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NewsWatch leader will pursue sports journalism and legal career

Posted on: May 3rd, 2022 by ldrucker
A. J. Norwood dreams of becoming a national sports reporter and an attorney. The graphic features hands stacking blocks with icons on them. The top block features a graduation cap.

He has dreams of rising in the ranks as a national sports reporter and becoming an attorney.

The sky is the limit for A.J. Norwood, a Batesville native whose desire and ability to achieve excellence left a memorable impression on University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media leaders. He is just one of the school’s 2022 graduates who shared his Journey to Commencement.

“I came into college knowing that I wanted to be a broadcast journalist,” said Norwood. “More specifically, I knew I wanted to be a sports broadcaster.”

The broadcast journalism major with a minor in legal studies has worked for NewsWatch – UM’s live, student-run news broadcast, since his freshmen year.

“Auditioning for NewsWatch Ole Miss and getting hired there was pretty much how I got my start doing that,” he said. “It opened up a lot of opportunities for me due to the work that I put in, and I was blessed to be able to make things happen as a result of it.”

Norwood started out as a sports anchor with NewsWatch, then worked his way up to sports director, overseeing sports reporters and anchors.

He also served as a school ambassador, leadership and engagement ambassador, a Luckyday team leader and media specialist, and president of the University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists during his college career.

“Sports journalism was my first goal,” he said. “Being in college now and getting real-world experience, I know I can do news and sports.”

Student A.J. Norwood sits behind the anchor desk at NewsWatch. Norwood said he was drawn to UM because of its journalism program, and his older sister, Taylor, graduated from UM in 2020. 

He became interested in law during his sophomore year while taking JOUR 371 Communications Law, and decided to pursue legal studies as a minor. He said he’ll most likely pursue journalism first after graduating.

Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson, who leads the Student Media Center, said she has worked extensively with Norwood in her role as student media director and faculty adviser for the UMABJ.

“I recognized A.J.’s strengths as a young sports journalist and his leadership potential and helped recruit him for NewsWatch and UMABJ,” she said. “He’s here with NewsWatch five afternoons a week.

“Like many of our top high-achieving, hard-working students, he runs the risk of being tapped by different departments for too many campus activities. He rarely says no to any opportunity, and he still manages to excel in his work at the (Student Media Center), with UMABJ and in his internships.

“He was one of the students we sent to cover the Sugar Bowl for the SMC. I have no doubt he is going to have an awesome career. Any TV station in the nation would be lucky to land him.”  

LaReeca Rucker, adjunct instructional assistant professor of journalism, said Norwood showed great promise early on in a beginning journalism course.

“Some people stand out because they demand attention, and some stand out because they demonstrate a quiet excellence,” she said. “A.J. always knocked every assignment out of the ballpark. His work spoke for itself, and he took home the top honor in my class.”

Assistant Dean Jennifer Simmons said Norwood has the drive and determination for the goals he sets for himself.

“A.J. has the talent, skills, and personality to be a phenomenal broadcast journalist,” she said.

Interim Dean Debora Wenger said Norwood is a gifted communicator.

“I know he is going to be a success,” she said. “He has many talents, but he remains humble and willing to learn from everyone he encounters. No matter where he goes, he will be an asset to the organization as he was to our school — a good student, a good journalist, a good person.”

Norwood believes hands-on experience has given him the tools he needs for success.

“I think I am pretty prepared for whatever I need to do after college,” he said.

He also enjoys photography and has worked as a media specialist for Luckyday Residential College.

“I kind of do photography for both work and fun,” he said. “I figured out that it was something that I can be really good at if I just put in the time to do it.”

Norwood encourages students to pursue their interests in college.

“If there is something you are passionate about, believe in yourself and take that step,” he said. “Do it. You want to always be able to look back and say, ‘I had no regrets while I was here,’ but obviously make good decisions.”

When he’s not reporting, shooting photos, or attending classes, he enjoys spending time with friends. Some of his best memories are late-night runs to Insomnia Cookies on the Oxford Square.

Norwood, one of four children, graduated from South Panola High School, where he played football and soccer while participating in organizations and honor societies.

“Following graduation, I plan to either attend law school or pursue a career as a professional journalist,” he said. “I have a few job offers, but it’s a matter of figuring out the best decision to make for myself right now.”

His advice to students: “Do something (you’re) happy doing in college, in terms of a major. Regardless of how difficult the course load is … if you have a dream job, pursue it. Nothing is going to come easy, but the payoff will be greater in the end.

“I would also tell younger students to make the most of their time in undergrad. I understand that we are all here to get a degree, but these are supposed to be some of the best years of your life. Don’t take it for granted.”

Jena Stallings contributed to this story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elise-Joelle Denoule.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elise-Joelle Denoulet.

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

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

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

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

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

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

First generation DeSoto campus grad will join advertising firm after graduation

Posted on: April 28th, 2022 by ldrucker
The graphic features a graduation cap and a picture of Benjamin Wilson, an IMC student, who will be the first in his family to graduate from college.

When Benjamin Wilson, 24, graduated with a degree in integrated marketing communications (IMC) from the University of Mississippi DeSoto campus in Southaven, he became the first person in his family to earn a college degree.

The Pontotoc native who lives in Southaven with his wife is just one of the school’s 2022 graduates who shared his Journey to Commencement.

“I am the first person in my family to ever go to college,” he said. “People did not expect me to go to college and definitely did not expect me to be successful.”

Wilson said he took a year off after graduating high school to work and save money for college. He earned an associate’s degree from Itawamba Community College, then skipped another year of school to get married, work, and save more money before returning to earn his bachelor’s degree.

“When coming to Ole Miss, I was undecided in my major,” he said. “I was interested in business and marketing. I had never heard of IMC until my advisor at Ole Miss told me about it. I instantly knew it was the major for me. It opens up career opportunities in business, marketing, communications and more.”

Benjamin Wilson While much of Wilson’s time in college happened virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, he has served as a member of the Gamma Beta Phi Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success. He has also earned a spot on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll each semester.

Wilson said his favorite class has been IMC 205: Writing for Integrated Marketing Communication, taught by his favorite instructor, Patricia Overstreet-Miller.

“It was one of the first IMC classes I took,” he said, “and it assured me I was in the right major,” he said.

Wilson said his biggest personal and educational challenge during college was prioritizing.

“I have worked full time all throughout my college career,” he said. “Juggling my job, school, and being a husband has been very challenging. I have had to sacrifice some of my social life and ‘fun time’ in order to prioritize schoolwork. While it is not fun at the moment, I know it will all be worth it when I graduate in May.”

Wilson will work as a junior SEO specialist at Neon Canvas – an advertising firm in Memphis.

“I did a summer internship with the company last summer, and they offered me a full-time position after my internship,” he said.

Overstreet-Miller, an instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, said Wilson is a born leader, who is talented, hard-working and committed.

“Like others among the regional students, he balances personal responsibilities and a full-time job with a heavy class load,” she said. “From the beginning, I’ve seen both talent and character in Ben. He will make us all proud.”

Wilson’s advice: “I think the number one piece of advice I would give is to not be afraid to put yourself out there – even if you are more reserved or introverted,” he said. “College is a difficult task, and it is really hard to go at it alone. I would encourage everyone to surround themselves with a good support system – family, friends, and especially other students in your major and classes.”

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

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

Posted on: April 22nd, 2022 by ldrucker

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of her job responsibilities have included:

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

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

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

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

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

Looser also says: “Just start creating.”

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

Column: Seeing Ole Miss in full bloom reminds us it’s been deemed ‘most beautiful campus’

Posted on: April 15th, 2022 by ldrucker

The grass is green, the birds are chirping, subtle rain showers in the afternoon are almost always a guarantee, and every outside surface has been coated in a thin layer of lime green pollen. It is official. Spring has sprung in Oxford.

It has been a long winter for us. Many relish the chilly, winter weather. We have had days of snowfall and hot cocoa followed by loud, stormy nights of rain and thunder.

A picture of the Lyceum with colorful flowers in front of it in spring. Photo by Jodi Hallum.

A picture of the Lyceum with colorful flowers in front of it in spring. Photo by Jodi Hallum.

Now, as we move further into April, we get to experience chilly mornings, warm breezy afternoons, and even more rainy nights. Although the weather has seemed inconsistent these past few weeks, the changes are leading to a beautiful spring season.

Read student Jodi Hallum’s full column at OxfordStories.net

How to use social media to leverage your brand and organization

Posted on: April 12th, 2022 by ldrucker

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

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

Social media icons

Social media icons

Chris Chiames, Chief Communication Officer at Carnival Cruise Line

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

Amy Rosenberg, Digital Media Director at KQ Communications

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

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

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

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

By Jordyn Rodriguez and Margaret Savoie.

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

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

Posted on: April 11th, 2022 by ldrucker

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

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

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

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

A panel discusses crisis communication at IMC Connect!

A panel discusses crisis communication at IMC Connect!

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

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

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

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

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

By Jordyn Rodriguez and Margaret Savoie.

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

Communicators listen and learn from industry experts at IMC Connect!

Posted on: April 7th, 2022 by ldrucker

Students get advice from professionals and researchers during inaugural conference

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

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

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall.

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: April 4th, 2022 by ldrucker

Have your resume critiqued and meet hiring managers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The schedule:

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

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

3 p.m. – Reception (Overby 249)

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

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

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

IMC Connect! panelists discuss building your brand, developing strategic messages that resonate

Posted on: April 1st, 2022 by ldrucker

Companies consistently work to build their brands and create messaging that resonates with audiences. One of Friday’s IMC Connect! panels discussed the leading trends in advertising and brand building.

Dr. Debbie Treise, a leading researcher from the University of Florida, provided a 10-minute topical discussion and background regarding her expertise on advertising to start the panel. She used examples from pop culture with references to “Squid Game,” “In the Heights” and more to illustrate her points.

Dr. Treise then served as the moderator for the remainder of the panel. The esteemed panelists with practical industry experience included Reade Tidwell, of Chick-Fil-A; Steve Holmes, of The Home Depot; Chris Chiames, of Carnival Cruise Line; and Jenny Robertson, of FedEx.

One of the main takeaways from the panel was to actively engage and know your customers. It is important to stay true to your customer and your brand. Platforms are used to survey consumers and keep eyes on trends in each company. Each brand is different and requires a different playbook. What works for one company will not work the same for the next. Examples from each represented company were given to reiterate this main point.

An additional lesson learned was the importance of taking a step back and seeing the full picture of a company’s brand. Understanding your brand and its strategy is essential to successful advertising. The idea of a brand has changed to include the reputation of the company, so celebrity and influencer endorsements are risky. Many companies choose to not use them to avoid the risks that may arise.

It was also reiterated that consistency is vital when building a brand. Information must be presented in a quick and lasting manner so it sticks in the mind of the average consumer in this generation.