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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.”

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

In a world of pandemic problems, some workers value remote options

Posted on: March 23rd, 2022 by ldrucker

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and changed our lives.

But for some, having the option to work remotely and by teleconference is one of the positive changes.

University of Mississippi graduate Emmy Stephens, a former IMC student and marketing associate for Georgia Banking Company in Atlanta, said remote work has been beneficial for employees in her marketing department.

Emmy Stephens, a former IMC student.

Emmy Stephens, a former IMC student.

“It’s taking a lot of things virtual, so that’s beneficial in a lot of ways,” she said. “My boss works two hours away sometimes, and we can still get together and do Zoom meetings and stuff, which has been super helpful.”

That means clients are also doing business remotely.

“A lot of our search engine optimization . . . has been key to reaching our clients and customers and pushing social media,” said Stephens who began her college career seven years ago after touring and falling in love with the Ole Miss campus.

“I kind of wanted to go somewhere not in Georgia,” she said. “That’s where I’m from. I went to (Ole Miss) to expand my horizons and go somewhere new with new people, and I think it’s the best decision I made.”

Stephens was initially undecided about her studies before realizing her passion and goals involved integrated marketing communications (IMC) and journalism. She loved the hands-on projects and opportunities the major offered.

“(IMC) just fit what I wanted to do . . ,” she said. “It’s so broad that you can go into so many fields, and it helps in so many ways.”

To read the full story, visit the Oxford Stories website.

This story was written by Gabrielle Fairey for Oxford Stories.

IMC students travel to Pontotoc to help local farmer’s market with brand identity

Posted on: March 8th, 2022 by ldrucker

Giving students a #realworldrightnow experience is one of the things that separates the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media from other programs.

Students here have many opportunities to participate in experiential learning adventures offering real world knowledge about the journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) fields.

Scott Fiene, associate professor of IMC, recently led a group of students to Pontotoc and Greenwood, where they conducted research for class projects.

An IMC capstone campaigns course is working with the nearby community of Pontotoc to develop and promote a brand identity for the local farmer’s market. On Feb. 14, some of the students went there to look around, ask questions and get ideas. They met with Mayor Bob Peebles, Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Maxey and Chamber of Commerce Director Beth Waldo. Those pictured include: IMC students Jack Whitaker, Zoe Barnes, Mary Chapman Johnson, Mayor Peebles; students Anna Grace Newsom, Wilson Coke and Isabelle McLeod; Farmer’s Market Director Julia McDowell, and Associate Professor Scott Fiene.

An IMC capstone campaigns course is working with the nearby community of Pontotoc to develop and promote a brand identity for the local farmer’s market. Those pictured include: IMC students Jack Whitaker, Zoe Barnes, Mary Chapman Johnson, Mayor Peebles; students Anna Grace Newsom, Wilson Coke and Isabelle McLeod; Farmer’s Market Director Julia McDowell, and Associate Professor Scott Fiene.

In Pontotoc, Fiene’s class is working to build a brand and increase awareness of the local farmer’s market.

“Pontotoc County is one of the tops in Mississippi in terms of truck gardens and raising garden produce, so the market has the potential to be a huge draw, not just in the county but in surrounding areas as well,” he said.

Five teams of students are working to develop a name, logo, web, and social media brand identity. They are also researching specific recommendations for communicating the market to various target audiences.

“Traveling to see the client and the product/service is very beneficial,” Fiene said. “That’s how we learn what we’re promoting and get a sense for the communities and the people our campaign will reach.”

The School of Journalism and New Media is focused on preparing students for long and successful careers in IMC and journalism, so Interim Dean Dr. Deb Wenger says experiences like this are essential parts of that process.

“Our students leave school with a portfolio of work that helps them show employers what they are capable of doing. Our faculty understand what the workplace requires and they dedicate countless hours to ensuring that our students are ready for that first job,” Wenger said.

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students win awards

Posted on: March 7th, 2022 by ldrucker

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students consistently win awards. Here are some of their recent honors.

Students won the following awards in the NATIONAL Associated Collegiate Press 2021 contest.

  • NewsWatch Ole Miss was named one of seven Pacemaker national finalists. Pacemakers honor overall excellence for “best of the best.” Judges take into consideration frequency of broadcast, whether the newscast is recorded or live and school enrollment. The broadcast Pacemaker award is relatively new; it was added as a category in 2020. Brian Barisa was NewsWatch student manager in 2020-21.
  • Kaylee Crafton, NewsWatch anchor/correspondent, won 4th place in the broadcast news or feature category for her package about UM remote education during the pandemic in fall 2020 (Ole Miss Parents and Students Concerned with Quality of Education).
  • The Daily Mississippian Photo Editor Hannah Grace Biggs won 5th place for sports game/action photo, for her coverage of an Ole Miss vs. Arkansas football game.
  • Rabria Moore and Billy Schuerman were awarded honorable mention in the multimedia news story category for a project they worked on with adjunct assistant professor Ellen Meacham.

    Here is a brief update on what some of our 2020 and 2021 SMC student leaders are doing:

    Award

Hadley Hitson, Report for America reporter assigned to the Montgomery Advertiser to cover rural South and Black Belt communities;

Eliza Noe, environmental/education reporter at Craig Press in Craig, Colorado;

Brian Barisa, producer, KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas;

Maddie Nolan, December 2021 graduate and NewsWatch student manager for fall semester, reporter for WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi;

Billy Schuerman, graduate student in visuals communication at Ohio University, headed to an internship in photography at the Virginian-Pilot this summer;

Daniel Payne (2020 graduate), recently promoted at Politico in D.C. from fellowship to full reporter on the global health care beat.

Aman scores position with Dallas Cowboys Creative Media Department

Posted on: March 2nd, 2022 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate who wasn’t afraid to tackle what Ole Miss Sports Productions threw at her has scored a position with the Dallas Cowboys.

When Madison Aman was in high school, she photographed and videoed local sporting events. That helped her land a job with UM’s campus television station NewsWatch and Ole Miss Sports Productions.

Today, she is an editor and producer for the Dallas Cowboys Creative Media Department, which journeys with the team to document their activities and tell their stories.

The Dallas native, who studied broadcast journalism with a minor in digital media studies and an arts emphasis, was a sports anchor at NewsWatch for about a year. She interned with Ole Miss Sports Productions from 2015-to 2019 gaining experience that led to her current job.

Madison Atman videos an athlete.

Madison Aman videos an athlete.

“After I graduated, I was able to get a job at the Dallas Cowboys (through former Ole Miss and journalism school alum, Dave Kennedy),” she said. “I started out in the broadcast department, where my main job was to create several documentaries about former Dallas Cowboys players.”

After her first Cowboys season ended in 2019, Aman began creating what became an Emmy-nominated documentary that she continued working on throughout the initial wave of COVID-19 in 2020. She remained in the broadcast department until the summer of 2021 when she was promoted to the newly-created Creative Media Department as an editor and producer.

Aman just finished her first season in the new position.

“I was able to shoot on the sidelines at the games, travel with the team, and continue to create storytelling videos for the Dallas Cowboys’ social media accounts,” she said.

During the season, a typical week can be busy. Aman shoots practices and creates videos for the Cowboys’ Social Media Department. She also helps produce sponsored videos at different locations throughout Dallas.

Their work all leads up to promoting the big game on Sunday. If it is a home game, the department of six (including Aman) travels to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Aman said she typically shoots the game from the sidelines and hands footage off to one of the editors to quickly post to social media. Once the game ends, they start over working to create the best content they can leading up to the next game.

Madison Atman today works for the Dallas Cowboys. Here she stands in front of a blue wall.

Madison Aman today works for the Dallas Cowboys.

“One of the reasons I picked this career was that I am able to do something different each day, whether that be shooting practice, events, etc., and/or editing a video for social,” she said. “Having a career in sports is such a fast-paced environment, but it provides the opportunity to meet so many new people and experience so many new things.”

Aman said her time at Ole Miss Sports Productions prepared her for working in real-world situations in this field.

“I love being able to tell the story of the person underneath the jersey and below the lights,” she said. “It’s such a unique opportunity and a big privilege that most do not have, and I am grateful for it every day.”

Her advice to other professionals in the field is to take care of yourself mentally and physically.

“You don’t have many chances to catch a break during the season, but it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can continue to stay fresh and create the best content possible,” she said.

Another tip: appreciate each moment.

“I think a lot of people in this career field get so used to being so close to the action, that it can become very ‘normal,’” she said. “But each week and each game is an experience that so few people in the world get to have. We have the opportunity to change and inspire others through our work and on such a large stage as well.  It’s important to never lose touch with that and to always stay focused.”

Aman said student journalists should stay focused and shouldn’t get discouraged.

“The sports media world can be quite intimidating,” she said. “But don’t lose sight of your goals and dreams for yourself. I would’ve never been where I am today if it wasn’t for believing in myself and pushing myself to meet the goals that I have.”

She also advises students to get out and shoot games at any level.

“It’s important to have experience and practically required to have a reel in addition to your resume,” she said. “In high school, I was able to shoot our football and basketball games. Through that, I used that experience and footage to help me get jobs at NewsWatch and Ole Miss Sports Productions.”

Debora Wenger, interim dean of the School of Journalism and New Media, agrees that it’s important to gain experience in your field while in college.

Madison Atman today works for the Dallas Cowboys is seen shooting video of an athlete.

Madison Aman, who today works for the Dallas Cowboys, shoots video of an athlete.

“One of the things about pre-professional programs like ours is that employers will expect you to already have had some experience doing journalism or creative work before you get hired,” she said. “Our Student Media Center and other experiential learning opportunities help you build the kind of portfolio that can really help you get that first job.”

Wenger said dozens of our students work or intern with UM Athletics every year.

“The students who love sports broadcasting, marketing and production get an incredible experience when they go to work for Athletics, and we offer many additional opportunities for students who are passionate about sports.”

Micah Ginn, associate athletics director of Sports Productions and Creative Services, said student workers from journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) have been an important part of what they do.

“We’ve had students plug in during their undergrad years and carry that over into graduate assistantships,” Ginn said. “We’ve also had students work here and use the experience to quickly land a job after graduation.

“We provide real-world opportunities for our student workers with the goal being that we are able to do more for our sports programs with the extra help, and the students develop skills that make them confident and ready to enter the workforce.”

Aman shot local football games for NewsWatch and continued to add to her reel, which allowed her to shoot larger events at Ole Miss Sports Production (OMSP).

“Through OMSP, I was on the sidelines shooting football games and shooting practice, which led me to the job I have today,” she said. “I’d tell students that they don’t always have to start at the top pro/collegiate level, but can start at the bottom with high school sports and work their way up. Don’t get discouraged and never lose focus on your dreams.”

For more information about our programs, visit https://jnm.olemiss.edu/

Dandridge, a broadcast journalism graduate and lawyer, is member of Now & Ever fundraising committee

Posted on: February 23rd, 2022 by ldrucker

Kimbrely Dandridge — a member of the Now & Ever Steering Committee and a native of Como, Mississippi — credits her Ole Miss experience with helping her develop grit and fearlessness. Those traits propel her to seek new experiences and strengthen her leadership style. Dandridge earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Mississippi before attending law school.

The Now & Ever campaign is a $1.5 billion UM fundraising initiative powered by decades of outstanding teaching, research, health care, service and innovation.

Kimbrely Dandridge's video about the Now & Ever campaign.

Kimbrely Dandridge’s video about the Now & Ever campaign.

Link to Video about Dandridge and the Now & Ever campaign.

Dandridge is currently associate corporate counsel at Amazon, according to her LinkedIn bio. Prior to joining Amazon, she served as counsel/director in the global legal department at Gap Inc., and provided legal counsel to the family of brands including Old Navy, Athleta, Gap, and Banana Republic.

In addition to practicing law, Dandridge is a published writer and has contributed to publications like Forbes, Teen Vogue, Hechinger Report, and The Well. While in law school, Dandridge completed an internship at the White House, under the Obama administration, in the Office of Presidential Personnel.

In 2012, Dandridge was elected to serve as the first African-American female student body president at the University of Mississippi, according to her LinkedIn bio. She has been honored on several occasions and has received several awards including University of Mississippi Hall of Fame, Diversity Activism Award, Women in Leadership Award, NPHC Achievement Award, and Because of Them We Can Award.

Fagans to speak about ‘Seeing the Unseen’ at TEDxUniversityofMississippi

Posted on: February 10th, 2022 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming TEDxUniversityofMississippi talk set for Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. inside the Ford Center for Performing Arts.

Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism, said he was nominated to speak and asked to create a pitch video for his TEDx talk.

“The working title for my talk is ‘Seeing the Unseen,'” he said. “I will be talking about literal blind spots that we have, societal blind spots, and how much of our vision is really in focus. I will be using examples of my work to talk about expanding how we might see each other and the world.”

Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism, will be featured in the next TEDxUniversityofMississippi event Feb. 22.

Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism, will be featured in the next TEDxUniversityofMississippi event Feb. 22.

The theme of this year’s event is “New Avenues.” Speakers were asked to think about what New Avenues people, communities, and organizations are exploring to optimize outcomes. What New Avenues were explored in the past that led us to our current situations? What New Avenues are being explored now that will shape our future?

“I am in the process of re-working part of the talk after giving a dry run two weeks ago to two students and their advisor,” he said. “I will be working with a colleague to edit down the images and tighten up which anecdotes carry the theme of really seeing the world for what is there.”

Fagans said he’s planning to end the talk with a quote from photographer Jay Maisel. It reads: “Seeing the world from even a two-degree difference helps you see an entirely new world.”

“I am hopeful that my talk, showing images, and telling the stories behind the images, will help attendees see the world from a new perspective, especially with the other talks by faculty and community members,” Fagans said.

Interim Dean for the School of Journalism and New Media Dr. Deb Wenger said she is delighted to see one of the school’s faculty members showcased in this venue.

“We have many dedicated teachers in our programs, and Prof. Fagans is one who brings a deep commitment to helping students think about the world and the work they do in new ways,” Wenger said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how his talk reflects this approach.”

A working photojournalist and documentary filmmaker, Fagan’s journey has taken him to the Navajo Nation, Malawi, India, Austria, Afghanistan, Scotland, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Belize and Guatemala, according to his TEDxUniversityofMississippi bio.  He is also the author of three books on iPhone photography with Amherst Media.

His documentary film “The Trafficked Life” helped raise over $50,000 that was donated to 10 nonprofits working to combat human trafficking in California’s Central Valley, the bio reads. Fagans is currently in post-production on a documentary about David Sheffield, a UM alum, who staged a play on campus in partnership with Theater Oxford and the Department of Theatre & Film at UM.

TEDxUniversityofMississippi invites a diverse group of speakers to share innovative, creative, and thought-provoking talks on a different theme each year. Led by a group of student volunteers, the event shares ideas from outside Mississippi that can impact Mississippians in a positive way.

The evening of curated Talks each year is designed to spark conversation in the community and beyond. The  Talks are published on the nationally and internationally browsed TEDx Youtube channel, free of charge.

To learn more about the speakers, visit https://www.tedxuniversityofmississippi.com/speakers

To learn more about the event, visit: https://www.tedxuniversityofmississippi.com/

Tupelo Regional Airport employee soars to new heights with IMC degree

Posted on: February 4th, 2022 by ldrucker

Students at regional campuses are recognizing the value and versatility of IMC and journalism programs

The sky’s the limit for Justin Lee Gary, an integrated marketing communication (IMC) student who attends the University of Mississippi’s Tupelo campus and works as a media intern for Tupelo Regional Airport.

The New Albany native is just one example of students at UM’s regional campuses who are using the versatile IMC degree to pursue their dreams.

Gary, a junior, has a knack for writing and film that began while attending a community college.

“I started working with the film class and really gained a niche for filmmaking,” he said. “My classmates worked on professional film sets with famous actors and professional film crew from all over the country. It was exciting to take someone’s story, turn it into a script, and then watch it on the big screen.”

Justin Gary stands in front of a plane at Tupelo Regional Airport.

Justin Gary stands in front of a plane at Tupelo Regional Airport.

Gary said an instructor there told him about the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media’s IMC major to further his studies.

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” he said.

Some of his favorite classes have been IMC 205: Writing for Integrated Marketing Communications and IMC 306: Internet Marketing Communications.

“While there is a lot of writing with some of the classes, it is by no means difficult,” he said. “The instructors on campus are amazing at teaching the concepts in a way that you can understand them. They really help you explore your creative side so you can find your own writing style. So, don’t be afraid to express yourself. It not only helps you to stand out, but also find an awesome job.”

Gary has two jobs at Tupelo Regional Airport. While one is in airfield operations, he also works as a media intern for the airport.

“I also help coordinate Ole Miss’s sports teams when they are traveling with Delta, United, or another airline,” he said. “Believe it or not, the job actually has a lot to do with marketing. In aviation, public perception is everything. It involves a lot of research and planning to understand what market the airport caters to, and my IMC classes have definitely taught me how to carry the airport’s mission statement through social media and other mediums.”

After graduating, Gary said he hopes to work as a media manager or art director for a marketing firm.

“My dream job would be marketing a major airline like Delta or United,” he said, “but I would honestly be happy working for any company that tries to benefit others.”

His advice for anyone thinking about majoring in IMC is to develop an interest in writing, and never stop being you.

Patricia Overstreet-Miller, an instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications with the School of Journalism and New Media who is focused primarily on the regional campuses, said regional IMC graduates have entered a wide variety of job fields, including digital and data management, marketing for nonprofits and local companies, sales, entrepreneurship, public relations for small and large firms, and have even worked for the U.S. Army.

“Because the skills they gained with an IMC degree are highly transferable, they are able to move within a number of different fields, even as they stay local,” she said. “The IMC degree is one of the most flexible and adaptable offered at the university level and is well suited for individuals who want to stay within the state, as well as those able to move nationally and internationally.”

Overstreet-Miller hopes more students who are considering pursing a degree like Gary will visit the regional campuses.

“At the regional campuses, we have some students who are the first in their families to graduate from college, who often come from more rural areas of the state, and who are deeply Mississippi-based,” she said. “They are also highly diverse and representative of many of the minority populations of the state.

“By reaching beyond Oxford, Ole Miss has benefited communities and individuals they might not otherwise have reached and thus helped ensure a stronger future for the state as a whole.”

Debora Wenger, Ph.D., interim dean of the UM School of Journalism and New Media, said regional campus students are doing amazing things.

“Our regional campuses give us an opportunity to work with students who make our integrated marketing communications program richer, more relevant, and more inclusive,” she said. “These students are inspiring — often balancing full-time jobs and families — yet, they have the drive to earn a degree and make a difference in their communities. Kudos to them.”

Overstreet-Miller said Tupelo Regional Airport will be one of the UM program’s IMC 455 clients this year and probably next year as well, largely because of Gary.

“They are looking to brand themselves and become more connected to the community,” she said. “This will be one of the most interesting and challenging clients we’ve had so far.”

UM’s 2021 Homecoming King and Queen have studied journalism and IMC

Posted on: October 14th, 2021 by ldrucker

Congratulations to the 2021 University of Mississippi Homecoming King and Queen, who have both taken classes in journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC) at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

Students Kenzee Blount and Bradford Stewart were voted as Ole Miss royalty.

Bradford Stewart is a Birmingham native studying IMC.

She started a fashion blog with her sisters called Poema, Spanish for poem, that was inspired by a Bible verse, and she dreams of turning the blog into a clothing store with her sisters, according to a story in The Daily Mississippian.

Homecoming King and Queen, from left, Bradford Stewart and Kenzee Blount. Photo from the Ole Miss social media account.

Homecoming King and Queen, from left, Bradford Stewart and Kenzee Blount. Photo from the Ole Miss social media account.

Stewart is involved in the Rebelettes and The Grove Retreat, a Christian-based student organization that welcomes incoming freshmen to Oxford. Her older sister founded the group. Stewart is also involved in Tri Delta sorority, serving as membership experience chair. You can read the full story at this link. 

Blount is a senior in the School of Business Administration who is earning a bachelor’s of business administration in general business. He has taken journalism classes and written for Oxford Stories.

Blount was co-director for special events for the Active Minds organization, and he served as a learning and engagement ambassador, MPower peer leader, director of Rebel Run, and as an orientation leader, according to a DM story. You can read more about the Independence, Mississippi native below.