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University of Mississippi journalism student selected as SEC/CBS Sports Title IX Ambassador for championship game

Posted on: January 29th, 2023 by ldrucker
Loral Winn stands on a sports field.

Loral Winn stands on a sports field.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student was recently selected as one of five SEC/CBS Sports Title IX Ambassadors for the SEC Football Championship game, a program that exposes young women to the inner workings of careers in sports journalism, media, and broadcasting.

We asked Winn a few questions about herself and the opportunity before she participated in November and December.

The Dresden, Tennessee native has studied TV and video storytelling while minoring in Spanish. During her fifth year of athletic eligibility, she will work to earn her master’s degree in journalism.

And it’s also worth noting that the School of Journalism and New Media has added a sports journalism emphasis that will be available for incoming students beginning in the fall.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your background?

A. I run cross country and track here at Ole Miss, which is one of the main reasons I even began looking at the university as a potential future college. However, I fell in love with the campus and community on my official visit and was incredibly impressed by how top-tier the journalism program was at Ole Miss. I almost immediately knew it was the place I wanted to spend the next few years of my life as a student and athlete.

Q. For those who don’t understand what this opportunity is, can you explain it? How did you find out about it?

A. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) launched a celebration of Title IX in a campaign called “50 years of Title IX– Creating Opportunities” in February 2022. One of the campaign’s initiatives is the SEC’s partnership with CBS Sports to create a program called the Title IX Ambassadors. The SEC states that this program “was created to expose young women to the inner workings of careers in sports journalism, media, and broadcasting.”

I was fortunate enough with the help of Ravin Gilbert, our director of Social Responsibility and Engagement with the university’s Athletics Department, to be selected by the SEC as one of the five women who (traveled) to Atlanta, Georgia to cover the SEC Football Championship Nov. 30 – Dec. 3.

Ravin does a wonderful job of assisting every student athlete here at Ole Miss in finding exemplary internships and opportunities as well as jobs after graduation. She is exceptional at her position and has helped me to get my foot in the door with the SEC and in finding opportunities as a hopeful future sports broadcaster. I have been able to do some really neat things with her help.

I will be shadowing CBS producers, directors, on-air talent, operation leads and executives while being able to interact with and ask questions about their jobs and positions throughout the day when covering a championship game.

Q.  What did you hope to gain or take away from participating?

A. This is an incredibly unique opportunity for me to be able to meet and converse with individuals who work in television and sports broadcasting, which can be difficult to do as  a student. It is not often that you are given the chance to sit down with CBS Sports producers, directors, and broadcasters and pick their brains. I am most excited to learn from the people I shadow and to have an in-depth, up close look at what goes into covering a major sporting event.

I will spend several days in Atlanta, which means I will follow the same schedule that CBS on-air talent does as they interview coaches and players and prepare for covering the game well. I am truly so excited for the opportunity and plan to soak up all of the knowledge that I possibly can. This is a great stepping stone for the career that I desire to pursue after graduation as a sports reporter and broadcaster.

University of Mississippi professor’s photo featured on cover of Washington Post magazine

Posted on: December 28th, 2022 by ldrucker
An outside shot of Farley Hall

An outside shot of Farley Hall

Story of father’s unsolved lynching gets national spotlight through art

OXFORD, Miss. – As Dorothy Williams stood before a blank field holding the American flag that belonged to her father, Vanessa Charlot thought of her own connections to Williams’ story.

Vanessa Charlot

Vanessa Charlot

Charlot’s photo of Williams is receiving national notice after featuring as the cover image on the Nov. 27 edition of The Photo Issue of the Washington Post magazine.

Entitled, “The Real Americana,” the issue focuses on the variety and complexity of life in the United States.

“I was excited to be on the cover, but what really makes me excited is seeing these unresolved stories being told,” said the University of Mississippi assistant professor of journalism, whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Gucci, Vogue, Rolling Stone and Oprah Magazine, among others.

Read the full story here.

This story was written by Clara Turnage.

HELLO DALL·E​: University of Mississippi students use creative descriptions to generate realistic images and art with AI​

Posted on: December 14th, 2022 by ldrucker
Professor LaReeca Rucker entered the text "A person sitting at a computer using DALL-E 2 to create an illustration that is colorful modern art" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Professor LaReeca Rucker entered the text "A person sitting at a computer using DALL-E 2 to create an illustration that is colorful modern art" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

HELLO DALL·E

University of Mississippi students use creative descriptions to generate realistic images and art with AI

Imagine coming up with an artistic idea, typing a few words into a search bar, and having a computer program automatically generate multiple variations of original artwork based on your conceptualization.

That is what DALL·E 2 OpenAI does. Just about anything you can envision and find the words to describe, the system can create a graphic visualization. The more specific you are, the better the results.

This semester, students in professor LaReeca Rucker’s Social Media in Society class experimented with DALL·E 2 when it was opened to the public. The name honors surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and the Pixar robot WALL·E.

“I really enjoyed playing on this website,” said student Miya Yuratich. “It is perfect for someone with a creative mind. I told my brother about it because he is an artist and is always drawing and painting. I thought it would be perfect for times when he knows what he wants to create, but can’t quite picture it.

“I also called my little sisters to show them, because they have wild imaginations, and DALL·E brought some of their visions to life. I looked up ‘cats swimming in a bowl of cereal while it is raining strawberries.’”

 

Student Miya Yuratich entered the words "Cats swimming in a bowl of cereal while it's raining strawberries" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Student Miya Yuratich entered the words "Cats swimming in a bowl of cereal while it's raining strawberries" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

In January 2021, OpenAI introduced DALL·E followed by DALL·E 2 a year later. The AI system can create realistic images and art from a creative text description in natural language. It can combine concepts, attributes and styles and expand images beyond what’s in the original canvas, creating new compositions.

According to the DALL·E 2 website, the system has learned the relationship between images and the text used to describe them. Creators say they hope DALL·E 2 will empower people to express themselves creatively and understand how advanced AI systems see and understand our world.

 

Student McKenna Nolen typed in "Butterflies by the ocean" and DALL-E 2 created this image.
Student McKenna Nolen typed "Butterflies by the ocean" and DALL-E 2 created this image.

“After registering to use the DALL·E platform in 2021, I thought it would be something that might interest my students when it opened to the public this year,” Rucker said. “So I challenged them to use their creativity with DALL·E to type a description and see what the system creates. I think many were surprised at just how detailed the generated DALL·E illustration was.”

Student Emma Kate Davidson said it was cool to work with such a creative website.

“I looked up many different random things in the search bar, but my favorite was ‘crayon drawing of several cute colored monsters with ice cream bodies on dark blue paper,’” she said. “It was so cool to see that the website was able to accurately create such a specific picture, and I loved seeing all the different results that it came up with.

Student Emma Kate Davidson and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Student Emma Kate Davidson and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

Student Jenna Karl said she challenged the system by coming up with the most ridiculous descriptions she could think of.

“There would be an image for it every time,” she said. “… I searched ‘dachshund wearing a pink dress outside.’ … I am amazed at the ability of this website to search through so much data so quickly and generate an image on the spot. I think it would be interesting to put in words describing a book and see what the site comes up with as the ‘book cover.’”

 

Student Jenna Karl entered the description "A dachshund wearing a pink dress and a crown outside" and DALL-E 2 created this image.
Student Jenna Karl entered the description "A dachshund wearing a pink dress and a crown outside" and DALL-E 2 created this image.

Student Ava Jahner said she got her friends involved with the site.

“I mostly searched things that had to do with the color pink and animals because pink is my favorite color right now,” she said. “I first searched ‘pink zebras shopping in Paris,’ and I found some super funny and cool photos.

“I then searched ‘flowers in a pink vase in Italy watercolor,’ and it was so pretty. These two were for sure my favorite. I loved this experiment, and I had so much fun playing with this website.”

 

Student Ava Jahner entered the description "Pink zebra shopping in Paris watercolor" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Student Ava Jahner entered the description "Pink zebra shopping in Paris watercolor" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

Rucker, who has an interest in emerging technologies, teaches a class that envisions the near future of technology, media and digital ethics.

“We’ve discussed the possible effects of advanced social media networks that could change our culture, patents for futuristic contacts that could record video, how augmented and virtual reality could eventually make it difficult for us to distinguish between truth and fiction, and other issues that may arise as technology advances,” she
said.

“It’s important to remain tuned in to the new apps and websites that emerge and to think about how they can be used in multimedia storytelling.”

Student Anna Potts typed "Panda snowboarding eating ice cream" and DALL-E 2 produced this image.
Student Anna Potts typed "Panda snowboarding eating ice cream" and DALL-E 2 produced this image.

DALL·E produces original images. The Forbes article “AI And Creativity: Why OpenAI’s Latest Model Matters” says these are images that have never existed in the world nor in anyone’s imagination.

“These are not simple manipulations of existing images on the Internet—they are novel renderings, at times breathtaking in their cleverness and originality,” the article reads. “They are images that DALL·E’s human creators, in many cases, did not expect and could not have anticipated.”

The New Atlas article “Open AI’s DALL·E 2: A dream tool and existential threat to visual artists” reports that “given a high-quality prompt, DALL·E will generate dozens of options” in seconds, “each at a level of quality that would take a human photographer, painter, digital artist or illustrator hours to produce. It’s some kind of art director’s
dream; a smorgasbord of visual ideas in an instant, without having to pay creatives, models or location fees.”

It’s interesting to think of different ways DALL·E could be used. Some say a similar system could be helpful in product and graphic design, fashion and architecture. Could it be used to design logos, website templates, business cards, posters, brochures, book covers? Perhaps it could become an artist assistant or muse? The Forbes article says such a system could become a common “ideation partner and a source of inspiration.”

That means there are also fears that AI could replace creatives in their industries.

“I think that we are seeing many emerging platforms, such as DALL·E, ChatGPT (also part of OpenAI) and Copy.ai, a platform that automatically generates written content for marketers, that do things in seconds that it has taken people in our industries a lifetime to learn,” Rucker said. “Pondering the future of that can be concerning when we think about how the digital age has disrupted and transformed our industry in only a few years.

“But maybe these tools can work as companions instead of competition, and now is a good time to experiment with them to see if they have a place in our industry.”

Student Carsen Greensage typed "A snulit indoor lounge area with a pool with clear water and another pool with translucent pastel pink water next to a big window digital art" and DALL-E 2 created this image.
Student Carsen Greensage typed "A sunlit indoor lounge area with a pool with clear water and another pool with translucent pastel pink water next to a big window digital art" and DALL-E 2 created this image.

The DALL·E website reports that the company is also working to prevent the creation of harmful artistic generations. They’ve limited DALL·E 2’s ability to generate violent, hate, or adult images. They say they’ve also use advanced techniques to prevent photorealistic generations of real individuals’ faces, including those of public figures.

“I think this website is a great way to find images that you can think of, but not necessarily create,” said student Katie Sachfield. “I, for one, am a person who can come up with ideas and communicate them, but I cannot always make them myself.”

Two events set for Tuesday, Sept. 27 will explore civil rights history

Posted on: September 21st, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic features two posters and reads Exploring Civil Rights History

 

Two University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media events set for Tuesday, Sept. 27, will explore civil rights history through the eyes of participants.

Traces of Elaine: The Lone Black Female Staff Photographer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Elaine Tomlin broke gender and race barriers by being the first Black female staff photographer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. Most of her life’s work was stolen, but those who attend will learn about her career and work.

A reception and mini photo exhibition of Tomlin’s published work will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Powerhouse at 413 S. 14th Street on the corner of S. 14th and University Ave.

The poster for An Evening of Conversation with Elaine Tomlin's Family & Friends event.

The poster for the event.

Ph.D. history candidate, Alysia Steele, an associate professor of journalism with the School of Journalism and New Media, will share some of her dissertation research about Tomlin. Tomlin’s family and friends will be present.

Steele has reconstructed Tomlin’s career and family history through interviews and limited information via archives. Most of Tomlin’s life’s work was stolen from her home, but her son had stored approximately 5,000 negatives in a basement for 35 years and never looked at them.

What’s been discovered in Tomlin’s work: Dr. King and Stokely Carmichael marching in the Meredith March Against Fear in 1966, the Poor People’s Campaign with Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 run for president, Jesse Jackson and Operation Breadbasket, Coretta Scott King at a memorial service four days after her husband’s assassination (she’s wearing the same veil from the funeral) and singers like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Nina Simone, to name a few.

Alysia Steele

Steele

Steele will share what she has learned in her research, how she “found” Tomlin and her family, traced their roots back to the coal mines of Alabama, and share thoughts from the Abernathy family, who have been instrumental in helping Steele.

The event is sponsored by several University departments, including the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the College of Liberal Arts, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the Department of History, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and the School of Journalism and New Media.

For assistance related to a disability for this event, contact Kevin at 662.915.5916 or isomctr@olemiss.edu.

This is an image of the book James Meredith: Breaking the BarrierMeredith & the Media: The Legacy of a Riot

The Overby Center will host Meredith and the Media: The Legacy of a Riot Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 p.m., featuring Dr. Kathleen Wickham, Curtis Wilkie and Sidna Brower, the Daily Mississippian editor in 1962. Journalist Jesse Holland will moderate.

Copies of the commemorative book “James Meredith: Breaking the Barrier” will be available for purchase after both events.

The book, edited by Wickham, is also available for purchase at Barnes and Noble for $15. It features chapters written by Meredith, Brower, Wilkie, Marquita Smith, Holland, William Doyle, Dorothy Gilliam, William Winter, Henry Gallagher and Wickham.

Kathleen Wickham

Wickham

Link to full story: https://news.olemiss.edu/james-meredith-breaking-the-barrier-adds-voice-to-history/

For assistance related to a disability for this event, contact Michelle Martin at 662-915-7146 or mmartin3@olemiss.edu

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

UM School of Journalism and New Media will sponsor two James Meredith programs in celebration of 60th anniversary of integration

Posted on: September 13th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic features two posters of the events and reads 60th anniversary of integration.

The University of Mississippi is celebrating the 60th anniversary of integration this month with a series of programs. Two sponsored by the UM School of Journalism and New Media are about James Meredith.

Mississippi MessiahThe documentary “Mississippi Messiah” will be shown at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Fulton Chapel. Admission is free.

The film was previously featured at the Oxford Film Festival. It offers a complete and nuanced look at the life and career of James Meredith.

The IMDb doc description reads, “Civil rights icon James Meredith never fit in – not as the first Black student at the University of Mississippi, not as a civil rights leader on the Meredith March, and certainly not while endorsing ex-Klansman David Duke. ‘Mississippi Messiah’ is a nuanced examination of Meredith’s complicated life as a public figure.”

The film has been shown at various film festivals, including the Arizona International Film Festival. This director’s statement was published on its website:

“Documentaries about the American civil rights movement often focus on simplified, inspiring narratives that present a unified picture and weed out awkward dissenters,” it reads. “That’s not what you’ll get watching ‘Mississippi Messiah’

“‘James Meredith is an individualist,’ civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams says in our film – but that’s only one aspect of his fascinating personality.

Breaking the Barrier“Meredith is not a hero or a martyr. He is a human being who catalyzed tremendous social change and who is still fighting to improve his world. We believe James Meredith’s story rewards exploration, in part, because it provokes questions as much as it provides answers.”

Kathleen Wickham, Ed.D., a professor of journalism in the School of Journalism and New Media, said Meredith’s quest to integrate the university changed UM, the state and the nation.

“It was the end of massive resistance to integration and demonstrated that America is a nation based on the power of laws, not the stench of violence,” she said. “The documentary does not stop there, however. It provides a multi-faceted view of Meredith seeking his place in the world, with a vision often incompatible with the norm.”

Wickham said Director Clay Haskell portrays Meredith as an authentic visionary.

“From that angle, viewers can begin to understand Meredith’s life-long quest and what it means to society,” she said. “Meredith emerges from the documentary, not as a one-dimensional figure who brought the state to its knees, but that of a man who lived a life viewing the state from afar seeking to make it a better place for all its citizens.”

The Overby Center will host a related program called Meredith & the Media: The Legacy of a Riot beginning at  5:30 p.m., Sept. 27, featuring Wickham, Curtis Wilkie and Sidna Brower, the Daily Mississippian editor in 1962. Journalist Jesse Holland will serve as moderator. Click this link to read the fall lineup of Overby programs.

Copies of the commemorative book “James Meredith: Breaking the Barrier” will be available for purchase after both events. The book, edited by Wickham, is also available for purchase at Barnes and Noble for $15. It includes chapters written by Meredith, Brower, Wilkie, Holland, Marquita Smith, William Doyle, Dorothy Gilliam, William Winter, Henry Gallagher and Wickham.

Wickham said the book is an illustrated collection of essays commemorating the 60th anniversary of James Meredith’s historic 1962 enrollment at the University of Mississippi.

“From their unique perspectives, 10 prominent journalists, historians and eyewitnesses tell the story of James Meredith’s turbulent but successful path to become the state’s first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi,” she said. “The book is arranged in such a way that the reader can dip into a chapter of interest without having to read all chapters and still come away with a deeper knowledge of the events of 1962 and how the events played out for the author.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

UM assistant professor of IMC earns honor for study about vaccine discourse on social media

Posted on: September 2nd, 2022 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media assistant professor has earned an honorable mention in the Nafziger-White-Salwen dissertation award juried competition.

Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, Ph.D., assistant professor of integrated marketing communications (IMC), said her three-part dissertation examined vaccine-related social media advertising and organic vaccine discourse on social media in the early months of COVID-19 (March to May 2020).

“Notably, the World Health Organization identified vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to our societal health in early 2019, well before the spread of the novel Coronavirus,” Bradshaw said. “Thus, this work has implications beyond COVID-19 and is not limited to the current health crisis, but rather contributes to the formulation of effective social media messaging strategies to combat vaccine hesitancy holistically – including COVID-19.”

Amanda Bradshaw stands outside with trees behind her.

Amanda Bradshaw, Ph.D.

Bradshaw said she became interested in this topic while managing strategic communication for a medical group that specialized in pediatrics.

“Anecdotally, we were seeing more expectant and new mothers coming in who were unprepared to make childhood vaccine choices and were choosing to delay or decline one or more standard childhood vaccines,” she said. “The policy of the practice, at the time, was to dismiss these patients rather than engage in dialogue or shared decision making.”

When Bradshaw began working on her doctorate at the University of Florida, she sought to explore better ways to communicate about vaccines with expectant and new mothers — both in clinical settings and via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that mothers frequently access seeking health information.

She said her first study utilized the theoretical foundation of framing theory to explore the framing of vaccine-related advertisements in the Facebook Ad Library. She believes it is only the second study to use the Facebook Ad Library tool, invented in 2018, to examine vaccine-related advertisements, and the only study since Facebook implemented new policies to eliminate vaccine misinformation on its platform.

“I compared my findings with previous baseline findings to discern whether vaccine advertisements were framed differently on Facebook following a series of steps taken by the largest social media platform to actively lessen health misinformation in its sponsored posts,” she said.

Bradshaw said her second study utilized counterpublic sphere theory to explore the discourse related to #DoctorsSpeakUp, a hashtag invented by pro-vaccine doctors to collectively promote vaccines on Twitter, but which was instead hijacked by anti-vaccine advocates. She said analysis revealed that the majority of tweets subverted the original message and advocated against vaccines, instead.

Her third study explored what source credibility cues mothers rely on when evaluating the trustworthiness of vaccine messages on social media, and whether a mixture of positive and negative comments, as appear organically on Facebook, influence mothers’ willingness to share these messages.

“In its entirety, this work illuminates the strategies that pro-vaccine campaigns on social media should employ to resonate the most with their target audience and to achieve greater reach, awareness, and ultimately increase vaccine uptake, being mindful of potential backlash such as what was experienced in the #DoctorsSpeakUp hashtag hijacking,” she said.

Gregory P. Perreault, Ph.D., an associate professor of digital journalism in the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University, said the Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award is the gold standard for excellence in dissertations in the field of communication.

“Our entire research committee, which includes scholars with impressive qualifications in every aspect of mass communication, reads and evaluates all of the finalists for this award,” he said. “The competitiveness of this year is impressive, not only because of the sheer number of submissions–one of our highest–but because of the quality of the submissions, which were absolutely remarkable given the challenges that doctoral candidates faced in accomplishing their research in the midst of the pandemic.

“Dr. Bradshaw’s dissertation is emblematic of the analytical quality that we ask for in the award, but could never have expected under such difficult conditions. Her work is testament to the sort of scholarship that deserves recognition and attention within our field.”

The school’s associate dean, Dr. Deb Wenger, said the award helps confirm what the school knew about Bradshaw when they hired her.

“Dr. Bradshaw is already having an impact on the field of communication and in our classrooms. We are lucky to have someone with her skills as a scholar and as a teacher as part of the integrated marketing communications program,” Wenger said. “We look forward to celebrating many more of her accomplishments in the future.”

These were some of Bradshaw’s key takeaways from the study.

Vaccine hesitancy is not new, and vaccine decision making is complex and multi-faceted.

“Vaccine hesitancy has existed long before COVID-19 and was in fact, labeled a top-10 global threat in early 2019, prior to the pandemic,” Bradshaw said. “Thus, it is not a new phenomenon.”

Bradshaw said vaccine decision making is complex and multifaceted, and there is no one-size-fits-all PSA or communications campaign that will encourage everyone to vaccinate. Vaccine choices are nuanced and influenced by many factors, including the perception of safety and efficacy, antigen, individual factors related to a person’s health and history and social influence.

“But, pro-vaccine campaigns can be used to move the needle and encourage some fence-seekers who are still undecided about vaccines to vaccinate,” Bradshaw said.

They can also encourage pro-vaxxers to share vaccine-positive messages that may influence others in their peer network to make similar choices by helping to normalize vaccination, she said.

Effective pro-vaccine messages are two-sided, focused on individual benefits rather than community immunity, and are not shaming

Since COVID-19, Bradshaw said the topic of vaccination has become more politicized, and pro-vaxxers are more hesitant to engage in the topic, especially on social platforms, due to worries over controversy or the perception that deciding to vaccinate is a personal choice.

“Thus, effective pro-vaccine messages should seek to be two-sided and encourage a dialogue rather than being shaming or moralistic,” she said.

The participants in Bradshaw’s third study, who all identified as pro-vaccine, disliked messages that had a moralistic undertone or shaming message (e.g., everyone who is smart vaccinates without question), she said.

“In fact, they related more to the idea that good parents do ask questions — and seek credible sources to answer those questions,” she said.

Bradshaw said she learned that messages centered on personal health benefits tend to be more effective in promoting childhood vaccination than messages that encourage individuals to vaccinate for the sake of others in the community.

“These messages should be grounded in research and point users to credible links/sources to do additional research,” she said, “particularly for those who tend to process information more centrally and who want to access more than peripheral cues about vaccination.”

The need for stakeholder buy-in and credibility 

Before undertaking a vaccine campaign on social media, Bradshaw said the effort should be carefully thought out and strategized, garnering buy-in from major stakeholder groups.

“In the case of the #DoctorsSpeakUp campaign, the voices of the medical community were quickly drowned out by anti-vaccine advocates, and only a small minority of tweets studied (<17%) originated from pro-vaccine doctors, despite the campaign’s original intent to bring the medical community together to promote vaccines,” she said.

Bradshaw said the campaign could have been more impactful if organizations such as the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc. endorsed it, actively participated in it, and encouraged their members to do the same.

“Interestingly, at the time of data collection in Study 1, most of the aforementioned organizations, state health departments, universities, and other major medical entities were silent and not publishing paid vaccine content on Facebook,” she said,” which was a bit surprising due to the timing and context of the research (March-May 2020).”

Bradshaw said Study 1 also revealed that 26% (n = 41) of advertisers representing an array of vaccine stances were individual political candidates or their political campaign representatives, which may have contributed to the continued politicization of vaccines, including the (then-hypothetical) COVID-19 vaccine.

“In short, despite the potential backlash, there is an important role for medical professionals and organizations to play in communicating about vaccines on social media,” she said.

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker

School of Journalism and New Media professors offer advice for college students

Posted on: August 19th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic features a cork board with pins and reads Advice for Students

A new semester has begun at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, and some of our professors are offering the following advice to students:

Graham Bodie

Graham Bodie

Listen to Other Perspectives. Graham Bodie, Ph.D., professor of integrated marketing communication, said go to class and ask questions that provide deeper understanding, especially around issues that are complex and infused with multiple diverse perspectives.

“Learn to hold two or more seemingly contradictory perspectives as plausible before accepting or rejecting anything out-of-hand,” he said. “Try to read something or talk to someone who disagrees with you every day.”

Speak Up. Bodie said speak with passion and confidence toward a position you feel strongly about and about which you have some knowledge and/or experience, and always listen like you might be wrong.

You Might Be Wrong. “Don’t be surprised when you are wrong, and don’t treat others’ wrongness as a weapon to wield in a battle over who gets to win an argument that may not actually have a single right answer,” he said.

When you have the privilege of being in a position of power, Bodie said “leverage the diversity of views and perspectives on those large, messy, complex problems with which you have been tasked, and take risks on solutions that involve collective intelligence.”

Fail. And remember, we sometimes learn by failing.

“Fail here, while you can do so in a ‘safe’ environment,” he said. “Don’t read ‘safe’ as an environment that makes you feel comfortable. You should sometimes be uncomfortable.”

Emily Bowen-Moore

Emily Bowen-Moore

Communication is Key. Emily Bowen-Moore, instructional associate professor of integrated marketing communication, said to communicate with instructors.

“It makes all the difference in the world,” she said.

Elizabeth Allen Estes

Elizabeth Allen Estes

Read the Directions. Elizabeth Allison Estes, adjunct instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, shared this message:

“Dear Gen Z Student, You are so wonderful in so many ways. But having grown up entirely immersed in digital technology, you tend to assume that you can accomplish tasks intuitively. You will save us both a lot of extra work and sadness if you will read the directions FIRST, and then just follow them. With great affection, Professor Gen X.”

Senior Lecturer Robin Street discusses a class project with two students in her PR Case Studies class. From left, are IMC major Jessica Lanter, Street and IMC major Naiomei Young. Photo by Maddie Bridges.

Robin Street

Record Due Dates in a Calendar. Robin Street, adjunct instructor of integrated marketing communications, said her advice is basic, but effective.

“At the beginning of the semester, get all your syllabi together,” she said. “Then get a calendar, either a hard copy or a digital one. Carefully go through each syllabus and highlight every due date. Then, one by one, put all those dates on your master calendar.

“Yes, it will be tedious, but it will help you so much. If due dates change, be sure and go back and change your calendar.”

Write Reminders. Street said it’s helpful to make note of items a week or two before the due date.

“Write on your calendar on Oct. 15 that a paper is due in two weeks. That way, dates don’t sneak up on you.”

Work Each Day. Street’s second piece of advice is to devote a little time daily towards a big project.

“The longer you put that project off, the bigger it gets,” she said. “I do this myself when I have a lot of papers to grade. I devote one hour to grading. I don’t get them all graded, of course, but it makes headway. Then, the next day, I devote another hour.”

Kristen Alley Swain

Kristen Alley Swain

Build Your Skills. Kristen Alley Swain, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism, said search for ads for your dream job(s). Then make a list of the skills and background these employers want that you could obtain while enrolled at UM.

“College is the easiest time to do this – because right now, you have the resources and support to do it,” she said. “For instance, you might produce content for a nonprofit or campus office, attend events related to your interests to help you network, and volunteer for leadership roles in a student club.

“Use every course to help build your professional ‘toolbox’ — add skills, perspectives, experiences, knowledge, content, publications, and other deliverables that will help you succeed in a tough job market. Demonstrating tenacity, a strong work ethic, effective time management habits, and a willingness to actively participate in every class will greatly help you get good references and launch a fantastic career.”

Stefanie Goodwiller

Stefanie Goodwiller

Talk to Your Professors. Stefanie Goodwiller, adjunct instructor of media design, said don’t be afraid to ask questions.

“If you are unsure of something, ask your professor before asking your peers,” she said.

Debbie Woodrick Hall

Debbie Woodrick Hall

Set Goals. Debbie Woodrick Hall, instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communication, shared a few Ole Miss Student Survival Tips written by Bonnie Brown. 

“So maybe you haven’t answered the question of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up,’” Brown said. “The Career Center can help with that. But you can set some goals for the semester—a certain GPA, some type of behavior modification, establish an exercise routine, actively participate in class. Whatever it is, make it yours, and set yourself up for success! You got this!”

Robert Magee

Robert Magee

Use Memory Recall. Robert Magee, Ph.D., associate professor of integrated marketing communication, said a good way to prepare for a test is to use a blank sheet of paper.

“Write down everything you can remember,” he said. “Then, compare it to your notes to see what you missed. Recall memory is much more difficult than recognition memory, so this will give you an idea of how well you are prepared.”

Define a Concept. “When you’re trying to master a concept, see if you can define it in your own words in no more than two sentences,” Magee said. “If you can’t define it in two sentences or less, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s a sign of muddled or half-baked thinking. To write well, you first must think well.”

Lynette Johnson

Lynette Johnson

Look for Opportunities. Lynnette Johnson, Ed.D, said, “Be open to unexpected opportunities that arise. Walk through that door of opportunity…you never know where it may lead. If you don’t ask, then the answer is already ‘No.’”

Ellen Meacham

Ellen Meacham

Get Involved. Ellen Meacham, adjunct assistant professor of journalism instruction, said attend every panel discussion, guest speaker or free event you can.

“It’s a great chance to learn about the world from people who are out there in it,” she said. “You will never have such a distinguished, informed, cross-section of experts so easily accessible again. You will learn a lot, and it’s also a great way to make contacts and network for future internships and jobs.”

Mike Tonos

Mike Tonos

Come to Class. Mike Tonos, journalism coordinator and instructional associate professor, said show up and get to know your instructor, even if that means a one-time, short, one-on-one meeting. This applies across the board, not just to in-person classes.

“For all, do the work you’re assigned,” he said. “In my classes, you’ll get at least some credit for turning in your assignments. The alternative is an automatic zero.”

Debora Wenger

Debora Wenger

Remember — it all matters. Debora Wenger, Ph.D., associate dean, said there’s no such thing as “syllabus day.”

“Seriously, make every class period count and stay on top of assignments,” she said. “It’s always going to be easier to do well in a course if you avoid falling behind.

“Pro tip: Take advantage of every extra credit opp — you never know when you’ll need those three more points.”

Smith named Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics Fellow

Posted on: August 18th, 2022 by ldrucker

Dr. Marquita Smith, associate professor and assistant dean for graduate programs in the School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, has been named a Fellow at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi, Center Chairman Charles Overby announced today.

“Marquita brings to us an impressive blend of professional experience and academic accomplishment,” Overby said. “Her work signals a broader interest in the media’s role in democracy.”

Smith’s role at the center will focus primarily on creating the Mississippi Democracy Dashboard, a collection of data designed to help users increase their political engagement.

Dr. Marquita Smith

Dr. Marquita Smith

“The Democracy Dashboard will highlight trends in governance, particularly; democratic participation and voting; institutional functioning in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches; and perhaps media capacity,” Smith said.

The dashboard is an effort to help strengthen community engagement in the political process while also serving as a resource to smaller local media outlets. It will be a non-partisan resource.

Smith joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi in 2020 from John Brown University, where she was an associate professor of journalism and the division chair for Communication and Fine Arts. While at JBU, she served as the inaugural coordinator of diversity relations and helped implement the university’s first diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plans. She was also a U.S. Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Prior to transitioning from the newsroom to the academy, Smith worked for more than a decade as a student media advisor and was an adjunct professor at two historically Black institutions, Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. She is a well-published, award-winning teacher, and her leadership in journalism education is well known.

In addition to her academic achievement, she has significant professional experience.

She was a bureau chief for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia.; the Go editor who coordinated/edited a team of seven reporters prepared to deploy in a crisis from multiple bureaus; and the Portsmouth city editor and interim city editor for Chesapeake.

During her years with The Virginian-Pilot, she was named a Knight International Journalism Fellow to Liberia, providing hands-on training, workshops and seminars to help media play an active role in the redevelopment of the country.

She was assistant city editor at The Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Alabama; an urban affairs reporter at the Lexington Herald Leader in Lexington, Kentucky; a religion and education reporter at The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi, and a general assignment reporter at the Knight-Ridder, Washington, D.C. bureau.

She is a senior consultant and owner of MQ Communications, which designs training packages for new journalists, or specialized continuing education courses for existing media operations. Primary training typically involves newsgathering, writing, assignments, shooting, editing and producing.

The firm also provides companies with diversity training and tools they need to increase their communications capacity and use high-impact strategic campaigns to achieve their goals.

Smith has a Doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland in College Park, and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In 2021, Smith was named Alumna of the Year of UT’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media.

Most recently she was recognized as the News Leaders Association’s 2022 recipient of the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship, “which recognizes an educator’s outstanding efforts to encourage students of color in the field of journalism.”

The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics was founded in 2007 through a grant from the Freedom Forum. The center features programs, multimedia displays and publications exploring the complex relationships between politicians and the press, with a focus on Southern perspectives.

Putting Yourself Out There: UM School of Journalism and New Media students land jobs with BBDO Worldwide

Posted on: July 27th, 2022 by ldrucker

When Kirsten Flanik, president and CEO of BBDO New York, spoke during an Overby Center presentation last year, she mentioned that the company was interested in interviewing more University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students.

Flanik brought Olivia Dames, vice president and director of agency marketing for BBDO New York, who is a 2017 UM graduate. Dames earned a degree in business/commerce with minors in marketing and French.

Gulfport native Thomas Lee was in that audience, and his story proves that putting yourself out there sometimes pays off.

“Following the conclusion of the event, I walked up to thank both of them and handed both of them my resume,” said Lee, a UM graduate student. He said, “I really enjoyed your presentation and would love to intern with you all if you have any positions available.’

“We stayed in touch after the event. I sent a lot of emails throughout the fall and spring to both of them just trying to keep myself at the top of their minds. Kirsten encouraged me to apply for the internship program. I applied and landed the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The graphic features a world with people standing on top of it and reads: Putting Yourself Out There.

The graphic features a world with people standing on top of it and reads: Putting Yourself Out There.

Flanik and Dames spoke about the global presence of BBDO Worldwide. BBDO (short for Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn, a merger between two companies) is one of the largest advertising agency networks in the world with more than 15,000 people in 289 agencies across 81 countries.

Flanik said she’s had to bring in new voices, like Dames, to keep up with changing times. But she’s not the only UM grad working for the company.

Other UM School of Journalism and New Media grads who have worked for BBDO, according to LinkedIn, include Samantha Rippon, Abbie DeLozier, Jasmine Meredith, Mallary Goad, Micah Crick and Lee.

This is a photo of Thomas Lee standing in front of green trees.

Lee, a UM grad who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in International Conflict and Cooperation and Arabic with a minor in Spanish, said he decided to shift to IMC for graduate studies because he has always had a passion for language, culture, and graphic design. He puts those skills to use at BBDO.

Greenwood native Micah Crick, 22, started working remotely as an account management intern at BBDO Atlanta before moving there to continue working for the company.

“I found the job by deciding I wanted to work for one of BBDO’s offices,” said Crick, who was originally assigned to an account management team working on competitive research and providing support before she was promoted to business affairs coordinator. Now, she assists business managers in the Business Affairs Department.

Crick holds her diploma while wearing her cap and gown at graduation.

Crick holds her diploma while wearing her cap and gown at graduation.

The recent UM graduate who studied integrated marketing communications with a specialization in visual design and a minor in general business said she has also learned that putting herself out there can be rewarding.

Crick felt like she wasn’t involved in campus activities until her senior year of college. Then, she decided to say “yes” to everything she could. That led to new opportunities, including work with BBDO.

Crick became the visuals editor for The Daily Mississippian her senior year, sold advertising for HottyToddy.com, was involved with the National Student Advertising Competition with Instructional Associate Professor Chris Sparks’ campaign class, and she interned for Parents of College Students/662 Marketing.

Lee, who spent the summer working with BBDO as an account intern in New York City, said his best advice to other journalism and IMC students is to “always have an open mind and apply, apply, apply.”

“I went on a massive LinkedIn internship hunt and got hundreds of rejection emails, but it’s important to not get discouraged,” he said. “ . . .  I truly believe that I would not have been in this position if I did not put myself out there – you never know what can happen if you do.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

Why Internships Matter: Hard work and the right internships can prepare students for the future

Posted on: July 11th, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic reads: Why Internships Matter and features a cartoon laptop and notebook.

 

This story was written by Abby Hamelton for The Review.

Over the years, The University of Mississippi has had many successful alumni that have begun their careers at the bottom and worked their way up. Whether they majored in integrated marketing and communications (IMC) or journalism, they all made their impact on this world by starting out on the right foot with a degree from the School of Journalism and New Media.

Liz Corbus

Liz Corbus

Liz Corbus graduated from Ole Miss in 2017 and has been building her career ever since. Being an IMC major, Corbus could have chosen several different career paths, but chose to stick with media. Now, as a result of her decision, she works at TikTok. While still in college, Corbus worked at two different internships, which she believed helped her better understand what she wanted to do after graduation. Although her internships did not necessarily relate directly to her eventual position after college, she believes that her internships in college helped her acclimate quickly to new work environments and responsibilities. Corbus explained that her first internship was for Comedy Central and was PR related. Her second was working in production at a television station.

“I would say most of the internships that I did in undergrad didn’t set me up to know how to do this job,” explained Corbus. “I think that’s the great thing with each new experience in the workforce. Most things you won’t know how to do until you start the job. So it’s really just a mentality of your work ethic and being open to learning. In general, when everyone’s applying for different roles, as long as in the interview you come across like you’re willing to work hard and learn, well, that’s what they’re looking for.”

While completing her internships, Corbus continued to take courses at the University to improve her knowledge in the field of marketing. Corbus believes the classes she took helped her best prepare for the real world.

“Overall, you really get to learn every different area of the IMC world through these classes,” said Corbus. “I think it gives you a very holistic approach. Even if it’s not necessarily what you do after graduation, you really learn each touch point in the business. The class that I was very excited about, which was one of my favorite classes, was a sales class that we had. It was the most useful class for what I do in my day-to-day job now because it was about how to pitch, the sales cycle, and how the sales world works.”

After graduation, Corbus was employed as a digital account coordinator at Warner Media. During her three years at Warner, she was able to learn more about the industry, and her interest in and understanding of the different areas of marketing increased. According to Corbus, her time spent at Warner was productive, and it led to her current job at TikTok, which is yet another new opportunity for her to hone her skills in another area of marketing.

“I would say they’re pretty different. The role at Warner Media was on the publishing side. This role is very much a strategy role, as well as a sales role. But basically, throughout my whole week, I am tasked to understand my clients’ needs and how they’re ultimately trying to drive sales,” said Corbus.

Corbus has been at TikTok for seven months and is working as a client solutions manager for their Beauty and Personal Care Department. In her position, she works directly with mid-market beauty advertisers to grow their brand identity through marketing efforts using the TikTok platform.

“I am responsible for growing the advertisers,” said Corbus. “Month over month, I’m responsible for making sure that clients meet their key performance indicators (KPI), but ultimately, we want them to grow their business using TikTok. My day-to-day includes a lot of creative best practices. A lot of people are still trying to figure out how advertising works on TikTok because they think it’s apples-to-apples like Instagram or Facebook. But, creativity is the number one driver of success on TikTok,” explained Corbus. “So, if you don’t have the resources or the creative strategy to run ads on TikTok, it’s gonna be a little bit harder.”

Daniel Payne

Daniel Payne

Daniel Payne graduated in 2020 with a journalism degree and started his career as a reporter for The Desoto Times-Tribune. Like Corbus, Payne also had two internships in college; however, he found that his experience as editor-in-chief for The Daily Mississippian helped teach him a lot about what was to come in his professional career.

“The Mississippian was maybe the most important part of my education at UM,” said Payne. “Every aspect of that work showed me what a newsroom was all about and gave me a taste of what a career in journalism would actually be like. It confirmed my love for journalism. There’s no replacing planning, writing, and editing stories that will have real impact, even if it is just in the university or Oxford. I wasn’t sure if I was up to the challenges that came with all that, but I am so thankful for everyone who encouraged me to go for it. There really isn’t a workday that I don’t use what I learned at The Mississippian.”

Although Payne had a lot of experience showcased on his resume, finding work after graduation was not easy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because I graduated just as the pandemic was starting, a lot of publications were not hiring, and others canceled their fellowship and internship programs,” explained Payne. “So, I just kept applying and doing the work I could and everything worked out.”

Payne finally landed his first job at The Desoto Times-Tribune, where he worked for seven months until later landing a full-time fellowship with POLITICO. He described how the work environments differed from one another.

“Those were very different environments, but both were really important and taught me a lot in their own ways. The DeSoto Times-Tribune had a very small staff where I was busy reporting, editing, designing and planning coverage with a couple of other people. It was sort of like my time at The Daily Mississippian — trying to do impactful work that really mattered for the community, but overseeing that work from idea to execution, interviews to product redesigns,” Payne explained. “What I do at POLITICO is very different in some ways, but that mission of reporting for the good of a community is the same, even if that community is much larger. My reporting is focused in one area, and I’m not doing much besides reporting and writing — just trying to do it at the highest level I can. I’m thankful for time at both places, though. I wouldn’t have the skills, perspective or drive I have now without both environments.”

Payne is now a full-time reporter at POLITICO after completing his fellowship there.

“There are still a lot of great development and education opportunities in the newsroom,” said Payne.

Looking back at his time at Ole Miss, Payne has some advice for incoming freshmen and for graduating seniors. He believes freshmen should begin reporting the news as soon as they can, and graduating seniors should be prepared to fill out a lot of applications.

“There’s really no replacement for doing journalism yourself in order to learn it,” Payne said. “Also, I have told friends who are graduating to get ready to apply for a lot of openings. It may have just been my experience, but it took a lot of time and perseverance to get a job in journalism that I really wanted. But it was absolutely worth it. The time invested is worth getting to do what you really love.”

Natalie Pruitt

Natalie Pruitt

Natalie Pruitt graduated with an IMC degree in 2021.

“During my spring semester, senior year, I essentially applied to every job that sounded remotely interesting to me as well as some that didn’t out of pure desperation. I spent a week perfecting my online resume and portfolio,” said Pruitt. “I also applied to post-grad internships at companies that were known for having excellent internship programs, since I felt my qualifications matched those of an intern role rather than the jobs advertised at larger firms.”

After going through the arduous process of job hunting, Pruitt finally landed her current job with FleishmanHillard (FH) as an assistant account executive, but she explained that her job is more like that of an assistant designer.

“Assistant account executive is the title given across the board to all junior level staff at FH,” said Pruitt. “The title that more accurately describes my role is assistant designer. I still can’t believe that I get to do design every single day. Working as a designer makes every day so much fun and different from the last. It’s also rewarding being able to use and to strengthen the skills I learned as an IMC major.”

Pruitt explained that having a job that is rewarding to her makes the hard work she put in at school all the more important to her. She explained that her internship at FH was also important because it led to her current position at the company.

“I was lucky enough to convert to the role of assistant account executive/assistant designer at FleishmanHillard after working as an intern for six months,” said Pruitt. “Honestly, the transition has been so smooth, and I felt very prepared to take on the new role and the new responsibilities that came with it. Before my internship at FH, the role that most prepared me for my current position was when I worked as a content marketing intern at Ole Miss in the Office of Marketing and Communications. It was while working in that position that I realized how much I love design. While there, I was given a multitude of opportunities to develop my design skills.”

Pruitt also offered advice for incoming freshmen and graduating seniors. She explained there are many things she could have done differently in college. However, her best advice is to work hard.

”Never let the fear of judgment stop you from unleashing your inner ‘try-hard.’” said Pruitt. “Being a ‘try-hard’ is what gets you noticed and opens doors that leave you asking, ‘How did I end up here?’”

Liz Corbus, Daniel Payne, and Natalie Pruitt have all had great success with their careers after graduating from the University of Mississippi. They are proof that hard work and the right internships can help to better prepare anyone for the future.

To read more stories from The Review: https://issuu.com/mrmagazine123/docs/the_review_all_pages_final

To learn more about our programs: https://jnm.olemiss.edu/

To follow our school on social media @umjourimc: https://linktr.ee/umjourimc

Apply now: https://bit.ly/36t5f3l

 

The graphic features a student sitting at TV monitors and reads: Turn Your Dreams Into Reality.