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Professor seeks UM School of Journalism and New Media student volunteers for app project that provides free emotional support

Posted on: January 18th, 2021 by ldrucker

As we continue to be separated from each other due to COVID-19, several studies have documented increased levels of depression, stress and anxiety, and decreased levels of general mental well-being among students.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor is hoping to change that by partnering with creators of an app that provides free emotional support. Professor Graham Bodie, Ph.D., is also seeking students from the school willing to participate as listeners through the app for other students in need.

Graham Bodie

Graham Bodie

The HearMe.App, created by Adam Lippin and his team,

allows people to seek and receive support at any time. Users download the app to their Android or Apple device, specify their preferred listener type (male-female, age range, time availability to chat, etc.), and either identify a topic for conversation or begin chatting.

“All conversations are text-based, and listeners go through minimal training in active and reflective listening before they are allowed to interact with users,” Bodie said. “To date, over 54,000 conversations have taken place on the app with 94 percent of support seekers reporting they ‘felt better after one chat.’”

At the outset of the pandemic, the HearMe.App team commissioned a survey of 350 American adults, Bodie said. Results indicated that a majority of 18- to 24-year-olds reported feeling less connected than before the pandemic, compared to a majority of those over 35 who reported feeling more connected.

Screenshot from website.

“Those in the traditional college-aged cohort were the least satisfied with the emotional support they are currently receiving and more readily identified texting to be a viable means of seeking support (again, compared to those in older age cohorts),” Bodie said. “Our current studies thus target a key demographic likely to benefit the most from digital forms of emotional support.”

The studies will take place at the University of Mississippi and University of Minnesota. They will examine whether broad-based, communal emotional support, delivered through a free app, can mitigate stress among college students and the negative mental health effects of social isolation and loneliness resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

By any number of measures, 2020 was stressful, and 2021 might be best described as “the year of loneliness” if we continue to be separated from each other due to COVID, Bodie said.

“In March, U.S. American higher education institutions closed down most campus operations and dormitory housing, and began encouraging or mandating online courses in an effort to manage the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “By April, it was clear students were unlikely to return to campus for the remainder of the spring semester. As summer turned to fall, students continued to remain isolated, either at home or in a restricted and curfewed campus community.”

Bodie said general population studies find younger age groups reporting more impact from COVID-19 than older age groups, and students from disenfranchised groups are even more at risk of suffering from the consequences of the pandemic.

“Although most colleges and universities offer formal sources of support, these resources are generally underutilized,” he said.

Even if universities were able to convince more students to use mental health services, Bodie said the staffing alone would overwhelm personnel and overextend the financial capacities of higher education budgets. One answer to assisting students through crises is to strengthen social support networks.

Receiving high-quality support from friends and other informal help providers is vital for student coping, he said. However, COVID-19 precautions have disrupted students’ channels of seeking support. Some students are now socially isolated from peers, roommates, family members, and co-workers; and their social life has declined since March 2020.

Screenshot from website.

Bodie said scholars are increasingly recognizing the need for colleges and universities to prioritize early prevention and intervention programming through platforms that allow students to adequately manage their mental health on or off campus.

He is looking for students to become listeners. While some might only be available for one session each week, others may have a few hours weekly to devote to the project.

“First, it does not take long to be a supportive shoulder for people, a keen ear available to listen in times of stress,” Bodie said. “Second, we hope students will seek support through the application as the semester progresses, whether they sign up as a listener or not.”

  1. If you are interested in participating as a listener, click this link to answer the following short survey to get started.
  1. Volunteer to “listen” on the app by emailing Bodie at at

For more information about our journalism or integrated marketing communications programs visit or email

Welcome back to the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: January 15th, 2021 by ldrucker

Dear Students,

Here’s hoping your time away from campus allowed you to reconnect and recharge – to reconnect with people you care about and to recharge your enthusiasm for learning and growth.

As we head into the spring semester, let me first acknowledge how proud I am of you – the fall was tough on everyone, but you met the challenges head on and did better than we could have imagined.

Debora Wenger

Interim Dean Debora Wenger

I, personally, have reasons to be hopeful that the spring semester is going to be better:

  1. The vaccine rollout is ramping up and as more and more people are inoculated, that should make our campus and our communities safer in the coming months. In the meantime, we saw in the fall semester that following the university’s safety protocols does help to protect us, and we will continue to stick with what we know is a good thing. Please read your Monday Morning Memo carefully each week to stay on top of COVID testing and vaccination updates.
  2. We also know more about what works and what doesn’t in this learning environment. You and your instructors should be better prepared this semester to focus on getting the most that we can out of our time in the classroom, online or on Zoom. Everyone has reason to head into the spring with more confidence.

We do recognize, though, that things won’t always be easy this semester. Please practice self-care and reach out to me, your faculty or any of our staff if you start to struggle. The earlier you seek help, the easier it will be to get back on track.

Remember, too, that the university provides counseling services. You can call the University Counseling Center at 662-915-3784, Monday-Friday (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or the UM Dept. of Psychology at 662-915-7385.

We’ll try to communicate more often and look for additional ways to connect as the semester continues. We encourage you to follow us on social media – just log onto your favorite platform and look for “umjourimc”. In the meantime, stay safe and remember that we are stronger together.


Dr. Deb Wenger
Interim Dean

Truth Seeker and Storyteller: Curtis Wilkie retires from UM

Posted on: December 11th, 2020 by ldrucker

Veteran reporter, longtime Ole Miss journalism faculty member served as conscience of the campus, mentor to many

When Curtis Wilkie left Mississippi for the East Coast in 1969, he did it with a promise that he would never return. Half a century later, the University of Mississippi journalism professor is putting a period on his career in the same place where it began: Oxford.

The Summit native and Ole Miss alumnus (BA 63) reported on and wrote about a range of characters from racists and murderers to United States presidents and Middle Eastern revolutionaries. Yet through a career that led him from the Mississippi Delta to the White House, Wilkie never failed to seek out the humanity in each of his sources.

Curtis Wilkie relaxes at his home in Oxford. The acclaimed journalist, author and educator is retiring from the University of Mississippi after nearly two decades as a faculty member and mentor to many. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services


Wilkie chuckles with humble reservation when asked about his legacy ahead of his upcoming retirement. But one of his closest friends and former colleagues, UM Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat, said Wilkie has served as the conscience of the university, the state and, at times, the nation.

“I would say Curtis served as a reminder of the truest course that we could take, even though we may not agree with it – we may not support him in it – but he was steady,” Khayat said.

Decades after a bitter departure from the South that raised him – even though Wilkie rejected much of the Southern way of life – he returned for the friends, football and shared humanity he’d left behind. Back in Oxford, he taught and inspired generations of students, published what many consider to be a masterpiece of reporting and helped cement the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics as a national leader in free speech and political discourse.

Click this link to read the full story by JB Clark.


University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor named Master Journalism Educator

Posted on: December 10th, 2020 by ldrucker
A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor has been named a Master Journalism Educator.
The Journalism Education Association has announced that R.J. Morgan, Ph.D., who leads the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, has completed the requirements for Master Journalism Educator certification.
The certification recognizes teachers who have achieved national standards of preparation to teach high school journalism classes and advise student media.
R.J. Morgan

The certification requirements include a minimum of five years of experience in journalism teaching and advising, previous achievement of Certified Journalism Educator status, completion of a JEA-approved project, and passing an examination that demonstrates the educator’s proficiency in journalism teaching and advising.


“It’s quite a thrill and an honor to be considered a ‘master’ in a field that has given me so much,” Morgan said. “I’ve been shaped by and in love with journalism education since the first day I joined my school newspaper staff in the eighth grade, and it is my life’s work to be able to help create similarly impactful classroom experiences with both my own students and with others from across the state of Mississippi and beyond.”

Morgan is also a JEA Certified Journalism Educator who earned his Ph.D. in K-12 education leadership. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Mississippi State University and previously taught at Starkville High School, where he received honors including STAR Teacher, Third Congressional District Teacher of the Year, the Paul Cuicchi Innovative Educator Award, and the MSPA Adviser of the Year (three times).

His media experience includes writing for The Associated Press, Sporting News magazine, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and The Commercial Appeal. Morgan is the recipient of the 2018 Elizabeth Dickey Distinguished Service Award from the Southern Interscholastic Press Association.

Everything you need to know about applying for scholarships from the UM School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: December 3rd, 2020 by ldrucker

If you’d like to attend the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, but you want to apply for scholarships to help fund your education, we’ve created a Q & A that will help you navigate the scholarship application process.

School leaders say you don’t have to be a straight A student to apply for some of our scholarships. We have multiple scholarships designed for a variety of students. So read the information below provided by Assistant Dean Jennifer Simmons and Interim Dean Debora Wenger to learn why you should apply.

Q. Some students don’t really understand how the scholarship process works. If you are a new or existing student who wants to apply for a scholarship, what steps should you take? Do you apply for individual scholarships, or do you just submit one application from our website?

A. New students to the university must submit the Special Programs and Scholarships Application (SPSA) for consideration for university-level scholarships and school-level scholarships. The School of Journalism and New Media has a tab within the SPSA for students who are interested in applying for scholarships for students majoring in journalism or IMC.

This application covers it all. Students do not have to apply for individual scholarships. The priority deadline for the SPSA is Jan. 5, with a final deadline of Feb. 15. Currently enrolled or continuing students must complete the .pdf application located at the JNM site. The deadline for this application is Feb. 15.



Q. What happens after you submit the application? How and when are the scholarships awarded? When will you be notified if you are selected for one? How are the selections made?

A. After the application is submitted, the Scholarship Committee within the School of Journalism and New Media will review the applications and make recommendations for awards. Reviews usually begin after Feb. 1. The committee completes a holistic review of each application received. Factors include, but are not limited to, standardized test score, GPA, journalistic or IMC involvement/experience, hometown/county, and high school.

Students who are awarded a scholarship through the School of Journalism and New Media must be admitted or enrolled in the Bachelor’s of Journalism or IMC degree program and will be notified by the Financial Aid office after April 1.

Q. Do you think there are some students who may be missing out on scholarship opportunities because they didn’t fill out an application? What would you say to encourage them to apply?

A. I think there is a misconception that you have to be a 4.0 student to receive a scholarship, and that’s just not true. We have multiple scholarships based on whether you are studying journalism or IMC, or if you’re from Mississippi, or if you are already working in the fields of IMC or journalism through internships or jobs. We encourage you to check out the list of scholarships we have available to see if you are eligible.

Q. If there is someone out there who would like to establish a scholarship in the name of someone else for our school, how would they do that?

A. We know there are people out there who believe in quality journalism and responsible integrated marketing communications, and we would welcome their help in supporting students who are pursuing those careers. We have a number of existing scholarships, including the Curtis Wilkie Scholarship for journalism students, the Robin Street Public Relations Student Support Fund and the Talbert Fellows Fund, which supports both journalism and IMC students, just to name a few. And, of course, we are always open to new ideas for scholarships, so please get in touch if we can help you support our students.

You can email Interim Dean Debora Wenger at if you are intersted in establishing a scholarship at our school. Visit our scholarship page to learn more.

PR News names UM School of Journalism and New Media graduate one of its Rising PR Stars 30 & Under

Posted on: November 25th, 2020 by ldrucker

PR News has named a 2018 University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate as one of its Rising PR Stars 30 & Under.

As the first member of the newly formed Idea Grove PR team in Dallas, Sarah Jenne, a UM Integrated Marketing Communications graduate, played a pivotal role in developing many best practices. After just a year, Jenne was chosen to spearhead Idea Grove’s PR practice at a time when the agency was transitioning to a specialization-focused staffing model, the PR News website reports.

Sarah Jenne

Sarah Jenne

“Sarah developed the Customer Brand Ambassador program for WorkFusion, an automation technology provider,” her PR News bio reads. “Sarah was consistently getting interest from reporters seeking real-world examples, but WorkFusion lacked a bank of media-ready customers. Sarah created a fact-based recommendation for the client, developed materials for educating customers on the opportunity, and soon had multiple customers on deck for media engagement.”

Robin Street, senior lecturer at the School of Journalism and New Media before her retirement, said she was proud of  Jenne for earning this honor, because she stood out as a young professional, but she was also an outstanding student.

“I remember telling Sarah that she would be a great PR professional and that she should earn our school’s specialization in it,” Street said. “I initially was especially impressed at her writing skills, because so much of public relations work requires communicating through writing. Then I also observed I her ability to stay poised under pressure and to multi-task with ease.”

Click here to learn about the PR specialization at the School of Journalism and New Media.

Street said Jenne took the advanced PR class in a one-month intensive summer session. The class required completing a mini-internship, multiple writing and research assignments and a full public relations campaign as a final project.

“Many students struggle to juggle all those requirements, but not Sarah,” Street said. “She did excellent work and exemplified time management skills. I still have the evaluation form her internship supervisor completed about her, and it says, ‘As this was a short time period to accomplish a lot of tasks, she did an amazing job.'”

In addition to her talents and skills, Street said, “She is also a delightful young woman who has the ability to get along with multiple types of people. Any employer is lucky to have her.”

As the impact from COVID-19 turned newsrooms upside down in March 2020, PR News reports that Jenne “tapped into her network of reporters to collect information on their changing beats and candid feedback on their receptiveness to pitches, helping clients make informed decisions about upcoming announcements and external communication strategies.”

PR News’ PR People Awards and Rising PR Stars 30 & Under competition showcases top talent, passionate professionals and budding PR leaders who, day in and day out, are making communications matter in the marketplace, according to their website.

“The winners of this annual program set the benchmark for PR and underscore the outstanding PR achievements made in the past year—and our 2020 class of honorees is no different,” it reads.

The website reports that many of this year’s award recipients acknowledged the challenging role of public relations and communications in the midst of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and social unrest.

“In many instances, our honorees had to pivot their messaging to both internal and external stakeholders, create crisis playbooks on the fly or determine how their brands could, and should, best respond beyond statements,” it reads. “From internal communications and community relations to crisis management, media relations and beyond, the individuals recognized this year cover the wide breadth and depth of the industry. We invite you to read more about their individual accomplishments below.”

UM School of Journalism and New Media to offer updated curriculum with new courses this fall

Posted on: June 9th, 2020 by ldrucker

St. Louis native Brittany Kohne, 18, will be a freshman at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media this fall. The Oakville High School graduate is also one of our prestigious Talbert Fellows and a future journalism student.

Kohne said she was attracted to UM’s innovative journalism program, which school leaders recently updated after much research, planning and many in-depth discussions about how to best serve students beyond 2020.

“I am looking at the Political and Social Justice reporting emphasis for my major,” she said. “I am hoping to learn how to cover such topics with the utmost integrity and truth … I think that it is great that Ole Miss is taking a new approach and action to mass media and journalism as a whole.”

Brittany Kohne

Brittany Kohne

Dean Debora Wenger said, beginning this fall, the school’s new journalism curriculum will better position students for future jobs. The biggest changes revolve around four new emphases: Video & TV Storytelling, Multimedia Journalism, Visual Journalism and Political and Social Justice Reporting.

“We know our students have a high interest in video and photo, writing, design, social media and specialty journalism,” Wenger said. “These new emphases give them the opportunity to go deep in an area that they love, while still getting the foundation in journalistic principles that they need.”

Things change rapidly in the media world, and Wenger said the curriculum updates were necessary to remain modern.

“Though our school has been offering relevant journalism instruction for many, many years, that wasn’t always apparent from our course descriptions and emphasis options,” she said. “We know that the audience is consuming more and more news and information on digital platforms and through video, social media and interactive design — now our curriculum more accurately reflects what we’re teaching.”

Wenger said new courses include J270: Digital Story Production, which will immerse students as sophomores into the tools and concepts they need to tell stories across media platforms. Another new course for freshmen is called Visual Principles — helping students understand what it takes to capture a great photo or visualize important information in a graphic.

Debora Wenger. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“And those are just two of the new hands-on, experiential classes we have developed for our existing and new students,” she said.

Digital Story Production gives students hands-on instruction about how to use digital media tools to produce interactive stories.

Iveta Imre, an assistant professor of journalism who teaches the course, said students will learn key concepts in audio, video, infographics, images, and other digital technologies. They will learn how to capture engaging audio, photos and video to create effective multimedia stories.

“I think this course is important for the new curriculum because it gives an opportunity to all of our journalism majors, regardless of the emphasis, to learn the basics in multimedia storytelling,” Imre said. “Until now, we had a huge discrepancy between our broadcasting and print majors in terms of skills, and this class is designed to remedy that.”

Imre said this is a new course entirely, and it is envisioned as a culmination of all the core classes all journalism students must take.

Iveta Imre

Iveta Imre

“Once they complete this class, the idea is that they would be ready to take the classes within their emphasis, and further develop the skills they learned in the digital story production class,” she said.

Professor Mark Dolan will be teaching Visual Media Principles. Students arrive in the course as novice designers.

“So a first goal is to help them apply what their eyes see, what the brain registers and the heart feels,” he said. “Everyone’s a designer, to some extent. Design begins with the outfit you picked this morning, the sofa you bought and how it fits with the other furniture. Design is in the shape of your water bottle, the logo on your ball cap, the menu you order from.”

This course is about understanding what design means, how it gets communicated, and why, said Dolan, who begins with core principles, such as how items relate to other items on a page or in a photo, or within a video frame or animated space. The class will discuss how elements balance, what is bigger and smaller in the frame, and why such things matter.

“Students this fall explore how these principles function within typography, page design, photography, video, even animation,” said Dolan, who thinks the best part of the class is learning to tell stories through design. This is what happens when the still image meets the type font, when the video sequence interacts with a block of text, he said.

“Sometimes richness and meaning can emerge from one photo, one type font, a video sequence,” he said, “but more often it’s the uniting of these that sparks the biggest impact. To design is like being a stage manager, a selector and coordinator, and telling stories through design is to use your brain, eyes and heart.

“More and more students are asked to design, whether for their class presentation, a professional web site, or their own business card. Not only do students come away with these core skills, they also take the next step in using design to do reporting.”

Oxford native Dalton Whitehead, 18, is also an incoming freshman and Talbert Fellow. The Oxford High School graduate said he has been researching new class additions.

“I absolutely want to develop even better camera skills than I already have and get some job experience in my field,” he said. “I would very much so like to gain more experience with interviewing. I’ve always been a camera man mostly, knowing all the ins and outs of them and all technology, and I am a good interviewer, but I still have a lot to improve on with interviewing.”

Kohne said she toured many schools in Missouri, but none seemed like a perfect fit until she visited UM.

“Once I walked on campus, I knew that it was the school that I saw my future at,” she said. “I chose broadcast journalism because I believe that every person should have the opportunity to share their story with the world, and show others a new perspective on life.

“I loved how Ole Miss had a lot of job opportunities when students graduated, as well as their approach in media as a whole. The journalism department is very forward thinking, which is very important for news media.”

Assistant Dean Scott Fiene said the school plans to update the IMC, or integrated marketing communication, curriculum next.

“The IMC program will be 10 years old in 2021, and while there have been continual tweaks and revisions to the curriculum since that time, the faculty is currently investigating larger changes that may be needed to keep up with the demands of the profession,” he said. “It is anticipated these changes would be implemented starting in fall 2021.”

For more information about the new journalism curriculum, email Wenger.

UM journalism professors lead students to win Telly Award in international video competition

Posted on: May 29th, 2020 by ldrucker

Return to Croatia

When Assistant Professor Iveta Imre, Ph.D., began her career as a student at the University of Zagreb 20 years ago, she met a professor from the University of Tennessee who came there to help lead a student workshop. Because of that connection, she began a journalism journey that eventually led her to the United States, and she is now a member of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media faculty.

In December, life came full circle when Imre and Interim Dean Debora Wenger, Ph.D., returned to the University of Zagreb to help lead a journalism workshop and mentor students. The result was the creation of a news program that resulted in an international award.

The “Disrupt the News” project led by Imre and Wenger in Croatia in December won a second-place Silver Telly Award in the Non-Broadcast Category of an international video and television festival in New York.

For two-weeks in mid-December, Wenger and Imre led the multimedia journalism workshop in cooperation with the Faculty of Political Sciences at Croatia’s University of Zagreb (FPZG), with the support of the U.S. Embassy.

The workshop focused on preparing students and professionals for evolving careers in journalism and included instruction and practice with emerging storytelling techniques and tools, such as 360-visuals, and strategies for verifying information and building audience trust. The result was an experimental newscast and a multimedia website, Zagreb Newslab.

Iveta Imre in Croatia

Dr. Iveta Imre, a drone pilot, steers the device as students watch.

“The winning project is a half hour newscast called ‘Croatia Works,’ which explored issues related to working conditions in Croatia,” said Imre. “This newscast used innovative storytelling techniques and new tools and technologies, such as data visualization and mapping, to tell stories about international workers in Croatia, Croatian brain drain, and the gig economy, among others.”

Imre reflected on returning to her alma mater after 20 years to conduct a workshop like the one that inspired her.

"That was one of the best experiences of my education at the time,” she said, “so I understand the profound impact these kinds of workshops can have on students, and I was glad I had a chance to come back and work with the new generation of young journalists in Croatia."
Iveta Imre
Dr. Iveta Imre
Assistant Professor

Imre said she believes the project was selected as a winner because it used innovative storytelling techniques to explore an important issue that impacts a many people in Croatia.

“We had a great group of students who worked really hard to get great visuals and informative interviews with officials and people who are impacted,” she said, “and the fact that we won an award recognizes all the hard work that went into creating this newscast.”

The collaboration came about because Professor Tena Perišin, head of the journalism department at FPZG, had been following Wenger’s work for many years and because of her personal connection to Imre.

“Iveta is my ex-student, who after earning her M.A. from Zagreb, continued her academic career in the US,” Perišin said in an earlier interview. “In addition to her professional skills, which are very important, she is one who understands our Balkan mentality. It was a win-win situation considering we included 24 students, journalists and journalism lecturers from five countries to make this workshop a success.”

Play Video

The workshop included young journalists from five European countries – Croatia, Slovenia, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia.

The Telly Awards event was founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after, according to the award website.

With the recent evolution and rise of digital video (web series, VR, 360 and beyond), the awards today also reflect and celebrate a new era of the moving image on and offline. The awards annually showcase the best work created within television and across video for all screens. Organizers received more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

“I think that the students who participated in the workshop have a bright future in journalism ahead,” Imre said. “and I hope this award will inspire them to continue working hard and telling important stories.”

Enroll now in summer courses from the UM School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: May 20th, 2020 by ldrucker

Are you feeling a little bored? Why not get a head start on some of your classes?

Many courses offered this summer by the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media are required classes for journalism and IMC majors.

For summer classes, you have until the day they start to enroll, so why not include learning in your plans for summer fun?

Full Summer

Bobby Steele – IMC 104 Web 1 – Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication
– Integrated marketing communications is a versatile field. This class required for IMC majors introduces the basic disciplines of IMC – advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, internet marketing communication, and relationship marketing.

IMC 395 – Internship I – Internship experience in media, such as public relations and advertising.

IMC 495 – Internship II – Internship experience in media, such as public relations and advertising.


First Summer Session


Mark Burson IMC – 455 Web 1 – Integrated Marketing Communications – This class required for IMC majors is a capstone course involving tactical application of IMC skills and disciplines that is designed to develop team-building skills. Alternative and competing IMC campaigns will be presented and judged by both professor and client.

Roy Frostenson – JOUR 101 Web 1 – Media, News & Audience – This class required of all majors is an introduction to various facets of communication from the world of news media to the persuasive realms of marketing, advertising, public relations, and social media. This course will also strengthen your knowledge of the media and communication industries, their history and current practices, their content, and their effects on us as individuals and society.

Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking

Emily Bowen-Moore – JOUR – 273 Web 1 – Creative Visual Thinking – Ready to think visual? This class required by all students except those enrolled in the broadcast journalism emphasis is an introduction to communication design that explores different media and how visual elements are used to communicate. It focuses on the vocabulary of effective visual presentation and the analysis of visual messages across media platforms.

Mark Dolan – JOUR 345 – Digital Media Diversity – Explores the origins, theory, and applications of diversity in digital media content and opens pathways among students and instructors to understand digital representations of race, sexuality, gender, disability, ethnicity, and class, underscoring and enlarging historical narratives of communication, the nature of audience and content creators within digital spaces. This class fulfills the diversity requirement.


Second Summer Session


Brad Conaway – JOUR – 310 Web 1 – Social Media in Society – This class takes a critical approach to understanding the relationship between society and social media. The course will explore the development of social media by situating them in broader social, political, historical, and business contexts. We will examine how the emergence of social media technologies are discussed, the ethical and legal challenges surrounding these technologies, and how social media affect various aspects of our lives including our social relationships, identity, privacy, and work.

LaReeca Rucker – JOUR – 361 Web 1 – Journalism Explorations IBlack Mirror, The Twilight Zone and Media – The British science-fiction anthology series “Black Mirror” is set in the near future explores the potential consequences of social media and future technology. Each episode has a different cast with a unique story and, like most science fiction, it offers a prophetic warning about what could happen if we lose control and allow technology to control us.

Some might say we are currently living in a “Black Mirror” moment. Recognizing the show’s potential as a discussion starter about modern and future media, students will watch specific episodes of “Black Mirror” and think critically about the program. Through class discussions and writing exercises, they will envision the future of social media and technology. Some selected content will be hosted on our Black Mirror Project website.

This mind-bending class will also analyze topical developments and news stories related to the impact of social media on society. Students will read academic articles that have been written about “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone.” Other science and speculative fiction movies and television shows will be examined. We’ll speculate about what the future holds, good and bad, with media and technology. And we’ll discuss what we can learn about journalism and a free society from science fiction visions of dystopias.

Black Mirror

Students who take this class will receive daily lesson plans on Blackboard with work they should complete before the following day. They may be asked to give short video presentations via Zoom, or to upload a video to YouTube so that other students can view their presentations. We also plan to have weekly, nationally-recognized speakers who can share their thoughts on the media and technology topics we discuss that will be broadcast in an optional live Zoom meeting or via video.

Students will be asked to complete some writing projects that could be featured on our “Black Mirror” website: They will be asked to engage in discussions in our Blackboard Discussion Forum with their classmates. We’ll also use social media platforms, such as Twitter, to communicate on some assignments. And we will (optionally) explore virtual reality, so it might be a good idea to purchase some inexpensive ($10 or less) VR glasses.

Iveta Imre – JOUR 362 – Journalism Explorations IIVideo Storytelling – Video storytelling is an essential skill whether you are going into film or TV, social media or advertising, PR or journalism, and the goal of this class is to give students a fundamental understanding of how to use video to tell a quality story. Students will learn to research, report, shoot, and edit short, focused video stories designed specifically for the web.

Imre said students will be doing fun projects, such as creating a silent movie for which they will edit a story only using visuals. They will also learn best practices for videos for social media. Students will experiment with video storytelling for TikTok. They will learn video and audio editing, and the class will culminate in creating a mini personal story or a mini documentary. At the end of the semester, they will have a class film festival with surprise awards for the best in show videos.

Bobby Steele – IMC 104 Web 1 –  Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication – This class required for IMC majors introduces the basic disciplines of IMC – advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, internet marketing communication, and relationship marketing.

Christina Sparks – IMC 304 Web 1 – Account Planning – This class required for IMC majors presents principles and practices of the account planning process to develop skills, insights and strategies to use in different methods of influencing consumers’ behavior. Students will hear real-world examples of the instructor’s time as an account planner at Ogilvy.

Account planning is the study of branding, positioning, research, analytics, insights, and measurements involved in the creation and evaluation of an advertising or communication campaign. Account planners are known as the voice of the consumer within agencies. They are the brand marketers, consumer experts, strategy developers, data analysts, program effectiveness measurers and general thinkers behind communications. Concepts learned in the course will be applied in a planning project.


Darren Sanefski – IMC 305 Web 1 – Visual Communication – This class required for the graphic design specialization emphasizes creation, utilization, and critique of visual components of IMC at professional levels. Students will learn basics of design software for IMC purposes and applications in print, online, and video, as well as packaging and retail environments.

Mike Tonos – IMC 390.1 – Advanced Writing: Integrated Marketing – This class required for IMC majors explores advanced writing in integrated marketing types of advertising; concepts of creativity, copy structure, and style; emphasis on creative thinking and clear, precise writing in preparation of advertising for print and broadcast media and copy for presentations and direct mail.

John Baker – IMC 404 – IMC Research – This class required for IMC majors explores the theory and practice of qualitative and quantitative research applied to multiple marketing and communications challenges and tasks.


August Intersession


Bobby Steele – IMC 104 Web 1 – Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication – This class trequired for majors introduces the basic disciplines of IMC – advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, internet marketing communication, and relationship marketing.

Cooper Manning celebrates our seniors as virtual graduation speaker

Posted on: May 7th, 2020 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate Cooper Manning, who, in case you didn’t know, is also part of a famous football family, is the school’s virtual graduation speaker this year.

The school has created a virtual graduation page where you can see his full address to the Class of 2020.

Or if you’re lucky enough to spend five minutes talking to Manning, you can’t help but notice his sense of humor. We asked him what it was like to grow up in a famous family?

“I would say it was exactly the opposite of being a Kardashian.”

Manning said he became a broadcast journalism major after taking a semester of accounting and realizing he didn’t love it.

“I have always been kind of comfortable talking on camera or in front of people,’ he said. “You had semesters where you were behind the scenes and working the camera, and you got to learn a different perspective.”

“While I enjoyed being on camera more, I did appreciate my days as a cameraman. I also liked that there were no set hours around journalism. You could go shoot something at night. There was always action. You weren’t tied to a schedule.”

Manning said he’s always had two career paths – a sales job and a media job.

“After college, I had a radio show,” he said. “A big radio guru had a heart attack and was out of commission. They said, ‘Have you ever hosted a radio show? … You’re hired.’ My fun was always being on the air in some fashion. For me, personally, I think if I had made it a full-time career, it might not be as fun.”

Cooper Manning

Cooper Manning

Manning is entering his fifth year as a host for “The Manning Hour” on FOX NFL Sunday Mornings, where his broadcast journalism degree comes in handy. However, in his real job, he is senior managing director of investor relations for AJ Capital Partners focusing on new business development and managing and curating investor relationships. There he has been instrumental in raising capital for Graduate Hotels.

“I have a lot of respect for the guys in the journalism world,” he said. “The hours are different. Those are tough hours. Those guys grind and work.”

He said he hopes graduates will ponder this thought:

“I hope they can walk away thinking, ‘If this no talent clown is doing OK for himself, then I’m going to kill it,” he said. “I was reluctant to accept the invitation just because I still wake up in the middle of the night and have that horrible pit in my stomach that I have a paper due and haven’t done it, and you can’t find the classroom, and you’re late for class.”

“I have really enjoyed the last decade of my life without having papers and homework due, so I guess I wanted to torture myself the last couple of months about what I am going to put down on paper or what comes out of my mouth. I am equally nervous about this and my sociology exam at the end of my senior year, which didn’t turn out so well.”

His advice to young professionals:

“I am a big believer in doing what you like and doing what you are good at,” he said. “Don’t take a job that you don’t like that you’re not passionate about because it’s a good job. There are not that many people in the world who get to come home and enjoy what they have done, so if you can find that, I think you’ve got it figured out.”

For more information about our journalism or integrated marketing communications programs visit

This article was written by LaReeca Rucker.