first impression (of Nancy) was that she was good at her job, and that I could learn something from her. My second impression is that she was someone I wanted to be friends with because she sure knew how to make people laugh and to like her.”
Debora Wenger
Debora Wenger
Interim dean

Dupont has served as chair of the Electronic News Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and was twice named chair of the news division of the Broadcast Education Association. In 2019, she was elected to a two-year term on the Broadcast Education Association Board of Directors. 

Dupont’s scholarship is extensive. She co-authored the book Journalism of the Fallen Confederacy in 2014 and has authored a dozen or more book chapters. She has also been a prolific presenter at national and international conferences.

“I got an education at Loyola University in New Orleans, and set out to be a reporter,” Dupont said. “I soon tired of that, because the producers boss people around all day, and I wanted to be a producer.”

Dupont joined the UM faculty in 2006 after spending 17 years as a broadcast journalist and 13 years as a journalism educator. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997.

Dr. Nancy Dupont

Wenger said one of the things she has learned from Dupont is to keep her love of breaking news alive.

“Whenever a big story emerged in the state, Nancy was always the first person on the phone to me saying, ‘Who can we send,” she said. “A ‘go-get-’em’ journalist’s heart is alive and well in Dr. Dupont, and she’s helped to keep it beating strong in me as well.”

Dupont said Wenger is the “smartest person I have ever known.”

“She has such confidence in herself,” Dupont said. “She can do anything. She taught me how to be a good producer … She taught me to take the challenge.”

Wenger said Dupont has been a role model – someone who exemplifies what it means to be a teacher first.

“Though she was an excellent researcher and contributed countless service hours, she has always focused on students,” Wenger said. “That’s why I’m so glad that one of the ways we will honor her is by naming the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Broadcast Adviser of the Year Award after Nancy.”

R.J. Morgan
Dr. R.J. Morgan

The MSPA Board of Advisers unanimously approved a request by the University of Mississippi School of Journalism & New Media to rename its Broadcast Adviser of the Year award in honor of Dupont.

“Dr. Dupont is a highly-decorated journalism educator and the long-time faculty adviser for the award-winning NewsWatch, UM’s daily live student-run news broadcast,” said Dr. R. J. Morgan, director of the MSPA. “Throughout her career, Dr. Dupont has been a friend to scholastic journalism and a mentor to generations of young communicators.

“As such, she embodies both the spirit and substance of those educators our adviser of the year awards seek to honor, and I think I speak for the entire board when I say we are incredibly excited to have her name attached to this honor going forward.”

Morgan said the award, which honors the state’s best high school broadcast adviser,  will be awarded at the spring convention, to be held virtually on April 9. Dupont will be involved in the judging process.

According to some of Dupont’s colleagues, naming the award for her could not be more fitting.

"In all your teaching, I saw you set the highest standard of professional journalism practice, and the ‘students’ responded to that in ways that will be rewarding for them all through their careers. Your gentle insistence on excellence has been inspirational ..."
Charlie Mitchell
JOURNALIST AND PROFESSOR
Iveta Imre in Croatia
Iveta Imre

Professor Charlie Mitchell said when he visited NewsWatch in action, it was clear that students were “at work” as opposed to “in a class.”

“This is not insignificant,” he said. “In all your teaching, I saw you set the highest standard of professional journalism practice, and the ‘students’ responded to that in ways that will be rewarding for them all through their careers.

“Your gentle insistence on excellence has been inspirational to me, too. While you engaged in serious scholarship, you also organized Broadcast Day and attracted every news director in Mississippi and several from Tennessee to visit campus and meet with students each year. This was truly service above self and, again, something to admire.”

Samir Husni, Ph.D., founder and director, professor and Hederman Lecturer of the Magazine Innovation Center, said the only silver lining after the horrors of Hurricane Katrina was that it provided the opportunity for the department to hire  DuPont.

“Her combination of professionalism in the newsroom and classroom is unmatched,” he said. “From day one, she put both skills into the service of our students, and she excelled as a mentor and as a teacher. I’m very proud to have had the honor of working with her as a colleague and to also call her my friend. I wish her the best in her retirement.”

Iveta Imre, Ph.D., a UM assistant professor of journalism, said she is sad Dupont is leaving.

“Your endless energy and passion have been amazing to witness during the short time I have had the pleasure to work with you,” she said. “I was always amazed at your dedication to work with NewsWatch students day in and day out for hours on end, to help them grow into budding journalists and support them on their journey. You are leaving big shoes to fill.”

WREG-TV Memphis donates set to NewsWatch Ole Miss newscast

Posted on: February 5th, 2021 by ldrucker

Thanks to WREG-TV in Memphis, NewsWatch Ole Miss has a new set for its newscast.

Wes Pollard, creative services director at WREG-TV News Channel 3, worked in December and January with Steven Miller, Student Media Center broadcast engineer, to complete the project. Pieces of the WREG desk were taken apart, delivered to campus, and then reassembled in the NewsWatch Ole Miss studio.

WREG installed a new set at its Memphis studio last year and generously offered furniture from its previous set to the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media and the SMC. WREG General Manager Ron Walter was happy to see the desk go to a good home.

NewsWatch Ole Miss

NewsWatch Ole Miss

“We are proud to support the aspiring young journalists and broadcasters in our area, knowing we may one day work alongside them,” Walter said. “The desk served our anchor teams very well, and we hope it does the same for University of Mississippi journalism students.”

Pictured in the photo at the new anchor desk are NewsWatch student staff members Madeleine Nolan, graphics producer; Artez Gibson, video producer; Brian Barisa, newscast manager; Justin Claas, sports director; and Alexandra Barfield, social media producer.

In spring semester 2021, the newscast is aired on Wednesdays and Fridays. You can learn more about NewsWatch at http://www.newswatcholemiss.com