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University of Mississippi journalism professor helps judge prestigious Pictures of the Year International contest

Posted on: March 2nd, 2021 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor recently served as a live judge for the Pictures of the Year International contest.

Alysia Steele, associate professor of journalism, has been virtually judging competition entries for the contest known by some as the oldest, most prestigious photo contest in the world. It started in 1943-44 and is held at the University of Missouri.

This year, Steele said there are 28 judges divided into groups of four, and the contest will continue through March 7.

“This contest is incredibly important because it acknowledges and celebrates the tremendous physical and emotional work that photojournalists do every day,” said Steele, “because it’s their life’s calling and passion, and it’s not easy work.

“Photographers risk their lives to document history – to make public what’s happening around the world, and I don’t think many people realize the dangers they and their loved ones also face. Not just about the physicality of the work in dangerous situations, but also the stress and worry their loved ones go through when they are in the field, or the support they give when the photographer works long hours and misses precious family moments. That’s real.”

In our ever-changing technological world, Steele said we don’t always see what’s happening, but the contest is one way to acknowledge and honor the work photographers contribute to the world.

“Photographs have helped change international policies and bring light to human causes,” she said. “We are not ‘just’ photographers – we are visual storytellers, who report, who also find stories, and who dedicate an immense amount of time to our work.”

Alysia Steele

Alysia Steele

Steele said she teaches that captions are just as important as visuals.

“Oftentimes photographers are still at an event or situation reporting by themselves,” she said. “They arrive early and stay late. They pay attention to details, they’re thinking about composition, moments, light, and so many other technical factors that go into creating an image, but they’re also thinking about their surroundings and the reporting of what they see and hear. Their accuracy, honesty and transparency are incredibly important to journalism, and this esteemed and well-respected competition honors the work.”

Steele said being asked to help judge the competition was one of the greatest honors she’s ever been given.

“When I read the email initially inviting me, I had to re-read it, to make sure I understood what was being asked of me – I was being asked to judge,” she said. “OMG was my response. It is a chance to collaborate, debate and provide perspective with esteemed peers, who also provide their insight.

“The conversations we had were thoughtful, respectful and in-depth. No decision was ever made lightly. We worked together for a common goal – to honor what we collectively thought was the best representation in the four categories we judged, which were Spot News, Daily Life, COVID-19 Picture Story and Local Photographer of the Year (one of the most premiere categories of photographers all over the world documenting their communities).”

Steele said they had two weeks to individually review thousands of photos and narrow down what they individually thought are the best of the best. Images that received two out of the four votes from their team made it to the next round.

“From there, we narrowed it down by additional rounds,” she said. “I think one category of finalists alone took us three hours on live stream. For example, one category had over 2,000 entries, and we narrowed the top winners and awards of excellence down to, I think, five entries.

“There is a tremendous amount of integrity in this competition, and to be asked to provide my humble professional opinion, and for this organization to see value in my small contribution, is just one way that helps justify the decision I made to become a visual storyteller in the first place. To be included in the ever-growing and long line of prolific judges, is a nod that I did something right in my career.”

Students can tune into the competition to learn more about storytelling, composition, moments, theory, ethics, newsworthiness, and how to articulate and defend photo choices. Visit https://www.poy.org/ to learn more.

To see a list of judges: https://www.poy.org/78/judges.html

 

Award

Award

A number of UM School of Journalism and New Media professors judge or have judged national competitions.

  • Professor Graham Bodie, Ph.D. will soon be judging the International English Public Speaking Competition.
  • Professor Michael Fagans has judged some categories in the Evangelical Press Association competition. He also helped judge the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar’s Photo Competition pre-COVID-19.
  • Professor Debbie Hall will be serving as a judge for the American Marketing Association collegiate competition in April.
  • Professor Samir Husni, Ph.D. will be judging the Best Use of Print category for the International News Media Association Global Media Awards. There are 50 entries he will be judging from all over the world.
  • Professor Iveta Imre, Ph.D. will be judging the Broadcast Education Association documentary entries for the Festival of Media Arts.
  • Professor R. J. Morgan, Ph.D., has served as a judge for many state organizations, as well as the National Scholastic Press Association, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association, and Society of Professional Journalists Foundation.
  • Professor LaReeca Rucker has served as a judge for the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards that honors the best in collegiate journalism.
  • Professor Marquita Smith, Ed.D., just finished judging the The Robin Turner Program, or Toner Prizes, in Political Reporting at the Newhouse School of Syracuse University.
  • Professor Patricia Thompson judges several national competitions annually. She recently served once again as a juror for The Robin Turner Program, or Toner Prizes, at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
  • Professor Kathleen Wickham, Ed.D, will be judging the National Headliner Journalism Awards for the 11th year. The contest, founded in 1934, is one of the oldest journalism contests and the only competition to judge across all media platforms: print, broadcast, photography, magazines, radio, digital and online journalism. This year, the number of submissions topped 1,000, Wickham said. More than 3,000 medallions have been presented since the contest was created by the Press Club of Atlantic City.

Lens Collective workshop viewed The Land Through Our Lens

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s latest annual multimedia storytelling workshop, Lens Collective, explored the idea of Mississippi land.

In October, The Land Through Our Lens conference documented stories about Mississippi land, specifically in Oxford, Holly Springs, the nearby community of Taylor and surrounding areas, and various Delta towns.

UM Assistant Professor of Journalism Alysia Steele, who founded and leads the workshop and conference, said they wrote stories about the Mississippi River, canoeing, flooding damage, sweet potatoes, cotton, a gin distillery, catfish, prawns, pumpkins, and restaurants that use local ingredients, among other stories.

Students chose their own stories and worked in teams with a mentor, documenting the story with audio, video and still photography. Steele said it usually takes 7-10 hours to produce one minute of film. The projects were 3-5 minutes long, and students had about eight hours to produce the work.

Founded in 2017, Steele was inspired to create the Lens Collective by the Dawn to Dusk program at her alma mater, Ohio University. Students documented a story for a day and published their work. An Allegheny College professor, who was also an Ohio University alumnus, added to the concept, including more universities and community partnerships.

Steele combined the two ideas and added her own twist, creating a four-day workshop that usually has around 60 participants. In 2017, the focus was blues music. Last year, Steele chose to highlight civil rights stories. This year, it’s all about land.

“So much has happened because of weather, and we know it’s affected farmers,” she said. “The workshop has typically been held in the spring, but I wanted to move it to fall so we could get root vegetables, cotton, and the weather wouldn’t be so hot.”

The workshop began in Farley Hall at the School of Journalism and New Media. It focused on audio/video and photography storytelling. On Wednesday, participants were involved in team meetings, gave introductions, listened to ground rules and ate dinner. Guest speakers shared information in the Overby auditorium.

On Thursday, participants spent a half-day in Oxford. An Adobe Premiere Pro refresher workshop was held for participants only. Participants later drove into the Delta and had a student photo competition. A prize was given to the student who captured the best image that represents the land theme.

Participants spent the night in Cleveland. One workshop tradition is to enjoy a Southern soul food dinner from Senator’s Place restaurant. “We invite those we are documenting to break bread with us, and we can get to know each other,” she said. “We treasure time with residents and appreciate them allowing us to document their stories. So, enjoying a local meal, giving back to the community, and sharing time together is critical for just being good human beings.”

Steele said workshop leaders have partnered with Dr. Rolando Herts and his staff at the Delta Center for Culture and Learning for the past three years. They help sponsor the meal. Local historians are invited to share stories with students during the dinner. Last year, civil rights icon and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee member Charles McLaurin spoke.

“You could hear a pin drop,” Steele said. “Every student was enthralled. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

On Friday, participants rose early to work on their stories with a mentor. Students have from dawn to dusk to capture their story before everyone returns to Oxford to begin editing. They stay in Oxford Friday and Saturday.

Saturday was the editing day. Students worked on their stories until 6 p.m., then student videos premiered in the Overby Auditorium. The program was free and open to the public.

Steele said students from the University of Mississippi, Alcorn State University, Ohio University, Ball State University, Hampton University, Middle Tennessee State University and Penn State University have confirmed they will participate this year.

Mentors this year included nine-time Emmy-winning photojournalist Eric Seals of the Detroit Free Press, Pulitzer-Prize winning photojournalist Smiley Pool of The Dallas Morning News, and National Press Photographers Association Executive Director Akili Ramsess, an award-winning photo editor who previously worked at the L.A. Times and was director of photography at the Orlando Sentinel. Akili helped edit a Pulitzer Prize entry in L.A.

“Our goals are simple,” Steele said, “have a good time, be good to each other, be open to learning, understand that challenging experiences make us better and stronger, and do your best to tell good stories. We want students to learn, to be open to meeting new people, and to understand and appreciate differences.”

Steele said learning outside the classroom adds practical experience you can’t always get by listening to a lecture.

“We want students to be proud of what they’ve accomplished because Lens Collective is a major accomplishment,” she said “This is a very nurturing environment. I believe in partnerships, community engagement and giving back. We must acknowledge and thank those who share with us.

“Our mentors from the industry are so thoughtful, and we’re thankful that the journalism school administrators see the value of this workshop. It wouldn’t happen without their support, and there aren’t a lot of colleges who offer this kind of program.”

UM faculty mentors for the Lens Collective were professors Mark Dolan, Vanessa Gregory, Michael Fagans, Cynthia Joyce, Timothy Ivy and Bobby Steele, Jr.

Faculty who also helped include Deans Will Norton, Jennifer Simmons, Pat Thompson and Deb Wenger; Shannon Dixon, Sarah Griffith, Jack Lawton, Catherine McLeod, Ellen Meacham, Mykki Newton, LaReeca Rucker and Hannah Vines. Steele said Vines came up with the title of the event.

Last year, “Signs,” a short documentary produced by American University and West Virginia University students Matt Cipollone and Mikey D’Amico, won $500 at the Oxford Film Festival and a nationwide contract with PBS about the shooting of the Emmett Till sign.

“And we know it’s been in the news again this year. NBC aired the piece a month ago. So, the story is important,” Steele said.

Steele said UM Associate Professor of Journalism Vanessa Gregory organized that story for students. Nine student films were also selected for the Clarksdale Film Festival, and five were selected for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day pop-up celebration at Oxford’s Burns-Belfry Museum & Multicultural Center with Southern Foodways Alliance. Steele said they hope to partner with SFA again and the Oxford Film Festival.

“The student work is good and worthy of celebrating and showcasing,” she said. “If you think about it, these students don’t know each other. They meet for two days, work together to tell one story, have a mentor they don’t know guide them, and produce the video in one day. That’s incredible.”

Visit the Lens Collective website to view student work.

UM School of Journalism and New Media trains three new drone pilots

Posted on: May 27th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has trained three new certified drone pilots.

Professors Iveta Imre, Ph.D., Bobby Steele and Michael Fagans all took professor Ji Hoon Heo’s class, then passed the test to become certified drone pilots.

Heo said UM has trained around 30 to 40 drone pilots who have passed certification. That number will likely increase to 50 after the last class completes the test, he said.

“When I first developed the course, I wanted to teach it the way I wanted to learn,” Heo said. “When I first studied for the test, I had to read 300 plus pages of the study guide that the Federal Aviation Administration had put out. It was dry. So I lecture half the class, and the other times, we go out in groups of three or four in the intramural field, and we practice flying.

“We do cone drills to develop their flying skills and also learn the types of shots you can use with a drone. We take a lot of practice quizzes and tests to get them ready for the FAA Part 107 test, which is what you need to get the certification.”

Imre, who completed Heo’s last class, is an assistant professor of visual storytelling at the UM School of Journalism and New Media.

“I wanted to become a drone pilot because I think having that skill can be very useful for teaching my broadcast journalism classes,” she said. “It was also a challenging goal I set for myself, and the more I got into studying for the exam, the more I actually enjoyed the process and flying drones. I think footage you can capture using drones can be extremely useful and can provide a unique visual perspective. “

Imre said having a license to professionally fly drones will allow her to work with students on visually compelling stories.

“The students will be able to fly drones under my supervision, get the experience and create amazing stories for their portfolios,” she said.

If you are interested in learning how the UM School of Journalism and New Media can help you become a certified drone pilot, email our school at jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

Students discuss UM’s new online IMC master’s program

Posted on: February 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media recently launched a new online integrated marketing communication master’s degree program. We asked a few students enrolled in the program their thoughts about it.

Caroline Hughes, 25, is working on her master’s degree in IMC via the online program. She said she plans to use her degree to establish a company that prioritizes ethical business practices and spreads awareness around environmental sustainability.

“Whether that be fashion or beauty, a crafted specialization and understanding of marketing communication I’ve learned as an undergraduate and graduate student will prove beneficial no matter the company focus or industry,” she said.

Hughes said the program began with an introductory IMC course that laid the foundation of overall brand messaging, competition and target audiences. Following that course, Hughes’ Insights and Measurements class emphasized the importance of market research.

“This included everything from conducting and facilitating studies to interpreting the data in order to make conscious marketing decisions,” she said.

Hughes said she likes the flexibility of the online IMC master’s program.

“As a marketing professional, it has been supremely beneficial to tackle my schoolwork outside of the working environment on my time,” she said. “Not only this, but having applicable work experience generates deeper understanding and connection with the material and projects assigned.

“My fellow classmates and I communicate often via discussion platforms, which creates a sense of interaction and community. Additionally, my tenure as an undergraduate IMC student provided both an introduction to the journalism professors as well as a strong foundation of marketing knowledge further expounded upon in the graduate program.”

Loidha Bautista, 37, is also enrolled in the online IMC master’s degree program. So far she’s taken IMC 501 – Introduction to IMC and IMC 503 – Insights and Measurements.

“I learned to look at communications differently,” she said. “Communications should be viewed as a string that ties internal communications in an organization to the external audience and distributors. It’s an integral step to understanding a brand and being able to effectively understand how your brand is viewed and how you want others to view your brand.”

Bautista said the online IMC master’s program is a rigorous program well designed for the working professional.

“The faculty is very knowledgeable and experienced in the field,” she said. “They offer a good pace and excellent observations and input.”

Hailey Heck, 23, is based in Houston, Texas and enrolled in the online IMC master’s program. She attended UM as an undergraduate and graduated with an IMC degree in 2017.

“Soon after graduating, I had the itch for more and decided to obtain a master’s degree in the very same program,” she said. “This school has led me (to) the best professors who encouraged and supported my love of writing and communication.”

Heck said she works on the PR team for a “Big Law” law firm in Houston. She spends her days maintaining awareness – both internally and externally – of the fast-paced landscape of the legal industry in a variety of practice areas.

“When a case is shifted to the opposing team’s favor or the regulatory landscape shifts, the brilliant minds in my office leap into action,” she said. “It is a thing of beauty to watch the choreographed chaos of former White House staffers, former governors and Ivy League scholars determining the best way to advocate for their clients.”

Heck said she took an Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication class last semester with professor Robert Magee, Ph.D., and an Insights and Measurements class with professor Graham Bodie, Ph.D.

“With both of these courses, we learned how the IMC principles can be applied in a variety of contexts,” she said. “In Dr. Bodie’s class, we learned different research methods and ways to analyze the data collected.”

Heck said she’s impressed with how much the IMC program has grown, and she values the convenience of the online IMC master’s program.

“Because I work full time, it was essential that the program I chose could be delivered entirely online,” she said. “When I first heard the news that my alma mater was developing an online program of the degree I loved so much, it was a no-brainer. I had to apply. During my undergraduate studies, I came across the most wonderful, supportive professors who challenged me to go the extra mile and dive deeper. This experience has been no different.”

To learn more about the online IMC master’s program, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.

 

Not all University of Mississippi students who study journalism and marketing choose media fields

Posted on: February 5th, 2019 by ldrucker

A recent University of Mississippi business and marketing major, who was also a student in the School of Journalism and New Media, is proving that not all students who study journalism and marketing choose media fields.

Denver Wilson got a job out of college working as the manager of the new Nashville clothing store Dsquared. Wilson, who has worked at Dsquared since she was in high school, helped open their second location in Oxford in 2017. Last winter, owner Lea Easley asked about Wilson’s post-graduation plans.

“I told her that I’ve always wanted to be in Nashville because I wanted to be out of Mississippi, but in a city that is somewhat close to home,” Wilson said. “She asked me if I wanted to help open a Dsquared in Nashville and manage it, and I’ve always wanted to continue working in retail.”

Excited for the next chapter of her life and new responsibilities as the store manager, Wilson contacted a Nashville realtor last June to find the perfect location for the new store that originally opened in Jackson before expanding to Oxford in 2017.

What initially started as a dance store called Dancing Divas in 2009, owners began to focus on supplying contemporary clothing for area moms. Now the store appeals to a variety of ages.

“We realized we could cater to the younger crowd,” said Wilson. “We started off selling homecoming dance dresses, and then it took off.”

Wilson also uses her marketing and journalism skills to promote the store on Instagram. The account is updated with new content every few hours as the store receives orders. Wilson said people can call the store with their payment information, and they will set aside their purchase for pick up or ship it for a small fee.

Wilson said she updates the Nashville store’s Instagram with a variety of content ranging from flat-lay photos to people modeling their newest inventory. “I love taking pictures,” she said.

In recent years, Nashville has been a hot spot for young, post-college grad students and home to many new developments and businesses. Those unfamiliar with the city will quickly learn traffic is challenging, and parking may be worse.

Wilson said she looked for a store location in the 12th South neighborhood, which has taken off within the past few years and is home to some of Nashville’s hottest tourist spots, including Reese Witherspoon’s store Draper James and the I Believe in Nashville sign.

However, Wilson said high traffic flow and lack of parking spots was a significant concern and a make-or-break factor for the new location.

“I’d rather be in a location where you can drive by, and pop in, and not have to worry about paying for a parking spot or hunting one down,” said Wilson, who finally located a vacant store in the popular Green Hills neighborhood near Nordstrom’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Shake Shack, Pottery Barn and many other clothing boutiques.

“It felt like we needed to be here,” said Wilson, who walked into the empty store in the Bandywood shopping center and was shown the building. “It’s like we’re the very last touch in this shopping center.”

The store has a free-form layout. They keep merchandise together that they believe will sell together. “When you walk in, jewelry and sunglasses are arranged neatly on a table,” she said.

To give the store a more boutique feel and reduce clutter, they display an example of their shoes and keep the rest in inventory.

The Dsquared team goes to market four times a year to select merchandise for the store. This past summer, the team spent a week in Los Angeles shopping for their 2019 spring inventory.

Sales Associate Mary-Morgan Coburn said they go to market with a specific strategy and have set meeting times with specific vendors. However, Coburn said they find many new brands appealing.

“When we went to market in L.A.,” Coburn said. “We knew we wanted to order silk scarves for all of the Dsquared locations, but we had no specific brand in mind. We also happened to come across a new handbag brand that we now place a lot of orders with.”

When ordering for the Nashville store, Wilson said they ordered sweaters that would be immediately available because Nashville is colder than Mississippi. She said their spring inventory will arrive a month later in Nashville compared to the Oxford and Jackson store because it stays colder in Nashville.

Dsquared has a successful online business, which is relatively new, Coburn said. She said it’s different than other retailers because they do not keep their inventory in a warehouse.

Wilson said word of mouth and their convenient location has helped their success. She anticipates their customer base will grow.

This story was written by School of Journalism and New Media student Jane Anne Darken for OxfordStories.net originally.

UM School of Journalism and New Media students, faculty spend winter break on Puerto Rico reporting trip

Posted on: January 8th, 2019 by ldrucker

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media continues to offer students extraordinary reporting opportunities outside the mainland United States. A group of students and faculty were in Puerto Rico for Winter Intersession on a multimedia reporting trip to interview island residents about the impact of Hurricane Maria.

Brittany Brown interviews the mayor of Loíza. Loíza, in northeastern Puerto Rico, is the center of Afro-Puerto Rican culture.

Students used social media tools to identify sources before the trip, and while they were in Puerto Rico, they used social media to post frequent updates. One student was invited to join media professionals on a documentary project in Puerto Rico later this year. They were impressed with the content she posted from this trip.

A guided night tour of Old San Juan. Pictured are professors Iveta Imre and Pat Thompson, and students

The group has visited several cities and villages for interviews. Their content – articles, photos, video, audio, graphics and more – were produced for a website and available for other platforms.

Christian Johnson and Devna Bose take photos on a beach in Aguada in northwestern Puerto Rico.

 

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media magazine students visit Meredith Corp. in Birmingham

Posted on: May 2nd, 2018 by ldrucker

Samir Husni, Ph.D., also known as Mr. Magazine, recently took six University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media magazine students with him to visit the Meredith Corp. in Birmingham, publisher of Southern Living, Coastal Living, Cooking Light and Food & Wine.

They spent a day with magazine editors and toured the famous test kitchens.

Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living and Coastal Living, and Hunter Lewis, editor-in-chief of Cooking Light and Food & Wine magazines reviewed and commented on the magazine students’ magazine ideas.

The one-day trip ended with an hour and a half meeting with the director of human resources at Meredith in Birmingham, Carole Cain. Hannah Willis was one of the students who attended.

“Throughout the day, we toured their incredible food studios, seeing shoots in progress and talking to food studio professionals,” she said. “People from all parts of the four magazines (Southern Living, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, and Cooking Light) came and talked to us about the day-to-day working of their magazines. It was an incredible opportunity to see the industry up close.”

Willis said she learned a lot.

“Most importantly, I learned that this is a constant job that requires an individual to stay on top of all trends while creating excellent content and navigating the differences between their print and digital platforms,” she said.

Lana Ferguson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, the University of Mississippi’s campus newspaper, said students met and interacted with different people in charge of different parts of the magazines and brands.

“We toured the infamous Time Inc. Kitchen Studio and saw the behind-the-scenes making of recipes, videos, and even .gifs,” she said. “And throughout the rest of the day, we met with experts in areas from social media, travel, video, food and more.”

Ferguson, who said she remembers flipping through the pages of Southern Living magazine before she could read, said she was surprised by some of the things she learned during the tour.

“As someone who has interned with a magazine and held editor roles in a newspaper, I thought I had an idea of how these legacy brands were run, but this experience was eye opening,” she said. “I now know some of the intricate details and effort that goes into every page of a magazine, the scheduling of production months in advance, and the developing of digital pieces that supplement the already-established print products.

“A lot of the people we spoke with mentioned ‘the reader is your boss,’ and that reminded me of how I got into journalism to serve people, and most of them did too, so I really appreciated that as well.”

Student Brittany Abbott said she was impressed by many things, including the building.

“We saw the Time Inc. test kitchens that are on the top floor paired with the camera studios for the magazine work,” she said. “We also saw the basic building process from beginning to end for the magazine.”

Abbott said she learned it takes a team to make a successful magazine like Parents or Southern Living.

“Everyone had a very specific job and a time to do that job,” she said. “They worked together so well. It was wonderful. I’m so grateful I got to go.”

View the work of the Lens Collective focusing on civil rights stories in the Mississippi Delta

Posted on: April 5th, 2018 by ldrucker

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media hosted the Lens Collective – an annual multimedia workshop that involved collaborations with mentors, students and eight universities – March 28-31. The 2018 focus was stories about Civil Rights in the Mississippi Delta.

“The Lens Collective is fun and intense,” said Alysia Burton Steele, assistant professor of the Meek School. “We have incredible mentors helping students and sharing their inspiring work.”

Three distinguished guests mentored students and presented their work. They are Smiley Pool, a Pulitzer-Prize winning photojournalist from The Dallas Morning News; Eric Seals, a nine-time regional Emmy Award-winner from the Detroit Free Press; and Josh Birnbaum, an award-winning photojournalism professor at Ohio University and author of the newly released coffee table book Dream Shot: The Journey to a Wheelchair Basketball National Championship.

Students took a bus tour in the Delta, enjoyed dinner with the people they documented and premiered student work on the last night of the program.

Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, partnered with the Lens Collective to provide a civil rights heritage tour of the area. The educational tour included the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville, the historic black town of Mound Bayou, and a Mississippi Delta soul food experience at The Senator’s Place restaurant in Cleveland.

Dr. Herts, Lee Aylward, and Sheila Winters of The Delta Center organized the tour and connected the Lens Collective with Delta residents whose stories were documented.

“We are pleased to host for a second year this group of talented students and mentors from across the country,” said Herts. “They are documenting and preserving important Mississippi Delta stories.”

This is also the second year the Meek School has partnered and will sponsor all other events. It was an opportunity for participants to build their resumes and portfolios.

“Universities that can provide immersive field experiences to their students like the Lens Collective are taking their education seriously,” said Charles Mitchell, assistant dean of the Meek School. “They understand that classroom alone is not sufficient for a media practitioner. They find out how much fun it can be, and their college work is better because seeing what it’s really like being out in the field inspires them.”

To see the Lens Collectives work, visit the website.

By Bobby Steele Jr., Meek School of Journalism and New Media

Beatty works behind the scenes for the Ole Miss Rebels

Posted on: November 14th, 2017 by ldrucker

Videographer, journalist and social media guru are all words used to describe Kayla Beatty. Beatty is a senior at the University of Mississippi and in her second year working for Ole Miss Athletics in production.

As a journalism student, she has gained essential skills for working professionally in the field. As a main videographer for Ole Miss Athletics, Beatty has worked every sports event at Ole Miss. Her favorite sport is basketball, but not always.

“I grew up watching soccer,” she said. “I knew nothing about football, basketball or baseball.

She quickly learned the sports and now sometimes thinks she could coach them. Beatty works on a team of roughly nine to 12 people. Half of them are students. This a paid job, but her first year counted as internship credit.

“While I may not go into the sports production field, the skills and opportunities I have been given are out of this world,” said Beatty.

Before every basketball game, the team of videographers meet two hours before to begin testing equipment. There are multiple cameras around the Pavilion to get high and low shots. They check lighting, sound and angles to get the perfect shot at game time.

 

An hour before the game begins, they get into position. They start getting clips of the crowd, and the teams warm up. The team films everything that spectators see in the arena and what is posted throughout the game on social media.

Everything that the cameras in the arena pick up is sent immediately to the control room. There, staff members operate music, lights and everything you see on the jumbotron. They also quickly make graphics for social media and talk with SEC Sports.

“We all have headsets on so we know what we all are doing,” Beatty. “Communication is key in the industry.”

Beatty’s favorite video to capture is when she follows the ball closely on camera and gets the angle as it lands in the net. She uses a “slash camera” to achieve this. This was one of the hardest skills to perfect. She said she is still learning.

Videography and photography is all about practicing. When she first started, she shadowed an existing staff member to learn the basics.

“They take baby steps so they can ensure you will know everything before you are on your own,” she said. “A lot of basic skills I taught myself on my iPhone.”

After shadowing someone with experience, the videographers are on their own. After about a year, they usually end up having a shadow or “buddy” to teach.

Beatty said the most important piece of advice is know your equipment. Supervisor Hank Lena is their main support. Lena works the control room and is in charge of the team during the game.

“The staff is so talented,” Lena said. “They are always eager to learn. For my students, I am here to make sure they are getting the knowledge they will need to continue a career in production and journalism.”

Another favorite part of the job for Beatty is creating graphics for Ole Miss sports teams’ social media. Within minutes of the live footage, the staff sends Tweets, Instagram posts and Snapchats.

A great part of working for Ole Miss productions is they allow everyone to rotate positions. Everyone may have their preference, but they are given the opportunity to use a high camera, low camera or work in the control room. Staff is exposed to videography, still photography and social media.

“I get to play with toys and get paid,” said Beatty. “I get to work with the best cameras and equipment in the industry.”

Work does not feel like work when it is doing something you love. Everyday is different working in production.

“I love what I get to do for a living, so hiring people that are also so passionate about journalism is the best part,” said Lena.

A lot of hard work goes into what looks easy to the average viewer at a sporting event. From preparation to putting all the footage together at the end, students and staff move quickly.

Beatty said she wishes she had known about this job earlier in her college career because of the skills she has learned and the connections and people she has met. She hopes to continue learning as much as she can this upcoming basketball season.

By Kelly Zeidner
Oxford Stories
knzeidne@go.olemiss.edu

School of Journalism and New Media is back in action

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by ldrucker

We’re back in action at the School of Journalism and New Media, and we have a great event coming up that all students who are interested in journalism, public relations and marketing might enjoy attending.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media will host a Meek & Greet event welcoming students to campus Thursday, Aug. 24, from 2-4 p.m. We will have music, snow cones, a Snapchat Meek & Greet geofilter, photo props, representatives from student organizations and local employers.

It is a great opportunity to interact with other Meek students and faculty. If you are interested in majoring or minoring in journalism or integrated marketing communications, this is a great time to gather information and ask faculty members how you can get involved in the journalism and IMC programs.