School of Journalism and New Media

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UM School of Journalism and New Media graduates were stylish from head to toe

Posted on: May 12th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students showed off their graduation style from head to toe Saturday.

Many members of the class of 2019 sported creatively designed high heels and unique caps with funny or meaningful messages.

While some featured iconic elements of the Ole Miss campus, such as the Walk of Champions, others became canvases for paintings of the graduates, Bible verses and celebratory messages.

Take a look at the gallery of photos we snapped. Photos by students Halle Ames, Benton Dodd and Ingrid Valbuena.

School of Journalism and New Media professor named Chair of the Americas at University of Rennes

Posted on: May 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi journalism professor Kathleen Wickham served as Chair of the Americas/Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rennes in Brittany, France, while on sabbatical this spring.

It was Wickham’s second trip to France to teach. In 2016, while researching her book We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss, about the killing of French journalist Paul Guihard in Oxford, she gave lectures at the Pantheon Sorbonne University and the University of Rennes 2.

“Paul Guihard serves as the link between Brittany and Ole Miss,” Wickham said. “He is the only reporter killed during the civil rights era. The fact that it occurred on our campus is a shame, but it also creates an opportunity today to let the world know we are not the same campus that we were in 1962.”

UM journalism professor Kathleen Wickham (standing) talks with students in her media ethics class. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

After that visit in 2016, Wickham learned of the Chair of the Americas position, applied and was approved to go this spring.

Wickham lectured on a variety of topics related to media coverage of civil rights and media ethics, specifically on “fake news” and the status of American media. She is also working to further relations between Ole Miss and the University of Rennes by serving as a link between the two universities to develop a student exchange program.

“Our Office of Global Engagement is working with their Rennes’ counterparts,” Wickham said. “The goal is to start a one-on-one student exchange and then expand as interest develops.”

Wickham said she always wanted to work abroad and has been grateful for the opportunity to do so this semester.

“The administration, faculty and students have been supportive, welcoming and engaging,” she said. “We have shared stories of academic life, discussed research and world affairs. Student issues are universal; faculty life similar with research, service responsibilities and committee work.”

Wickham believes her students also have benefitted.

“For most, it was the first time they have interacted with an American,” she said. “I am an animated teacher who asks students questions to generate a discussion.

“They all follow American politics and know far more about American culture than, I expect, American students know about France. I hope they viewed me as a good ambassador of the U.S. and Ole Miss.”

Her future Ole Miss students will benefit from her experiences in France, as well.

“I am going to add more international examples to my ethics casebook to expand the worldviews of my students. I also plan on developing a course on ‘fake news’ based on the course I taught in France.

“The issue is universal, and news organizations are now staffing desks with personnel whose task it is to ascertain the accuracy of facts, photographs and sources.”

UM Students Host Live Production at BEA Festival of Media Arts in Las Vegas

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

UM School of Journalism and New Media students in a special topics class recently traveled to Las Vegas to host a live production during the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Media Arts award show. Professors Iveta Imre, Mike Fagans and Ji Hoon Heo led the group of students.

The BEA Festival of Media Arts is an international exhibition of award-winning works chosen through these various competition categories: news, sports, documentary, and scriptwriting.

This year, the BEA Festival competition for faculty and students awarded 295 entries from more than 300 participating schools and had over 1,500 annual entries from around the world, according to their website.

The UM students in the class were each tasked with different responsibilities ranging from creating video features to on-screen graphics.

Sophomore Brian Barisa said his experience at the festival is something you just can’t get inside a classroom.

“At the BEA festival, I got more real-world experience,” Barisa said. “I got to learn what it’s like to work in these other roles of production outside of just NewsWatch and basic classwork.”

Festival Creative Director and UM Assistant Professor Iveta Imre has been attending the conference since 2005 and was officially tasked with hosting this year’s event.

“I think the biggest thing for the students was to get a different experience from everything else that they’ve been doing in the broadcast program,” Imre said. “They got to experience what it’s like to have a real live production in front of an audience, and you don’t really get a chance to do that often.”

Imre said her favorite part of the show was watching student features along with the crowd and hearing their reactions.

“We got some laughs and cries,” she said. “It was just so rewarding to see all these months of hard work come together to make this show a success.”

Irme will remain creative director for the next two years, she said, and UM students will continue to host the BEA festival during that time.

Aside from hosting the BEA award show, students who traveled to Las Vegas also got the opportunity to attend the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Conference.

The NAB Conference is an annual trade show that highlights and showcases various new media, entertainment, and technology.

“My favorite part about the trip would be the NAB show,” Barisa said. “I am a pretty big tech guy, so it was a lot of fun to go check out new gear and equipment that is now available in the industry.”

This story was written for HottyToddy.com by By Alec Kyzer-Andre. For more information about our program, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

Q & A with national Society of Professional Journalists winner Madison Scarpino

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student Madison Scarpino will be honored for her 2018 work by the National Society of Professional Journalists.

Scarpino was the winner in the television breaking news category of the national SPJ competition. Her entry “Ole Miss community reacts to controversial Facebook post” aired on NewsWatch Ole Miss. In it, she explored both sides of the controversy.

SPJ Mark of Excellence judges pick one winner and up to two finalists in each category in the 12 regions, then the top winners in each region compete against one another for the national awards. All of the biggest and most prestigious universities enter SPJ.

We asked Scarpino a few questions about her win.

Q. How did you feel when you learned you won the award?

A. I was shocked at first. I never thought one of my news packages would get such recognition, especially on a national level. I feel so incredibly honored and humbled to have won.

Q. For those who don’t know, for which story did you win the award?

A. I won the breaking news category for the National Society of Professional Journalists. The news package that won was titled “Ole Miss Community Reacts to Controversial Facebook Post,” and it focused on the controversy surrounding Ed Meek’s arguably racist Facebook post.

Q. Why do you think the judges selected your story or work for this award?

A. I think the judges selected my story because it focused on an issue that is prevalent in today’s society. I also got opinions from both sides on the situation, whether being against or for Ed Meek’s post, to ensure the story was not biased.

Q. What are your career aspirations?

A. My dream in life is to host a national show and focus on soft news, entertainment, lifestyle, etc. I would absolutely love to be in front of the camera on a show such as “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show” or “E! News.” Regardless of where my career path takes me, I have such a passion for news and storytelling, so I would be happy with any on-camera reporting job.

Recent graduate Ariel Cobbert was also a finalist in the photography breaking news category of the national SPJ compeition. Cobbert is being honored for one of her Daily Mississippian photos from the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination anniversary event in Memphis.

If you are interested in joining the SPJ, email ldrucker@olemiss.edu to learn more.

UM journalism students win Broadcast Education Association, Associated Press and SPJ awards

Posted on: April 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students just keep winning awards.

The Broadcast Education Association has an annual Festival of Media Arts that garners thousands of entries from faculty and students nationwide.  This year, we have two national winners:

Brittany Brown

Long Form Video or Film Documentary Category

1st Place – “Hate in America” – Justin Parham, Scott Bourque, Brittany Brown and Jasmine Putney, of Arizona State University, the University of Mississippi and the University of Iowa were the winners. The winning entry came from the News21 Fellowship Brown received last year. You can watch the documentary at the link above.

Television Hard News Category

Award of Excellence – Ole Miss Alums and Students Deal with Aftermath of Hurricane Michael – Abbie McIntosh, University of Mississippi – This winning entry was the result of a school-sponsored reporting trip to Panama City, Florida this fall, right after the hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle.

“This is a really good showing in a BEA contest,” said UM professor Nancy Dupont, who has been involved in BEA for many years. “It’s tough to win anything from BEA because we’re competing with the best of the best.”

The winners receive their awards in Las Vegas at the annual BEA conference Festival of Media Arts celebration, an event that will be produced by UM School of Journalism and New Media students, including McIntosh, under the direction of professor Iveta Imre.

Regional Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists Awards

The regional AP awards banquet was Saturday in Jackson. The regional SPJ awards banquet was March 30 in Nashville.

We’re proud The Daily Mississippian, NewsWatch and Rebel Radio each won first place awards in best all-around newspaper, television and radio categories in at least one of the two contests.

SPJ includes entries from student media in four states, and AP in two states. Competing against the top student media in our region, The Daily Mississippian won first place for best student newspaper in both SPJ and AP, and NewsWatch won first place awards for best newscast in both contests, and a second place award for general excellence in AP.

As more information becomes available, we will update this story.

AP First-place awards

The Daily Mississippian, General Excellence for newspapers

NewsWatch OleMiss, Newscast

Billy Schuerman, two first-place awards, for Spot News Photo and Sports Photo.

Billy Schuerman also won a prestigious Best of Show, which includes a cash award and is given to the most outstanding student for a specific media platform. Only six Best of Show awards were given out. Schuerman won for photos published in The Daily Mississippian in 2018. This academic  year, he is studying abroad in Austria.

Rebel Radio, General Excellence for radio stations

Victoria Hosey, two first-place awards, for Radio Reporter and Radio Continuing Coverage. Hosey graduated in December and is studying and working in China this year.

Tyler Hayes, Radio Sports Story

Andranita Williams, Radio Feature Story

DeAndria Turner, Radio News Story

Abbie McIntosh, TV Reporting

Alec Keyzer-Andre, Sam Gray, Gracie Snyder, TV Documentary

 

AP Second-place awards:

NewsWatch Ole Miss, General Excellence

The Daily Mississippian, Editorials (a series of three)

Abbie McIntosh, TV News Story

Victoria Hosey, two second-place radio awards for Newscast and a shared award with Will Stribling for Radio Continuing Coverage

Will Stribling, two second-place radio awards for Feature Story and News Story, and the shared Radio Continuing Coverage award with Victoria Hosey

 

And check out our recent story about the School of Journalism and New Media’s Society of Professional Journalists Awards.

Conservative talk show producer speaks at UM School of Journalism and New Media

Posted on: April 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

A conservative radio talk show host and producer spoke at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media Tuesday sharing storytelling tips and his political beliefs.

Lee Habeeb, vice president of content development for Salem Radio Network, hosts “Our American Stories,” a program that airs on more than 200 radio stations across the country.

He was the co-creator and executive producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, a radio show hosted by conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, who also had a television show on Fox.

Habeeb led a class talk called “Stories Matter: A Talk With Lee Habeeb, Creator and Producer of Top Talk Shows in America” Tuesday, April 9, at 8 a.m. in Farley Hall.

“Storytelling,” Habeeb said. “It’s what I’ve done for a living. And when I told my dad that was what I wanted to do, he thought I was crazy because Lebanese people own businesses. That’s what we do. We buy stuff and we sell it.”

Habeeb said storytelling is the art of listening. You’re not always going to like what you hear, but he said listening is important.

Habeeb has spoken at talk radio industry conventions and written columns for USA Today, Newsweek and National Review.

Habeeb said what he has learned about storytelling – the beginning, middle and end – sounds simple, but it’s not.

“The beginning should be really, really short, like life itself,” he said. “As we look at our life backwards when we’re 80, we don’t really recall the first three years of our life, let alone the first seven or eight. The most formidable part of our time probably starts in our early teens and goes straight up to our 60s. The rest is sort of memory.”

The short beginning should grab people’s attention, he said.

“The middle should be very long, just like life, really long. And the end should be, hopefully and pleasantly, short, as we all hope to go out … dying doing something we like … real sudden.”

Storytelling should have properties like life itself, he said.

“So then the question is: What do we tell stories about? And that’s for you to think about. That’s all journalism is. It’s storytelling. Who? What? Where? and Why? And I’m always really concerned with the why. What motivates people to do what they do?”

As a writer for Newsweek, Habeeb said he is paid per view, or based on the number of views his stories receive, so it is important to be a good storyteller.

“My life is to write something for Newsweek that people will click,” he said. “And if they click it through a few pages, I get paid a lot. And if they don’t click it, I’m fired.

“And I like that because I can’t be a victim in that universe. There are standards, and I have to entertain or amuse people … The joy of life is that if you write something interesting and compelling, it migrates and finds itself into other places, and then you get paid again. The key is finding a good story.”

He encouraged his audience to “have friends who disagree with them, and love them, and have a dialogue with them.”

University of Mississippi journalism student among Hugh M. Hefner Foundation honorees

Posted on: April 4th, 2019 by ldrucker

The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation will honor a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student at its annual First Amendment Awards event May 15, 2019, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Grace Marion, a journalism student who serves as the Society of Professional Journalists president, will be honored with others recognized for their efforts to help protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans and to raise awareness of modern-day challenges to freedom of speech and expression.

As the former editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, The Playwickian, Marion fought against school censorship after she saw about a dozen articles censored.

“Marion was able to publish her final jaw-dropping article during her last year at the school, which outed the school for the lack of sexual misconduct records for its teachers,” the foundation news release reads.

SPJ President Grace Marion, center, at the recent Nashville SPJ conference. She is pictured with UM journalism student, Brooke McNabb, SPJ vice president, right.

According to the Freedom Forum, more Americans are concerned about their First Amendment rights than at any time in the past 25 years, the release reports.

“Recent concerns stem from censorship issues on school campuses and social media, attacks on reporters and threats to the press, and the growing threat of new technology, such as tracking devices and facial recognition software,” the release reports. “As threats to the press reach an all-time high, the Newseum, the Freedom Forum Institute and the Student Press Law Center have declared 2019 as the Year of the Student Journalist.”

Christie Hefner, founder and chairman of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards said Americans’ First Amendment freedoms are under assault like never before.

“From a reporter being stripped of his White House press pass, to newsrooms being threatened and attacked, members of the press are being viciously targeted while ‘fake news’ has become a common term used by politicians and the public,” Hefner said in the news release. “Millions of students are exposed to a censorship culture within our education system as free speech violations take place at our schools and on college campuses. We cannot allow First Amendment threats to become commonplace in our country.”

Christie Hefner established the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards in 1979 to honor her father’s lifelong commitment to defending the First Amendment. Since 1979, the Foundation has recognized 150+ free speech advocates at their annual awards events. Previous honorees include high school students, lawyers, librarians, journalists and educators. A complete list of past award winners and judges can be found here.

“Because of the dedication and commitment of Americans who refuse to be censored, threats to the First Amendment do not go unchallenged,” Christie Hefner continued in the news release. “We honor and recognize America’s unsung heroes: the individuals who put themselves and their organizations at risk by bravely defending their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. The Foundation is honored to recognize this year’s award winners who were carefully selected from hundreds of nominations. Assaults to the First Amendment cannot go unnoticed. We’ll continue to raise awareness of these violations and recognize America’s brave free speech heroes.”

The 2019 honorees also include:

  • Law: Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and global co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Group, for his work on behalf of CNN and Jim Acosta in connection with the restoration of Acosta’s White House press credentials.
  • Government: Dr. George Luber, former chief of the Climate and Health Program in the Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice at the National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After the 2016 election, Dr. Luber was directed to cancel a conference on climate change with Al Gore; he refused on the basis of science education and was outspoken on the issue. The CDC sent Dr. Luber home on administrative leave. After taking a public stand, the CDC withdrew Dr. Luber’s proposed termination.
  • Book Publishing: Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO, FIRE, & Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist, NYU’s Stern School of Business, for their book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.
  • Education: Christian Bales, an openly gay and gender non-conforming student, who was not allowed to deliver his valedictorian commencement speech at his Catholic high school’s graduation ceremony. Bales decided to deliver his speech with a bullhorn following the graduation ceremony surrounded by students and faculty.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Floyd Abrams, senior counsel, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, for his lifelong devotion to constitutional law. Abrams has argued numerous significant First Amendment cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. Many arguments he has made orally and in his briefs to the Court have been adopted by it as binding precedent protecting freedom of speech and the press from infringement by the government.

After a public call for nominations issued by the Foundation, the awardees were selected by an independent panel of judges: Karen Tumulty, a columnist and former national political correspondent for The Washington Post who writes frequently on free speech and the First Amendment; Neal Katyal, the Paul and Patrician Saunders Professor of Law at Georgetown University, a partner at Hogan Lovells, and former acting solicitor general of the United States; and Michael B. Keegan, president of People for the American Way and People for the American Way Foundation.

The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation was established to work on behalf of individual rights in a democratic society.  The primary focus of the foundation is to support organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights and civil liberties with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies.

AP reporter Emily Wagster Pettus wins Silver Em award

Posted on: March 31st, 2019 by ldrucker

The Silver Em Awards Ceremony was held Wednesday, April 3, at the Inn at Ole Miss, the same evening dozens of journalism and integrated marketing communication students received awards for excellence.

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

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

Emily Wagster Pettus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pew study also reported:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

University hosts annual MSPA convention for student publishers

Posted on: March 28th, 2019 by ldrucker

Hundreds of Mississippi’s aspiring writers, publishers and journalists visited Oxford in April for the 72nd Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Convention hosted by the University of Mississippi.

Students from high schools across the state came for the one-day event Monday, April 1, to hear speakers, participate in seminars and immerse themselves in the Ole Miss campus.

The convention helps high school students who work for their respective school newspapers, yearbooks, broadcasts and literary magazines realize they share a passion for publication with hundreds of peers in the state, said R.J. Morgan, MSPA director.

“(The convention) is a great opportunity for the university and a great opportunity for Mississippi high school kids to get on a college campus and see what college life is like,” said Morgan, an instructional assistant professor of journalism at UM.

“There will be a lot of these students who have never been on a college campus, so letting them see how college works and exposing them to that environment gets them thinking in terms of attending college. The convention really serves as a rallying point and pep rally in terms of helping these students understand that this is something they should feel proud of, something they can hang their hat on.”

The highlight of each year’s convention is the MSPA awards ceremony, Morgan said. This year, besides announcing more than 100 winners and finalists, including best-of honors for several publication types, the MSPA announced a new honor called the All-Mississippi recognition. Ten students were selected from a field of 20 candidates who submitted portfolios of their journalism work.

More than 700 individual pieces of work were submitted for the various prizes.

“The awards are really what the kids are most excited about,” Morgan said.

This year’s Pam Hamilton Keynote Address was delivered by Ronnie Agnew, an Ole Miss alumnus and director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Agnew is a veteran of the newspaper and news industry, previously serving as the executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson.

High school students at the 2018 MSPA spring convention listen to keynote speaker Jesse J. Holland. This year’s keynote speaker was Mississippi Public Broadcasting director Ronnie Agnew. Photo courtesy UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education

“(Agnew’s) wealth of experience in both print and digital media, as well as his dedication to education and serving others, made him a natural choice to deliver this address to our statewide audience,” Morgan said.

Other speakers include Pablo Correa, a documentary filmmaker working on a feature-length film about Fannie Lou Hamer, and Lori Oglesbee-Petter, a nationally recognized newspaper and yearbook adviser who serves as an advocate for First Amendment rights.

“There’s never been a greater need for good communicators,” Morgan said. “The number of platforms and reasons to tell those stories has greatly diffused in the last decade, and we really need good storytellers to cut through the noise in our society.

“We hope to help these students find their voice and refine that voice and teach them going forward how to be good citizens and good communicators.”

Besides attending the convention, Correa discussed his work with the “Fannie Lou Hamer’s America” documentary team in a separate event in the Overby Center Auditorium.

The MSPA was created in 1947 to “support, promote and nurture journalism in a high school setting through workshops, competitions, conventions and online aids and advice. Membership is open to any Mississippi school that has a newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, online publication, broadcast and/or journalism class.” It is housed at the university.

UM has hosted the spring convention since its inception. Two years ago, a fall convention was added at the University of Southern Mississippi. The event usually draws approximately 500-600 high school students, Morgan said.

For more information on the convention or MSPA, visit its website.

This article was written by Justin Whitmore of University Communications.

Overby Center program asks: Are Centrist Politics Doomed?

Posted on: March 28th, 2019 by ldrucker

At a time when American politics seem hopelessly polarized, a pair of prominent figures from the two major parties discussed the prospects for more centrist views at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics’ program in April.

Stuart Stevens, a native Mississippian who managed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, and David Baria, a Democratic leader in the Mississippi legislature, were guests in a conversation that included Charles Overby, the chairman of the center, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie. Both Overby and Wilkie have long experience covering national politics as journalists.

The event was held in the Overby Center Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus. Like all Overby programs, was free and open to the public.

The program represents a return engagement to the Overby Center for Stevens, who has previously appeared to comment on American politics and to talk about his book, “The Last Season,” in which he wrote of accompanying his aging father to a complete season of Ole Miss football. Though a major player in national Republican circles, Stevens has become a fierce critic of President Donald Trump and his style of divisive politics.

During his tenure in the Mississippi House of Representatives, Baria, an attorney with offices in Jackson and the Gulf Coast, has become one of the Democratic Party’s most respected members in the legislature. Last year he served as the party’s nominee in an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Roger Wicker.