Yale Law Professor and Author Set for Tuesday Lectures

James Forman Jr. to provide a critical look at the criminal justice system

James Forman Jr. Photo courtesy Harold Shapiro

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will host James Forman Jr., author of the acclaimed new book “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” for a series of lectures and events Tuesday (Nov. 14) on campus.

Forman, a professor at the Yale Law School, will speak at the UM School of Law’s Weems Auditorium at 12:45 p.m., followed by a book signing. He speaks again at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, with a reception following. All events are free and open to the public.

Forman teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. He is particularly interested in schools, prisons and police.

“I’ve known James for all of my professional career as a lawyer,” said Tucker Carrington, UM assistant professor of law and director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project. “I was fortunate to be his colleague when we were both public defenders in D.C.

“Professor Forman will downplay his talent, but he was a superb trial lawyer – whip-smart, personable, thoughtful and deeply passionate about his clients and their plight. Juries got it immediately; they loved him. He has brought those same qualities to his teaching and to the subject matter of his new book: the complex reasons behind our national problem with over-incarceration.”

For the Overby Center program, Carrington will conduct a conversation on social issues with Forman.

“We believe it will be a provocative program and a strong way to wind up our fall series,” said Curtis Wilkie, the university’s Overby fellow.

After graduating from Brown University and Yale Law School, Forman clerked for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court. He then joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

During his time as a public defender, Forman became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. In 1997, he, along with David Domenici, started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. The school has since expanded and is run inside D.C.’s juvenile prison.

“Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017) argues that law enforcement initiatives by black officials have had devastating consequences for black communities. The book has been listed on the National Book Award Longlist, among other critical praise.

For more information, contact Carrington at 662-915-5207 or carringw@olemiss.edu.

Women and Entrepreneurship Week Kicks off Monday

Campus and community agencies partner to host slate of events

OXFORD, Miss. – A new weeklong observance at the University of Mississippi focuses on women and minorities in entrepreneurial businesses, with a goal of encouraging more women to launch their own business ventures.

The inaugural Women and Entrepreneurship Week begins Monday (Nov. 13), hosted by the university’s Career Center, School of Engineering and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, housed in the School of Business Administration. The series of events is sponsored by the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and the Mabus Agency of Tupelo.

Staff at the CIE have wanted to host an event for almost two years to demonstrate to women that entrepreneurship is a vibrant pathway to a career, said Cobie Watkins, the center’s director of student and alumni programs.

“Historically, men have possessed a greater hold on the entrepreneurial market, but that’s changing now,” Watkins said. “We want women to see they can be just as successful in this field as men.”

More women are imagining themselves as business owners and entrepreneurs – almost 42 percent in 2015, up from 36 percent in 2012 – and those numbers are continuing to grow, Watkins said.

The center’s goal is to have students think about starting their own businesses and broadening their opportunities to become more innovative, said Richard J. Gentry, associate professor of entrepreneurship and CIE strategy director.

“The job market today is much less stable than it was a generation ago,” Gentry said. “A primary mission of a college is to help students appreciate the range of employment opportunities in both small and large businesses.

“WE Week is a central part of that and we’re so happy to be partnering with our friends across campus to present it.”

The week features four events, each of which focuses on a different aspect of business. The events are designed to coach students in professional development areas that affect women students with entrepreneurial aspirations.

The first event, “Be You: Branding Your Life,” is set for noon Tuesday (Nov. 14) in the Overby Center auditorium. It includes regional experts who will advise attendees on how to best market themselves in their careers.

Up next is a small business panel, set for 2 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 15) in Holman Hall, Room 30.

“We believe entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial careers are going to continue to shape the economy of Mississippi and the region,” Watkins said. The speakers and panelists at these events will be a wonderful example for our attendees.”

Set for noon Thursday (Nov. 17), “Up, Up and Away: Following Your Passions Beyond Expectations” will feature representatives from Sierra Madre Research, a startup in Calhoun City, and Juli and Richard Rhett, a couple who scored a deal with entrepreneur Richard Branson on the television show “Shark Tank.”

The closing event, at noon Friday (Nov. 18), will feature Brittany Wagner from Netflix’s “Last Chance U,” discussing her success story. Both Thursday and Friday’s events will be in the Overby Center auditorium.

“I feel like these topics will offer good information to so many students who are interested in these areas for their careers,” said Casey Cockrell, assistant director of employer services at the UM Career Center. “There is something for everyone all week.”

A committee of six women, ages 19 and up, developed the events with the goal of getting attendees to think about the career challenges they face as women, Watkins said.

“We took those ideas and narrowed down the list to showcase subject areas and speakers that would represent a multitude of viewpoints of women in their careers and women as entrepreneurs,” she said.

“The world of work is constantly changing and trends develop,” Cockrell said. “Right now is a good time to learn about entrepreneurship as it might be the best and most rewarding career path for a student.”

UM Students Win Top Award from Southern Public Relations Federation

Lantern Award recognizes It Starts with (Me)ek campaign

A UM journalism school anti-stereotyping campaign won a top award from the Southern Public Relations Federation. Among the 31 students who served on the campaign committee under the leadership of senior lecturer Robin Street (right) are (front row, from left) IMC major Kaitlin Childress, of Brandon, and IMC graduate student Bianca Abney, of Moss Point, and (back row, from left) IMC majors Kendrick Pittman, of Kosciusko, and Zacchaeus McEwen, of McComb, and journalism graduate student Chi Kalu, of Nigeria. Photo by Stan O’Dell

OXFORD, Miss. – A campaign created by students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi has won a top award from the Southern Public Relations Federation.

The winning campaign, It Starts with (Me)ek, was created and implemented by a team of 31 students led by senior lecturer Robin Street. It asks students to “just pause” before stereotyping others.

Judges for the competition repeatedly praised the “great job” the team did.

“Our students worked for months to plan and implement all the components of the campaign,” Street said. “They spent every Wednesday night in class and countless additional hours working on their individual tasks and assignments.

“I was so proud to see all their hard work and true dedication be recognized.”

The award, called a Lantern, was presented in the internal communications category at the Southern Public Relations Federation conference held Sept. 26 in Tupelo. Awards are presented at three levels in multiple categories, with the Lantern being the highest level of category award.

It Starts with (Me)ek was a week of speakers, programs and communications encouraging inclusion and respect while rejecting based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, mental health, religion or other factors. Ole Miss alumnus Shepard Smith spoke at two of the events.

Student committee members enrolled in an integrated marketing communications course created the campaign. They planned events, videos, communications, competitions and social media posts.

Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment and assistant professor, directs the IMC program at the school and attended the awards ceremony along with Street and several of the students.

“Our student team entered in the professional category,” Fiene said. “So they were judged, not by student criteria, but by professional standards. I noticed that they were the only students to win a professional award that night.

“The award exemplifies how well all our faculty prepare our students for their careers in journalism, public relations and integrated marketing communications.”

For more information on the UM journalism school, visit https://meek.olemiss.edu/.

Journalism School Acquires Online Training Center

UM will maintain NewsLab and add new material by faculty and students

OXFORD, Miss. – The Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi soon will take over operation of the online journalism training center NewsLab.

The website will be transferred officially to the journalism school on Oct. 2.

The site was launched in 1998 with a grant from the Park Foundation. NewsLab has been maintained since 2003 by founding executive director Deborah Potter as an online training center. Thousands of journalists, educators and students have benefitted from its resources on reporting, producing, ethics, photojournalism and many other topics.

“Under Deborah Potter’s leadership, NewsLab developed a reputation for supporting quality journalism across digital platforms,” said Will Norton, UM journalism dean. “As part of our school, the site will build on that foundation and expand its mission to include a broader range of communication fields in keeping with the focus of our school.”

All NewsLab resources will remain online at a new stand-alone site, hosted by Ole Miss. New material, including research projects and creative work, will be added and maintained by the school’s faculty and students.

“I’m delighted that NewsLab has found a university home,” Potter said. “One of NewsLab’s early goals was to serve as a bridge between television newsrooms and educators to help working journalists discover and apply the lessons of academic research.”

The school’s faculty members often work at the intersection of technology and content creation, she said. Sustaining NewsLab will allow the school to share more widely the work of its faculty and students and to contribute to conversations about media, communication and technology occurring around the world.

Potter said she looks forward to potential collaborations with the school on future journalism projects.

For more information on the launch or to inquire about contributing to the new site, contact Mike Tonos at jmtonos@olemiss.edu.

Overby Center Fall Lineup Focuses on State’s History

Opening program Tuesday looks at journalists covering university's 1962 integration

Tom Oliphant, a former Boston Globe reporter, will return to campus to discuss ‘The Road to Camelot,’ a book he wrote with Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics begins its 11th year at the University of Mississippi with emphasis on the state’s 200th birthday and a program about the role of journalists during the crisis surrounding the integration of the school 55 years ago.

The opening program, at 4 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 26), is built around journalism professor Kathleen Wickham’s new book, “We Believed We Were Immortal.” The presentation will include a short film about a reporter slain during the all-night riot – the only fatality suffered among journalists who covered the civil rights movement through the 1960s – as well as a conversation between three well-known figures at Ole Miss.

Wickham will be joined in the discussion by Don Cole, UM assistant provost. Douglass Sullivan-Gonzales, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, will serve as moderator.

“The fall programs at the Overby Center will reveal fresh insights into some historic issues,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the center. “These programs once again reaffirm that William Faulkner was right about the past not being past.”

Free and open to the public, the discussion and all the remaining fall events are in the Overby Center auditorium.

The talk will be preceded by an eight-minute film about Paul Guihard, the French journalist who was shot and killed during the turmoil. The mystery surrounding his death has never been solved. The film was prepared by Mykki Newton, a former television journalist and staff member at the university’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Tuesday’s event will be followed by five other programs during the fall semester:

– Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m. – Charles Eagles, a longtime member of the history faculty at Ole Miss, will discuss his new book, “Civil Rights Culture Wars,” with K.B. Melear, professor of higher education. Eagles’ book deals with a controversy that spanned much of the 1970s over efforts to introduce a new textbook that fully chronicles Mississippi’s troubled racial history into public high schools in the state. Earlier textbooks sugarcoated slavery and glorified the Confederacy.

– Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m. – John F. Kennedy’s audacious plan to win Southern support in 1960 by courting prominent segregationists in the region, while at the same time trying to enlist civil rights activists in Northern states, will be the subject of a conversation with Tom Oliphant and Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie, who worked together as journalists for the Boston Globe for more than a quarter-century and are co-authors of a new book, “The Road to Camelot.” Charles Overby will act as moderator.

– Oct. 24, 5:30 p.m. – Six weeks before the dedication the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the directors of both museums, Rachel Myers and Pamela Junior, will talk about how they chose the topics and artifacts to be featured in the facilities at a time when Mississippi’s history continues to be debated.

– Nov. 7, 2:30 p.m. – A group of Ole Miss students, along with Overby fellow Bill Rose and Ji Hoon Heo of the journalism faculty who accompanied them, will discuss their summer trip to Sri Lanka and their work to produce a magazine and video presentations about the exotic land where an ancient culture has survived a brutal civil war and a disastrous tsunami in recent years.

– Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m. – James Forman Jr., a Yale Law School professor, author of the critically-acclaimed “Locking Up Our Own” and son of a prominent civil rights leader, will discuss his belief that some approaches adopted by prosecutors and African-Americans to control crime actually have had a devastating impact in poor black communities. He will be joined in the conversation by Tucker Carrington, director of the Innocence Project at the UM School of Law.

For more information about the Overby Center, visit http://overbycenter.org/.

Journalism Professor Releases Book Detailing 1962 Integration

Kathleen Wickham examines the work of 12 different journalists in 'We Believed We Were Immortal'

UM journalism professor Kathleen Wickham has penned a new book, ‘We Believed We Were Immortal,’ focusing on the work of journalists who covered the university’s 1962 integration. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi journalism professor explores the careers of American journalists in her new nonfiction book “We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss.”

Kathleen Wickham’s book, published by Yoknapatawpha Press, details how each journalist covered a different part of the integration crisis, from Gov. Ross Barnett’s opposition to James Meredith’s enrollment to the reaction of African-Americans in Oxford. Wickham details the challenges these journalists faced, including beatings, snipers and opposition from the governor.

She also examines the unsolved murder of French reporter Paul Guihard, the only journalist killed during the civil rights movement. The story of Guihard, who was shot in the back during the campus  riots in 1962, struck Wickham as personal.

“I had worked as a reporter for 10 years in my native New Jersey,” Wickham said. “I wrote stories that sent some crooked politicians to jail. I wrote stories about organized crime. I wrote a lot of stories that public officials did not like. But I never felt like my personal safety was compromised.

“If Guihard had been killed in Birmingham or in Selma, I’m not sure it would have been so personal to me, but it happened on a path that I walked almost daily to go to class, and so it became personal.”

The longer Wickham lived in Mississippi, the more interested she became in the stories of these reporters and their commitment, especially Guihard.

For the last five years, Wickham has researched the press’s role in major events, such as integration.

“These reporters were driven to seek the truth and inform the public about what was going on in Oxford in 1962,” she said.

The preface was written by Bob Schieffer of CBS News, who covered the campus riots as a reporter for Texas radio station KXOL.

Wickham will be available to sign copies of the book at 5 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 12) at Off Square Books in Oxford. Shewill also will sign books at Novel bookstore in Memphis at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 and at Lemuria Books in Jackson at 5 p.m. Sept. 21.

Journalism Dean Tapped for Press Association Hall of Fame

Will Norton joins Carolyn Wilson for this year's class of inductees

Carolyn Wilson, former executive director of the Mississippi Press Association, and Will Norton Jr., UM journalism dean, show off their plaques after being inducted into the trade group’s Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy Mississippi Press Association

OXFORD, Miss. – Will Norton Jr., professor and dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, has been inducted into the Mississippi Press Association Hall of Fame.

Joining Norton on the list of those who have made lasting contributions to journalism is Carolyn Wilson, longtime chief executive of the state newspaper trade group.

Both were inducted Saturday (July 8) at the MPA convention in Biloxi.

Norton, who previously served on the faculty and as chair of the Department of Journalism at Ole Miss, returned to Mississippi in 2009 as inaugural dean of the Meek School. He holds a doctorate in mass communications from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.

A partner in The South Reporter in Holly Springs, Norton was serving as dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln when the innovative school was launched at Ole Miss.

Under his leadership, the school has experienced tremendous growth in enrollment and in scholarship dollars earned by its students.

He has been an active member of both MPA and the Nebraska Press Association, where he was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame in 2009.

Norton has been crucial in establishing newspaper “reporting expeditions” to member papers. Funded by the MPA Education Foundation, the trips allow teams of journalism majors to work over the course of several days on assignment for member newspapers.

“Will is a tremendous advocate for excellence in both the curriculum and practice of journalism,” said Layne Bruce, MPA executive director. “He also has been invaluable in strengthening the relationship between Ole Miss and our member newspapers.”

Wilson, who lives in Sandy Hook, served as MPA executive director for 22 years and was one of only two employees when she joined the staff in 1982. She was promoted to executive director in 1985.

Under her leadership, the organization grew to a peak of a dozen employees and handled more than $5 million in advertising placements for its member papers through its business subsidiary, Mississippi Press Services.

An Arkansas native, Wilson worked on behalf of newspaper members on such cornerstone issues as open records and sunshine laws, as well as internships for journalism students and continuing education for member employees. She was also a key player in the purchase of two headquarters locations for MPA in 1987 and 2002.

She retired in 2007 but continued to consult with MPA on contract through 2009.

“Those years of Carolyn’s hard work, along with the leadership of board members through the decades, has ensured MPA continues to be in a strong position to serve its members during an age of rapid change in our industry,” Bruce said. “She certainly deserves this honor, and we couldn’t be happier for her.”

The Hall of Fame was created in 1986. Inductees are chosen by a committee of previous honorees and past presidents of the association.

Journalism Students Win Awards in Three Separate Contests

The Daily Mississippian and NewsWatch Ole Miss take first place in regional competition

Multiple Ole Miss students received journalism awards at three separate conferences this spring. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi journalism students working in newspaper, television and radio won more than 50 awards in three separate regional contests this spring.

The Daily Mississippian, led by Editor-in-Chief Clara Turnage and advised by Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, was named best daily newspaper in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 12, competing against college newspapers at the largest universities in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana.

NewsWatch Ole Miss, under the leadership of station manager Payton Green advised by journalism professor Nancy DuPont, won first place for best newscast.

“What a spectacular year for our student journalists,” Thompson said. “Our students have been honored so often in the past few weeks, it has been hard to keep track. Students work many hours each week to provide information for the campus and community, and they are getting great experience that has helped them land jobs and internships.”

The Daily Mississippian and NewsWatch will compete against winners in the other 11 regions for national titles. National winners will be announced later this month.

Patricia Thompson (left), assistant dean for student media in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and students (top row) Bill Rainey, Jake Thrasher and Clara Turnage, and (front, from left) Lauren Layton, Madison Heil and Abbie McIntosh accept awards at the Mississippi-Louisiana Associated Press Awards ceremony in Jackson. Submitted photo

The Daily Mississippian won first place for public service in the “Best of the South” awards at the Southeast Journalism Conference for its “Red Zone” special section focused on sexual assault issues, published Oct. 27, 2016. The SEJC includes competitors from more than 40 universities in seven Southeastern states and was hosted on the Ole Miss campus this year.

The DM won numerous first-place awards at the Mississippi-Louisiana Associated Press contest as well, including general excellence, breaking/spot news and for its website. NewsWatch also won a first-place award in this contest for best sportscast.

Several students, including Turnage, took home individual awards. The senior from New Hebron was honored with eight awards in three contests, including first-place honors for feature writing, general news reporting and enterprise-investigative reporting. She won a newspaper “Best of Show” award from the Associated Press and finished second in SEJC’s prestigious College Journalist of the Year competition.

Turnage said she is thankful for her time at the DM.

“This has been an incredible year,” she said. “I’ve dreamed of being editor-in-chief since I came to Ole Miss and it was everything I wanted it to be.

“I think we got the opportunity to work on difficult, important subjects for the community, and that’s what we wanted to do. The awards the DM staff won are an important marker of the hard work we put into our publication. They’re not the reason we work hard, but I love seeing the editors and reporters get recognition for their efforts.”

Turnage has accepted a summer internship with the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. She is among only three interns hired, along with a student from UC-Berkeley and another from Columbia University.

Other students who won first-place awards in the Associated Press, SEJC and Society of Professional Journalists contests are:

Italiana Anderson, a senior from Ridgeland, for radio documentary in the AP competition

Cameron Brooks, sophomore from Houston, Texas, sports photos, AP

Ariel Cobbert, junior from Hattiesburg, breaking news photos, SPJ

Lana Ferguson, junior from Mechanicsville, Virginia, magazine writing, SEJC

Payton Green, December graduate from Pascagoula, TV breaking news, SPJ

Lauren Layton, junior from Huntsville, Alabama, TV breaking news, SPJ

Sara McAlister, sophomore from Potomac, Maryland, radio sports, AP

Zoe McDonald, senior from Brandon, feature writing, SEJC

Billy Rainey, senior from Jackson, radio news and radio Best of Show, AP

Brian Scott Rippee, senior from Jackson, sports enterprise/feature, AP

Jake Thrasher, junior from Birmingham, Alabama, personal column writing, AP

The UM journalism school’s advanced reporting and television documentary classes also were honored with a first-place award from the AP for Best Student Documentary. Led by journalism professors Brad Schultz and Kathleen Wickam, the classes produced a half-hour documentary titled “Mississippi Votes: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” focused on Mississippi’s role in the 2016 general election, specifically in regards to voter identification, immigration and young voters.

“Having now won this award three years in a row, it’s a reflection of the hard work our documentary and reporting students have put in,” Schultz said. “To start a documentary project in late August and have an award-winning product finished by early December shows the quality of our students.”

The documentary can be seen here.

“Mississippi Miracle,” a depth report about the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, was named a finalist in the SPJ contest. The report was produced by student journalists in a class led by instructor Bill Rose, assistant professor Mikki Harris and instructor Emily Bowen-Moore.

Second- and third-place winners and finalists representing Ole Miss are:

Hayden Benge, a sophomore from Tulsa, Oklahoma, for page layout and design

Chandler Morgan, senior from Kennesaw, Georgia, TV news

Marisa Morrissette, junior from Oxford, graphic design

Riley Mueller, junior from College Station, Texas, radio sports

Daniella Oropeza, senior from Clinton, TV hard news

Megan Peoples, freshman from Columbus, radio sports

DeAndria Turner, freshman from Gautier, radio feature

Meek School of Journalism to Host Diversity Conference

Fox chief news anchor Shepard Smith among speakers for five-day series

UM public relations students, led by senior lecturer Robin Street (center), have planned It Starts with (Me)ek, five days of campus events celebrating inclusion and rejecting stereotypes. The committee includes (kneeling, from left) Emma Arnold and Brittanee Wallace, and (standing) Kendrick Pittman, Dylan Lewis, Street, Zacchaeus McEwen and Faith Fogarty. Photo by Stan O’Dell

OXFORD, Miss. – Just pause. Just pause before you assume you know me. Just pause before you stereotype me.

That’s the message of an upcoming series of events April 19-25 called It Starts with (Me)ek, hosted by the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Shepard Smith, a UM alumnus and chief news anchor and managing editor for Fox News Network’s Breaking News Division, is among the keynote speakers.

The five-day conference open to all students, faculty, staff and community members is designed to encourage inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes. It will feature panelists and guest speakers discussing race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion. A diversity fashion show and a festival also are included.

“This campaign is particularly important to our Meek School students because as professional journalists, public relations specialists or integrated marketing communications specialists, students will be dealing with and working with many different kinds of people,” said Robin Street, senior lecturer in public relations.

“We all need to learn the value of waiting before we make assumptions about other people. However, we also hope that everyone on campus and in Oxford will consider joining us for the programs.”

The program, designed to remind participants that one single factor does not define a person’s identity, was created by a 31-member student committee under Street’s direction. Through each panel and lecture, Street hopes all attendees will learn to approach individuals with understanding, dignity, respect and inclusion.

Both alumni and students will participate in panels about their personal experiences on race, sexual orientation, mental health, religion and disabilities. Smith will moderate an alumni panel, as well as provide remarks on April 21.

Other guest speakers include Michele Alexandre, UM professor of law; Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement; Mary Beth Duty, owner of Soulshine Counseling and Wellness; Jesse Holland, an Associated Press reporter covering race and ethnicity; Shawnboda Mead, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement; Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion; Otis Sanford, political commentator and Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis; Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; and Ryan Whittington, UM assistant director of public relations for social media strategy.

Duty, Holland, Sanford and Whittington are all Ole Miss journalism alumni.

Student committee members enrolled in a course specifically to design the campaign. The group met weekly to plan events, promotional videos, communications, pre-campaign competitions and social media posts surrounding the five-day conference.

Rachel Anderson, a senior double major in broadcast journalism and Spanish from Chesapeake, Virginia, is co-chair of events and will moderate one of the panels.

“These events give students the opportunity to understand the experiences of people both similar and different from them,” Anderson said. “Understanding the experiences of others can help you learn more about yourself and the world around you.

“I hope attendees understand that we all have our differences, but at the same time, we also share so much in common. There is much more to people than outside appearances. One trait does not limit someone’s entire identity.”

Dylan Lewis, a senior broadcast journalism major from Mooreville, will serve on the LGBTQ student panel.

“The things we say or think about people affect everyone around us,” Lewis said. “Stereotypes hurt specific people or groups being stereotyped, but in reality it hurts all of us because our friends are part of those marginalized groups. When they hurt, we all hurt.

“While this campaign may not end stereotypes completely, it is a way to start the conversation, hence our campaign name ‘It Starts With (Me)ek.’ I hope students come to just see the perspectives of these individuals and realize that just pausing, our key message, can make a difference when trying to understand someone.”

The conference concludes with a festival April 25 on the front lawn of Farley Hall. Students are encouraged to wear purple to show their support, while faculty and staff will wear 1960s-inspired outfits to celebrate the many activist movements of the decade.

Students wearing purple will get a free treat from Chick-fil-A. If students have attended at least two events throughout the week and have their program stamped, they will receive a free T-shirt.

All events take place in Overby auditorium or in the front lawn of Farley Hall. For more information, visit https://www.itstartswithmeek.com/ or follow the campaign on social media at https://www.instagram.com/itstartswithmeek/ or https://twitter.com/StartsWithMeek.

The full schedule for the series features:

Wednesday, April 19

10 a.m. – Opening ceremony

11 a.m. – Lecture: “Other Moments: A Class Photography Exercise in Honoring Difference at Ole Miss,” Mark Dolan, associate professor of journalism

1 p.m. – Lecture: “Making a Difference by Engaging with Difference,” Jennifer Stollman, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

2 p.m. – Lecture: “Tell Me a Story: Using Personal Narratives to Navigate Cultural Difference,” Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement

Thursday, April 20

9:30 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “From James Meredith to Millennials: Race Relations at Ole Miss,” moderated by Shawnboda Mead, director of CICCE

11 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “Red, Blue and Rainbow: An Inside Look at Being LGBT at UM,” moderated by journalism major Rachel Anderson

1 p.m. – Lecture: “Building Trust Within Professional and Personal Communities: A Workshop,” Jennifer Stollman

2:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Sometimes I Feel Invisible: Living with a Disability,” moderated by Kathleen Wickham, professor of journalism

5:30 p.m. – Spoken Word Performance

Friday, April 21

10 a.m. – Lecture: “Race in America: A Journalist’s Perspective,” Jesse Holland, AP reporter

11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Panel Discussions: “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” black UM journalism alumni discuss their experiences, moderated by Jesse Holland

2 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Red, Blue and Rainbow Alumni,” LGBT alumni discuss their experiences, moderated by Shepard Smith

3 p.m. – Lecture: “My Journey from Farley Hall to Major News Events Around the World,” Shepard Smith, Fox News chief news anchor

4 p.m. – Reception for speakers and students

Monday, April 24

9 a.m. – Lecture: “Normal Does Not Exist, Mental Illness Does,” Mary Beth Duty, professional counselor

10 a.m. – Lecture: “From the Bible Belt to Baghdad: What Today’s IMC and Journalism Professionals Need to Know About the World’s Major Religions,” Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion

11 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “Keeping the Faith,” members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths discuss challenges they face, moderated by Dean Will Norton

1 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Mental Health and Me,” panelists discuss their experiences with mental health, moderated by Debbie Hall, instructor of integrated marketing communications

2 p.m. – Lecture: “Role of Individual and Institutional Accountability in Doing Diversity and Equity,” Michele Alexandre, professor of law

3 p.m. – Lecture: “Keeping it Real on Social Media: Guidelines for Handling Diversity Issues,” Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy

4 p.m. – Fashion Show: “Unity in Diversity,” entertainment on Farley Hall lawn

6 p.m. – Lecture: “Racial Politics in Memphis,” Otis Sanford, University of Memphis

Tuesday, April 25

10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – Farley Festival Day

Dennis Moore Named as Silver Em Honoree

Annual award is most prestigious journalism honor given by UM

Dennis Moore

OXFORD, Miss. – Dennis Moore, whose career in journalism has led him back to Jackson as co-editor of Mississippi Today, has been tapped as this year’s Samuel Talbert Silver Em recipient by the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi.

The award, named for an early department chairman and leader in journalism education, is the most prestigious journalism honor the university bestows. Moore is the 58th honoree in the recognition limited to native Mississippians or journalists who have spent a significant part of their careers in the state. Selection is based on careers exemplifying the highest ideals of American journalism.

“Dennis’ career is an expression of the quality of his performance as an undergraduate at Ole Miss,” said Will Norton, dean of the university’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “He has performed at an exceptional level of excellence.”

Moore began his reporting career after graduation at The Clarion-Ledger, but his experience started earlier at The Germantown News in Germantown, Tennessee.

“I made a blind call to the editor and asked if I could work there,” Moore said. “She said I was welcome to drop in on production nights, but they could not pay.”

He went, worked and learned. More experience was gained through an internship with Southern Living magazine.

In Jackson, Moore, a movie fan, was allowed an extra assignment to write one review per week. When the city landed the International Ballet Competition, he was assigned to provide coverage, gaining more exposure and experience to writing about the arts and entertainment.

His success took him to The Orlando Sentinel to direct its arts coverage and edit the newspaper’s award-winning Sunday magazine, Florida.

USA Today was next, and Moore advanced to managing editor of the Life section. In that role, he traveled and routinely met with celebrities, including forming a real admiration for Steven Spielberg and being nervous before talking with Mick Jagger. He was also pleased when John Grisham reported that his mother had appreciated a story Moore had written about the author.

Moore lists his interview with Octavia Spencer, who won an Oscar for her work in “The Help” as his favorite actor interview.

An abrupt change came when Moore became breaking news editor for USA Today. In that role, he guided the coverage of Ebola in Africa and the United States, the violence and protests in Ferguson, Missouri, the trial of a Boston Marathon bomber and the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Moore was with USA Today during the development of its internet presence. In his newest position, he joined Fred Anklam, also a USA Today veteran, previous Silver Em recipient and Ole Miss graduate, in launching an all-digital news service based in the state capital and devoted to nonpartisan reporting on Mississippi issues.

Mississippi Today is “true startup from creating a website to hiring reporters to introducing the new concept to readers,” More said. The online publication has seed grants from several national foundations with the purpose of informing the public about education, health, economic growth and culture.

The Silver Em presentation will take place during the Best of Meek dinner April 5 in the ballroom of the Inn at Ole Miss. For more information, contact the Meek School at meekschool@olemiss.edu.