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Two University of Mississippi journalism students place in prestigious Hearst competition

Posted on: June 20th, 2022 by ldrucker

Congratulations to two University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students who recently placed in the Top 20 in the prestigious national Hearst journalism competition in the team digital news/enterprise category.

Rabria Moore and Billy Schuerman were winners led by editor/adviser Ellen Meacham, according to Patricia Thompson, former director of the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center at Ole Miss.

Thompson said the project tied for 16th place in the Hearst contest with a project from Elon University. The Top 5 winners in that category were students from Western Kentucky, Syracuse, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Oregon.

The project, about water supply problems in the community of Taylor, Mississippi, was published during the spring semester of 2021, and this is one of several major awards it has won since then, Thompson said.

Rabria Moore is pictured in the photo.

Rabria Moore is pictured in the photo.

Moore is entering her senior year at UM and is The Daily Mississippian editor-in-chief for 2022-23.

Schuerman graduated in 2021 and just completed his first year in the visual communication master’s program at Ohio University. He spent winter break as a photographer and writer at a newspaper in Colorado and has a photo internship this summer at the Virginian-Pilot, Thompson said.

Moore, 20, is a Durant, Mississippi native entering her senior year at the university studying journalism and political science.

“I was very excited to find out I received a Hearst award for this project,” Rabria said. “When I started this project, I didn’t think about winning any awards. My main goal was to tell a story about a woman who’s been fighting for access to water, and hopefully bring attention to the issue of water access, especially in Mississippi. I’m happy to receive the award, but I definitely take more pride in knowing that the story has reached a broader audience.”

Moore said working on this project was different from others.

“For months, I was able to visit Ms. Ilean’s home to hear about and see the problems she was facing without access to community water,” she said. “I hope others, especially people living in Mississippi, understand that not everyone has access to the same resources. Water is something we take for granted and something we don’t typically think about, but I hope people can appreciate the ‘small’ things that we don’t have to figure out on our own.”

She said learning to listen was one of the things she took away from the project.

“So many times, we think we know someone’s story or situation,” Moore said. “I think listening gives people the opportunity to tell their stories without us injecting ourselves into those stories.”

Billy Schuerman is pictured in this black and white photo.

Billy Schuerman is pictured in this black and white photo.

Schuerman, 23, who is from Houston, Texas, said he was elated to hear that their hard work was recognized in the competition.

“I am more hopeful that this recognition helps provide a future for the community we reported on,” he said. “Awards are secondary to the communities we serve.”

He said the project was meaningful.

“Before we are journalists, we are humans, and this is a human story,” he said. “This was not a project we could just walk into. We dedicated our time to telling a meaningful story about something that really matters. I hope other students can take away that in order to tell the rough draft of history, we must truly dedicate ourselves to the people we serve.”

His advice to other journalists is to find time to do important stories.

“Not everything you work on will come through,” he said, “but when you have an opportunity to really do something important, it’s important to take it head on.”

New director set to lead University of Mississippi’s S. Gale Denley Student Media Center

Posted on: June 6th, 2022 by ldrucker

A new director will soon lead the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center (SMC), which includes The Daily Mississippian newspaper, the campus television station NewsWatch, Rebel Radio and The Ole Miss yearbook.

Larz Roberts will be joining the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media June 24 as the new SMC leader.

Roberts comes to UM from Arkansas State University, where he advised Red Wolf Radio and ASU-TV News. For the past 25 years, he has worked in student media and as a faculty member teaching radio, television, online and print courses. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Mississippi and his B.S. from Florida A&M.

“His students have won national, regional and state awards for their work,” said Interim Dean Debora Wenger, “and Larz tells us that his goal is to help our students ‘grow across platforms, think critically and gain practical experience.’ Larz joins an exceptional team in the SMC and will be able to build on what is an excellent foundation.”

Larz Roberts is the new director of the S. Gale Denley Media Center.

Larz Roberts is the new director of the S. Gale Denley Media Center.

Roberts said he has always been a “utility player,” and that helped him learn many aspects of operating a media organization.

“If the media outlet where I worked needed someone to do a variety of whatever, I was often one to toss myself or get tossed onto those tasks,” he said. “Once I got into academia, I relished being that utility player, being able to teach and coach a number of things both the students and my departments needed.”

Students now produce a newscast, but Roberts said he’d like to see them have an entire television channel to create a variety of television programs, telling stories from all over the area.

“I’d love to see any student with a skill set or interest they can put to use in the media center use that opportunity to stretch their legs,” he said. “Get practical, real experience with content they create added to their portfolios.”

Whether that is in journalism, advertising or marketing, Roberts hopes students will use the SMC to build their portfolios and tell stories that would not otherwise be told.

“The mass media landscape is such now that everyone should think of creating multi-platform content,” he said. “Or at least, creating content that can be adapted to run across the different media platforms.

“That’s what those who are hiring are looking at, so it’s important any students wanting media experience be aware of that as an expectation.”

Roberts said it’s important that students and the program earn recognition for their work.

“I want to see students bringing back multiple national and regional awards,” he said. “With what I’ve seen of the work they produce, it’s a realistic goal . . . My mind has been churning almost nonstop in the past couple of weeks. I love seeing the lightbulbs turn on over students’ heads.  I can hardly wait to work with the faculty and the students there to make all that happen.”

Roberts is the current president of the Arkansas College Media Association, and he is involved in the Central Arkansas Association of Black Journalists, Arkansas’ only National Association of Black Journalists chapter.

He is also the founding faculty co-adviser for the state’s first student NABJ chapter, the Arkansas State Association of Black Journalists.

Meet some of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s outstanding 2022 graduates

Posted on: May 13th, 2022 by ldrucker

Journey to Commencement

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media congratulates the Class of 2022. Here are a few profiles of some of our outstanding graduates. The students shared thoughts on what drew them to UM, what they learned on their Journey to Commencement, their favorite classes and professors, and their future plans.

Click the images below to read their stories.

By LaReeca Rucker

Hard Work Pays Off: North Carolina IMC grad juggles internships and school to finish strong

Posted on: May 4th, 2022 by ldrucker
Mary Chapman Johnson is one graduate who has proven that hard work pays off. The graphic features a graduation cap.

For Mary Chapman Johnson, 22, earning a degree in integrated marketing communications (IMC) with a minor in business required work inside and outside of the classroom.

“I worked 30+ hours a week with my internship on top of being a full-time student,” said Johnson, who is just one of the school’s 2022 graduates who shared her Journey to Commencement.

The Winston-Salem native was involved in in her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and she served on the executive board for Turning Point USA, an organization that advocates for conservative values on high school, college, and university campuses.

She also interned for Carmigo, a website that helps people sell their cars.

“In my senior year of high school, I applied to 12 colleges,” Johnson said. “One would think that it would be hard to decide with so many options, but as soon as I got my Ole Miss admission packet, I knew this was the place for me.”

Johnson said her biggest personal and educational challenges were pandemic-related.

Mary Chapman Johnson

“Shifting to an online learning and social environment was hard for me, as I am very sociable,” she said. “It was hard for me to engage as authentically as I would have if the class were in person.”

Despite those challenges, Michael Tonos, an instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, said Johnson was a memorable student.

“Mary Chapman was what I call a front-row student,” he said, “not just because she literally chose to sit in the front row, but because she was interested, engaged and eager to improve.

“She came into IMC 205 with solid skills and built on them to earn one of the best grades in the class. She asked good questions and sought feedback. She was pleasant to work with, but also would speak up when she had her own opinion.”

Tonos said he also worked with Johnson as an adviser, helping her chart her academic path.

After graduation, Johnson said she plans to begin working in a business development position with alliantgroup, a Houston, Texas-based national tax consulting services firm.

Scott Fiene, associate professor of integrated marketing communications, said Johnson was in his Introduction to IMC class during the fall of her freshmen semester. She also took his IMC capstone campaigns course in the spring semester of her senior year.

“She’s been a student of mine at the beginning and the end of the program,” he said. “I love it when that happens.”

Fiene said Johnson seems to love learning.

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed most is her inquisitiveness,” he said. “She doesn’t just take notes in class, but she asks questions and engages (and leads) class discussions. She’s always wanting to know more, do more, learn more. It’s a delight to have students like her.”

Johnson’s advice to students: “Engage in your classes and build strong relationships with your professors, even as a freshman. My favorite professor from freshman year helped me get an internship. Your professors have great connections and are here to help you be successful, not only in the classroom but also after college.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

University of Mississippi journalism grad student from France plans to pursue filmmaking career

Posted on: April 29th, 2022 by ldrucker
Elise-Joelle Denoulet, 24, came to the United States for the first time as an study abroad exchange student in Georgia. When the year ended, she returned to her home in 2022 graduate Elise-Joelle Denoulet, 24, came to the U.S. first as an exchange student in Georgia from Lille, France and decided to return to attend graduate school at the University of Mississippi. , France.

Elise-Joelle Denoulet, 24, came to the United States for the first time as a study abroad exchange student in Georgia. When the year ended, she returned to her home in Lille, France.

“I really wanted to go back to the South, which surprises most people,” she said, “but I really like the atmosphere and kindness of people around here, and I also love that Oxford is a small-town, close-knit community.”

Denoulet returned to the American South for graduate studies. She applied to several schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media awarded her an assistantship that allowed Denoulet to earn her Master of Arts in Journalism. She is just one of the school’s 2022 graduates who shared her Journey to Commencement.

Elise-Joelle Denoulet, 24, is a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student from Lille, France.

Elise-Joelle Denoulet, 24, is a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student from Lille, France. She is pictured on assignment with Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism.

“I have loved these past two years,” she said. “I have tried to be as close to the international community as I could, trying to build community. In terms of classes, I have tried to take as many videography and documentary courses as I could, since I love filming.

“I got to work on so many projects, and experience the most random things, ranging from petting a baby goat to jumping on a trampoline with several kids, to visiting a catfish farm. This is what makes me love what I do, and I cannot wait to work on many more projects.”

Denoulet’s love of storytelling led her to apply for a Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Expression with UM’s Southern Studies department.

Elise-Joelle Denoulet, 24, is a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student from Lille, France.

Elise-Joelle Denoule.

“That’s my first option so far, but I also intend on applying to jobs in documentary filmmaking as well as video journalism all around the world, especially in Northern Africa or in the Middle East, so I can make use of my Arabic and learn some more,” she said.

Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism, has worked closely with Denoulet on many projects.

“Elise is willing to do the little things and the big things that make stories successful,” he said. “When my TV Documentary class was covering the illegal drug problem in Southeast Mississippi, she was willing to drive back down to cover a drug program graduation ceremony that was critical for the story.”

Fagans describes her as friendly, confident, quietly talented, a hard worker, and a student that receives criticism and applies suggestions to make her storytelling more effective.

“I have been fortunate to have taught her in two classes,” he said, “and I am on her professional project committee that she successfully presented and defended earlier this week. She immersed herself in the catfish industry in our state, interviewed some noted authorities, traveled around the Delta and Northern Mississippi, and created an enjoyable and informative documentary film. I am looking forward to seeing what she accomplishes in the Southern Studies program and then later in our field.”

Elise-Joelle Denoulet, 24, is a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student from Lille, France.

Elise-Joelle Denoulet.

Denoulet said being an international student brings an additional level of difficulty compared to what American students might experience.

“For instance, while my classmates had to write a 10-page essay, I had to write a 10-page essay in my second language,” she said. “Everything is a little more challenging, but also so rewarding.”

During her time at Ole Miss, she audited language classes. She refreshed her Spanish and began learning Arabic.

Her advice to students: “College only lasts a few years. Take advantage of that time. As a French student, I can tell you there are so many more opportunities I got while studying here than I would have had in France, in terms of student life, academics, and work opportunities.

“Attend events, get involved on campus, and do your best work in class. Getting yourself noticed by teachers or faculty will bring you rewarding opportunities.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

UM broadcast journalism grad speaks to classes about working in reality television production

Posted on: April 22nd, 2022 by ldrucker

UM grad Regan Looser works in the field of reality television.

 

A University of Mississippi broadcast journalism graduate stopped by Farley Hall this week to share insights about her career in reality television production with students in several classes.

Brandon native Regan Looser, 31, graduated from  Northwest Rankin High School before enrolling in UM in 2009. She majored in broadcast journalism with a minor in cinema. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles, where she now works in production for reality television.

Looser has worked in production on shows that include “Dancing With the Stars,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Shahs of Sunset,” “America’s Got Talent.” She started her career as a post-production assistant on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Although she loves seeing a story come together in the editing bays, she said she wanted to be in the middle of the chaos, creating stories out in the field.

“Breaking into producing is competitive and challenging at best, so I started by assisting talent during the shows to get to know what they think and say when cameras are not around,” she said. “I used this to help give myself a better understanding of how to talk to them and treat them once I became a producer.”

Looser has worked as a talent assistant on several reality TV shows.

“Because I have worked directly with actors and guests on reality television shows, I have had the opportunity to sit in on their interviews with the producers,” she said. “The more I listened to the producer’s interviews, the better I understood how they made filming decisions to bring the story together. At that point, I knew becoming a producer was my career goal.”

UM grad Regan Looser works in the field of reality television.

UM grad Regan Looser works in the field of reality television.

Because she works as a freelancer, Looser said she bounces from show to show. She recently worked as a segment producer for a show that aired in February called “The Real Dirty Dancing” featured on Hulu.

“Fun fact,” she said. “I am the one being lifted in the lake scene in the promotional ads and trailer for the show.”

Some of her job responsibilities have included:

  • Creating storylines to follow throughout the season.
  • Taking notes in the field while filming what happened.
  • Directing cameras while filming.
  • Developing interview questions.
  • Conducting one-on-one and on-the-fly interviews, and most importantly…
  • Trying to keep all cast and crew happy.

“I absolutely love what I do,” Looser said, “and the best thing about it is that I am constantly learning—for example, individual cultures and backgrounds. I was on the producing team for ‘Bling Empire’ and learned so much about Asian culture, food and history. The people I get to work with have expanded my knowledge and made me curious about the world.”

Her most important piece of advice is: “Ask for help.”

“If you are trying to get in this industry and know anyone, or know a friend of a friend, then ask them for help,” she said. “Meet for a coffee or send an email asking whatever questions you have.

“Networking gets you in and keeps you in, so do not be afraid to reach out to someone even if you don’t know them very well. Besides that, be kind to everyone. Yes, I know that sounds cliche, but you never know whom you’re talking to here. Everyone knows everyone.”

Looser also says: “Just start creating.”

“Many Facebook groups are full of cameramen/women, producers, stylists, hair and make-up, and talent just wanting to be involved,” she said. “If you have a fun idea for a segment, or interview, or anything you’d like to see on TV, create it yourself. The amazing thing about this industry is meeting new people and sharing ideas so you can help each other bring them to life.”

How to use social media to leverage your brand and organization

Posted on: April 12th, 2022 by ldrucker

A panel of industry experts discussed the role of social media and big data analytics during the inaugural IMC Connect! event Friday, April 1 at The Inn at Ole Miss.

The panel was moderated by Dr. Rebecca Britt, a professor at the University of Alabama, and featured:

Social media icons

Social media icons

Chris Chiames, Chief Communication Officer at Carnival Cruise Line

Jenny Robertson, SVP, Integrated Marketing & Communication at FedEx Services

Amy Rosenberg, Digital Media Director at KQ Communications

Dr. Ike Brunner, Professor at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media

The panelists shared that social media can help solidify a brand and tell a brand’s story. Everyone can see when a brand/company fails on social media. However, social media can also be used to better internal communications.

As a career professional, always ask what can be done to shift, pivot, and change to get clients to reach their goals before the end of a social media campaign. The need to conduct research on the front end about who you are talking to and see how data can tell their stories is also crucial. An organization’s tone and voice on social media also needs to remain genuine on every platform.

The panel on social media and big data analytics was just one part of the inaugural IMC Connect! Other panels included topics such as crisis communication, social justice, and advertising/building a brand.

By Jordyn Rodriguez and Margaret Savoie.

Follow @umjourimc on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

Keep Calm and Sail On: How industry experts are tackling crisis communications

Posted on: April 11th, 2022 by ldrucker

A panel of industry experts discussed the four phases of crisis communication during the inaugural IMC Connect! event Friday, April 1 at The Inn at Ole Miss.

The panel was moderated by Dr. Timothy Coombs, a professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, and featured:

  • Chris Chiames, Chief Communication Officer at Carnival Cruise Line
  • Renee Malone, President and Founding Partner at KQ Communications
  • Reade Tidwell, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Chick-fil-A
  • Steve Holmes, Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs at The Home Depot
  • Jenny Robertson, SVP, Integrated Marketing and Communication at FedEx Service

Dr. Coombs said the four phases include stealing thunder, empathy, accountability, and moral outrage. He described “stealing thunder” as creating a loss.

A panel discusses crisis communication at IMC Connect!

A panel discusses crisis communication at IMC Connect!

Empathy occurs when stakeholders are a priority, not just psychological support, but also addressing physical safety. Accountability does not mean you are responsible for what happened, but you are responsible for what happens to solve the problem. And moral outrage occurs when people perceive injustice and see it happen to other people.

Panelists explained that a crisis is a long term issue that you will manage over a period of time. The organization principles should guide your decision-making, and it is essential to make consistent decisions throughout, as well as build trust within your organization to be successful, or you will be slow and miss the boat.

Some of the key takeaways from the panel included the importance of:

  1.  Timeliness – Fast and good beats slow and perfect every time.
  2.  There should be an alignment with the executive team over guiding principles.
  3.  Prepare for the different categories of crises. However, empathy and sympathy are always first.
  4.  Make an effective response that will help the organization in a crisis.
  5.  The goal is to avoid crisis, present calmness, and don’t give an indication that there is a crisis.
  6.  Everyday is a dress rehearsal for crisis.
  7.  It is not always about you; it’s about the company, the people you are protecting, and the associates.
  8.  A company crisis is not about what you say; it’s about what you do. Don’t let your customer service fall apart.
  9.  Actions speak louder than words. There should be a multi-discipline approach to all actions.
  10. Learn from the best practices across the spectrum and not just in your industry.
  11. Read other companies’ crises, and see how they are handling the situation, and think about how you would handle the crisis.
  12. You can’t ignore the internal side of crisis communication.
  13. In a crisis, clarity is absolutely crucial.

The panel on crisis communication was just one part of the inaugural IMC Connect! Other panels included topics such as social justice, social media, and advertising/building a brand.

By Jordyn Rodriguez and Margaret Savoie.

Follow @umjourimc on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

Communicators listen and learn from industry experts at IMC Connect!

Posted on: April 7th, 2022 by ldrucker

Students get advice from professionals and researchers during inaugural conference

Several industry leaders and academic researchers networked with University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff and sparked conversation on a number of topics at IMC Connect! 2022, an inaugural conference hosted by the School of Journalism and New Media

Organized by students in an event-planning course in the integrated marketing communications master’s program, the March 31-April 1 conference included workshops designed to improve the school’s IMC curriculum, sessions for attendees to network with invited professionals and discussion panels with representatives from leading household brands.

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall.

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall.

“This is a great networking event for students interested in IMC,” said Abigail Nichols, second-year graduate student and event planner of IMC Connect! 2022. “It is always nice to hear from leaders about topics related to IMC and collaborate with my classmates to host this event.”

Discussion topics included social media and data analytics, crisis communication, the role of advocacy and social justice in public relations and brand strategies.

The purpose of this experience was to, not only provide a space for members of the Ole Miss community to network with IMC practitioners, but also to offer attendees insight on topics of student interest, said Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, co-chair of IMC Connect! and an assistant professor of IMC.

“The event sought to bridge the disconnect between research and practice, and we had some of the foremost academic researchers in the world on campus,” Bradshaw said.

To read the full story written by Michael Taplin, click the link.

Students invited to seek career advice at annual Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day April 7

Posted on: April 4th, 2022 by ldrucker

Have your resume critiqued and meet hiring managers

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students can have their resumes critiqued and seek career advice during the annual Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day this week.

MAB at Ole Miss will be held on April 7 in Overby Room 249, beginning at 10 a.m.

“The purpose is to connect Mississippi and regional broadcasters with students who are looking for internships and jobs in media,” said Interim Dean Debora Wenger.

The graphic features two cartoon people sitting in front of a television news program.

The graphic features two cartoon people sitting in front of a television news program.

Dr. Iveta Imre, the school’s event organizer, is working with Amanda Fontaine at the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters.

News directors from TV stations in Mississippi (and Memphis) will be joining us,” Imre said. “The day will start with one-on-one critiques, followed by a memorial for our former broadcast faculty member Dr. Nancy Dupont at 1 p.m., after which we will gather for a reception to end the day.”

If you are a journalism student interested in reporting, producing, television, radio, social media or sales, you are invited to attend the event.

“Please come with a resume, your laptop, and portfolio pieces ready to be critiqued,” Imre said, “You will receive valuable feedback for your work and make connections for future job or internship opportunities.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to Imre no later than Tuesday, April 5 at iimre@olemiss.edu.

The schedule:

10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – one-on-one critiques with news directors (Overby 249)

1 p.m. – Memorial for Dr. Nancy Dupont (Overby Auditorium)

3 p.m. – Reception (Overby 249)

Wenger said the event is open to any UM student or graduate who wants to meet hiring managers.

“This is a networking event,” Wenger said. “Many of the station executives who participate are part of much larger media organizations that hire a significant number of our students. It’s a great way for students to practice interviewing skills, have their work critiqued and make industry connections and get jobs.”

For more information, contact Imre at iimre@olemiss.edu.