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Two UM School of Journalism and New Media students named as a winners in national journalism contest

Posted on: January 10th, 2019 by ldrucker

Two University of Mississippi student media leaders have been named as winners in the 2018-2019 Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

Abbie McIntosh and Ariel Cobbert both placed in the Hearst Journalism Awards national competition this year.

In the Television Features category, McIntosh tied for 15th place. There were 107 entries from 60 universities. Cobbert placed 21st in the Photojournalism News and Features category, which had a record 128 entries from 77 universities.

McIntosh is station manager for UM’s award-winning NewsWatch Ole Miss – a daily, student-run live 30-minute newscast.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Abbie the past two years as she was NewsWatch station manager,” said NewsWatch faculty adviser Nancy Dupont. “Then I had the pleasure of having her in my advanced TV reporting class. She has a goal to be excellent in everything she does. In fact, she will overcome any obstacle getting in the way of her success. She is in the top 1 percent of broadcast journalism students I’ve ever taught.”

 

The two TV packages from McIntosh that were entered in the Television Features category were both from coverage of Hurricane Michael. Three journalism students – led by journalism professors Mark Dolan, Ji Hoon Heo and John Baker – traveled to Panama City in October to report about the hurricane’s impact.

Cobbert, who graduated in December 2018, is former photo editor for The Daily Mississippian and The Ole Miss yearbook. Her Hearst photojournalism entry included her DM coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and photos she took for the yearbook and for her internships. In summer 2018, she had a photo internship at the Daily Press in Virginia, and she had a fall internship at the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Alysia Steele is one of the JNM professors who have worked closely with Cobbert.

“I have watched Ariel blossom over the years,” Steele said. “What I love and respect about Ariel is how hard working she is, and how she takes constructive feedback from a good place and applies it to her work. She has one of the best attitudes I’ve ever seen in a student, and I’m ridiculously proud of her. It’s nice to see her place in Hearst. I can’t wait to see what she does career-wise, because I know for sure she’s going to make an impact in the journalism world.”

The Hearst contest has several more categories with deadlines during spring semester.

Winners were selected from 107 entries submitted from 60 schools nationwide. The first-place winner qualifies for the National Television Championship held in San Francisco next June.

Other top winners, along with the top finalists in the next television competition, will submit additional entries for a semi-final round of judging. Four finalists will be chosen from that round to compete in the championship, along with writing, photo, radio and multimedia finalists.

First Place has been awarded to Grace King from University of Florida. King wins a $3,000 scholarship and qualifies for the National Broadcast News Championship.

The top ten finalists and their awards are:

Second Place, $2,000 award, Lydia Nusbaum, University of Missouri
Third Place, $1,500 award, Matt Lively, Arizona State University
Fourth Place, $1,000 award, Meredith Sheldon, University Florida
Fifth Place, $1,000 award, Claire Going, Pennsylvania State University
Sixth Place, certificate, Claire Kopsky, University of Missouri
Seventh Place, certificate, Tom Austen, Syracuse University
Eighth Place, certificate, Payton Walker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ninth Place, certificate, Lillian Donahue, Arizona State University
Tenth Place, certificate, Kristen Rary, University of Georgia

The top five winning schools receive matching grants. The University of Florida is in first place in the Intercollegiate Broadcast Competition with the highest accumulated student points from the first of two television competition of this academic year.

It is followed by: University of Missouri, Arizona State University, Syracuse University, Pennsylvania State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Baylor University, Michigan State University, University of Maryland and the University of Georgia.

The final intercollegiate broadcast winners are announced after the completion of the radio competition and the second television competition. The top three intercollegiate winners earn $10,000, $4,000 and $2,000 respectively, which will be presented at the National Championships in San Francisco this June.

The television judges are: Julie Chin, news director, KNX Radio, Los Angeles; Lloyd Siegel, former vice president of news partnerships, NBC News, New York; and Fred Young, retired senior vice president of news, Hearst Television Inc., Yardley, Pennsylvania.

The 59th annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program added broadcast news to the competitions in 1988. The program also includes five writing, one radio, two photo, and four multimedia competitions offering up to $700,000 in scholarships, matching grants and stipends.

There are 104 universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs eligible to participate in the Hearst competitions.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program is conducted under the auspices of accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and fully funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

The program consists of five monthly writing competitions, two photojournalism competitions, one radio and two TV broadcast news competitions, and four multimedia competitions, with Championship Finals in all divisions, with the exception of team multimedia. The program awards up to $700,000 in scholarships, matching grants, stipends and intercollegiate awards annually.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation was established by its namesake in 1948 under California non-profit laws, exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. Since then, the Hearst Foundations have contributed more than one billion dollars to numerous educational programs, health and medical care, human services and the arts in every state.

Computer science and UM School of Journalism and New Media researchers combat health disinformation

Posted on: January 9th, 2019 by ldrucker

Two UM professors received an interdisciplinary research grant to develop an automated method for identifying health disinformation in the news.

Naeemul Hassan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Computer Science and Information Department, and Kristen Swain, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Journalism and New Media, received one of the first Big Data Flagship Constellation seed grants in January.

“Even though trusted, reliable media outlets do spread health misinformation, most intentional health disinformation originates from unreliable media sources,” Swain said. “There is little existing research on health disinformation patterns in social media. We hope to uncover how health news framing is exploited to spread disinformation and then develop algorithms to help journalists, readers and news providers differentiate credible health news from disinformation.”

In their one-year project, “CHORD: Combating Health Oriented Disinformation,” the professors plan to build and analyze a large-scale repository of print and broadcast health news stories that appeared on social networking sites. Then they will analyze media content patterns across reliable and unreliable stories and identify network characteristics and engagement patterns among readers in different age groups. Finally, they will conduct reader surveys and focus groups to identify health disinformation challenges.

The project synthesizes applied natural language processing, big data, network analysis and media content analysis, Hassan said. The team ultimately hopes to develop a computer program that can automatically identify health disinformation, as well as recommendations for new policies to discourage health hoax propagators.

Kristen Swain, Ph.D.

The team initially will develop a scraper program to automatically collect articles from media sources’ websites, automatically separate health-oriented news articles from non-health articles, and gather social media engagement metrics, such as comments, shares and likes for each article. Algorithms also will identify story characteristics including headlines, bylines, leads, captions, video and other images, topics, sourcing patterns, factual and opinion statements, and quote types.

Reliable sources will include CNN Health, Cancer.gov, WebMD, etc., and unreliable sources will include sites like REALfarmacy.com and HealthNutNews. Unreliable story characteristics include disease mongering, vague sourcing, and failure to identify financial conflicts of interest.

Previously, Hassan developed a data collection program that curated about 66,000 news articles from 27 reliable media outlets and 20 unreliable outlets. The preliminary findings helped him design the new project.

“We hope to identify new recommendations for journalists who cover health topics and develop a computer application to provide instant feedback on their draft stories,” Swain said. The new computer application also could help commercial third-party news aggregate applications such as Yahoo News, Flipboard and Bundle News automatically flag health disinformation that should be removed from news feeds.

Naeemul Hassan. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

After completing the content analysis, the team will model reader behaviors by interviewing young people and seniors who read, share and engage with health stories, Hassan said. To explore whether age, gender, education level and news consumption behaviors predict susceptibility to health disinformation, the team will conduct focus groups of readers younger than 18 and seniors 65 and older. They will use the Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service to collect feedback about the middle-range readers ages 18-64.

“We hope our findings will inform development of new media literacy educational materials to help people of all ages learn how to identify health disinformation,” Swain said.

The 2019 seed grant will support a computer science graduate assistant in spring 2019 and a journalism graduate assistant in fall 2019. In 2020, the team plans to produce conference presentations, scholarly articles, and an external grant proposal.

The Flagship Constellation initiative, now in its second year, supports interdisciplinary research projects at UM and UMCC that focus on big data, community wellbeing, disaster resilience and brain wellness. In November 2017, UM alums Thomas and Jim Duff contributed $1 million, which supports the constellation grant competitions.

“If our study can reduce the number of people believing in health disinformation, this could improve the overall health condition of people throughout Mississippi and the U.S.,” Swain said.

Eleven University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students selected to be new orientation leaders

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ldrucker

Eleven students from the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media have been selected as UM orientation leaders.

Martin Fisher, associate director of admissions with the UM Office of Admissions, helps lead the orientation leader program. He said orientation leaders are trained to assist new students and their families in transitioning to the University of Mississippi – academically, culturally and socially.

“They lead small groups of new students, serve on panels in front of hundreds of family members, and continue to be a resource to their peers beyond the two-day orientation program,” he said. “The transition process is ongoing, and the orientation leaders are critical to that process. Their service to the Ole Miss community impacts thousands each year.”

Fisher said being an orientation leader is a great opportunity to represent the university and develop transferable skills that students can take with them forever.

“My hope is that they enjoy the process of growing through service,” he said.

Orientation leaders from the School of Journalism and New Media include:

  • Susannah Abernathy, an integrated marketing communications major from Longview, Texas
  • Tavia Moore, an integrated marketing communications major from Wiggins, Mississippi
  • Shelby Carrico, an integrated marketing and communications major from Magee, Mississippi
  • Chloe Dwyer, an integrated marketing and communications major from Southlake, Texas
  • Charlie Googe, an integrated marketing and communications major from Saltillo, Mississippi
  • Asia Harden, an integrated marketing and communications major from Greenville, Mississippi
  • Austin Newcomb, an integrated marketing and communications major from Corinth, Mississippi
  • Jessica Shipp, an integrated marketing and communications major from Southaven, Mississippi
  • Andrew Wildman, an integrated marketing and communications/French major from Laurel, Mississippi
  • Karsyn King, a journalism and Spanish major from Monroe, North Carolina.
  • Nick Weaver, a public policy leadership and integrated communications major

Orientation Leader Susannah Abernathy is an active member of the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she serves on the New Member Committee welcoming incoming women. Although she is an IMC major, she also hopes to attend dental school after earning her undergraduate degree.

“Coming from a small town in Texas, I knew very few people when I set foot on campus for orientation,” she said. “I did not have the same session as my other friends, so I hung out with my orientation leader the whole time. She made sure that I felt welcome here and introduced me to two other orientation leaders who were just as kind to me.”

Abernathy said she never expected orientation leaders to be so inclusive. She thought it would be rewarding and a way of “paying forward” the same things her orientation leaders provided for her.

“I believe that orientation leaders are like the welcoming committee to college,” she said. “They are the first people you meet when you get to Ole Miss, and they want to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Not only are they helping with the transition into college, they also genuinely want to be your friend.

“It is my hope that I can lead the incoming Ole Miss students through an orientation that alleviates their fears about college and leaving home, and prepares them for a very smooth transition into college, academically, socially and emotionally.”

Orientation Leader Andrew Wildman is a member of Delta Psi fraternity at St. Anthony Hall. He is also a big fan of food and cooking. He hopes to attend grad school, earn a doctorate in literature and teach at the college level.

“I wanted to become an orientation leader because of just how much I love Ole Miss,” he said. “I have been a lifelong fan of this university. It’s the only place I toured because I knew it was the only place I could call home.”

Wildman said he is excited to represent Ole Miss as an orientation leader and wants incoming freshmen to be excited.

“I am just thankful for the opportunity to show them that they have a home here in the Ole Miss family,” he said. “… The team is such a diverse representation of students from the university . . . I’m excited about the memories that are going to be made with my fellow orientation leaders.”

Orientation Leader Tavia Moore is a transfer sophomore whose activities include “studying, losing sleep, and more studying.” During her free time, she reads, explores Oxford, and spends quality time with friends.

“I don’t have any cliche career aspirations,” she said. “I just want to find a career that makes going to work feel like going to a playground. I want to be able to enhance my creativity while traveling the world and meeting people of all backgrounds and cultures.”

Moore was a student ambassador at her previous college. “My only hope is to build as many relationships within my Ole Miss family as possible,” she said. “I want to be able to recognize people on a first-name basis because I expect to spend the majority of my time interacting and developing those types of relationships with them.”

Orientation Leader Chloe Dwyer is also an ambassador for the School of Journalism and New Media, an Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity executive member and upcoming vice president, a member of the TEDx University of Mississippi planning committee, a member of the Student Activities Association Special Events Committee, and a Alpha Delta Pi member. She said she wants a career in advertising and graphic design.

Dwyer was selected to be an orientation coordinator, which is a second-year orientation leader. She said the selection process is very competitive. They only chose six previous orientation leaders – three boys and three girls.

“When I originally applied to be an orientation leader, I wanted to feel a deeper connection to the university and its people,” she said. “Ole Miss has a large population, and by holding this position, I knew it would break the population down into smaller groups and open up a new way to form relationships with people in our community.

“I wanted to be an orientation coordinator so that I could continue to take the passion I have for Ole Miss and show incoming students what they have to look forward to. Orientation is so special, and I can’t wait to go through the experience again with new faces and stories.”

Dwyer said she has met some of her best friends through orientation. “These friendships mean so much to me, and I know they will last far past my college years,” she said.

Orientation Leader Asia Harden is a staff writer for the Ole Miss Yearbook, a communications intern at the UM School of Business Administration, and the public relations chair of Lambda Sigma Honor Society.

“The root of why I want to apply to be an orientation leader stems from my growing love for this university, its people, and the opportunities it has afforded me,” she said. “As an orientation leader, I want to give back to this wonderful place that I get to call home and share my love of this university with new students to further ensure them that they can find a home in this place as well.”

Harden said each new experience provides an opportunity for growth.

“As an orientation leader, I want to be able to find growth in the challenges, triumphs, and pure joy that comes with the job,” she said. “And I hope that I can be able to lead incoming students down a path of growth as they enter the university as well.”

Orientation Leader Charlie Googe is a sophomore and member of Delta Gamma sorority who dreams of becoming a marketing specialist for Vogue magazine.

“I had an amazing experience when I attended orientation, so I simply want to give other new incoming students the same awesome experience,” she said. “I love this university so much, and I want to also share that love with others, so that they can learn to love it as much as I do.”

Orientation Leader Nick Weaver is a public policy leadership and integrated marketing communications major. He is an ASB senator, a member of Chi Psi Fraternity, an FLL Greek ambassador, and a member of the Oxford Church of Christ. He plans to attend law school.

“Over the past two years at Ole Miss, I’ve met countless people who have taken me in and helped me feel at home here in Oxford,” he said. “These people include students I met at orientation, fraternity brothers, church members, and professors whose classes I’ve taken. Regardless of how I met these people, they all share a special place in my heart. It wasn’t long ago that I moved into Pittman Hall as a nervous, lonely freshman in desperate need of belonging.

“I’m a religious person, and I distinctly remember sitting alone in Paris-Yates Chapel praying that God would send me friends and mentors who would guide me and build me up. In the months following move-in, I was blessed with more loving people around me than I ever dreamed of. Because of this, I have a debt I need to repay.”

As he transitioned from high school to college, Weaver said he received love from students and staff at Ole Miss. Now, it’s his turn to give back.

“My hope is that, as an orientation leader, I can exhibit the same genuine and kind friendship that I received as a freshman,” he said. “I feel a responsibility to give back to the school that’s given so much to me, and this opportunity allows me to do just that.”

Weaver said he hopes to gain a greater understanding of the diversity of students who call Ole Miss home.

“When we get into our normal routine, it feels like we’re only interacting with a limited group of people on campus, but as an orientation Leader, I have the opportunity to talk with everyone and welcome them to such a fantastic university.”

Meet IMC Student Olivia Nash: She says IMC offers a variety of career paths

Posted on: November 29th, 2018 by ldrucker

Meet IMC student Olivia Nash. Nash, a freshman, is from a small town called Sikeston, Missouri.

“I came to Ole Miss because I fell in love with the town first,” she said. “Oxford is such a special place, and the people in it make it even better. But, the town was not the only thing I fell in love with, as the Ole Miss campus is beautiful and the camaraderie from the people is unbeatable.”

IMC stands for integrated marketing communication. “I chose IMC as my major, because as a freshman, I really do not know exactly what I want to do,” she said. “My cousin, who also attends Ole Miss, is an IMC major, and through her, I figured out that I could find multiple careers through this major.”

There are many IMC-related careers, such as advertising account executive, social media manager, and sales executive.

“I honestly do not know the exact career I want to have when I get out of college,” Nash said, “but I do know that being an IMC major will allow me to keep my options open and available.”

Nash is driven and excited for her future. She is young, full of new ideas and ready to be an expert in her field.

“I truly am excited for what this major, Ole Miss, and my new experiences will have to offer me,” said Nash.

She will continue her education at the University of Mississippi, and she is determined to make her impact on the world. – By Rhylan Hillis.

Industry site shares story of Dr. Samir Husni’s Luminaire Award

Posted on: October 23rd, 2018 by ldrucker

School of Journalism and New Media professor Samir Husni, Ph.D., is the latest recipient of The Luminaire Award. Husni, the director of the Magazine Innovation Center and a professor and Hederman Lecturer, recently received the honor in New York City.

The award has been described as the “Hall of Fame” for the graphic and visual communications industries.

Watch the video of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., accepting The Luminaire Award for Best in Communications at the Franklin Luminaire Awards: A celebration of achievement in graphic and visual communications. Click here if the video below is not visible.

From left, Samir Husni, Ph.D., accepts his 2018 Luminaire Award from Bob Sacks, a.k.a. BoSacks, Precision Media Group. Picture from the Printing Impressions website: https://www.piworld.com/article/landa-husni-four-other-notables-honored-at-2018-franklin-luminaire-awards-event/

The award was presented by the Idealliance Foundation and the Printing Industries Alliance at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City Oct. 17.

The Printing Impressions website recently wrote a story about the winners. Writer Patrick Henry described the awards as the “Academy Awards of the printing industry.”

Henry writes: “The fourth Luminaire honoree, Samir Husni, Ph.D., is well known to many in the publishing world as ‘Mr. Magazine.’ Bob Sacks, president and publisher, Precision Media Group, welcomed him ‘to the ranks of print’s greats’ and called him a ‘titan’ of the medium because of a lifetime spent evangelizing it.

“He is, Sacks said, the originator of the concept of doctoral studies in magazines,” Henry wrote. “Husni recalled ‘falling in love with the smell of ink on paper’ as a boy in his native Lebanon, where he hand-crafted his own publications and started collecting what is today a 30,000-copy library of magazine first editions. He said that upon emigrating to the U.S. in 1978, ‘My hobby became my education and my profession.'”

You can read the full article by clicking this link.

SPJ Scary Potluck for Journalists will be held at 4 p.m. Halloween

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by ldrucker

You are invited to the second annual Society of Professional Journalists Scary Potluck for Journalists. The event will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31, Halloween, in Room 202.

Come if you dare to Farley Hall’s second floor haunted auditorium.  Student journalists and IMC majors should bring a snack to share with friends. The event is open to all Meek School students.

Meet other student journalists, writers, photographers, designers and communication students.
Learn how you can join the SPJ. We’ll also announce officers for 2018-2019.

We might even watch something scary. Invite a friend. All are welcome.

Costumes are encouraged, but not required. Share the event to invite others.

Wall Street Journal veteran to visit Meek School Nov. 6-7 about The King’s College NYC journalism opportunities

Posted on: October 21st, 2018 by ldrucker

The Big Apple offers a multitude of avenues for success, such as Wall Street, Broadway and 5th Avenue.

Now, Ole Miss students have the option to explore another opportunity to expand their resumes and the diversity of journalism in New York City through the NYC Semester in Journalism at The King’s College—a Christian liberal arts college—in lower Manhattan, near the New York Stock Exchange.

Click here for Video Link

Paul Glader, a Wall Street Journal veteran, will visit the University of Mississippi Nov. 6-7 to speak with classes regarding the program and give a guest lecture.

“We are proud of the 14 students in the program this fall from 11 different universities, who are landing bylines and video credits at news outlets, such as the New York Daily News, Newsweek and The New York Amsterdam News,” Glader said.

Glader said he believes this particular program is bringing needed diversity to the media ecosystem in New York City, along with helping top student journalists who are from underrepresented backgrounds, locations and ethnicities find their path to journalism opportunities in New York City.

The University of Mississippi is one of 34 schools to partner with the NYCJ program, sending three students in past semesters.

The program places 15 students who are current journalism undergraduates into newsrooms such as The New York Daily News, The New York Post and Newsweek, to name a few.

In addition to tours, students who have been accepted into the program take three classes at The King’s College, including entrepreneurial journalism, which involves newsroom tours of media outlets such as Buzzfeed, The Associated Press and The New York Times.

Students will study with Glader along with former New York Daily News editor Clemente Lisi and syndicated religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

Students who are interested in the NYCJ program can apply can apply here for the early deadline for spring 2019.

For more information on the program, students and faculty can reach NYCJ’s admissions director, Eleni Glader, at eglader@tkc.edu

Applications now being accepted for New York City Semester

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media partners with The King’s College in New York City to offer a semester of study.

With a growing network of 33 New York City Semester (NYCS) partner schools, the Christian college has a class of 14 students studying in the journalism track this fall.

Journalism students interested in the program may submit application materials up until Dec. 1.

This academic year, one semester’s tuition (up to 15 credit hours) and housing is $12,500 for partner schools. To be eligible, students must have completed at least 30 credit hours and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Please note the complete list of Spring 2019 deadlines:

  • Early action application deadline for NYCJ: Oct. 15, 2018
  • eCourse registration begins: Nov. 5, 2018
  • Final application deadline for NYCJ: Dec. 1, 2018
  • Move-in day: Jan. 10, 2019
  • Spring classes begin: Jan. 14, 2019

JOURNALISM

  • This fall, legendary newspaper designer Mario Garcia is teaching a I-credit bootcamp on design. Garcia has redesigned over 700 papers, including The Wall Street Journal, Die Zeit and The Washington Post. NYCJ Co-Director Clemente Lisi will also teach a I-credit module on copyediting to prepare students for editing at student newspapers and in competitive internship programs.
  • This semester, NYCJ students are interning at the New York Daily News and Newsweek, and NYCJ alumni spent the summer interning at The Newark Star-Ledger, NJ.com and NBC News Digital.

Two alumni from last year’s NYCJ program were awarded DowJonesNews Fund internships to work at The Detroit News and the Pacific Coast Business Times.

  • Recent NYCJ alumni are now working at Talking Points Memo, Fox News, NRK Sørlandet in Norway, Mt. Pleasant News and BRIC TV; one NYCJ alumna is a fellow with Al Jazeera’s program The Stream.

Submit an application on our website at tkc.edu/nycs. For any questions about this NYC Semester experience, contact Brittin Ward at nycsemester@tkc.edu. For specific questions about the journalism program, feel free to contact Eleni Glader at eglader@tkc.edu.

By Talbert Toole, HottyToddy.com lifestyles editor

Meek School student’s documentary ‘American Hate’ shown in Overby Auditorium

Posted on: October 10th, 2018 by ldrucker

Brittany Brown, a senior Meek School broadcast journalism senior from Quitman, Mississippi, was recently awarded a News21 national investigative reporting fellowship for student journalists.

The documentary she helped create, “American Hate,” was shown Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Auditorium. It was sponsored by the School of Journalism and New Media’s Common Ground Committee. Pizza was served following the film.

Read our Q & A with Brown below.

Q. Tell us about your University of Mississippi experience. Are you involved in student media?

A. I have been involved in the Student Media Center since my freshman year. I’ve written for The Ole Miss yearbook and The Daily Mississippian. I’ve also been a reporter and anchor for NewsWatch Ole Miss. Last year, I was the digital content producer for NewsWatch Ole Miss, and I am currently an assistant news editor at The Daily Mississippian.

Q. Describe the fellowship you won. 

A. News21 is a national investigative reporting fellowship for student journalists. This summer, I spent a few months in Phoenix, Arizona at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University reporting on hate crimes, hate groups and their victims.

The program included a semester-long seminar (January to May) learning investigative reporting techniques and researching incidents across the U.S. I spent the summer mainly reporting on the African American community and doing video storytelling. I helped team-produce the “American Hate” documentary, helped co-write “A Violent Legacy,” traveled on a nationwide road trip and produced interactive storytelling.

Q. What did you learn or take away from the fellowship?

A. I learned that this is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. It was such a great experience working in such a collaborative newsroom and working alongside such talented journalists and editors. I sharpened many of my technical skill, such as my efficiency in Adobe Premiere Pro, but I also learned how to properly research and build for an in-depth story.

Q. What do you hope others learn from the documentary you helped produce?

A. I hope that others realize how relevant the issue of hate is, still, in America today. It is not a thing of the past, and it is something we need to face as a country. I just hope this project expands people’s views of the world.

You can view the documentary trailer here: https://vimeo.com/284232784

Crisis management expert says: “Humans first, business second”

Posted on: October 3rd, 2018 by ldrucker

Today, it’s more important than ever for businesses and organizations to have a crisis management plan. And though no one likes to relive a crisis, you can learn from doing so.

In 1982, consumer research specialist Leslie Westbrook was in the “war room” during the Tylenol poisoning scandal that became a textbook case in the field of crisis management. What she learned is still important today. When dealing with controversy, it’s important to put humans first, business second.

Q. Can you take us back to the time of the Tylenol controversy? Where were you working? What was your job position at the time? When did you first hear about this controversy?

A. In 1982, at the time of the Tylenol poisoning, I had already created my consulting firm, Leslie M. Westbrook & Associates, Inc. After graduating from Ole Miss in 1968, I worked for Procter & Gamble for three years, where I was trained in classic consumer research. I then worked for a nationally prominent new product consulting firm for nine years. In 1980, I founded my consulting firm. I am a consumer research specialist/marketing strategist working with primarily Fortune 500 companies.

Joe Chiesa, then president of McNeil Consumer and makers of Tylenol, had been my client at another J&J company. I watched Jim Burke, then CEO of J&J Worldwide and the parent company of McNeil, announce on television that J&J would no longer make capsules (Too easy to tamper with. Who knew?)

All Tylenol capsules were being pulled off the shelves. Seven people had died as a result of Tylenol, which had been tampered with, and J&J did not want any more harm to their customers. They were cooperating with authorities, shutting down Tylenol capsule plants, interviewing employees . . . until the mystery was solved.

I was so impressed, so touched that the CEO of a major international consumer company was willing to lose millions in order not to hurt any more people. I wrote to Joe Chiesa to volunteer my services in any way needed. I volunteered to do their consumer research to help Tylenol, no charge. They had already done so much. I was summoned to Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania, McNeil headquarters, for a meeting with the director of market research.

I was hired (they never accepted my offer to volunteer) to be the consumer specialist to work with the Tylenol Team (the war room) to stage a Tylenol comeback. I worked with R&D as they began to develop safety packaging for current Tylenol tablets (capsules were gone) and future Tylenol line extensions to replace the Extra Strength Capsule: what it must look like, how it should be described and named … to develop trust and confidence.

R&D also was charged with replacing the much-preferred capsule form vs. tablets for Extra Strength. (They) preferred it to be shaped like a capsule for swallowability, but it must be pure white like tablets (compressed powder) to visually communicate that it “cannot be tampered with.” (Decisions had to be made about) form, nomenclature, how to motivate capsule purchasers to buy Extra Strength Tylenol again … in this new form. The caplet form was born, along with Triple Safety Sealed packaging. It changed the consumer landscape forever.

Q. For those who may not be aware of what happened, can you give us a bit more background?

A. In September 1982, seven people in the Chicago area mysteriously died. It was discovered that each of the seven (random, not related) had taken Tylenol Extra Strength capsules. Police and FBI confiscated the Tylenol from all seven homes and the stores where these were bought.

Forensics discovered that the capsules had been tampered with: capsules opened, active ingredient powder removed and replaced with cyanide powder. J&J ran full-page ads not only in Chicago papers but in all major papers around the country.

Read the recent New York Times article about the Tylenol controversy.

Tylenol Extra Strength Capsules were pulled off every retail shelf around the country. All Tylenol Extra Strength Capsule manufacturing plants were shut down and scrutinized. All Tylenol ES capsule packages were sent to a central location for tedious examination to see if any other capsules were tainted. There was a massive manhunt, search for a “madman” who was behind the poisonings.

Q. What were some of the strategies that you helped implement to turn this controversy around? It seems it took strategic thinking to prevent the company from being distrusted after the controversy? Can you talk a little bit about your team’s action plan?

A. Burson-Marstellar PR Agency, founded by our own Harold Burson (another Ole Miss graduate), was already working for several J&J companies. The firm was hired to handle what is now called “crisis management.”

Jim Burke, J&J CEO, worked closely and directly with the agency. He set the parameters: totally transparent, no waffling, only straight talk. Key was also to promote the actions: All Tylenol capsules removed from all retail shelves … $100 million loss in one day.

Consumers were to take any Tylenol ES capsules to any local grocery/drug to turn in (back to J&J for examination) and given a choice:

1. Refund (no sales receipt necessary), which was given as a coupon for store credit to buy anything (or)
2. Full bottle of Tylenol ES Tablets (white compressed powder/no tampering)

The news coverage was all positive due to the unfathomable humanitarian non-profit-oriented approach taken by J&J. I tested various approaches/ads/PR articles to guide J&J and Burson in the selection of the most positive, most reassuring and viable.

I was working closely with R&D on a fast-track to get the new form (caplet) and new Safety Seal Packaging in the market. I conducted focus groups in the Chicago area first, three months after the poisonings, to assess consumer attitudes toward Tylenol, J&J.

Trust was building. Consumers responded very favorably to the company’s open, transparent, humanitarian approach. We eventually conducted these focus groups around the country.

Q. The Tylenol controversy is now a textbook case for marketing and public relations classes. What do you think marketing executives learned as a result of this problem that they now teach students about?

A. Crisis management is now an industry. Crisis management is taught in universities. Crisis management agencies have proliferated. In my experience, and in my observation of corporations, when a consumer crisis occurs (and there have been many over the 36 years since Jim Burke was a human being first), no one has even attempted to follow Jim Burke. The vast majority of corporations only focus on the Bottom Line … profit, stock prices, no transparency. It is shameful.

Jim Burke was a human first, a businessman second.

In the end, Tylenol staged an unprecedented comeback and went on to far surpass the original profit projections for Tylenol ES capsules. So, J&J won on all levels.

It is heartbreaking for me to see how all subsequent CEOs of J&J have not followed the “Burke Playbook” for crisis management.

Q. What did you learn personally or take away from your experience of being involved?

A. First, I was privileged to see from the inside how dedicated all of J&J and McNeil were to the Johnson & Johnson Credo … Putting the people we serve first (www.jnj.com/credo) … Shareholders (profit) last.

>Jim Burke became and still is my hero. I have never met, worked with or read about any corporate head with his integrity and beliefs. It was an honor to work with him, the Tylenol team.

For years, I worked with the J&J family of companies. I was recommended by my clients at McNeil to other J&J companies. When I began to experience a change in the mentality/work ethic/attitudes of various J&J company management persons … less humanistic, less ethical … I stopped taking J&J clients.

Ms. Westbrook’s responses were lightly edited.

By LaReeca Rucker

UM journalism graduate perfects skills behind the scenes of ESPN Network

Posted on: September 27th, 2018 by ldrucker

Born and raised an Ole Miss fan, 2016 graduate Catherine Carroon followed generations of family members to Rebel Nation before beginning her career in the world of sports through the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media.

Although she was not 100 percent set on Ole Miss, she said she decided to attend the university due to its impeccable journalism program.

Carroon embarked on her journalism journey her freshman year; however, she quickly switched her major to the school’s integrated marketing communications program.

The decision to switch career paths came from her passion for sports. She said she knew she didn’t want a career in sports writing, but since the school did not offer sports marketing, IMC became the best decision.

“I thought [IMC] would be the closest thing to get me near that track,” Carroon said.

While attending the university, Carroon had her first taste of experience through ESPN as a “runner” for College Gameday. That behind-the-scenes experience influenced her to hone in on sports operations.

“ESPN was one of those things I always thought ‘there is a one-in-a-million special person’ who would get the job there,” Carroon said. “I never thought it would be obtainable.” Photo courtesy of Carroon.

Carroon furthered her skill set in sport operations by working in the university’s control room—an operations sports program run by ESPN for a majority of SEC universities.

Upon graduation, Carroon said she was unsure what her next steps would be. However, one of the coordinating producers, Meg Aronowitz, sent a mass email to all the SEC control rooms regarding an operations internship in Bristol, Connecticut.

One of the ESPN control room contacts informed Carroon and encouraged her to apply, she said.

“ESPN was one of those things I always thought ‘there is a one-in-a-million special person’ who would get the job there,” Carroon said. “I never thought it would be obtainable.”

Now as a operations coordinator in her third year at the network, Carroon said she can link the framework of her success back to her Ole Miss experiences.

Although her classes in sports and journalism taught her educational information she uses day to day, Carroon credits her time at the university’s control room for her hands on experience in sports. From interacting with producers to handling film, the experience gave her a bird’s eye view on how to work in sports operations.

Carroon has covered a plethora of sports since her stint at ESPN. From the Sunday night MLB package to working on Olympic Sports, there aren’t many sports the young journalist hasn’t covered.

By Talbert Toole, lifestyles editor of HottyToddy.com.