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.

Overstreet-Miller Joins DeSoto Campus as IMC Instructor

New full-time faculty member brings extensive experience in public relations, marketing

Patricia Overstreet-Miller

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – The University of Mississippi at DeSoto Center-Southaven has hired a full-time faculty member to strengthen its integrated marketing communications program.

Patricia Overstreet-Miller, who began working at the regional campus this spring as an IMC instructor, has an expansive career in communications, including public relations, marketing, advertising and lobbying. At the corporate level, Overstreet-Miller has worked for companies such as Allstate, Options Clearing Corp, Zurich Insurance and the McCormick Foundation.

IMC is one of the fastest-growing programs at Ole Miss. The program, housed under the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, includes the study of advertising, public relations, brand management and research into consumer insights, enabling students to build a customized toolbox of professional skills.

An IMC degree offers a myriad of benefits, Overstreet-Miller said.

“IMC opens doors to a world that can take you to so many diverse experiences that can be rewarding both financially and in terms of personal growth,” she said. “It’s never boring and the growth potential is amazing.

“Most executives value communication skills, and the unique communicator who has the integrated approach to and understanding of communication is particularly valuable. While we all have to start at the beginning and work our way up, IMC can be a real leg up in a competitive world.”

Overstreet-Miller plans to share her experience in community relations, government relations, investor relations, employee communications and media relations with her students. She also hopes to connect IMC students at UM-DeSoto with their peers at the university’s Oxford and Tupelo campuses to share learning and experiences.

With undergraduate and graduate degrees in English, Overstreet-Miller leveraged her interest in language and in people to become a communications professional. After earning a graduate degree in marketing and finance, she became a nontraditional student pursuing a Master of Business Administration.

The latter experience gave her a special understanding of many at the Southaven campus, she said.

“Many of our DeSoto students are older, already working and bring with them unique life experiences,” she said. “That can make their learning opportunity particularly rewarding.

“Since I went back to school for an MBA in the middle of my own career, when I had young children, I know that it’s a challenge to balance school with other life responsibilities. But it’s also a chance to create new opportunities in a career that’s already started, or to make a shift to a new career direction.”

Rick Gregory, executive director of UM-DeSoto, sees great potential for the program with Overstreet-Miller’s guidance.

“We are incredibly excited about Patricia joining our team and also about growing the integrated marketing communications program on our campus,” Gregory said. “With so many large corporations, businesses and nonprofits in close proximity to Southaven, our IMC students have unique advantages in terms of internship opportunities.”

Overstreet-Miller agrees that there are numerous opportunities ahead.

“The University of Mississippi is one of a handful of great schools offering an IMC program,” Overstreet-Miller said. “Our students are fortunate to have this opportunity, and I feel lucky to be a part of what our school is building.”

For more information about the IMC program and UM-DeSoto, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/desoto/.

Overby Center to Salute Mississippi’s 200th Anniversary

Programs examine state's history and look to the future

State Rep. Jay Hughes will discuss Mississippi’s commitment to education Friday at the Overby Center.

OXFORD, Miss. – In recognition of the 200th anniversary of Mississippi’s statehood, the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will put special emphasis on Mississippi programs during the spring semester.

“The people and events in Mississippi’s past provide an interesting glimpse into our state’s future,” explained Charles Overby, chairman of the center, in announcing the lineup.

The first of six events – “How Deep is Mississippi’s Commitment to Education?” – will concentrate on one of the most controversial issues in the state. Rep. Jay Hughes, an Oxford Democrat who has been outspoken in his criticism of the administration and the Legislature’s approach to education, will be joined by Bracey Harris, an education reporter for the Clarion-Ledger, for a conversation at 6 p.m. Friday (Feb. 10).

Using the slogan “It ALL starts with education” for his frequent emails to constituents and other interested parties, the first-term legislator has closely tracked bills involving educational issues and sharply faulted a new formula devised by a New Jersey firm hired by the Republican leadership to determine levels of state aid for various school districts in the state.

“Jay Hughes has become one of the most urgent voices in the Legislature,” Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie said. “Our program is designed to give him an opportunity to expand on his thoughts, while offering members of our community a chance to question him during a Q&A session.”

The program, like all Overby Center events, is free and open to the public. Arrangements are being made to provide parking in a lot adjacent to the Overby Center.

Following most of this spring’s programs, a reception also will provide opportunities for members of the audience to mingle with special guests.

Other events on the Overby agenda this spring:

– Feb. 17, 1:30 p.m. – “Assault on the Media.” Four prominent Mississippi journalists  discuss a growing hostility toward the press. Overby fellow Bill Rose will moderate a panel discussion that includes Jerry Mitchell, prize-winning investigative reporter at the Clarion-Ledger; the newspaper’s popular cartoonist Marshall Ramsey; Ronnie Agnew, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting; and Kate Royals, another award-winning education reporter for Mississippi Today.

– March 8, 6 p.m. – “Revisiting Jefferson Davis and J.Z. George: U.S. Capitol Relics?” William “Brother” Rodgers, director of programs at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Marvin King, an Ole Miss political science professor; and Charles Overby will consider whether the subjects of Mississippi’s two statues in a capitol hall for all 50 states are appropriate today.

– March 27, 6 p.m. – “Mississippians Say the Strangest Things.” David Crews of Oxford has compiled a collection, “The Mississippi Book of Quotations,” and will talk with Overby about the new publication, his choices in it and his longtime interest in memorable lines by people from the state.

– April (date to be determined) – “The Free State of Jones.” Retired federal judge Charles Pickering, a native of historic and colorful Jones County, will join Overby and others in a discussion about the breakaway movement during the Civil War, a fascinating piece of Mississippi history that was recently celebrated in books and a movie.

– April 24, 6 p.m. – “Racial Politics in Memphis.” Otis Sanford, an Ole Miss journalism graduate who writes a column for the Commercial Appeal and teaches at the University of Memphis, will talk about his new book, “From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics.”

UM Professor Honored Among Nation’s 10 Best Journalism Educators

Debora Rae Wenger selected by magazine's readers, other professionals for recognition

Debora Wenger (center) gives advice to journalism students Taylor Shelley (left) and Jason Bailey. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The day Debora Rae Wenger received her doctorate from Kingston University, Tuesday (Jan. 17), was already meaningful, but it became even more memorable when the University of Mississippi professor learned that she is among 10 journalism educators being recognized by NewsPro magazine.

“Frankly, I was humbled when I got the news,” said Wenger, associate professor and head of journalism undergraduate studies in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “There are some truly outstanding educators on the NewsPro list, and I’m honored to have my name printed on the same page with them.”

Each honoree is profiled in the publication’s January issue. To view the list, visit http://www.crainsnewspro.com/assets/newspro/pdf/2017-01-newspro.pdf.

To recognize some of the nation’s best journalism educators, NewsPro asked readers and other media professionals to nominate an outstanding academician. The list of honorees includes professors, department chairs and directors of media centers from such universities as Fordham, Purdue, Missouri, Boston, Ball State, Columbia, Syracuse, Rhode Island and Florida.

Wenger’s achievement bodes well for both the university and its journalism school, UM administrators said.

“What an incredible honor and recognition for Dr. Wenger and her work here at the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Jeffery S. Vitter said. “Her expertise and teaching excellence greatly contributes to the university’s academic success as well as the prominence of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. We are so proud to have someone of her talent and caliber guiding our students to new heights.”

Journalism Dean Will Norton shared Vitter’s sentiment.

“The Meek School is fortunate to have her in its leadership team,” he said. “Dr. Wenger was a traditional journalist who keeps up with developments in new media and has a network of outstanding educators and journalism educators with whom she works closely.”

A 17-year broadcast news veteran, Wenger was cited for bringing her “well-rounded, real world experience working in large market, network-affiliated newsrooms” to the classroom. Her passion for strong writing and creative storytelling was lauded as a newsworthy asset that “sets her apart from most college professors.”

“My goal is to have all students leave every class a little better informed than they were before they walked in the door,” Wenger said. “Whether it’s learning a new app, a new video editing technique, a new way of thinking about storytelling or simply discovering that there are other perspectives out there to consider, I want students to feel that time in my classes is well-spent.”

The NewsPro honor is not the first for Wenger. In 2000, she led a team of journalists at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida, in winning the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism. Throughout the presidential, state and local election seasons, the station had committed to providing its audience with coverage that was as thorough and informative as possible.

Debora Wenger and her journalism students. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“Receiving national recognition for the work we did made me proud of my station, my colleagues and my profession,” Wenger said. “The NewsPro Award is one that has my name on it, but like the Cronkite Award, it was a team effort.

“So many people have helped me grow as a teacher over the years: colleagues who shared strategies, mentors who helped keep me on track and, most of all, those students who did well and whose successes made me want to keep on getting better at teaching.”

Before joining the UM faculty in 2009, Wenger was assistant news director at WFLA-TV. She is co-author of the broadcast, online and multimedia journalism curricula for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Newsroom Training Program, and conducts multimedia training in newsrooms nationwide.

Wenger is also co-author of the journalism textbook, “Advancing the Story: Broadcast Journalism in a Multimedia World” (Sage, 2014), “Managing Today’s News Media: Audience First” (Sage, 2015) and produces a multimedia blog: advancingthestory.com

A native of North Dakota who moved around quite a bit over the years, Wenger considers herself a Midwesterner who very much enjoys the South. She graduated from Moorhead State University and earned her master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Wenger’s family includes husband, Mitch, a professor in UM’s Patterson School of Accountancy; son, Jay, a ninth-grader at Oxford High School; and the family dog, Nina. Her favorite leisure activities are to travel, read and go for long walks with friends.

Her committee memberships at Ole Miss have included the Undergraduate Council, Meek School Curriculum Committee, Faculty Senate, Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women, Council of Academic Administrators, Course Scheduling, Dual- and Second-Degree Policy, Task Force for Engagement, Academic Conduct, School Graduation, and Tenure and Promotion.

“Teaching is most fulfilling when I see how much a student has improved from the start of the semester to the end, or when I get a call from a former student who has embarked on a career and still considers me a resource years after he or she has left my classroom,” she said. “It’s wonderful when you feel like you have helped someone achieve a goal or fulfill a dream.”

For more about UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit http://meek.olemiss.edu/.

 

Husni Named to Folio’s ‘100 Most Important People in Magazine Media’

'Mr. Magazine' lauded as an Industry Influencer

Samir Husni has been named to Folio's 2016 list of the top 100 "Most Important People in Magazine Media." Photo by Robert Jordan UM Imaging Services.

Samir Husni has been named to Folio’s 2016 list of the 100 ‘Most Important People in Magazine Media.’ Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Samir Husni, professor and Hederman lecturer in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, has been named to Folio’s 2016 list of the 100 “Most Important People in Magazine Media.”

Known as “Mr. Magazine, Husni said it’s a great honor that the industry he loves and serves through teaching and consulting recognizes him as the lone person on the list from outside the industry.

“What adds to this honor is the category in which I was recognized, which is Industry Influencers,” Husni said. “Although it feels great to be the only educator on the entire list, it even feels greater to be in such great company as David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, and Bob Sauerberg, CEO of Condé Nast.”

Husni, who calls magazines “the best reflectors of American society,” has more than 30,000 first editions of magazines and uncounted numbers of specials and test issues. They’re housed in five storage units, waiting to be donated to someone to help open a magazine museum, he said.

He says earning a place on the list is a reflection of his students’ work. The magazine notes that each year, Husni attracts industry leaders to Ole Miss for the ACT Experience conference. This provides students with opportunities to brainstorm ideas and forge connections with industry professionals they would not meet without Husni.

Folio, a well-known magazine industry-focused publication, observes that although Husni’s students are “digital natives,” he is a powerful voice in the industry and a major proponent of print magazines.

“Mr. Magazine – the name itself is synonymous with magazine industry positivity,” Folio writes. “Husni is the printed magazine’s most avid collector. He has preached the gospel of print globally, and consulted on more magazine startups and advised more legacy titles than possibly anyone in the world.”

When Husni was hired at Ole Miss in the early 1980s, he knew more about magazines than most magazine publishers and editors, said Will Norton, UM journalism dean.

“For more than 30 years, he has demonstrated that expertise and, by naming him to Folio’s 100 list, the industry acknowledges his influence during these decades,” Norton said. 

“As a senior member of the Meek School faculty, he has elevated Ole Miss to a place of prominence in graduating students who become leaders in the magazine industry.”

UM Journalism Professor Presents Katrina Archive Work at UCLA

Cynthia Joyce will discuss efforts to recover and republish online writings from era after the storm

Cynthia Joyce, University of Mississippi assistant professor of journalism, will present her research on recovering lost Hurricane Katrina online blogs and articles Friday at the University of California Los Angeles.

Cynthia Joyce, UM assistant professor of journalism, will present her research on recovering lost Hurricane Katrina blogs and online articles Friday at the University of California Los Angeles. Submitted photo.

OXFORD, Miss. – A professor in the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media will present her work to discover and republish an archive of lost blogs, emails and other online writing from the years after Hurricane Katrina on Friday (Oct. 14) at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Cynthia Joyce is editor of “Please Forward: How blogging reconnected New Orleans after Katrina,” an anthology released Aug. 29, 2015, the 10th anniversary of the storm. The anthology mined blog posts and widely circulated emails from more than 75 blogs and online websites, many of which are no longer live. It weaves an intimate narrative of the first two years after the storm and the lives of the people who lived through it.

“The contributors to this anthology were so generous in allowing us to resurface their reflections from such a difficult part of their lives,” Joyce said. “We pulled those up and put them into print.

“Those posts – and the original blogs they were excerpted from – also deserve to be discoverable in an online context. Working with Archive-It made that possible.”

Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005 near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, killed 1,833 people in five states, including 231 in Mississippi. It’s often referred to as the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history.

Joyce is participating in the “Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Online News” forum at UCLA’s Young Research Library, hosted by Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. She is part of the lightning round of participants, in which each panelist has three minutes to deliver their message.

Will Norton, dean of the Meek School, said Joyce’s colleagues are proud of her work.

“Cynthia Joyce is a first-rate journalist who brings years of work at the cutting edge of new media to her presentation at UCLA,” Norton said. “It says a lot about the Meek School that our faculty members are making presentations at prestigious institutions with other pioneering innovators.”

Joyce and the others involved in the anthology project used Archive-It, a web archiving service of Internet Archive used by more than 450 libraries, archives, universities, governments and researchers to collect, preserve and provide ongoing access to cultural heritage materials published on the web.

The anthology, which was published by University of New Orleans Press, will also be accessible and searchable online via the Internet Archive’s Archive-It database later this year. Jefferson Bailey, director of web archiving at Internet Archive/Archive-It, is also presenting at the conference.

“The web is the most significant publishing platform of our era, democratizing the ability to document our lives and communities for a global audience,” Bailey said. “Yet content on the web is highly ephemeral, often eluding the traditional process of historical preservation.

“We are excited to be able to collaborate with researchers like Cynthia Joyce, who bring local expertise and community knowledge, and work together to identify, archive and provide access to these historically valuable resources so that they remain available long into the future.”

Westbrook Pledges Major Gift to UM Journalism School

Endowment will support new construction, featuring consumer research lab

Leslie Westbrook visits with (from left) Jason McCormick, development officer for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media; UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter; and Will Norton, UM journalism dean. UM photo by Bill Dabney

Leslie Westbrook visits with (from left) Jason McCormick, development officer for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media; UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter; and Will Norton, UM journalism dean. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – In true Rebel style, University of Mississippi alumna Leslie Westbrook bucked the confines of her generation and became one of the nation’s most successful consumer market specialists with Fortune 500 clients.

“Like all good Southern ladies in that era, I planned to marry my college sweetheart and teach school,” said Westbrook, a Jackson native who was named Miss Ole Miss in 1968. “I was to start the family and add to it the station wagon and dogs. Well, I cancelled the Big Fat Southern Wedding.”

Instead, she landed a job in Procter & Gamble’s Market Research Department and left Mississippi for Cincinnati. The bachelor’s degree in education that Westbrook earned from UM in 1968 would have served her well for teaching, but she required weeks of on-the-job training for her new career as a consumer research specialist and marketing strategist.

“There is a great need to offer extensive consumer research training to students who are majoring in integrated marketing communications through the Meek School of Journalism and New Media,” Westbrook said.

Determined to see students adequately prepared to enter her profession, Westbrook has pledged $500,000 to the university. The Leslie M. Westbrook Journalism Quasi Endowment will ultimately support the construction of a new consumer research laboratory bearing Westbrook’s name.

“Leslie is very generously giving for an area to which she devoted her entire professional life,” said Will Norton, UM journalism dean. “She’s basically saying how thankful she has been for her Ole Miss education and that she wants first-class opportunities that will enable students to prepare for a similar career.

“This is the first major gift for the new building, and it means a great deal to have such a significant kickoff.”

Westbrook said she has discussed the school’s needs with Norton and Meek School namesake Ed Meek over the past couple of years.

Leslie Westbrook instructs students at the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media. UM photo by Bill Dabney

Leslie Westbrook instructs students at the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media. UM photo by Bill Dabney

Besides providing financial support, she participates in faculty support, teaching a Global Brands course during May intersession and co-teaching, guest lecturing and meeting with students several other times a year. She also serves on the board of the university’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

“We found the perfect fit,” she said. “Everything that I learned and put into practice in my career is taught in IMC over the course of the four-year program.

“I can speak from actual experience, from the business world, about how IMC can be utilized in a career and with a wider variety of choices: consumer research, marketing, branding, public relations, advertising, writing and more.”

In class, Westbrook often shares case studies from her work with such brands as Pringles, Pampers, Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee and the Dairy Queen Blizzard.

“I love my time back at Ole Miss, passing it forward, interacting with students,” she said. “If I can impact even one student, I am fulfilled.”

Westbrook’s gift will benefit the university community and beyond, Meek said.

“Leslie’s gift will represent the beginning of a major campaign to build a new building and dramatically expand the reach of the Meek School,” Meek said, adding that Westbrook enjoyed an extraordinary career in corporate practice nationwide. “Her focus is a unique laboratory that will create tremendous instructional, research and service opportunities for students and faculty

After Procter & Gamble, Westbrook joined New Product Insights, a nationally revered new product consulting firm in Kansas City, Missouri, where she practiced qualitative research as a marketing strategist for seven years before starting her own company in Easton, Maryland. During her career, she met with many Fortune 500 companies which later became clients of Leslie M. Westbrook & Associates Inc.

For the past 20 years, she has lived on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay near Washington, D.C., with her husband, Paolo Frigerio of Milan, Italy.

“The loyalty, support and dedication of our alumni like Leslie is a key element to the university’s continued excellence,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Her gift will have a transformative effect on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media as we build for the future.”

The Leslie M. Westbrook Journalism Quasi Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

Overby Event Brings Together Brokaw, Barbour, Ford

Discussions to provide perspective, reactions to presidential debate and campaigns

OXFORD, Miss. – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will host Tom Brokaw, former Gov. Haley Barbour and other notables on Friday (Sept. 30) for spirited political reactions to this week’s presidential debate.

Tom Brokaw delivers the commencement address during this year's graduation activities. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Tom Brokaw delivers the commencement address during this year’s graduation activities. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Brokaw, longtime NBC correspondent and former anchor for “NBC Nightly News”; Andy Lack, president of NBC News; and political notables Barbour and Harold Ford Jr., former Democratic congressman from Memphis, will participate in “Election Countdown” at 6 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium.

The event is part of the Overby Center’s fall series lineup. Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie noted this panel is timed to provide perspective on the first presidential debate of 2016, held Monday at Hofstra University.

“This may be the best lineup of programs we’ve had in the 10-year history of the Overby Center,” Wilkie said. “Coming on the same week as the first presidential debate, we hope the programs will bring some of the political drama back to Oxford that we enjoyed in 2008 when Ole Miss hosted the first presidential debate.”

Lack and Brokaw are no strangers to Ole Miss. Lack, who has ancestors from Greenville, is one of the founders of Mississippi Today, an online news source launched earlier this year that is also cosponsor of the event. He is a strong supporter of UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Brokaw, one of the best-known faces on TV, was UM’s 2016 Commencement speaker. He first came to Ole Miss 16 years ago – for a friend’s birthday party in connection with an Ole Miss game – and he and members of his family have returned repeatedly over the years.

Barbour, a two-term governor of Mississippi, remains one of the dominant figures on the national GOP scene. Before winning office in 2003, he served as national chairman of the party and worked in President Ronald Reagan’s White House. He is a lobbyist in Washington and Jackson.

Former Gov. Haley Barbour remains one of the dominant figures on the national GOP scene. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Former Gov. Haley Barbour remains one of the dominant figures on the national GOP scene. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Ford, a member of the most prominent Democratic family in Memphis, served five terms in Congress. Though he works on Wall Street, Ford – like Barbour – still holds major clout in his party and often appears as a guest commentator on national TV programs.

Other events on the schedule will feature discussions on the civil rights movement, UM students who worked on projects in Africa and also among Mississippi’s Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, and other topics.

Here’s a rundown of the remaining Overby fall series events, all of which will be in the Overby Center auditorium:

– Oct. 11, 6 p.m. – “Mississippi Freelance” an irreverent monthly that poked fun at Mississippi politicians and exposed many irregularities 50 years ago, will be fondly remembered by its founders, Lew Powell and Ed Williams, Ole Miss graduates who went on to careers at the Charlotte Observer.

– Oct. 14, 9 a.m. – “The Embassy,” a new book about earlier turmoil in Liberia, will be discussed by its author, Dante Paradiso, an American Foreign Service officer posted to its capital, Monrovia, at the time.

– Oct. 19, 8 p.m. – “The Last Debate” will be shown on the Overby Center screen, to be followed by a public discussion.

– Oct. 27, 2:30 p.m. – “Mississippi Indians” will be discussed by Overby fellow Bill Rose and students on his team in the latest in-depth reporting assignment, an annual course that has produced a series of prize-winning magazines.

– Nov. 1, 6 p.m. – “The March Against Fear,” James Meredith’s idea that led to an assassination attempt on him and a fractious finish by competing civil rights leaders in 1966, will be recalled on its 50th anniversary by Aram Goudsouzian, author of “Down to the Crossroads” a book about the march, UM political science professor Marvin King, Overby and Wilkie.

– Nov. 2, 6 p.m. – “Ole Miss in Africa” will feature UM journalism students who traveled earlier this year to Zimbabwe and Namibia on a photo expedition and study of wildlife management.

– Nov. 15, 6 p.m. – “The Outcome” of the 2016 presidential campaign – and its impact on the future of the two major parties – will be the subject for a final discussion.