Journalism Student Receives Prestigious National Scholarship

Brittany Brown awarded $10,000, participating in investigative fellowship

Brittany Brown

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi rising senior has been recognized for her commitment to journalism with a $10,000 scholarship.

Brittany Brown, a journalism major from Quitman, is the recipient of the Ed Bradley Scholarship from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation.

The award, named in honor of the late CBS News’ “60 Minutes” correspondent, is presented to an outstanding student of color. The foundation’s recipients represent the best and brightest in all areas of journalism and have demonstrated a commitment to informing the community.

“To be the recipient of RTDNF’s Ed Bradley Scholarship is an honor, not only because this lifts an extreme financial weight from my family’s shoulders, but also because Ed Bradley paved the way for journalists of color,” Brown said. “This generous scholarship allows me to complete my senior year at Ole Miss without any financial responsibility on my family and could possibly help offset some of the costs of graduate school.

“I am just happy to see my dedication to journalism paying off, and I am proud to represent the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.”

Brown is heavily involved in student media at Ole Miss, where she serves as assistant news editor for The Daily Mississippian and worked as a digital content producer for the student-led “NewsWatch Ole Miss” broadcast.

She will also be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference this fall in Baltimore. She was among 12 journalists awarded more than $31,000 in scholarships this year.

“Brittany Brown is an exceptional student in that she is right at home producing and analyzing traditional academic research and also a whiz at learning the latest media technologies, plus she’s able to put all those skills and attributes into practice as a journalist,” said Deb Wenger, assistant dean at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

“This is a young woman who is reliable, hard-working, takes critique well and who is always striving to be better. She’s also delightful to be around, and I don’t think I overstate things when I say she’s on her way to becoming the type of journalist our country and our world needs.”

The foundation has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships since 1970 to promote education. Recipients of these awards have pursued careers in journalism as reporters, anchors, news directors and White House speechwriters, among others.

Brown’s passion is investigative journalism. She is participating in the prestigious Carnegie-Knight News21 Fellowship program this summer at Arizona State University, which focuses on investigative reporting.

Brown is working alongside 37 other journalists across the U.S., Ireland and Canada to produce in-depth, national coverage of hate in America. Under the leadership of Len Downie, former executive editor of The Washington Post, and award-winning investigative journalist Jaquee Petchel, Brown is traveling around the country to report on hate groups and hate crimes in America.

“This program is providing the first opportunity to do investigative reporting, and this topic is very timely, especially in America today,” Brown said. “I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity to work with such talented journalists and editors, and I am getting the opportunity to travel to and report in 14 states this summer.”

She said the fellowship has been challenging, but rewarding.

“I believe this program is setting me on the right path for my career, and I am glad to be learning the skills of investigative journalism while still in my undergraduate years,” she said.

The final project from the fellowship will be completed in August, but ongoing news stories are published on

Brown plans to pursue a graduate degree to further her knowledge of the field and ultimately pursue a career in investigative journalism.

Magazine Association Establishes Endowment to Assist UM Students

Internship assistance program awards grants for pursuit of media job opportunities

Samir Husni (left), director of the UM Magazine Innovation Center, and magazine students Kiara Manning, Hannah Hurdle, Brittany Abbott and Daniel Dubuisson (right) visit with Susan Russ (second from right), MPA senior vice president of communications, at the association’s headquarters in New York. The four students are the first recipients of a new MPA grant. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – MPA – The Association of Magazine Media has awarded a $25,000 endowment to the University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center to launch a fund that will support the next phase of magazine education through the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

The award is earmarked to assist with the cost of educational internship expenses and travel, up to $1,500 per student. It is to be awarded to as many as four students each summer.

“The beauty of the deal between MPA and the Magazine Innovation Center is that it helps remove one major stumbling block from the pursuit of a career in magazines,” said Samir Husni, journalism professor and Magazine Innovation Center director. “Every semester, we have eager and talented students who want to enter the magazine media field, and are offered wonderful internship opportunities, but can’t afford the cost of travel or stay in the major cities to get started.”

This year’s inaugural recipients are Brittany Abbott, a senior majoring in journalism and English from Holly Springs; Daniel Dubuisson, senior journalism major from Pass Christian; Hannah Hurdle, senior journalism major from Oxford; and Kiara Manning, senior journalism major from Jackson. The award made it possible for the four to participate in the Magazine Media Making May intersession course, a two-week class, last month in New York.

MPA is a trade group with more than 150 members in the magazine media industry. The organization serves as an advocate and voice for magazine brands by promoting leadership and strategies while amplifying the research supporting the effectiveness and credibility of magazines.

Through its work, MPA attracts students to careers in magazine media. Many students are interested in pursuing internships, but sometimes the cost of travel and extended stay in places such as Manhattan can be a deterrent.

Even a little bit of money can go a long way for students, said Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of the trade group.

“Internships are vital for the career-starting process, but the expenses associated with the experience can make them prohibitive,” Thomas Brooks said. “There are tons of smart, young students who dream of working in magazine media, and MPA wanted to give some of them a path to make that happen.”

The group’s members felt enough of a need for an internship assistance program at the Magazine Innovation Center that they worked with Husni to make their donation an endowment that can support many semesters of students. The award helps fulfill MPA’s desire to recruit students to the magazine media industry while directly supporting the university’s strategic goals to enhance student success.

Individuals or organizations interested in the Internship Assistance Program can contribute to the endowment to benefit future students by contacting Husni at

About Magazine Innovation Center

The Magazine Innovation Center, founded in 2009 at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, is an international collaboration linking the best thinkers in publishing, marketing, printing, advertising and distribution. It seeks to generate focused innovation in magazines and other print media. The magazine and magazine media industry employ the world’s great minds. The center will channel their creativity and intellect (away from the grinds of everyday work and challenges) to provide blueprints for productive change.

About MPA
MPA – The Association of Magazine Media is the primary advocate and voice for the magazine media industry, driving thought leadership and game‐changing strategies to promote the industry’s vitality and increase its revenues and market share. Established in 1919, MPA represents more than 150 domestic, associate and international members. MPA is headquartered in New York City, with a government affairs office in Washington, D.C.

‘It Starts with (Me)ek’ Team Wins Silver Anvil

Award is considered to be the Oscar of the PR industry

Actress and ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ contributor Nancy Giles presents a Silver Anvil award to UM senior lecturer Robin Street at a ceremony in New York. Accompanying Street at the ceremony are three of the 30 graduates who worked on the campaign. Pictured (from left) are Grace Miller, Giles, Street, Bianca Abney and Brittanee Wallace. Photo by Stan O’Dell

OXFORD, Miss. – An instructor in the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media and her 30-student team have won a Silver Anvil, the most prestigious U.S. award in public relations, for “It Starts with (Me)ek, a public relations campaign they created asking students to “just pause” before stereotyping others.

The award, given by the Public Relations Society of America, is considered to be the “Oscar” of the public relations industry.

Actress and “CBS Sunday Morning” show contributor Nancy Giles, perhaps best known for her role on the TV show “China Beach,” served as emcee for the event in New York and presented the award to senior lecturer Robin Street, campaign chair.

Three of the 30 students who served on the It Starts with (Me)ek committee joined Street at the ceremony. The journalism school graduates attending the event in New York were Brittanee Wallace, an integrated marketing communications major from Gulfport, Bianca Abney, an integrated marketing communications major from Moss Point, and Grace Miller, a broadcast journalism major with a specialization in public relations from Gainesville, Georgia.

The weeklong “It Starts with (Me)ek” campaign consisted of 50 events, speakers and activities, all based on the message to “just pause” before judging people based solely on one factor, such as their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness or other factor.

While those judging the entries in this category remained anonymous, one of the judges said the “It Starts with (Me)ek” campaign was a “very brilliantly executed and impactful campaign. Well done!”

Street said winning the Silver Anvil and attending the ceremony with three of the students who worked on the campaign was “so exciting.”

UM senior lecturer Robin Street, chair of the ‘It Starts with (Me)ek’ campaign, accepts the award at a ceremony in New York. Accompanying Street at the ceremony are three of the 30 graduates who worked on the campaign. Pictured (from left) are Brittanee Wallace, Street, Bianca Abney and Grace Miller. Photo by Stan O’Dell

“We were surrounded there by some of the biggest names in public relations and corporations in the country,” Street said. “The fact that a student team won competing with those professionals is truly a testament to the education our students received from all their Meek School instructors.

“It is also especially meaningful because it was for a public relations campaign with a very simple message: Just pause before stereotyping others based only on their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other factor.

“We hoped that the campaign would encourage our students to treat others with understanding, dignity, respect and inclusion, and based on our follow-up surveys and focus groups, we believe we succeeded.”

Like the Oscars, Silver Anvils are given in multiple categories. “It Starts with (Me)ek” won in the internal communications category for government or nonprofit organizations. Only one Silver Anvil is awarded in each category, while other entries may be given an Award of Excellence.

The campaign previously won awards from both the Public Relations Association of Mississippi and the Southern Public Relations Federation.

A previous campaign Street did with 15 Ole Miss students won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in 2009.

UM Journalism Professor Named Executive Director of Accrediting Organization

Headquarters of Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications will move to UM

Patricia Thompson, assistant dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, has been appointed as executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Submitted Photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Patricia Thompson, assistant dean at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, has been named the new executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

As a result, the council’s headquarters will move to UM, where Thompson will assume her new role July 1, as well as continue her role as assistant dean for student media and assistant professor of journalism. She will hire staff to assist with ACEJMC and student media duties.

“This is the perfect next step in my path as a journalist and professor passionate about journalism since I was 11 years old,” Thompson said.

Thompson has been involved in journalism accreditation for more than 20 years as both a journalist and journalism educator. She has served two terms on the ACEJMC national committee and as a member and chair of the organization’s appeals board.

Thompson will succeed Susanne Shaw, professor of journalism at the University of Kansas and executive director of ACEJMC for more than 30 years.

The ACEJMC evaluates professional journalism and communications programs at colleges and universities in the United States and several other countries. Accredited programs total 118 in the U.S., Mexico, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and New Zealand. In her role as executive director, Thompson will report to the accrediting council and work closely with officers of the council and the accrediting committee.

“ACEJMC is very fortunate to attract a journalist and journalism educator of Pat’s caliber to serve as our executive director,” said Peter Bhatia, editor of the Detroit Free Press and ACEJMC president. “She will build on the incredible accomplishments of Susanne Shaw and lead us forward in working to help journalism education remain essential and up-to-date.”

Thompson joined the Meek School faculty in 2009. Previously, she was an award-winning journalist who worked as a writer and editor at newspapers such as The Washington Post and The San Jose Mercury News. She also was an assistant professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

She oversees UM’s Student Media Center and serves as the faculty adviser for The Daily Mississippian and Her work with students on projects has resulted in state, regional and national journalism awards.

“The naming of Pat Thompson as executive director of ACEJMC demonstrates the respect faculty in the Meek School have earned,” said Will Norton Jr., dean of the school. “Pat is a highly regarded journalist and educator who has raised the profile of the Meek School.”

Thompson said she is excited about her new role.

“I came to the University of Mississippi to run student media because it was the opportunity to blend two things I care deeply about: quality journalism and the education of young journalists,” Thompson said. “Susanne has been an outstanding, inspirational executive director for ACEJMC, as she has upheld standards for media programs. It won’t be easy to follow in her footsteps. I look forward to learning from her and working with the council as we help shape the future of journalism and communications education during a time of great change.”

UM Journalism School Faculty Member Honored with Distinguished Service Award

Award presented to R.J. Morgan for his dedication to young journalists

R.J. Morgan, director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association at the University of Mississippi, is the recipient of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s Elizabeth B. Dickey Distinguished Service Award. Photo courtesy of Alysia Steele.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – R.J. Morgan, director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association at the University of Mississippi, is the recipient of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s Elizabeth B. Dickey Distinguished Service Award.

Morgan, who is also an instructional assistant professor of journalism in UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, said he is honored to receive this recognition for doing a job he finds challenging but enormously rewarding.

“I am so grateful to be recognized by SIPA (based at the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications) and the rest of my scholastic journalism family,” Morgan said. “Education is a calling, and the task of training a new generation of media-literate, free-speech-loving citizens is not easy work. Nevertheless, I’m proud to serve in this field and to work with so many great institutions.”

Will Norton Jr., dean of the Meek School, applauded Morgan for being an “uncommon faculty member.”

“He is very bright, has a relentless work ethic and is strategic in his thinking,” Norton said. “We are so grateful he is on our faculty.”

The award was presented during the annual advisers’ luncheon held at the recent SIPA convention. Morgan earned praise from his peers and the advisers with whom he regularly works.

“He is an encourager of others, loves students and works well with both students and adults,” said Beth Fitts, former MSPA director. “At the same time, he is a self-starter who gets things done – all with great flair and an engaging sense of humor.”

Morgan, a native of Pearl, Mississippi, received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Mississippi State University. He lived and taught in Starkville for 11 years before moving to Oxford and joining UM.

He was recognized with the award for providing students with the education and opportunities they need to develop as journalists. But, according to his many supporters, what really sets him apart is his availability and dedication to the students. Whether answering texts or emails, or renting buses to ensure students have the opportunity to make it to the SIPA conventions, he is always available to help.

“He frequently goes above and beyond his normal director duties,” said Diala Chaney, Oxford High School journalism adviser. “He stays in constant communication with the journalism teachers throughout the state. He makes all the arrangements, travel plans and only collects a portion of the cost from the students who are interested in attending [the conventions].”

Morgan leads students and advisers to participate at the state, regional and national levels, said Mandy Mahan, D’Iberville High School yearbook adviser.

“Because of the opportunities that R.J. creates through MSPA, my students have built impressive resumes filled with speaking engagements and awards,” Mahan said. “He truly believes that scholastic journalism should be student-led, so my students have presented at our state conferences and have had the opportunity to submit work and win awards in the numerous competitions that he readily advertises.

“He encourages them to think outside of the box and makes himself available whenever they need him. My broadcast group has even asked him to come down here to be a featured guest on their weekly podcast.”

Morgan is especially deserving of the Distinguished Service Award, said Charles Mitchell, associate dean and associate professor of journalism at the Meek School.

“I was happy to see R.J. earn this award, and I mean earn,” Mitchell said. “He works with true dedication to support high schools and students in and near Mississippi with all their student media efforts.

“He’s both an effective cheerleader and a skilled resource. The Meek School is fortunate to have him teach here, and I am fortunate to have such a strong colleague.”

The recipient of the Distinguished Service Award usually has at least seven years of experience advising one or more award-winning school publication. The honoree also influences scholastic journalism beyond the walls of the school in state, regional and national scholastic press associations and shows leadership at SIPA conventions.

The Southern Interscholastic Press Association is a not-for-profit organization of public schools, including middle, junior and senior high schools, and independent schools. Its purpose is to encourage a high degree of professionalism in scholastic journalism and mass communications in the Southeast. Founded at Washington and Lee University in 1926, SIPA moved to the University of South Carolina in 1972.


UM’s ‘Mr. Magazine’ Recognized for Industry Contributions

Journalism professor Samir Husni honored with 2018 Luminaire Award

Samir ‘Mr. Magazine’ Husni, UM journalism professor and director of the Magazine Innovation Center, is a 2018 recipient of the Franklin Luminaire Award. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Idealliance and Print Industries Alliance have named University of Mississippi journalism professor Samir Husni a recipient of the 2018 Franklin Luminaire Award.

The award recognizes professionals for exceptional and positive contributions to service in the media and graphic communications industry. Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, is one of four recipients of the award.

Husni said he was humbled and honored when he learned of the award.

“It is always a great honor when the industry that you’ve devoted your entire educational and professional life to serve returns the favor by recognizing the work that you’ve done,” he said.

Husni’s accomplishments include engaging in magazine consulting and research around the world, as well as presenting at seminars and writing books on the future of print in a digital age, and supporting professional experience for students by providing them an opportunity to interact with industry leaders.

“It is another shot in the arm confirming that the magazine program at Ole Miss is still as valid today as it was yesterday,” he said. “What we do is not separated from what the industry does; thus, we will continue to prepare (students) to be able to join the workforce and become industry leaders.

“Words of thanks are never enough, but it is one of those rare occasions that I am speechless.”

Because the Meek School teaches job skills for both journalism and integrated marketing communications students, faculty members often remain practitioners in their industries, allowing them to teach students applicable skills for future careers.

“The Meek School is a professional school,” said Will Norton, dean of the school. “Faculty are hired to know media, and Dr. Husni is a prototype of that ideal.”

Husni will be honored on Oct. 17 at the annual Franklin Luminaire Awards event in New York City.

Other award recipients include Chris Harrold, vice president and creative director at Mohawk Fine Papers in Cohoes, New York; Rebecca Pappas, vice president of production, customer service and audience development at BizBash Media in New York; and John G. Sommers Jr., president and CEO of Allied Printing Services in Manchester, Connecticut.

Alumna Begins Endowment to Rename Magazine Innovation Center

Amy Lyles Wilson seeks to name the unit after journalism professor Samir Husni

UM journalism professor Samir Husni launched the Magazine Innovation Center in 2009. In honor of his years of work, former student Amy Lyles Wilson has started an endowment to rename the center for her mentor and friend. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi alumna Amy Lyles Wilson is working to raise $100,000 to rename the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media for the center’s longtime director and journalism professor Samir Husni.

A former student of Husni’s, Wilson wants to rename the foundation of the university’s magazine program to the Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni Magazine Innovation Center in honor of the professor’s years of service and dedication to his students.

Wilson’s family donated an initial $55,000 gift to support the effort, and she’s inviting others to contribute through the Ignite Ole Miss crowdfunding platform to reach a $100,000 goal. Just over $76,000 has been contributed thus far, and Wilson is hoping more of Husni’s friends, colleagues, and current and former students will pay tribute to his legacy on campus.

Wilson earned an M.A. in journalism in 1986 after enrolling in the program following a discouraging semester in another field.

“I dragged myself across the parking lot to Farley Hall and, thankfully, Will Norton took pity on me and the department granted me provisional admission, as I needed to take the GRE,” she said. “He told me to check out a class with ‘the new guy,’ who turned out to be Samir Husni. At that point, everything shifted.” 

Husni joined the UM journalism faculty in 1984 and has become known as the world’s leading magazine expert. Besides teaching, he continues to be a practitioner in the magazine industry by offering consultation and insight to new magazines.

In 2009, he created the Magazine Innovation Center to link the greatest minds in the industry with future industry leaders: Ole Miss students.

“I am humbled and honored,” Husni said. “I am thankful to Amy Lyles Wilson for starting this, and I’m proud to be serving Ole Miss magazine students since 1984.”

Since Wilson’s time in his classroom, she and Husni have become friends and peers, working together to publish his “Launch Your Own Magazine” book and supporting young people who dream of careers in magazine journalism.

“The magazine program has come a long way since a handful of us gathered in Samir’s classroom for his inaugural semester back in 1984, unsure of who he was or just what he was offering,” she said. “Even then, though, before he became world-renowned and tagged as ‘Mr. Magazine,’ it was obvious that Samir had an abiding interest in his students.”

Husni set the foundation for Wilson’s career, she said. Since earning her degree from Ole Miss, she has written for magazines, published books and developed communications materials for nonprofits. Wilson has co-authored or contributed to eight books, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications as well as on National Public Radio.

Wilson earned a master’s degree in theology from Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School and works as a story coach and spiritual director in Nashville, Tennessee. She teaches throughout the South and at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, and has served as adjunct professor and writer-in-residence at the Earlham School of Religion in Indiana.

“I couldn’t have crafted a better life for myself,” she said. “And I couldn’t have done it as readily without Samir and the journalism folks opening up such a versatile world to me. And I know they’ve done it for many others as well.”

Wilson said she believes society will always need talented, skilled communicators, whether online or off, in print or digital, and she wants to help Husni prepare them for years to come with this endowment.

Individuals and organizations can contribute to the fund at Checks can be mailed to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the name of the fund noted in the check’s memo line, at 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

For more information, contact Jason McCormick, development director for the journalism school, at or 662-915-1757.

Students Win Journalism Awards at Various Conferences

More than 50 honors in regional competition include work in newspaper, TV, radio and online

UM students, along with Patricia Thompson (left), assistant dean of student media show off the recognitions they received for their work at the Southeastern Journalism Conference at Harding University. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students earned more than 50 awards in three regional contests this spring for their outstanding work in newspaper, television, radio and online journalism.

“The Student Media Center is one of the best recruiting tools for the university and the Meek School,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media and an assistant professor of journalism. “We have students from every classification, from freshmen to graduate students, working in our vibrant newsroom every afternoon. 

“They get a chance to develop communications skills and they learn to work with others to produce award-winning journalism. They love it. They are passionate about providing our campus community with news and information they won’t get anywhere else.”

The Southeastern Journalism Conference, held this year at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, featured more than 200 participants from 28 colleges and universities in seven states. UM was named Grand Champion at the conference for on-site competitions, where 15 students had to produce content on a deadline.

In the SEJC Best of the South competition, Ole Miss students won 17 awards, including first places for Abbie McIntosh, a junior from Cypress, Texas in the television news reporting category, and for Thomas DeMartini, a senior from Flowood, and Austin Hille, senior from Boise, Idaho, in the broadcast commercial category.

The Daily Mississippian won first place for best all-around daily newspaper and best affiliated website in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence competition. The SPJ region includes universities in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana.

“I’m so proud of The Daily Mississippian team and the other student media staff members that earned top honors this past year,” said DM editor-in-chief Lana Ferguson, a senior from Mechanicsville, Virginia. “So many of us put hard work in every day and we don’t do it for awards, but it’s always a great feeling to be recognized.

“The student journalists at Ole Miss are creating high-quality content, and I’m glad it’s getting the attention it deserves.”

Clara Turnage and Malachi Shinault, both 2017 UM graduates from New Hebron and Booneville, respectively, took home first-place awards in all three competitions for their online feature package of text, photo, video and audio published on about activist Correl Hoyle as he prepared for graduation last spring.

Other students who won first-place awards from SPJ are:

  • Devna Bose, senior from Philadelphia, for feature writing
  • Marlee Crawford, senior from Oxford, for breaking news photography
  • Lauren Layton, senior from Huntsville, Alabama, for online/digital feature videography
  • Jules Marcantonio, senior from Franklin, Tennessee, for television general news reporting
  • Ariyl Onstott, 2017 UM graduate from Carriere, for online news reporting
  • Jake Thrasher, senior from Birmingham, Alabama, for editorial cartoons

All first-place winners will compete against winners in the 11 other regions of SPJ for national titles, which will be announced later this month.

In the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Contest, the student news broadcast NewsWatch Ole Miss took home first place for its Dec. 1, 2017 newscast, which included coverage of the NCAA sanctions announced that day.

“Our students dedicate so much time into the show and providing our audience with the top news of the day, and to be recognized for that day-in and day-out hard work makes it all worth it,” said Abbie McIntosh, NewsWatch manager. “I’m honored to have received some awards on top of what NewsWatch won. It makes me happy to know people think our work is good.”

Matthew Hendley and Joseph Katool, from Madison and Jackson, were awarded first place in the Associated Press contest for their radio coverage of NCAA sanctions.

Ferguson took home first-place honors from the AP for her feature story about an Oxford church helping a Texas community rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

Other students who won first place in the AP and SEJC competitions are:

  • Devna Bose, arts and entertainment writing, SEJC
  • Lana Ferguson, feature writing, AP
  • Alana Mitius, freshman from Olive Branch, for radio feature, AP
  • Ethel Mwedziwendira, senior from McKinney Texas, for current events, SEJC
  • Marlee Crawford, sports photography, SEJC

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

  • Grant Gaar, senior from Walnut, finalist for television feature reporting, SPJ
  • Hayden Benge, junior from Tulsa, Oklahoma, design, SEJC
  • Marisa Morrissette, senior from Oxford, media history/ethics/law, SEJC
  • Clifton Carroll, senior from Yazoo City, public relations, SEJC
  • DeAndria Turner, sophomore from Gauter, radio reporting, SEJC; radio sports, AP; radio journalist SEJC
  • Matthew Hendley, TV anchoring, SEJC
  • Lana Ferguson, feature writing and news writing, SEJC
  • Erin Pennington, sophomore from Fulton, radio feature, SEJC
  • Madison Heil, 2017 graduate from Mandeville, Louisiana, journalism research paper, SEJC
  • Jake Thrasher, DM editorial cartoonist, SEJC
  • Ethel Mwedziwendira, newspaper layout and design, AP
  • Lana Ferguson and Clara Turnage, breaking news, AP
  • Abbie McIntosh and Marlee Crawford, documentary, AP
  • Italiana Anderson, senior from Ridgeland, radio news, AP

Journalism Professor Honored by Professional Association

Debora Wenger recognized for her service to journalism education

Debora Wenger

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi journalism professor Debora Wenger has been honored for her service to journalism education by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

The association’s Electronic News Division has chosen Wenger as a recipient of the 2018 Larry Burkum Service Award. Wenger is an associate professor of journalism and assistant dean for innovation and external partnerships at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Besides her roles at the university, Wenger is a trainer for the Society of Professional Journalists through its partnership with the Google News Initiative, and she has educated journalists around the country.

“For me, personally, this award is recognition that the academy values work that is focused on supporting and maintaining quality journalism,” Wenger said. “I love teaching and I love staying connected to the many great journalists who work hard to keep our communities and our country informed about issues that matter. It’s an honor to be recognized for service to this vital profession.”

A former reporter, anchor and news manager at numerous television stations, Wenger focuses on multimedia journalism practice and education. She regularly contributes research findings to academic and professional publications on the topic.

Wenger has taught journalism courses at Ole Miss since 2009.

“The Meek School has many faculty who focus on work that helps make our teaching and our disciplines stronger,” she said. “Whether it’s research into best practices, training for practitioners or turning out graduates who are job-ready, our school values those contributions.

“This award offers outside recognition that strong industry ties are vital to successful journalism and communication programs everywhere.”

Wenger is being honored alongside Deborah Potter, founding director of NewsLab and former correspondent, anchor and program host at CBS, CNN, PBS and local television and radio stations. NewsLab, an online journalism training center, was transferred to the operation of the UM journalism school last year.

“Dr. Wenger has been a crucial player in the development of the Meek School,” said Will Norton, the school’s dean. “She has used her network of professionals and academics to enhance the reputation of the Meek School and its faculty. She sets rigorous standards in the classroom and works diligently to support faculty.”

The award is named for Larry Burkum, who served as the association’s secretary, newsletter editor and webmaster from 1995 to 2005. The Electronic News Division will honor Wenger and Potter in August in Washington, D.C., at the AEJMC annual conference.

UM Students to Intern this Summer in Eastern Asia

Placements made possible through Freeman Foundation grant

Freeman Foundation summer intern grantees include (front row, from left) Meredith Brown, Tyler Caple, Emily Rodriguez, Emma Scott, Tina Ng, Navodit Paudel, Sydney Bush, Jasmine Nguyen and Lucy De la Cruz, and (back row, from left) David Pfaehler, Jordan Holman, Sarah Berry, Mo Karzon, Stewart Eaton and Daria Herasymova. Submitted photo by Joe Worthem

OXFORD, Miss. – Seventeen University of Mississippi students will be interns in East and Southeast Asia this summer, thanks to a substantial grant from the Freeman Foundation of Stowe, Vermont.

The $100,000 program, “UM Experiential Learning in East Asia,” allows selected undergraduates to complete a summer internship of at least eight weeks in summer 2018. Each will receive $5,000 from the Freeman Foundation grant and an additional $2,500 provided by the university’s Office of Global Engagement and the students’ respective UM schools.

“The Croft Institute has been the campus leader in promoting engagement with East Asia for the last 20 years, and this generous grant by the Freeman Foundation allowed us to add another important dimension to those efforts,” said Oliver Dinius, executive director of the Croft Institute for International Studies and program administrator.

Dinius worked with Joshua Howard, Croft associate professor of history; Minjoo Oh, associate professor of sociology; and Blair McElroy, the university’s senior international officer, to design the application process, select award recipients and assist students as they prepare for their internships.

Grant recipients include Meredith Brown and Emma Scott, both of Oxford; Sarah Berry, Stewart Eaton, Mo Karzon and Jasmine Nguyen, all of Brandon; Lucy De la Cruz of Southaven; Tina Ng of Walls; Sydney Bush of Gulfport; Jordan Holman of Petal; Tyler Caple of Huntsville, Alabama; Sarah Liese of St. Louis; Scott Givhan of West Hollywood, California; Emily Rodriguez of Portland, Oregon; David Pfaehler of Independence, Kentucky; Daria Herasymova of Ukraine; and Navodit Paudel of Nepal.

The program is universitywide and recipients come from diverse academic backgrounds. Two study at the Patterson School of Accountancy, four at the School of Business Administration, three at the School of Engineering, seven in the College of Liberal Arts and one at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Eight of the selected students are enrolled in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“The students will complete internships in seven countries,” said William Mahoney, coordinator of alumni relations and career planning in the Croft Institute. “Six will be in China, three in South Korea, three in Thailand, two in Japan and one each in Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam.”

The students have secured exciting internships. Rodriguez, a double major in accountancy as well as banking and finance, will be interning with Ernst & Young in Singapore. There, she expects to gain an understanding of compliance for banks, insurance organizations and wealth management firms and corporate tax as a whole.

“EY handles some of Singapore’s biggest financial service organizations, and the prospect of working alongside and learning from EY’s influential and insightful leaders is an outstanding opportunity,” she said. “My duties will vary significantly day-to-day, however some of the general responsibilities include project mapping for FSO compliance, general tax document processing and assisting in the sales strategy for corporate tax products.”

A general engineering major with an emphasis in pre-med studies, Berry will spend her summer shadowing and volunteering in Shanghai First People’s Hospital. She believes her internship will provide her with unique, yet essential, insights into health care tactics for treating patients beyond the scope of only their physical ailments.

“What I most admire about Chinese health care is its incorporation of tradition with modern practices,” Berry said. “I am very excited for this summer, and I look forward to furthering my knowledge of medicine, gaining invaluable experience as a health care provider, and immersing myself in the culture and tradition of China and its medical field.”

The Freeman Foundation grant furthers collaborative efforts to provide students with valuable experiences, Ole Miss administrators said.

“The Freeman Foundation scholarships supported in part by the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College enable our students to experience the richness of culture to improve linguistic skills and to attune our scholars to the challenges in East Asian countries,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, Honors College dean. “I cannot think of a more profound way to enhance, even change, the life choices of our future graduates of the University of Mississippi.”

The goal of the Freeman Foundation’s grant is to help students gain real-life experience while interacting regularly with local populations. Established in 1994 by the estate of AIG co-founder Mansfield Freeman, the foundation’s general mission is “to strengthen the bonds of friendship between this country and those of the Far East” and “to stimulate an exchange of ideas in economic and cultural fields which will help create mutual understanding.”

Headed by Mansfield’s grandson, Graeme Freeman, the foundation donates approximately $50 million annually to programs such as study abroad scholarships for Asian and American students and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, which has supported the Croft Institute’s efforts to strengthen teaching about East Asia for more than 15 years.

This grant lets the Croft Institute and other participating campus units deliver on the university’s commitment to educate and engage global citizens and to support experiential learning, two core principles in the university’s Flagship Forward strategic plan. Students chosen for UM Experiential Learning in East Asia will learn how a foreign culture affects the work environment and help prepare them to succeed.

“This is the first year for this program, and we are excited to be able to send such a diverse and motivated group of students to Eastern Asia,” Dinius said. “We look forward to hearing about their experiences upon their return and have them share their insights with the next generation of interns.”

The goal is to make the program a permanent feature at the university.

“We are optimistic that the Freeman Foundation will renew this grant for 2018-19, and we may even be able to increase the number of award recipients,” Dinius added.

Details about the next round will be available early in the fall semester.