■ FIRST AMENDMENT NEWS
■ THE VOICE OF THE REBELS
JOURNALISM AND NEW MEDIA MAGAZINE
LAYING DOWN THE LAW
L. Darnell Weeden reflects on his odds-defying journey from small town to higher education
■ LENS COLLECTIVE PROJECT
2017 - 2018
Meek School Magazine of Journalism and New Media records news of the students, faculty, and alumni, providing them with a continued sense of belonging to the University explores the achievements, issues, and events of the school strives for excellence in editorial content and design advances the best interests of the University, the Meek School and its affiliates informs and inspires its diverse and ever-evolving readership, moving its readers to remain engaged with the Meek School
to inform and inspire MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
FROM THE DEAN
The Indomitable Wiley Martin WILL NORTON, JR. STUDENTS MAY NOT REALIZE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO THEIR TEACHERS I have taught many students who have achieved greatly in media professions and who I deeply respect and admire, but perhaps I admire no student more than Wiley Martin, a young man from Sumrall who has cerebral palsy. He was not a journalism major, but he took JOUR 391 Public Relations during a semester when I taught that class and Dr. Ed Meek taught the advanced public relations course. It took a while for me to understand Wiley – not just his speech, but also his character. He was a person of uncommon principle and determined spirit. Wiley did everything he could to live an active life. He was determined to be physically independent, to take initiatives and be responsible. He lifted weights and exercised diligently to walk better. While at Ole Miss he was the manager for the basketball teams coached by Bob Weltlich, and he also worked with Billy Brewer and his Rebel football teams. Later he became a high school basketball coach until his parents asked him to move home where they could take care of him. Wiley understood football and basketball in a way that few people know it. Invariably, he would help me understand a game better than any sports writers. What an injustice that this young man was not able use that talent to its fullest because of a physical challenge. He spurred me to do more to motivate students, particularly those with no challenges who were not fully using their ability. —✦— Wiley would call our home in the evenings, sometimes several times a week, and William, our preschool son, often answered the phone. After Wiley had called two or three times, William recognized his voice. “Dad,” he would say. “It’s Wiley.” William rode with me to pick up Wiley when he came to our house to watch the telecast when Indiana defeated Syracuse in the 1987 NCAA basketball championship and, as the game progressed, he explained Coach Bobby Knight’s strategy. —✦— One fall during the Brewer era, Dr. Sylvester Morehead and I were chosen as faculty coaches to accompany the football team to Vanderbilt. When we arrived at the team hotel, Wiley was in the lobby, and started laughing, a big deep laugh. He was so happy that I was having this opportunity to get acquainted with his Ole Miss Rebels. After dinner, we walked outside and, in the darkness, Wiley stumbled and fell. I turned and reached out to help him up, but he pushed my hand away and slowly, tenuously, made his way to his feet.
We walked toward the lobby of the hotel in silence. I felt ashamed. Wiley wanted to be independent, to conquer every challenge, and he did not need my help to get up. —✦— During one period when I was on the faculty at Nebraska, we did not communicate for several months, and I wrote the Ole Miss alumni association and asked for Wiley’s whereabouts. They contacted him, and he, in turn, called me. “You thought I was dead,” he said and laughed, that big deep laugh. Because I had not heard from him in a long time, I apparently had wondered if Wiley no longer were alive. That message was communicated to him, and when we talked he wanted to let me know that I should not sell him short. —✦— Once I drove my parents from their retirement home in Oklahoma to St. Simons Island for a short vacation. On the way, we stopped in Sumrall to visit Wiley and his mother. He was so happy that we came to visit. In fact, he became so excited that he fell while climbing the steps into the house. I was worried that he had hurt himself, but I had the good sense not to help him up, and he slowly got to his feet and climbed the steps. A few days later he wrote me an email about our visit. He did not talk about the challenges he had living at home with his mother. Instead, he kept talking about my elderly parents and how mentally alert they were. Wiley always seemed to be assessing his surroundings and those with whom he interacted, and he was quick to praise what he admired. —✦—
I don’t know how many years ago I learned that Wiley had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, nor do I remember any treatment. I do remember that he told me he was going to fight it, and he did so well that his doctor eventually told him that his condition had been misdiagnosed. This good news was reversed in August 2016. I was in a hotel room in Minneapolis when I received a phone call from Jamie Holder, a former split end for the Rebels and a longtime friend of Wiley’s. “Dr. Norton, Wiley has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and it’s in his bones.”
I was speechless. How could this be? Wiley had been told that the diagnosis of prostate cancer was wrong, and now prostate cancer had advanced into his bones. In my stunned silence, Jamie filled the dead space with background information, and we ended the conversation by my telling him to tell Wiley I would call and go see him. Within a few hours Wiley and I talked on the phone, but I was not able to visit with him until last May at the Asbury Hospice House in Hattiesburg. I had learned that he no longer could even stand, much less walk. The cancer had eaten so much of his thigh bone. I had not seen him since our visit to his home more than a decade earlier, and he did not know I would be visiting. I told the nurse at the nurses’ station I had come to see Wiley Martin. “Let me see if he is presentable.” She came back a few minutes later, “You can go in.” I walked down the hall and slowly opened the door. Wiley was sitting in a wheelchair facing the doorway. When our eyes met, his face lit in recognition. Then he smiled and started laughing, that big deep laugh. I walked up to him and reached out to shake his hand, and he pushed it away and started trying to stand up. “Don’t stand up, Wiley. Don’t stand up.” But he kept trying and trying, and I do not know how he did it, but slowly, tenuously he made his way to his feet, and he reached out and put his arms around me, and hugged me and hugged me and hugged me. Wiley stopped laughing, and we stood hugging each other in silence. I always had known that he had understood a measure of how much he meant to me, and on that day at the Asbury Hospice House his laugh and his hug let me know how much I meant to him. I cannot begin to explain how much that means to me.
MEEK SCHOOL JOURNALISM AND NEW MEDIA MAGAZINE 2017 - 2018 ISSUE 5
PUBLISHER Will Norton, Jr. EDITOR Ellen Kellum COPY EDITOR Gregory Stepanich ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN Ellen Kellum DESIGN CONSULTANT Stefanie Goodwiller CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Andrew Abernathy, Ronnie Agnew, Elizabeth Blackstock, Bill Dabney, Allison Estes, Hannah Fields, David L. Hudson, Jr., Ellen Kellum, Kayla Lusby, Jennifer Bryon Owen, Charles Overby, Hannah Pickett, Gene Policinski, Deborah A. Purnell, Bill Rose, La Reeca Rucker, Anna Grace Usery
COVER PHOTO BY: Timothy Ivy PHOTOGRAPHY/ILLUSTRATION
Jay Adkins, Bill Dabney, Stefanie Goodwiller, Ji Hoon Heo, Timothy Ivy, Ellen Kellum, Seth Kellum, Logan Kirkland, Stan O’Dell, Ed Meek, Alysia Steele, Patricia Thompson, Duane Tinkey UM Communications Articles and opinions expressed in Meek School are those of the authors and do not represent the views of The University of Mississippi or the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reprinted in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.
M-Club Alumni present at Wiley Martin’s M-Club initiation in April of this year: Left to right: Dan Boyce, Jamie Holder, Steve Joyner, James Green and Jeffrey Holder. John Darnell, Wesley Walls, Mike Fitzsimmons and Coach Billy Brewer called in and spoke to the gathering by phone.
Meek School Magazine is published annually by The University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media 114 Farley Hall, University, MS 38677
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
Order in the Court PAGE 21 Now working with a full bench, the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on four different free speech cases. BY DAVID L. HUDSON, JR. AND GENE POLICINSKI
Backstory: Educators Bring Diverse Experience to the Classroom PAGE 25 Three educators at the Meek
School talk about bringing their extensive professional experience to the classes they teach.
The Gift of Perspective PAGE 38 Professor L. Darnell Weeden has come to see how meaningful his time as a journalism student and law school graduate has been. BY RONNIE AGNEW
Mixed Media: Taking Their Talent into the Real World PAGE 43 A degree in journalism and new media can lead to many different career paths. We talk to four alumni and see where their skills have led them.
CURRENT EVENTS News and updates on the accomplishments of the Meek School students and faculty.
QUESTION & ANSWER Scott Coopwood of Delta Magazine shares his thoughts on his personal history, his life in music and publishing, and what makes it all worthwhile.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Martin Baron, editor of The Washington Post, tells an auidence at the Newseum about his life in journalism and the critical importance of a free press.
PROJECT DELTA Assistant Professor of Journalism Alysia Burton Steele heads a group of educators and students from several states in a collaborative multimedia project in the Mississippi Delta.
BIG CITY MAGAZINES Samir Husni takes a group of his students to New York City every year to give them an inside look at the magazine industry. Allison Estes was there and shares her story of this unique opportunity.
SERVICE IN JOURNALISM James Autry reflects on his life and remarkable career as he shares his story beginning as a student at Ole Miss and becoming a CEO, author and sought-after consultant.
BOOK REPORT Read all about the latest published works written by our faculty and alumni.
WHY I GIVE Event planner Meghan Cease takes the time to pay it forward so that other students can have the same opportunities that helped to shape her own career.
Class of 2017 Meek School students celebrate receiving their diplomas. (More pictures from graduation on pages 66-68).
IN EVERY ISSUE From the Dean 2 Graduation Day 66 The Last Word 72
STATE OF MIND Bill Rose reflects on his love for teaching and his strong connection to his students.
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
BENJAMIN C. WATTERS
Looking Ahead NEW COURSES BEING OFFERED IN THE FALL
Meek School students suggested many things to include in the expansion, including a relaxation room like the one seen here at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida.
IMC 308 - SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CREATION Focus on using social media to engage with an audience using multimedia content. Students learn how to create graphics, animate and edit engaging multimedia projects using postproduction software.
Dream Big NEW FARLEY HALL FACILITY EXPANSION OFFERS A VISION TO MEET THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS AND FACULTY In the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media JOUR 101 Introduction to Mass Communications class this semester, also known as The Media Rewind, students learned about the history of media and envisioning its future through a number of classroom exercises. In one exercise, they were asked to envision the future of a new journalism/media building. Farley Hall, the campus journalism building, will be expanding, and architects are currently meeting with faculty members to solicit ideas about how a new addition to the building could be efficiently designed to meet the needs of future student journalists and integrated marketing communications majors. Students were asked to share a couple of ideas for architects. While they offered a variety of responses – adding a cafeteria or food service component to the building and making a larger, 24-hour study space were two recurring suggestions. - LA REECA RUCKER
JOURNALISM - VISUAL NEWSGATHERING The Meek School of Journalism and New Media will achieve new heights this spring when it offers the new May intersession course JOUR 353 Drone Journalism. “This course will examine how journalists can use drones in a safe and responsible way to craft messages for a mass audience,” said Instructional Associate Professor Ji Hoon Heo, who will lead the course. “News stories and content can benefit from the aerial perspectives that drone-mounted cameras can provide.” Heo said the course will explore Federal Aviation Administration regulations, local regulations, drone operations and techniques, and drone use ethics. Students will take the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification at the end of the course.
JOUR 585 - HEALTH COMMUNICATION This course targets students in communications and health professions interested in health-related careers. It focuses on the growing field of health communication, with an emphasis on health promotion, behavior change campaigns, and health journalism. JOUR 345 - DIGITAL MEDIA DIVERSITY Explores the origins, theory, and applications of diversity in digital media content and opens pathways among students and instructors to understand digital representations of race, sexuality, gender, disability, ethnicity, and class, underscoring and enlarging historical narratives of communication, the nature of audience and content creators within digital spaces. JOUR/IMC 594 - DESIGNING INTERACTIVITY This course guides students on the conceptualization, design and deployment of interactive graphics. JOUR/IMC 473 - MOTION GRAPHICS Study and experience in planning and producing visually driven multimedia content for internet, video and/or broadcast. Emphasis on the creative use of image, type, video, audio and multi-sensory driven content. JOUR/IMC 349 - 3D MODELING Learning basic techniques to create 3-D models in Cinema 4D. Understand the implications of texturing and lighting and the effects they have on productions. Learn the fundamentals of operating a camera in a 3-D environment.
ACCOLADES - PUBLIC RELATIONS STAN O’DELL
Winners of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition are: (front row, L-R) Rachel Anderson, Christina Triggs, Emma Arnold and Hannah Pickett; (back row) Alex Hicks, Sarah Cascone, and Cassidy Nessen.
PUBLIC RELATIONS STUDENTS WIN TOP HONORS AT PRAM COMPETITION University of Mississippi public relations students won every award presented in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition recently, and one student was named the best public relations college student in the state. Journalism and Spanish major Rachel Anderson from Chesapeake, Virginia, was named PRAM’s 2017 Student of the Year, competing with nominees from five other universities in the state. “Rachel was selected for her impressive record of excellence and drive in all areas such as her academic honors, PR-related organizations and experience, and for her activities on campus and in the community,” said Kylie Boring, PRAM’s director of student services. “She has acquired a skill set of talents that will help propel her into the public relations industry, and I am confident she will represent this industry to the highest standard.” Anderson also won an award for her student work, as did five other students and one alumna. Students entered public relations campaigns they produced in Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s Advanced Public Relations class. Each campaign required multimedia skills, including writing news and feature articles, shooting video and photos, creating digital media, planning creative events and conducting research.
“I was so proud that every student award presented went to one of our students,” Street said. “Our students demonstrated that they excel in the diverse set of skills needed in PR. That is a tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the Meek School.” The top award is the Prism, followed by the Excellence and Merit awards. Multiple students can win in the same category if they earn the required number of points. Hannah Pickett, an integrated marketing communications major from Houston, Texas, won a Prism. “Students from the University of Mississippi once again proved their knowledge and understanding of the public relations practice through their entries in the Prism Awards,” said Amanda Parker, PRAM’s vice president for awards. “The judges praised Prism Award winner Hannah Pickett for having an extremely creative and well-planned project, making it an excellent campaign all around.” Excellence winners were Anderson; Emma Arnold, a journalism major from McKenzie, Tennessee; and Christina Triggs, a marketing and corporate relations major from Sugarland, Texas. Merit winners were Sarah Cascone, a journalism major from Thomasville, Georgia; Cassidy Nessen, an IMC major from Katy, Texas; Alex Hicks, an IMC major from Meridian; and Maggie McDaniel, a journalism graduate from Columbus, Georgia, who now works as an account manager at Communications 21 in Atlanta.
STATS: Education and Enrollment
Number of undergraduate students in the Meek School
Graduate students currently enrolled
Number of students who graduated in the class of 2017
11% Amount that enrollment has increased in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media in the last year
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
Best of Meek Awards
UM ASSOCIATION OF BLACK
Rachel Anderson, Katelin Davis, Hannah Hurdle, Ariyl Onstott
JOURNALISTS WELCOMES MEDIA PROFESSIONALS
KAPPA TAU ALPHA GRADUATE SCHOLAR
KTA UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLAR
GRADUATE EXCELLENCE WINNERS
Mrudvi Vakshi Jane Walton
LAMBDA SIGMA WINNER
EXCELLENCE IN INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
Austin Dean Sharnique Smith
EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM
Maison Heil John Cooper Lawton
Rachel Anderson, Ferderica Cobb, Austin Dean, Elizabeth Ervin, Leah Gibson, Madison Heil, Cady Herring, Rachel Holman, Amanda Hunt, Hannah Hurdle, Amanda Jones, John Lawton, Taylor Lewis, Ariyl Onstott, Meredith Parker, Clara Turnage, Sudu Upadhyay, Brittanee Wallace
THE OVERBY AWARD
KAPPA TAU ALPHA INDUCTEES
Brandi Embrey, Allison Estes, Madison Heil, Rachael Holman, Hannah Hurdle, Tousley Leake, Taylor Lewis, Jessica Love, Hailey McKee, Olivia Morgan, Ariyl Onstott, Alexandria Paton, Natalie Seales, Zachary Shaw
DEAN’S AWARD WINNERS
Madeleine Dear, Lana Ferguson, Kylie Fichter, Jennifer Froning, Dylan Lewis, Emily Lindstrom, Sarah McCullen, Dixie McPherson, Anna Miller, Rashad Newsom, Hannah Pickett, Kalah Walker, Brittanee Wallace, Kara Weller, Anna Wierman
The University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists sponsored “Guidance Matters” on Saturday, April 22, at the Overby Center. Professionals and UM faculty critiqued student work and led a workshop for students about careers, résumés and portfolios. Participating were: Toni Avant, director of the UM Career Center; Kym Clark, WMCTV Memphis; Don Hudson, executive editor, Decatur Daily; Amicia Ramsey, WTOK-TV Meridian; Evangeline Robinson, IMC professor; Alysia Steele, UM multimedia journalism professor; Bobby Steele, UM IMC support faculty; Andrea Williams, WTOK-TV Meridian; and Patricia Thompson, UM assistant dean for Student Media and UMABJ adviser.
Miss University Winner Last fall, senior broadcast journalism major and McLean Institute Innovation Scholar Leah Gibson was crowned the 2017 Miss University of Mississippi. Gibson has always dreamed of being crowned Miss America. “I knew that if I worked hard enough to represent my school, I would have an entire university behind me in support of my efforts to become Miss Mississippi,” said Gibson, who also served as station manager for WUMS-FM 92.1 Rebel Radio. “If I can positively impact the lives of the young and the old with my presence, my engagement and my passion, then and only then will I feel that I have fulfilled my purpose in this precious season of my life as Miss University.”
Q & A - JOURNALISM 2017 MEEK SCHOOL GRADUATE CLARA TURNAGE SHARES DETAILS ABOUT LIFE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., THIS SUMMER
During this past year, Clara Turnage was editor in chief of The Daily Mississippian. During her tenure, the student paper won first place for Public Service Journalism at the SEJC conference last fall. Judges called the winning special edition an “outstanding example of public service journalism.” In March, the university’s Student Media Center brought home 13 first-place awards as well as two Best in Show awards at the Louisiana-Mississippi Associate Press college conference in Jackson, Miss. The Daily Mississippian won first pace in the college general excellence category and first place for college news website.
Clara Turnage won Best of Show in the newspaper division, as well as the investigative reporting and feature writing divisions. Judges called her investigative reporting entry “a clear winner. Heads above all the rest in terms of depth and sophistication.” Currently she is one of only three interns working in a highly coveted position as breaking news intern with The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. We recently had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her work this summer:
Q: What are you duties as a news intern? A: We are in charge of populating the Ticker blog—the Chronicle’s online breaking news segment—and with looking for stories to cover. Q: What would you say is the hardest part of the work so far? A: Searching through the plethora of tweets and newsfeeds to find breaking news stories that are either relevant to a national audience or important enough that we can make them relevant. Q: Who was your biggest influence while you were at the Meek School? A: I had great relationships with many of the journalism professors but I’d easily say I grew closest to Dean Patricia Thompson of the Student Media Center. She is the faculty adviser to The Daily Mississippian, so I saw her every day for about four years while I was there. I miss her already. She’s been one of the most influential people in my career and in my life.
I also really loved being in the classes of Curtis Wilkie, Charles Overby and Vanessa Gregory. All three are fiery, passionate journalists who are easy to look up to and hard to mimic.
Dean Norton is one of the reasons I have this internship. I can comfortably say I wouldn’t have gotten it if not for him. He made sure his students were seen by recruiters from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I interned with that newspaper last summer, and absolutely believe I wouldn’t be qualified for the Chronicle internship had I not first worked in Little Rock.
I owe a lot to the journalism school at Ole Miss, and I’m very thankful for the opportunities it has given me.
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
Magazine Experience ACT 7 CONFERENCE BRINGS INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS TO MAGAZINE INNOVATION CENTER Magazines and print journalism matter, and that was the theme at this year’s ACT 7 Experience at the University of Mississippi. The conference was hosted by the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media in April. This year, the focus was on the revival of the magazine industry in terms of publishing, advertising, creating content and distribution. The event also allowed students to network with industry professionals. Samir Husni, Ole Miss journalism professor and Magazine Innovation Center director, created the conference in 2010. It has grown to feature more than 50 speakers and 50 other attendees, including CEOs of major magazine and marketing companies, publishers, editors-in-chief and other industry leaders. Students were paired with industry professionals throughout the event to learn directly from them. “There is no other place where we have this collection of experts with future industry leaders,” Husni said. “When they see students in the audience, they tell us stuff from the heart and it creates an intimate atmosphere. CEOs and freshman students are on the same level of communication.”
ACCOLADES - FACULTY
Just Pause... DON’T BE QUICK TO JUDGE Meek School of Journalism and New Media public relations students, led by Senior Lecturer Robin Street (center), planned It Starts with (Me)ek, a series of campus events celebrating inclusion and rejecting stereotypes. The committee included (kneeling, from left) Emma Arnold and Brittanee Wallace, and (standing) Kendrick Pittman, Dylan Lewis, Street, Zacchaeus McEwen and Faith Fogarty. Shepard Smith, a UM alumnus and chief news anchor and managing editor for Fox News Network’s Breaking News Division, was among the keynote speakers. The five-day conference, which took place during the spring semester, was open to all students, faculty, staff and community members. It was designed to encourage inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes. It featured panelists and guest speakers discussing race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion. A diversity fashion show and a festival were also included.
University of Mississippi Professor Deborah Wenger has been named one of NewsPro magazine’s top 10 journalism educators in the country. “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.” 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.
MEDIA CENTER STUDENTS GARNER COVETED AWARDS THE DAILY
Students win Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Region 12 Mark of Excellence Awards
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Volume 105, No. 63
T H E S T U D E N T N E W S PA P E R O F T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I S S I S S I P P I S E R V I N G O L E M I S S A N D OX F O R D S I N C E 1 9 1 1
WHAT’S INSIDE... IN OPINION ... How a quote from Teddy Roosevelt can change the way you experience college
Student shares the story of her sexual assault to help others
SEE NEWS PAGE 5 University community talks through the 2016 election results SEE NEWS PAGE 8
Press play and meet Muscle Beach Records, Oxford’s newest label SEE LIFESTYLES PAGE 10
A rivalry dripping in gold: How the Egg Bowl defines Mississippi sports SEE SPORTS PAGE 12 Rebel offense prepares to face tough Vandy defense SEE SPORTS PAGE 13
FOR MORE CONTENT, SEE THEDMONLINE.COM
1ST-PLACE AWARDS: The Daily Mississippian - Best Daily Newspaper NewsWatch Ole Miss – Best Television Newscast Ariel Cobbert – Photography Clara Turnage - General News Reporting Clara Turnage – Feature Writing Payton Green and Lauren Layton – Television Breaking News
SEE NEWS PAGE 4
Six 1st-Place Awards, 14 Awards Total
SEE OPINION PAGE 3
Local police address underage drinking
housing for county
SEE OPINION PAGE 2 Exercise your constitutional rights in response to the election results
National retailers bring jobs to Oxford
lexis Smith loves stories. She loves to share. She loves to write. She loves to blog. One of the latest stories she has shared is about what happened to her a little more than a year ago. “Tomorrow makes one year since I was sexually assaulted,” her Facebook post begins. “I share this because I want to do my part to help end the stigma that surrounds talking about sexual assault and rape.” The post has more than
300 likes and almost 30 shares. All of the comments are supportive, praising Smith for sharing her story. Smith, a junior international studies major, was sexually assaulted in Oxford last Halloween. She said it took her about a month before she really began PHOTOS BY: CAMERON BROOKS publicly talking about Alexis Smith. what happened. I realize this has happened to She said writing and sharing a lot of people,” Smith said. her story has helped her to “I share because it connects heal, and she has had other me with other people, mainly survivors of sexual assault women, that have survived reach out to her to share their sexual assault.” stories. “The more I share, the more
University of Mississippi professors are teaming up with students and county oﬃcials to help solve low-income housing issues in Oxford. Sociology professor John Thomas will teach “Affordable Housing in Oxford, MS” as a spring honors course. The class will study housing issues, poverty and compile in-depth statistics on Lafayette County. Thomas said the students will work with local oﬃcials and the Center for Population Studies to design a survey and collect information. “Most of the data the county has to work with is secondary census data, which is accurate, but the census data cannot provide some of the smaller details,” Thomas said. Thomas said more in-depth household surveys will illustrate the shades of poverty within incomes and socioeconomic statuses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 26 percent of the population is living in poverty. From 2010 to 2015, the population has increased more than 12 percent, but the thousands of housing units being built are not meant for low-income families.
SEE OVERCOMING PAGE 9
SEE HOUSING PAGE 4
The symbols’ keeper: Ole Miss’ identity struggle The Daily Mississippian submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the emails submitted to the Chancellor’s Committee for History and Context regarding the contextual plaque placed on the Confederate Memorial statue.
On any tour day in Oxford, prospective students are herded from landmark to landmark on campus as a guide tells them the history of Ole Miss. They walk through the Circle, past the Confederate Memorial with its newly erected contextual plaque. They pass the James Meredith statue in front of the library and go across campus to other historic buildings, like Vardaman Hall, which was built more than 80 years ago. They see the columns of the Lyceum, where a guide might point to the bullet marks that mar the university’s most recognizable
facade. They move on to the American ﬂag in the Circle, which once hung just above the state ﬂag but now ﬂies alone. These names, sites and symbols may seem benign, but they are at the heart of some of the university’s deepest divisions. In this place, vestiges of the university’s mottled past bleed into everyday life, reopening old wounds and growing divisions as new movements tear away from tradition.
GUARDIAN OF THE SOUTH “This university has been the keeper of Southern symbols, the keeper for all of the South,” said Donald Cole, who is assistant pro-
vost and assistant to the chancellor concerning minority affairs. “As other Southern universities have abandoned some of these symbols, it looks as if many people of the South have rallied around us as the keeper of those symbols– even when their states have refused to keep them themselves. That has haunted us quite a bit.” Before Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter came to campus in January 2016, a committee had been created to address some of the more controversial symbols and names on campus. Foremost on the list was the Confederate Statue. The committee decided on language for the contextualization in fall 2015 and ordered the plaque, which would
not be placed until March 17. It was met with backlash. In the days after the placement of the new plaque, several groups released statements arguing against the text. Some, like the campus NAACP and the UM History Department, said the plaque did not recognize the complex history of the monument. Many others, however, were more upset that there was no community input or awareness of the process. The original plaque text said, “As Confederate veterans were passing from the scene in increasing numbers, memorial associations built monuments in their memory all across the South. This
Ole Miss students won more awards than any other university in the Region 12 (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee)
SEE SYMBOLS PAGE 6
Students win Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC) Awards Three 1st-Place Awards, 18 Awards Total 1ST-PLACE AWARDS: Public Service Journalism – DM’s “The Red Zone” special edition – Clara Turnage, editor-in-chief Magazine Writing – DM managing editor Lana Ferguson Feature Writing – DM Lifestyle editor Zoe McDonald Best of the South Contest – entries from 29 universities
from seven Southeast states
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COBBERT them, ‘You all as Post- Traum short-term or women and PHOTO BY: ARIEL (a)Health and is excited to tunity to say to long-term incident defi- abuse atic care time to lead.’” “The Derby Days leaders and it’s d as childr is 16% higher for Stress Disorder (PTSD of the gave two tasks: women who en (m) Child added to the urgency way, in six ) Hephner Labanc that account- nitely boys in were sexua and think I will be sexua sexually l abuseOne to update policies regards to all conversation. (f)34% of in four in that room,” Walker people who lly abused befor it got us all in ability measures (n)12.3% e they turn girls and one sexually abuse the administraand philanthropic of women 18 years said. “I think that fraternity social rape/ show victim a child are were age a summer sumIFC a chance to izatio family mem old 10 events and to host n- tion is giving the values 17 (a)27.8% n, and 30% of womor younger at the bers and internatio we can align with time of their mit with national of men were en were betw g for focused on that preachinrape/ first victimizatio age 10 or that we’ve been al office and advisers gotten younger at een the ages of 11 n (a) More raped improvements and have years needed g befor and and than one-t the years identifyin e hird of wom time of their first community. sexually abuseage 18 also expe away from.” in the fraternity rience rape en the counchildr said the group wantedchildr as an adult who report being Walker said he Hephner Labanc tive are adult en are male, and ity to refocus (a)96% on preventaen 76.8% of s (n)325,000 ercial child needed the opportun y took more cil to focus morecomm people who of people who of only focusing children sexual explo first measures instead before the Universit becos.me victim itation each are at risk of beco sexually abuse . boyssituation s of ming victim on fixing existing year (m) The drastic measures is 11 to in that give our students s of 13 years oldprostitution is 12 to a shared vision avera have men “We “I wanted to ge and these are age at which for sexua In order ity to step up lly assaulted (m) Campus Sexu 14 years old, and the the opportun on colleg very room of leaders. y, it has al assault On average agegirls while in colleg e camp know they care to work effectivel uses e policies self-r lead because I in hurshe for e,” 5 e do first women and (i). More than the experienc That’s ed down.eport acts quali not report the assau one in 16 deeply about the to- to filter rapes “Right now, evfying as lt (c) 63.3 90% of sexual assau them to come said. Crim Walker (j) esaying, dle,” said. “I want repor‘Fix % of men not ts Rape is rape or attempted repor focusing on their at one unive lt victims in my mind ted is polic the most rape admi erything gether and stop rsity who we’re inspirThe The truth is,to e (o). Only unde tted to comm how one is better lence of false it now.’preva differences and 12% of child r-reported crime and comm ion that COBBERT ion aspect – in an organizat ; 63% of sexuaitting repeat reporting PHOTO BY: ARIEL unitie – the competit ity. ing change might s,forwhich is between2 sexual abuse is repor years. It includ with sophomore come to gather as a commun (k).A changed study % and 10%. ted to the l assaults are ed 2,059 TURNER Tiffany Benson talks hap- hasn’t of to Left: 136 Plaza. PHOTO BY: EVAN starting time.” cases is Union sophomore of autho sexua a For exam bit ers take of sexual a little studi rities (g). l assault cases afternoon on the And I think that Right: Paige Mckiney, ed 812 ple, a study assault, ty Fair Wednesday reports of during Green Week. in Boston of eight U.S. continues with Sustainabili pen.” the Student Union sexua found a 5.9%found a 7.1% rate said the Derby Top: UM Green Week Oxford Community Garden outside Week farmers’ market. line.com. l assault from of false Hephner Labanc the rate of false bean during Green 2000-03 and lecture. nationals, see thedmon Kenric Wright about the globe to earn a reports (j). reports found a 2.1% ASB and Sigma Chi tion science signs ‘What’s in the water?’ majoring communica For statements from archGRAPHIC rate of false Rese the Green Week’s MARISA MORRISS reports BY: m for coverage of ETTE AND (h). MARY RUTH See thedmonline.co WOMBLE
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Students win Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Awards 15 1st-Place Awards, 24 Awards Total
1ST-PLACE AWARDS: The Daily Mississippian – College Newspaper General Excellence The Daily Mississippian Staff – Best Website The Daily Mississippian Staff – Breaking/Spot News NewsWatch Ole Miss – Sportscast or News Program Meek School Documentary Class – College Documentary Clara Turnage – Enterprise/Investigative Writing Clara Turnage – Feature Writing Clara Turnage/The Daily Mississippian – Best of Show, Newspapers Billy Rainey/Rebel Radio – Best of Show, Radio Billy Rainey – College Radio News Story Italiana Anderson, Rebel Radio – College Radio Documentary Brian Scott Rippee – College Sports Enterprise/Feature Jake Thrasher – College Personal Columns Cameron Brooks – College Sports Photos Sara McAlister – College Radio Sports Story
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
QUESTION & ANSWER
Deep-Run Roots SCOTT COOPWOOD MULTIPLE GENERATIONS GIVE AN AUTHENTIC VOICE TO THIS MISSISSIPPI DELTAN’S WORLD OF MUSIC AND MAGAZINE PUBLISHING
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of producing a quality magazine? Trying to outdo ourselves with every new edition! Every edition must be better than the last in order to keep our readers interested. When I created Delta Magazine, I spent a year before the first edition was published deciding what the look of the magazine should be, what the content would consist of, and how all of that would be presented. From that first edition back in 2003, we have tried hard to meet the expectations of our readers with every outing. What has been the greatest satisfaction for you as a magazine publisher? In our particular situation, my greatest satisfaction as the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine has been introducing people from around the state and country to our special region of Mississippi. There is simply nothing like the Mississippi Delta. In regard to publishing magazines in general, including Delta Magazine and our other magazines, creating ideas from thin air, bringing them together and presenting them to the public with beautiful photography and engaging content and then receiving a tremendous response from readers and the public brings incredible satisfaction to us. How would you describe the audience for Delta Magazine? Our audience is made up of people who love the Delta and who are from here, perhaps they still live here or live beyond our borders. Then, our audience would consist of people who have visited and have had a special experience and want to remain connected to the Delta. Our audience is also made up of people who have never been to the Delta, but have heard about it and are interested in our region and our way of life. Our audience is very loyal and are completely engaged in what we are doing whether that is the magazine, our social media platforms, our products unique to the Delta, or our events. Most publishers choose to work in areas far more populated than the Mississippi Delta. What’s the attraction for you? I’m a seventh-generation Mississippian and a fifth-generation Deltan. My family was among that first wave who settled in the Delta at the end of the Civil War. Therefore, my roots are deep here and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Also, in my lifetime, I have seen the world discover the
Delta via our music, food, and other culture. People from around the globe are drawn to the Delta and that has been exciting to witness firsthand. We must have a certain ad revenue coming in to survive and in a small market like the Delta, those ad dollars are not as tall as ad dollars in more populated markets. However, our mission isn’t completely about the money; it’s about publishing something that we feel celebrates and promotes our way of life. You are well-known as a musician who performs with professionals, a person who knows his way around a guitar, but you have called it “just a hobby.” Why? I started playing a guitar in the late 1960s and never stopped. I played in bands in high school and college, but I found it was more fun to write songs and make records than playing in a smoky bar. On a good day, “making it” in the music business is almost impossible, and while some do make a fortune in that industry, most barely survive. I didn’t want to just survive and I enjoyed making records. But, when I met my wife (Cindy), I decided it was time to get a haircut and go to work and that’s what I did. I wanted to be in a position to support a family and my music outing back in the day wasn’t going to pay the bills. I still love music and I continue to play a couple of blues festivals each year with my good friend, Derek St. Holmes, who has been Ted Nugent’s singer for over 30 years. So, through Derek and my other friends who have actually “made it” I have lived vicariously through them! When people ask you about Ole Miss, what do you tell them? I tell them that Ole Miss literally made my life and it continues to do so. I was lucky to fall into an area I love—writing and marketing—and I learned all of these skills at Ole Miss. I was also blessed to have some great instructors who were not only my teachers, but my friends. They pushed me and gave me tons of encouragement. I needed that back in those days.
Clockwise from top left: Scott Coopwood and his wife Cindy; sharing the stage at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale with Samir Husni as part of the Act 6 Experience in 2016; taking the stage at Ground Zero with Derek St. Holmes.
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE NEWS INDUSTRY
The Power of Free Speech
THE NEWSEUM INSTITUTE, THE FREEDOM FORUM AND THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA RECENTLY AWARDED MARTIN BARON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE WASHINGTON POST, THE AL NEUHARTH AWARD, WHICH RECOGNIZES EXCELLENCE IN MEDIA AND A COMMITMENT TO FREE EXPRESSION AND A FREE PRESS. HERE IS BARON’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:
Walter Cronkite was the first recipient of this award, in 1989. It is an incalculable honor to be in his company and that of the other 29 distinguished recipients, including Judy Woodruff, John Seigenthaler and Peter Prichard, who are here tonight. Cronkite was not just a revered eminence in our profession. All of us of a certain age remember the dignity of his presence, the resonance of his voice, the authority he brought to the news. He was also a man of deep commitment to the principles of the profession. At this moment in our history, it’s worth reminding ourselves and the public of what Cronkite called upon journalists to do: Report the facts as we see them – quote – “without regard for the consequences or controversy that may ensue.” That principled position is one that can serve us well today, when we in the press are subjected to endless words of condemnation and when we are persistently targeted for intimidation. We have a job to do. And we need to do it, no matter what. We as a profession will need a strong set of values – the sort of values that are enshrined in this very building. I like to call that our soul. We as journalists will also need a strong spine. If we abandon our mission
out of fear or out of weakness, a central pillar of America’s democracy will collapse. The public will not forgive us, nor in my view should they. I want to express my appreciation to the sponsors of this award – the Freedom Forum, the Newseum Institute, and the University of South Dakota, which
“...when there is evidence of wrongdoing, we need to find the truth for ourselves – and for a public that needs and deserves to know.” – Martin Baron Al Neuharth, a South Dakota native, attended – his first step toward a spectacular career as a journalism pioneer, innovator, disrupter, and champion. The Newseum is testament to Al Neuharth’s reverence for the First Amendment and his recognition that the rights it guaranteed are what, above all, make this country exceptional. It is only appropriate that the building stand on Pennsylvania Avenue be-
tween Congress and the Supreme Court on one side and the White House on the other – a position that speaks to the obligation of the press to keep watch over every branch of government. When in 1991, Al Neuharth changed the name of the Gannett Foundation to the Freedom Forum, he meant to send a message – about the important mission of free speech, a free press and, he added, a “free spirit.” Not just in this country, by the way, but around the world. Here at the Newseum, the inspiration of Al Neuharth, all of us who work as journalists today can remind ourselves of the courage of those who came before us. Our predecessors in this profession fought to ensure that the First Amendment became more than words and that free expression became a way of life — became central to what it means to be a citizen of the United States. Al Neuharth and I received our early education as journalists at the same place, The Miami Herald. In 1954, the year I was born, he went there from South Dakota to become a reporter, earning $95 per week. Twentytwo years later, I started my full-time career at The Herald, earning $200 a week – first working out of a two-man bureau in the town of Stuart, then with a
MARTIN BARON population of 12,000, the county seat in Martin County, population 50,000. More than two decades after that, thanks to Alberto Ibargüen’s brave decision to hire me as the Herald’s editor, I returned to Miami. The Herald’s newsroom has been a place that vibrates with all that makes journalism such an exciting and fulfilling profession. When big news breaks – and in Miami, that’s pretty much all the time—the Herald is a machine. And in Al Neuharth’s time, in my two tenures there, and still today, the Herald’s news staff has been as dogged as they come, determined to root out malfeasance, never content with facile answers, always searching for the truth. When I was editor there, I faced my first big test on a national scale.
It was the year 2000. November. And the unimaginable happened in a presidential election. No one was sure who had won. Florida would decide whether it was George W. Bush or Al Gore. With an official vote difference in the hundreds – and with charges of improper counting, confusing ballots, and voter suppression – a constitutional crisis was in the making. When the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Gore campaign’s request for an official recount by a vote of 5-4, the Herald decided to do its own recount. Under Florida’s public records law, the Herald asserted a right to examine for ourselves every ballot cast in the state. We inspected them one by one, along with a major accounting firm. When our plan to conduct a recount
became known, we were condemned by Republicans, who accused us of seeking to delegitimize a Bush presidency. But we just wanted to get at the truth. We felt Americans were entitled to know who really won. And in the end, we concluded that Bush had almost certainly won, by a small but solidly documented margin. We were doing exactly what Walter Cronkite advised: Getting the facts and reporting them “without regard for the consequences or controversy that may ensue.” In 2001, I became editor of The Boston Globe. And there was a case that immediately caught my interest. A Boston priest had been accused of molesting as many as 80 children. The plaintiffs’ lawyer accused the car-
Allen Harold "Al" Neuharth was an American businessman, author, and columnist born in Eureka, South Dakota. He was the founder of USA Today, The Freedom Forum, and its Newseum. The Freedom Forum, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy, and is the principal funder of the Newseum and Newseum Institute.
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE NEWS INDUSTRY
“We must do our jobs as they’re supposed to be done, drawing inspiration from James Madison’s argument for the First Amendment: that the press should have the ‘right of freely examining public characters and measures.’” – Martin Baron
dinal himself of knowing the priest’s shocking history of abuse and yet reassigning him from one parish to the next. Lawyers for the archdiocese called those accusations irresponsible and baseless. It was not enough to report competing accounts of the truth. As a news organization, when there is evidence of wrongdoing, we need to find the truth for ourselves – and for a public that needs and deserves to know. And so the Boston Globe went about that work. The work went beyond this one horrible case. We needed to know whether the Church had repeatedly failed to disclose clergy abuse, repeatedly reassigned priests who had been credibly accused of abuse from one parish to the next – without notifying parents, or other priests, or the public at large. Were they putting additional children at risk of harm, again and again? We went ahead with an investigation. And the Globe went to court, where we argued that the law and public interest demanded that documents kept secret by the Church be made public. Thankfully, we prevailed. Church files that had been locked away would be made public by court order. And, along with vigorous indepen-
dent reporting, we documented a pattern of cover-up lasting half a century. Victims were given a voice – and the hearing they’d long been denied. One of the world’s most powerful institutions was held accountable. Children were made more safe. And the public won the truth. The truth changed the way the Church and other major institutions now deal with sexual abuse. The lesson, of course, is that no one should be immune from responsibility, least of all the powerful. No one should be denied a hearing, least of all the powerless. There may be nothing more powerful in our society than the federal government. And that was something I had to think about shortly after I became executive editor of The Washington Post in 2013, after an unidentified individual sent former Post staffer Bart Gellman an encryption key and instructions to create an account on an anonymous computer server. The source, of course, was Edward Snowden. And Bart would propose to The Post stories based on highly classified documents Snowden had obtained. We published because we felt the public interest would be served, because what would be revealed went far beyond particular intelligence sources
and methods – secrets the press had traditionally withheld from publication. The documents revealed a sweeping national policy, one that dramatically expanded surveillance and sharply eroded individual privacy. This policy raised important questions: Do American citizens get to determine how much privacy they’re entitled to? Or does government decide all that for us — in secret — as long as it can assert national security as its rationale? The documents would reveal that the National Security Agency was conducting surveillance of breathtaking scope. Major technology companies ultimately wrote the president to say the following: “We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But … The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual – rights that are enshrined in our Constitution.” Our work and that of other publications, most notably The Guardian, led to a public debate that had never been allowed to take place — about the proper balance between national security and individual privacy. Many in this country argued that our decision to publish carried unac-
ceptable risks to a nation under persistent threat. And yet many others are grateful that we exposed government activities they would never have approved and that in the wrong hands could be horribly abused. At the center of our mission as journalists is holding powerful institutions and powerful individuals accountable. I hope the current U.S. president understands that. It’s not evident yet that he does. His language about journalists during the campaign was bad enough. He called us scum, low-lifes, disgusting, the lowest form of humanity, and —when that wasn’t enough—the lowest form of life. When he took office, we became “enemy of the American people.” And the latest evidence suggests he has been eager to put journalists in jail for leaks. Whatever the language, whatever
the threats, we must do our jobs as they’re supposed to be done, drawing inspiration from James Madison’s argument for the First Amendment: that the press should have the “right of freely examining public characters and measures.” Our industry faces many challenges. There are financial challenges. There are technological challenges. There is the challenge of our credibility with the public. I firmly believe we can meet these challenges. But first and foremost we must know who we are and what we stand for. And we cannot waver in our commitment to a mission that has been with us since this country acquired a Bill of Rights. There’s a quote from our owner, Jeff Bezos, on one of the glass partitions in our still-new D.C. offices. It goes like this:
“I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it's not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that’s not why you do it. You do it because you have something meaningful that motivates you.” We as journalists have something meaningful that motivates us. And today, despite all that confronts our profession, that sense of purpose feels stronger than ever. It is an exhausting time to be a journalist. But it is also an exhilarating time. It is a time when we are tested. It is a tense time. It is also a time when a free and independent press feels indispensable. It is indispensable, and the sense of purpose in our profession is stronger than ever. I chose journalism as a career 41 years ago. Today, I know this: I could not have made a better choice.
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marketing communications? Get a step ahead through Ole Miss AMA. The American Marketing Association chapter at Ole Miss exists to connect students and prepare them for marketing careers. We strive to keep our focus on the benefit of our members by providing them with valuable career information, industry resources, and leadership opportunities. Ole Miss AMA provides the opportunity to get involved, network with peers, and learn from marketing professionals. Our chapter holds a wide range of events and activities. From LinkedIn workshops to national competitions, we provide events that matter.
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.com MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN JOURNALISM
The Face of Experience
JAMES AUTRY THIS FORMER PRESIDENT OF MEREDITH CORPORATION MAGAZINE GROUP AND MEMBER OF THE OLE MISS ALUMNI HALL OF FAME IS AN AUTHOR, POET, AND WORLD-CLASS MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT
Acclaimed author, businessman and Ole Miss alumnus James Autry discounted the proverbial phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none” when he rose to the top of his successful media, business and literary careers. He in fact defies separation of left-brained and right-brained mentalities, cohesively twining successes in media managing and writing with creative vigor. He now serves as a national educational speaker, and consults and conducts leadership trainings for many international corporations in Australia, Canada, Iceland, The Bahamas, The Netherlands and Singapore. He remains humble about his accomplishments, and says he’s simply grateful to have had the experiences. Each of his 13 published works including, Nights Under a Tin Roof: Recollections of a Southern Boyhood, Life After Mississippi, and his book released in June 2012, Choosing Gratitude: Learning To Love The Life You Have, are succinct portrayals of Autry’s grounded Southern raising all the way to his lesson-learned outlook on his life. His awards include the prestigious Johnson, Smith and Knisely Award for
BY ANNA GRACE USERY PHOTOGRAPHY BY DUANE TINKEY
the book that contributed the most to executive thinking in 1992, Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership. As a Memphis, Tennessee native, Autry ping-ponged between his hometown and north Mississippi in his early summers after his
“Our lives are not about ourselves. The context we live in compared to others should be about supporting, nurturing and being sensitive to others.” – James Autry mother and father divorced. His experiences in Mississippi shaped several poems included in Nights Under a Tin Roof. Although Autry only calls a part of himself a Southerner, his occupation as a writer was never a question. “I always knew I wanted to be a journalist,” said Autry. “I always told people what my goals were when I was young. I wanted to be a newspaperman and make $50 a week. People ask if that was my only goal, and I always say ‘yes.’” Autry said his older brother Ronald was his hero in their father’s absence, despite an 11-year age gap. Autry sought paperboy jobs from the age of
12 to escape the destitution his father left him and his mother in. He yearned to follow in the footsteps of his brother, who worked for the Associated Press in Memphis and eventually advanced to AP bureau chief in Atlanta. He knew an education was required in order for that to happen. Autry had somewhat of an unconventional start to his journalism career at the University of Mississippi, and it began with a clarinet. “I wasn’t an athlete by any means,” Autry said. “A friend and I went to the first day of football tryouts and after the ‘beltline’ (lining up and running the field while the upperclassmen hit you with belts) we decided we’d never go back again.” The same friend got involved with the high school band and encouraged Autry to join. He confessed he didn’t know how to play an instrument, but the friend reassured him all they really needed were bodies to march. “I was handed a clarinet that I eventually learned to play,” he said. “I went to Ole Miss on a clarinet scholarship and marched all four years I was here. During my senior year there was a spot open for drum major, so I tried out and got it.” With a journalism degree in hand, Autry then segued into the military. He flew jet fighters in France for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during the Cold War for three years. After exiting the Air Force he became editor and publisher of a small weekly newspaper, The CourierChronicle in Humboldt, Tennessee. While this was a valuable journalistic and life experience,
Reprinted With Permission From dsm Magazine, Business Publications Corp. Inc.
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN JOURNALISM
“You can’t scare people into doing a good job, but rather instill a certain level of confidence in your employees to see favorable results.” — James Autry
Autry found himself searching for something more. A fellow journalism student put him in touch with Tom Textor, the sales director of Better Homes and Garden Books. Textor was an ex-Navy pilot himself and when the two met in person they spent most of their time talking about flying. A job in sales was offered and Autry declined, as it was not in the realm of journalism. However, Textor put in a good word for Autry with the managing editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine when they were looking to replace a copy editor in 1960. Autry obtained the copy editor job and by 1962 he was appointed managing editor. He left Meredith in 1967 to become editor and pubisher of New Orleans magazine. Autry returned to Meredith Corp. in 1968 and by 1970 became the editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens. By 1976, Autry had become vice president and editor-in-chief of all magazines and books. In the late 1970s, he went from being editorin-chief of books and magazines to the general manager of the magazine group. “In other words, I moved from the editorial side to the business side,” Autry said. He fostered an atmosphere of teamwork and creativity that was very productive. “We went from four magazines to 17 in two years.” Autry is well respected in all regards – especially by two Meek School of Journalism and New Media staples: Dean Will Norton and Samir Husni. Norton is a longtime friend, and Husni, the director of the Magazine Innovation Center, looks to Autry for mentorship. As a transplant from Tripoli, Lebanon, Husni didn’t land in northern Mississippi after swirling his finger and picking a spot on the map. He landed in Texas and later Missouri to further
his education. Then thanks to Norton and Autry in conjunction, he arrived in Oxford. The Meredith Corporation allotted money to spearhead the inception of the first magazine service journalism program in the nation, with Husni at the forefront. As his mentor, Autry introduced him to people in the media and sent his first publication, “Samir’s Husni’s Guide to New Magazines,” to every magazine publisher in the U.S. to showcase the man in whom he believed. “Some people may be deceived by Jim’s soft-spoken, Southern, genteel approach to things, but behind those attributes is a great brain at work,” Husni said. “It’s a brain that mixes the creative part with the execution part. He treated business with passion, creativity and all the complexities that a business needs with genuine interest.” Autry’s experience in the magazine industry caused him to draw many insights to advise better working relationships and managerial directions. His leadership skills are known throughout the world. “Managers inevitably believe they need to boss people,” he said. “You can’t scare people into doing a good job, but rather instill a certain level of confidence in your employees to see favorable results.” Although the Golden Rule has always applied to his life, Autry clarified you don’t have to like whom you work with, but you do have to care about each other to ultimately achieve a common goal. Using that defined focus to achieve common goals is one he’d use for the remainder of his life, emphasizing always living his life in context with others. He says it’s something for millennials to live by, too. “Our lives are not about ourselves,” Autry said. “The context we live in compared to oth-
ers should be about supporting, nurturing and being sensitive to others.” Norton said Autry had no reason to go out of his way to supplement the magazine journalism program at Ole Miss, but he took $25,000 out of his magazine budget to help establish it. “Autry never acts like he’s a big deal,” Norton said. “He’s one of the few people I can call a spiritual person. He makes decisions, not for fame or money, but because he’s not going to be on Earth forever and he wants to do right.” Norton said when he went to Autry’s retirement party in Des Moines in the early ’90s, the place was filled with people. “People loved him,” he said. “Those people knew he cared about each and every single one of them.” Retirement as senior vice president of The Meredith Corporation and president of its Magazine Group came early. “I had done everything I wanted to do in my career,” he said. “Also, my wife was carrying a heavy load with our autistic son, Ronald, and I wanted to help more. I’m glad I decided to do that for us.” He and his wife Sally Pederson, former lieutenant governor of Iowa, now play huge roles in supporting autism awareness groups. Ronald now has his own apartment, takes care of two pets and calls his dad every morning to tell him what the weather is going to be like. Autry’s outlook on present and future magazines is positive, saying journalism is no longer focused on the technical side of things, but on knowing your social sciences – aka your audience. Television wasn’t the end of radio, the internet wasn’t the end of TV. The mediums just needed to adapt to change. “Magazines have always known who their audiences are,” he said. “Advertisers will soon find clicks aren’t really potential customers. There will be a huge shakeout and advertisers will find their way back into mediums focused on service journalism like magazines.” For aspiring journalism professionals, Autry advises: “Envisioning yourself as a brand is inaccurate and dehumanizing,” he said. “You are a human being, so start thinking of yourself as one.”
First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
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‘NINE’ MIGHT BE THE BIGGEST NUMBER FOR U.S. SUPREME COURT THIS TERM BY DAVID L. HUDSON, JR. AND GENE POLICINSKI
THE BIGGEST NEWS OUT OF THE U.S. SUPREME Court’s 2016-2017 term may have been the number nine. That’s because the Court finally added a ninth member – Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, who previously had served on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. With his colorful and clear writing style, Gorsuch should add some interest for Court aficionados and others who read Supreme Court opinions. On the First Amendment front, the Court decided four cases in the areas of religious liberty, trademark law and free speech, economic regulation versus speech, and internet access by sex offenders. The Court’s decisions added much to the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause and a variety of important free-speech principles, including viewpoint discrimination, the government speech doctrine, the speech-conduct dichotomy, and the overbreadth doctrine.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY The most dissension among the justices in a First Amendment case occurred in the religious liberty case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer. The Missouri-based church sued, contending that its free-exercise of religion rights were violated after government officials denied the school’s application for participation in a playground-resurfacing program. The Court decided The church’s child care learning four cases in the areas center applied to replace its gravel with a rubber surface by participatof religious liberty, ing in the state’s Scrap Tire Protrademark law and gram. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources denied the applifree speech, economic cation based on the religious liberty regulation versus provision of the Missouri Constitution, which provides in part: “That speech, and internet no money shall ever be taken from access by sex offenders. the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church …”
Writing for the 7-2 majority, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. described the program as a “generally available benefit” and determined that the state government had discriminated against the church on religious grounds in violation of the Free Exercise Clause. “Here there is no question that Trinity Lutheran was denied a grant simply because of what it is – a church,” Roberts wrote. “In this case, there is no dispute that Trinity Lutheran is put to the choice between being a church and receiving a government benefit.” Because the Court determined the department’s actions clearly targeted the church, the Court applied strict scrutiny – the highest form of judicial review – which requires the state to have a compelling, or most important, justification for its policy. “In the face of the clear infringement on free exercise before us, that interest cannot qualify as compelling,” Roberts wrote. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a passionate opinion that she read from the bench. She warned that the decision “weakens this country’s longstanding commitment to separation of church and state” and “discounts centuries of history and jeopardizes the government’s ability to remain secular.” She emphasized that Missouri’s choice in its state constitution to prohibit indirect or direct government aid to religion was a constitutional choice deeply rooted in history.
DISPARAGEMENT AND TRADEMARK LAW In Matal v. Tam, the Court unanimously determined that the federal trademark law prohibiting disparaging trademarks violated a “bedrock principle” of the First Amendment – that the government may not restrict speech simply because it is offensive.” The case involved lead singer Simon Tam’s attempt to obtain federal trademark registration of his band’s name, The Slants. The Patent and Trademark Office (PT0) denied the re-
quest, finding that the term “Slants” was offensive to a large number of people. Tam, on the other hand, contended that his band’s use of the term diffused its negative power. Tam argued that the denial of the term constituted viewpoint discrimination, because the government discriminated against speech because they didn’t like the offensive term. The PTO countered that the viewpoint discrimination principle didn’t apply because trademarks are a form of government speech. Under the government speech doctrine, the government can support its own speech or expression without having to fund or support other messages. In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito determined that trademarks are private speech, not government speech. He warned that the government speech doctrine “is susceptible to dangerous misuse” and could allow the government to stifle dissenting views. The PTO also argued that trademarks are a form of commercial speech, or advertising, and entitled to less free-speech protection. Under free-speech law, commercial speech receives less protection than political speech. Alito and the Court did not resolve whether trademarks are commercial or noncommercial speech, finding that even under the less burdensome standard for reviewing commercial speech regulations, the disparagement bar failed the test. Alito explained that the “proudest boast” of our First Amendment law – to quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes – is that we protect speech we hate. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a strong concurring opinion in which he explained in great detail why the federal disparagement ban constituted viewpoint discrimination. He invoked the grand concept of the marketplace of ideas – that the government generally should not interfere with different ideas and expressions. “By mandating positivity, the law here might silence dissent and distort the marketplace of ideas,” he wrote.
REGULATION OF ECONOMIC CONDUCT, OR FREE-SPEECH RESTRICTION In Expression Hair Designs v. Schneiderman, the Court examined New York’s so-called “no-surcharge law.” The law prohibits merchants from imposing a surcharge on consumers who buy products using credit cards instead of cash. Howev-
In Packingham v. North Carolina, the Court unanimously invalidated a North Carolina law that restricts registered sex offenders from accessing commercial social networking websites that minors are known to frequent.
er, the law allows merchants to offer discounts to those who pay in cash. The law prohibits a merchant from calling the price differential a “surcharge” but allows them to use the term “discount.” Expression Hair Designs and other businesses contend the no-surcharge law violates the First Amendment because it restricts merchants in how they describe transactions to consumers. However, the New York government countered that the law regulates economic conduct and does not implicate the First Amendment. The case presented the Court with an opportunity to explain when a law merely regulates conduct or restricts speech. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had dimissed the lawsuit, finding that the law only regulated economic conduct, not speech. The Supreme Court disagreed, in an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, who determined that “[in] regulating the communication of prices rather than prices themselves, [the New York law] regulates speech.” Since the 2nd Circuit did not address the speech question, the Court remanded the case to the appeals court to determine whether the New York law is a valid restriction on commercial speech or a valid disclosure requirement. Whatever the ultimate fate of the law, the Court showed sensitivity to free-speech concerns by rejecting the facile approach of simply labeling the law as regulating only conduct.
RESTRICTING SEXUAL OFFENDER ACCESS TO WEBSITES In Packingham v. North Carolina, the Court unanimously invalidated a North Carolina law that restricts registered sex offenders from accessing commercial social networking websites that minors are known to frequent. Lester Packingham allegedly violated the law for maintaining a Facebook page. The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the law, finding that it regulated conduct and only incidentally restricted speech. “The interest reflected in the statute at bar, which protects children from convicted sex offenders
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The Court ... declined to extend the reach of the government speech doctrine ... and continued its invalidation of laws it considers far too broad.
who could harvest information to facilitate contact with potential victims, is unrelated to the suppression of free speech,” wrote the court. In his opinion for the Court, Justice Kennedy criticized the law for infringing on public access to cyberspace – a revolutionary medium of communication. He warned that the North Carolina law restricted too much access. “Even convicted criminals – and in some instances especially convicted criminals – might receive legitimate benefits from these means for access to the world of ideas, in particular if they seek to reform and to pursue lawful and rewarding lives.” As such, Kennedy viewed the law as strikingly too broad and, therefore, unconstitutional. Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas, wrote
a concurring opinion in which he nevertheless criticized Kennedy for “undisciplined dicta” and “unnecessary rhetoric.” He warned that Kennedy’s language about freespeech protection for expression on cyberspace and social media went too far and minimized differences between cyberspace and the physical world.
CONCLUSION The Court’s term may not have been a blockbuster, but it featured several significant opinions on a variety of First Amendment subjects. The Court explained the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause; showed commitment to the principle that offensive speech receives a healthy dose of free-speech protection; declined to extend the reach of the government speech doctrine; resisted government’s efforts to avoid a speech claim simply by labeling it conduct; and continued its invalidation of laws it considers far too broad.
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A narrative providing a history or background context that tells what led up to the main story
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CURVE of the
ON THE AIR AND IN THE CLASSROOM, ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND CAREFUL PREPARATION SET THIS AWARD-WINNING SPORTS BROADCASTER APART BY ALLISON ESTES PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY IVY
ou most likely know him as the “Voice of the Rebels.” You may also know that Ole Miss’s storied sportscaster David Kellum has no shortage of laurels. He has received the Lindsey Nelson Outstanding Sportscaster Award from the All-American Football Foundation, and the National Sports Media Association recently named him Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year—for the eighth time. Director of broadcasting for Ole Miss IMG Radio Network since 2014, he was a DJ in high school, owned his own radio station by age 26, and is one of just a few play-by-play announcers in the SEC who handle all three major sports. He had played sports in high school, but knew he wasn’t really good enough to take it to the next level. “It was my way to stay connected with sports without having to be a coach or something like that.” As an Ole Miss alum himself, Kellum is particularly proud of the Meek School and the department’s expansion in recent years, which includes staying on top of the rapidly evolving use of digital media in journalism, and new offerings in the IMC undergraduate and graduate school programs. “I’m so excited about the direction it’s going, the increase in the faculty members, the dedication to putting out people that are really, really good. I think it does translate into the real world, which I think is special. [Journalism] department head Deborah [Wenger] and all of them have done just a phenomenal job with the department.”
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Ole Miss head baseball coach Mike Bianco with David Kellum in a pre-game interview.
Despite being on the road so much, Kellum says he’s always watching from afar. “I get tired of hearing about Missouri and Syracuse and all these places. I think Ole Miss has got a really good thing going. And I hope that, in some small way, I can help with that, too.” Here’s how: He’s not planning to retire any time soon, but this year he decided to pass the baton by way of the classroom, teaching an undergraduate level course in sportscasting. Kellum describes himself as just a “normal dude.” On the job though, he’s all about his audience. He’s known for bringing an infectious enthusiasm to his announcing, which he attributes to having started so young. “I was really more modern for my time than others. Over the top, to be honest with you,” he admits. That enthusiasm comes through in the classroom, as Kellum shares real-world advice with students looking toward careers in broadcasting. “There are so many new avenues … The industry is changing rapidly right now and we are seeing new jobs pop up as technology grows.” These days, credentials are important, although, Kellum says, in the broadcast business, “They want to know what you sound like, what you look like, and how well do you write.” His goal is to help teach students how to get jobs in the field.
According to conventional wisdom, it’s skill, talent and luck that make a person successful in a career, and you need at least two of the three. Talent usually shines early on. Skill, you develop with practice. Luck, for many, is just a case of being in the right place at the right time. Kellum shared his own luck story: In 1977, Ole Miss was hosting the first SEC baseball tournament ever. It was May, and most of the students and station staff were gone. WCBH campus radio station manager James Bailey came into the rotunda of Bryant Hall, where Kellum was hanging around waiting for his mom, and blurted out, “I got to find somebody to do these games!” Kellum happened to overhear Bailey’s remark, and volunteered. “He wheeled and looked at me and he said, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I’m David Kellum.’… He said, ‘Do you think you can do ’em?’ I said ‘Sure!’” “I’d never done a game in my life … I went over and I did the SEC tournament for the campus radio station as a high school senior. I don’t think he knew it. And I sure wasn’t going to tell him!” That led to a job at the local Oxford station, WSUH, and the opportunity to do play-by-play for the high school football team. The following year, Kellum “inherited” Ole Miss baseball.
Lucky or not, what can students do to improve their chances? Kellum advises, “Do great in school, take care of your business, be the top student in every class as you know you need to be but then try to get as much experience as you can locally … so somebody can say, I can see that you have done something, you didn’t just sit idle. And try to find something that’s in your field … You may be really gifted and talented, the whole nine yards, but if you haven’t had some type of experience they’re going to frown upon that.” He suggests working for the athletic department, or campus or other local radio or TV stations. If you can’t work on a real show, he says, do a mock game, something you can put down in audio or video to start a good résumé tape. Life in broadcasting isn’t as easy as it may seem, though. “They think you just show up and oh, there’s David on the radio. But there’s, you know, hours and hours of prep before every game … it’s 10 months of go, go, go, go, go, and it gets pretty difficult … It’s not just the 9-5 part of it, it’s the traveling, being gone. I get tickled at a coach who complains, ‘Boy, this is a grind.’ ‘Oh really? I’m in my third sport and I know you’re grinding, and I want you to be successful, and I’m glad you’re giving it your all but I don’t want to hear about your grind.’” The intense schedule can also be tough on your personal life, he cautions. Kellum gives himself a B on “family stuff.” Though he says, he plans to make it up to his wife when he retires. And when will that be? “I’m going to walk away when I think it’s the right time … I still have a passion for it. I love what I do. Sometimes by the end of the year it’s like too much ice cream. I’ve done it and done it and done it … But I still want our teams to win, and go as far as they can go. And I love being part of it. If that passion should wane, I’d probably walk away … But I’m still burning pretty hard. “It’s really funny, I’ve had … parents come up to me and say, ‘He’s going to be you someday!’ And I put the years to it and I say, no, he’s not going to be me, not unless they fire me, he’s not going to be me. But I had a kid this year at Meet the Rebels, like an 8-year-old, and his daddy said, ‘He wants to be the Voice of the Rebels some day.’ And it kind of hit me, and I said, ‘You know what? You might be the one.’”
KELLUM NAMED SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR For the eighth time in his career, Ole Miss play-byplay announcer David Kellum has been named the Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. NSMA members annually elect print and radio/ television winners from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Winners were honored during the 58th annual NSMA Awards Weekend, June 25-26, in WinstonSalem, North Carolina. The NSMA recently announced that it is moving its operations to Winton-Salem from Salisbury, North Carolina, where it was founded in 1959. Kellum, a native of Oxford, is in his 28th season as the “Voice of the Rebels” and has been associated with Ole Miss broadcasts for 38 years. He became the playby-play announcer for Rebel baseball as a freshman student at Ole Miss in 1978, and he is one of only a few announcers in the SEC handling play-by-play for football, men’s basketball and baseball. In addition, Kellum is the host of the coaches’ weekly radio shows and has been the master of ceremonies for countless Ole Miss events, both athletically and academically. Kellum was previously honored as the Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2016. In 2006, he received the Lindsey Nelson Outstanding Sportscaster Award from the AllAmerican Football Foundation.
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AFTER A DISTINGUISHED CAREER IN FLORIDA, A SON OF OLE MISS INSPIRES NEW GENERATIONS OF JOURNALISTS BY CHARLES OVERBY
THEY STILL TALK ABOUT BILL ROSE AT THE MIAMI HERALD.
The editors thought his reporting was so good they required new reporters to read some of his best stories. The reporters thought his editing was so good that they gave him credit for improving their work. His persona in the newsroom remains legendary. He would tell stories in such a compelling way that no one wanted to interrupt him for fear of breaking the spell. And his practical jokes in the newsroom made him part of the lore and lure of newspapering at its best. Rose uses that talent today as an adjunct instructor at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and a fellow at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. The soft-spoken journalist has come a long way as a reporter and editor since he graduated from Ole Miss in 1969. After working at newspapers in Bolivar and Greenville, he left Mississippi to work for Florida newspapers for 34 years. His colleagues in Florida remember him as much for his easygoing personality as for his journalistic skills.
“Bill is not only a classically great journalist but one of the kindest, most positive and emotionally generous people I have ever known,” said Tom Shroder, former executive editor of Tropic Magazine at the Miami Herald. “I can’t think of anyone who ever met him who didn’t come away refreshed with the idea that someone could be so relaxed and almost egoless.” Shroder said Rose made work seem like fun. “When he stepped into the office, everything seemed lighter, easier and especially more fun.” Don’t mistake these “nice guy” accolades as a way to minimize his journalism abilities. Rem Reider, known nationally for his columns on the media in USA Today, was an editor at the Herald who helped bring Rose along in his journalism career.
“I was so impressed with his talent,” Reider said. “He is a great writer and a strong reporter. Just about all his feature stories ended up on page one. People loved his stuff.” Several people remembered Rose and the day Alabama football coach Bear Bryant died. Rose was working on a story in Mobile when his editors called and said since he was in Alabama, why didn’t he just run up to Tuscaloosa and write a story about Bryant. Rose gently reminded his editors that Tuscaloosa was six hours away, but he would get on it. Several people remember Rose driving like a madman to get to Tuscaloosa and getting stopped by the Alabama Highway Patrol. Rose told the officer that Bear Bryant’s death was the biggest story of the year—maybe the century—and he had to write that story for his readers at the Miami Herald. Of course, the Alabama highway patrolman let Rose go without a ticket. “People like Bill,” said Doug Clifton, former executive editor of the Miami Herald. “He is disarming, which makes him a good reporter.” Reider remembers how Rose got the Bryant
BILL ROSE story. “He stopped at just the right bar, interviewed just the right people and wrote this gorgeous story on deadline that captured perfectly the impact of Bear Bryant on the state of Alabama.” As the Herald’s reporter across the South, Rose covered important stories, but the ones the readers remember the most are his feature stories. One day, Rose spotted a pickup truck with a bumper sticker that said, “Eat Mo Possum.” He followed the truck into Smyrna, Ga. That led to a talk with the mayor of Clanton, Ala., which just happens to be the possum capital of the world. Readers gained new insights into possums, thanks to Rose’s story. Rose remembers it well: “Possum meat has high protein that goes through your veins like a roto-rooter. It also is an aphrodisiac and it is used in perfume.”
Who knew? When Rem Reider became city editor of the Herald, he talked Rose into leaving the reporting ranks to become an assistant city editor. “I agreed to do it for six months,” Rose said. It was a major change in Rose’s career because it meant moving into management for the Herald, widely considered one of the top 10 newspapers in the country at that time. That job ultimately led him to being the editor of the Miami Herald’s highly regarded Sunday Tropic magazine, which won two Pulitzer Prizes while Rose was editor, and then to managing editor of the Palm Beach Post. “I always missed writing the whole time I was in management,” Rose said. “But I liked the challenge.” Clifton, the Herald’s executive editor, said, “He became editor of Tropic and improved it. He had good story selection – less avant-garde
than the previous editors. He worked well with the writers. He didn’t try to overpower them but worked subtly with them.” That trait was remembered by Liz Balmaseda, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who worked with Rose in Miami and West Palm Beach. “Bill was this playful, disarming presence in the newsroom who also happened to be a masterful, detail-sharp editor. His editing style was not one of slash and burn but one that inspired me to explore and find the story’s path myself. And this was made all the more enjoyable because he never left a reporter alone on this journey into the story’s soul – he traveled beside us.” Balmaseda remembers Rose’s in-house writing workshops for Miami Herald reporters. “He taught us to be lavish in reporting and spare in language, allowing details to illumi-
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nate our narrative. He encouraged us to read our stories aloud. Doing this, he said, would reveal those needlessly clunky passages in which words would bump against one another.” David Von Drehle, editor at large at Time Magazine, knew Rose well. “Bill would make an article 60 percent better than when you gave it to him,” Von Drehle said. “ And there was no screaming or throwing of chairs.” Clifton said the staff loved Rose’s practical jokes. “He did an excellent imitation of Rep. Claude Pepper,” Clifton said of the legendary Florida congressman. “He would call reporters and pretend to be Pepper. He could lead them on for quite a while.” One year, the famed columnist Dave Barry wrote about an alligator costume in Tropic’s annual Christmas gift guide. Never one to look a gift gator in the mouth, Rose donned the alligator costume and crawled across the floor of the newsroom, right into the office of the executive editor. “He scared me half to death,” Clifton said. Rose’s friends know he loves to play golf. He started playing at age 12 on a 9-hole course in his hometown of Shelby, Mississippi. “I thought golf was a great sport because physical attributes are less significant. I enjoy competing, especially against myself,” Rose said. Shroder, the Tropic editor who went on to be executive editor of the Washington Post Sunday magazine, played golf frequently with Rose in Miami. They particularly liked playing an inexpensive but beautiful par 3 course in Miami Beach. Shroder remembers one round in particular: “Miami Beach in its wisdom had recently granted an easement in the middle of the fourth or fifth hole for a temple congregation to build a mikvah [a ritual bath house for Jewish women] literally in the middle of the fairway of a 160-yard par 3 hole. The course management simply set up a new tee on the pin side of the mikvah, making it an 80-yard hole. But we refused to kneel before the Miami Beach Building and Zoning Commission. So we continued to tee up in the old tee box, hitting a blind shot above the two-story structure directly between tee and green. “I hit first. It felt like a great shot, but who could tell? Then Bill hit with that sweet swing of his. The ball soared high, clearing the little cupola on top of the mikvah and disappearing.”
Meek School of Journalism and New Media Dean Will Norton, Jr. (left) and Charles Overby (right) award the 2016 Silver Em award to Bill Rose (center) during a recent ceremony at the Overby Center at Ole Miss. This is the highest award given by the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
Shroder said they found his ball on the green, but there was no sign of Rose’s ball. “Bill kind of shrugged and said, ‘Might as well look in the hole.’ And that’s exactly where it was. We began referring to it as The Miracle of the Mikvah.” When Tropic Magazine folded because of financial constraints, the Herald’s top management worked hard to keep Rose in Miami. “Bill could have had any job,” Clifton said. “We were willing to create a job for Bill. But he was wooed by the Palm Beach Post. They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. It broke my heart.” Rose joined the Palm Beach Post as metro editor, worked his way to the top as managing editor and expanded significantly the coverage, both in the quality of writing and the range of topics that the paper covered. “We couldn’t be the biggest newspaper in the state, but we could have the best writers,” he said. He began sending reporters to Mexico, Cuba and Haiti. “We did lots of stuff you
wouldn’t expect,” Rose said. “We were kicking butts and taking names.” When the economy tanked in 2008, Rose had to begin to make cuts in the newsroom. “Because you are in management, you become a numbers man,” Rose said. “Numbers are not my talent – not tamping things down.” So after 10 years at the Palm Beach Post, Rose decided to retire in 2009 at age 62. The big beneficiary of that decision was Ole Miss journalism. Rose went to see Dr. Will Norton, who was chairman of the Department of Journalism. “I knew that Bill had a great reputation in journalism, but I had no idea how good he was,” said Norton. Norton, now dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, said he couldn’t hire Rose fulltime because he didn’t have a master’s degree. Finally, they agreed on a parttime spot with Rose teaching depth reporting. His return to Ole Miss was also a homecoming for his wife of 45 years, Susan Rose, also an Ole Miss graduate.
The result of Rose’s work with students has been extraordinary, with seven single-topic magazines about subjects ranging from the decline of population in Greenville to the history and status of Chickasaw and Choctaw Indian tribes in Mississippi. The students rave about Rose’s personable teaching style.
Barry found a way to include Rose in this column, entitled “The Rubber Band Man.” He set it up this way: “You have to watch your step when dealing with large-caliber rubber bands. I know this from personal experience, because one time a friend of mine named Bill Rose, who is a professional edi-
“He just walked around with a sparkle of magic about him, a kind of glow that made everyone he came in contact with have a better, more memorable day than they otherwise would have had.” - Tom Shroder
“Bill is incredibly involved with the students,” said former student Anna McCollum. “He really cares about each student’s writing.” Another former student, Sarah Bracy Penn, said, “He is always available. That speaks to his character.” “I can see the lights go on in their eyes,” Rose said about his students.“I like being back at Ole Miss doing journalism, worthwhile journalism,” he said. “It’s amazing what he has done,” Norton said. “Bill hasn’t published in scholarly journals, but he has taken his rich experience as a talented journalist and led students to produce some of the best journalism in Mississippi or anywhere.” Rose is optimistic about the future for good journalists. “There will always be a market for good writing and good reporting,” Rose said. “If you can write, that is a valuable commodity.” Even though writing, reporting and editing have made Rose’s career distinguished, it is his fun-loving, aw-shucks demeanor that his friends continue to recall. Barry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, wrote about Rose in one of his classic columns that has been reprinted widely. Barry was writing about a man who had designed a rubber-band-propelled plane that was 33 feet long.
tor at ‘The Miami Herald’ and who likes to shoot rubber bands at people, took time out from his busy journalism schedule to construct what he called the Nuclear Rubber Band, which was 300 rubber bands attached together end-to-end.” Barry described what ensued: “One morning in ‘The Miami Herald’ newsroom, I helped Bill test-fire the Nuclear Rubber Band. I hooked one end over my thumb, and Bill stretched the other end back, back, back, maybe 75 feet. Then he let go. It was an amazing sight to see this whizzing, blurred blob come hurtling through the air, passing me at a high rate of speed and then shooting wayyyy across the room, where it scored a direct bull’s-eye hit on a fairly personal region of a professional reporter named Jane. “Jane, if you’re reading this, let me just say, by way of sincere personal apology, that it was Bill’s fault.” That story explains the “magic” of the legendary Bill Rose. His colleague Tom Shroder summed it up well: “He just walked around with a sparkle of magic about him, a kind of glow that made everyone he came in contact with have a better, more memorable day than they otherwise would have had.” That Rose magic now resides in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
“At the Meek School, the classes are the work. I was so well prepared for the career I have now." TORI OLKER IMC 2016 Named Outstanding PR Student by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi
Client Staff Assistant Burston Marsteller
shape the next generation umfoundation.com/makeagift
for more information contact Jason McCormick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-1757
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WHY WHAT SHE
MATTERS LESLIE M. WESTBROOK UNDERSTANDING THE ART AND SCIENCE OF CONNECTING WITH CUSTOMERS AND HOW THAT KNOWLEDGE SHAPES THE INDUSTRY’S FUTURE BY ANDREW M. ABERNATHY PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY IVY
LESLIE M. WESTBROOK KNOWS HOW BIG IDEAS BECOME EVEN BIGGER BRANDS. Not only that, the University of Mississippi alumna is teaching Meek School students how innovative branding and consumer research can help products to expand markets, pull ahead of the competition and stay there. An acclaimed Fortune 500 consumer research specialist, Westbrook’s career started in the market research department with Procter & Gamble in 1968 and eventually led to the establishment ofher own firm, Leslie M. Westbrook & Associates in Easton, Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay-area resident has been a key force in the development of worldwide brands. A short list includes Pampers, Pringles, Head & Shoulders, Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee, the Dairy Queen Blizzard and many more. Once a year, Meek School undergraduates who study integrated marketing communications have the chance to learn first-hand from Westbrook as part of a global brands course of her own design that is taught during May intersession. The course examines international brands that maintain their leadership role in consumer markets and those that do not.
LESLIE M. WESTBROOK As a teacher, Westbrook draws on her own market research development experiences to provide insight to students. Behind each brand the students study is a story of innovation— How, for instance, did Pringles get introduced to American consumers? Just ask her. She was there. “One of my core competencies is language and wordsmithing,” Westbrook said. “Pringles is a good example of that. They weren’t like Lay’s potato chips because they were made from a potato mixture. But (the client) wanted to call them ‘chips’ because they didn’t want to label them as ‘potato forms’ or ‘potato snacks.’ So, Pringles became known as the ‘newfangled potato chips.’ Lay’s eventually brought lawsuits over this, but by that time, the Pringles brand was established. Pringles were Pringles. It was a revolutionary product because it was something that was completely new to the market.”
However, teaching is just the first of many ways, Westbrook is helping shape the future of Meek School. Last fall, Westbrook pledged a $500,000 gift to UM to endow a state-of-theart consumer research center that will prepare future students to be fluent in a variety of research methods including in-depth interviews, surveys, focus groups and more. Westbrook will play a key role in the design of the facility. With the right setup, the Meek School could not only help students learn with extensive hands-on experience, but also interact with external clients and offer market research consultation services, she said. “The first thing we need is an authentic focus group facility,” Westbrook explained. “A focus group facility will have two rooms adjoined with a one-way mirror. We could do so much with students in a facility like that.”
Westbrook’s professional journey started at Ole Miss, where she was an education major and was voted Miss Ole Miss in 1968. By senior year, her life appeared to be on a set path. The Jackson native was engaged to her college sweetheart and planning on starting her career as an English teacher. However, Westbook canceled what she likes to refer to as her “big, fat, Southern wedding” and set down a new path that eventually led her to become one of the nation’s top consumer researchers. Through a sorority sister from Ole Miss, Westbrook was offered the chance to train as a market research specialist with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. She jumped at the chance. In those days, the life of a young professional working in market research for Procter & Gamble was something like being a secret agent. Many of the products in development
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required “technical insulation,” meaning they were top secret in order to beat out competitors and ensure first-mover advantage in the market. Procter & Gamble took such caution to conceal the identity of their research specialists at that time that Westbrook and her colleagues all carried business cards bearing the company name Grandin Market Research, which was officially a separate business on the other side of the Ohio River, technically in Kentucky. In those days, Westbrook lived from hotel to hotel and didn’t know where her next assignment from Grandin Market Research (really Procter & Gamble) would send her. “For three years, I lived out of five suitcases and I didn’t have a home,” remembers Westbrook. “Every Thursday was telegram day. It would tell us where we were going and who we were meeting, but not who the client was because that, of course, was a secret. Procter & Gamble bought an apartment building and when they would send us back to Cincinnati, we would all stay there. Being right out of college and being paid to travel all around the country was very exciting.” In the 1960s, being a woman in market research was a ground-breaking role that helped set the stage for future women to be market researchers, as well. Perhaps this is best seen in her contribution to the development of Pampers disposable diapers. “In the 1960s, consumer researchers were all men,” Westbrook said. “They thought that (Pampers) marketing was going to be based on convenience. But, when I spoke with mothers, the diapering process was described as a labor of love and convenience wasn’t important to them. They said that worrying about convenience would make them feel like bad mothers. That’s how Pampers became called ‘Pampers.’ Mothers want to pamper their babies.” Perhaps the highest-profile case of Westbrook’s career came during the 1982 Tylenol poisoning crisis, a crisis management case study that is taught in business and communication schools across the globe. In September and October of that year, seven people from the Chicago area suddenly died, with all autopsies linking to tampered
capsules of Tylenol containing potassium cyanide. Owned by McNeil Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, the medication held 35 percent of U.S. market share in over-the-counter pain relievers before the crisis—that number quickly fell to less than 8 percent. However, with leadership from Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke, the corporation made a series of moves that, while costly at the time, retained consumer confidence in the
overhaul Tylenol’s product. Through a series of focus groups in the Chicago area and backand-forth work between Tylenol’s research and development team, she helped create and field test the Tylenol “caplet,” a hybrid that offered the safety of a tablet and the easy-toswallow coating that made Tylenol’s two-toned capsules so popular. She also helped field test and wordsmith Tylenol’s safety-sealed, tamper-resistant packaging. “It’s hard to imagine a world where medications didn’t have safety seals, but before that, they never had them,” she explained. “We tested both the seal of the bottle and then the outer package of the box and we were testing different language for the new safety packaging. Our lawyers said we couldn’t say ‘tamper-proof’ and so we came up with ‘triple-sealed, tamper-resistant’ packaging. That’s what brought people back to Tylenol, the safety packaging.” Tylenol’s work paved the way for the manner in which all food and medicine are consumed today. Following the launch of Tylenol’s caplet, Congress passed a “Everything you do on every bill in 1983 that made it a federal job you take on adds up to a offense to tamper with consumer goods. In 1989, the FDA estabbigger picture.” lished a regulation that required – Leslie M. Westbrook all manufacturers of consumer goods to make their own products tamper-resistant. brand, and shaped the way people consume Today, Westbrook lives on the Chesamedicine worldwide to this day. More than peake Bay with her husband Paolo Frigerio. 31 million bottles of Tylenol capsules were When she’s not working with Meek School recalled from store shelves at a cost of more students, she spends her time doing pro bono than $100 million. The corporation ran ads work and pursuing other passions including nationwide asking people to trade in their painting. capsules for tablets. Factories stopped manAs for aspiring market researchers of toufacturing capsules. They were out of the morrow, Westbrook encourages students to capsule business. jump at every opportunity for experience they Tylenol had to fix its product, which is can, and most importantly, make connections. where Westbrook came in. “Do informational interviews,” she said. “What I worked on was finding out what “I don’t know anyone in the workforce who people were willing to try,” Westbrook said. isn’t willing to give you 15 or 20 minutes. You “We had to balance what people loved about will learn so much and that will help guide the capsule with their fear of taking it.” you. Everything you do on every job you take Already the owner of her own firm, she on adds up to a bigger picture. You may not was brought in three months after the poisonknow what that bigger picture is today. But, ings to lead the consumer research efforts to you will.”
WESTBROOK CREATES ENDOWMENT FOR MEEK SCHOOL
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 Meek School Dean Will Norton, Jr.
Determined to see students adequately prepared to enter her profession, Leslie Westbrook has pledged $500,000 to the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. The Leslie M. Westbrook Journalism Quasi Endowment Fund will ultimately support the construction of a new state-of-the-art consumer research laboratory bearing Westbrook’s name. “Leslie is very generously giving for an area to which she devoted her entire professional life. 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,” said Will Norton, Jr., dean of the Meek School. “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. In addition to 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 Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at Ole Miss. “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.”
“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.” Meek said Westbrook’s gift will benefit the university community and beyond. “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. Her focus is a unique laboratory that will create tremendous instructional, research and service opportunities for students and faculty,” Meek said, adding that Westbrook enjoyed an extraordinary career in corporate practice nationwide. “The loyalty, support and dedication of our alumni like Leslie is a key element to the university’s continued excellence,” UM 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.”
Individuals and organizations can make gifts to the Leslie M. Westbrook Journalism Quasi Endowment Fund Send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to: University of Mississippi Foundation 406 University Ave., Oxford, Miss. 38655 or by visiting umfoundation.com/makeagift For more information, contact Jason McCormick at email@example.com or 662-915-1757
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Perspective GIFT OF
INSTILLED WITH THE DESIRE AND CONVICTION TO MOVE BEYOND RESTRICTIVE MIND-SETS, THIS MISSISIPPIAN DISCOVERED HIS POTENTIAL AND PURSUED A MORE FULFILLING AND ENRICHED LIFE BY RONNIE AGNEW PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY IVY
LARRY DARNELL WEEDEN WASN’T SUPPOSED TO MAKE IT. At least that’s what those who look at stereotypes thought. After all, he graduated in 1969 from Rosa Fort High School in Tunica, a town that once was a national symbol for what poverty looked like, a town whose name, whose identity, got lost in one of its geographic pieces – Sugar Ditch Alley. No matter where you lived in Tunica, the nation had only heard of Sugar Ditch, a neighborhood that gained America’s attention as a picture of destitution.
“(Growing up) people didn’t expect much out of you because you’re from Sugar Ditch,” he said. “Sugar Ditch came to define all of Tunica. But the people of Tunica were a family. They came together to help each other. People weren’t paid well but everybody worked. Hard work, consistent work is the great equalizer.” Weeden didn’t live in the Sugar Ditch area, and his life and aspirations weren’t aligned with the symbolism that came to define the town. When he sat down to make a college decision, he did so like any other high-achieving student. He looked at comfortableness, intellectual challenge and most important – money. “If you were economically disadvantaged, there was scholarship potential,” said Weeden, now 67. “I was from Tunica. I was 99.5 percent sure that I qualified.” While he had other college opportunities, he made the decision to attend Ole Miss, where he would become the first African-American student to graduate in journalism. He was a
newspaper carrier in high school who was influenced by a teacher who told him he had the skills to be successful in journalism. Weeden agreed. He loved the storytelling aspect of journalism and, a s a participant in high school quiz bowl competitions, he knew he was developing the intellectual capacity. Besides, he had an advantage: Each day, he read the newspaper to prepare himselffor competitions. “I wanted to be an athlete, but not all of us can run fast and shoot,” he said. “Once I got cut a couple of times, I moved on.” He moved on to Ole Miss, a place that he found comfortable, intellectually stimulating and accepting of his presence in the classroom —just seven years removed from James Meredith’s admittance to the university. But his being there was not without interesting moments. “I was the only black in probably 95 percent or more of my classes. It was like an E.F. Hutton kind of commercial. When I would speak, there would be dead silence.”
But Weeden said that didn’t last long. He soon became just another classmate expected to learn the craft of journalism. “Over time, people became comfortable with me. They judged me on merit. It really became performance-based. If you performed, (classmates) respected it.” Weeden practiced journalism for a short time at the Greenville Delta-Democrat Times under the Hodding Carter family’s regime. He would find, however, that there was another calling for his professional life. He made the decision to return to Ole Miss for law school. As intimidating as law school could be, he chose the School of Law at Ole Miss for the very reason he came to appreciate it as an undergraduate: It was comfortable, not too big, which he felt would give him a greater chance of success. Today, Weeden is a law professor at Texas Southern University. He’s spent 26 years at the school, which continues to challenge him intellectually so that he in turn can do the same
Today, Weeden is a law professor at Texas Southern University. for his students. But he is quick to reflect about his time in Ole Miss’ journalism program and the ways it prepared him for law school and his career. In journalism school, he learned to organize his thoughts and his writing. “Once I made the transition, I still had to focus on what’s key: Who, what, when, where, and why. Journalism helped me to reach logical conclusions. Having worked for a newspaper, I was also able to engage intellectually with other people.” Classmate Burnis Morris, a professor of journalism at Marshall University in Huntington,
L. DARNELL WEEDEN MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
The harder you pushed him, like rubber, the more he bounced back. “I am so proud of my former students. Larry is one of the leaders in that group,” Hoar said. “As a teacher, you have to challenge students and you’ve got to work as hard as they do. You have to pay attention to theirstrengths and challenge them in areas where they’re not as strong.” Had Weeden decided to pursue a career in journalism, his favorite professor said he would have been one of the best. “He would
“As I see how Ole Miss has progressed, I see African-American athletes, professors, students ... are helping Ole Miss as a growing institution.”
– L. Darnell Weeden
L. Darnell Weeden attended Ole Miss only seven years after James Meredith, whose statue, near the Lyceum, represents a monument to desegregation at the university.
W. Va., remembers Weeden as inquisitive, solution-oriented and ready to confront injustices. “Journalism was probably too confining for him,” said Morris, who has recently authored a book on African-American author and journalist Carter G. Woodson. “Most journalists are just happy bringing issues to the public’s attention, whereas Larry seemed to be all about solutions. I was not surprised he ended up in law school because he had a tremendous sense of social justice and a strong desire to make things right.” Morris, also among the first African-American journalism students at Ole Miss, said he didn’t see his former classmate for 30 years, but faculty member Samir Husni called Morris while he was visiting Oxford and told him Weeden, who was also on campus, wanted to see him. A reunion of old classmates soon took place. “I got to meet his family that day, and he told me he wanted to make a donation to Ole Miss because the university had contributed so much to his success. I was delighted after I left
Ole Miss to see a photograph of him making that donation two years later.” Weeden gives much of the credit for his academic pursuits to his mother, who raised three children after a divorce, and also to the Tunica neighborhood that was more like family. His mother worked in a quilt factory to support her children but took a test to become an emergency medical technician when she was in her 30s. “My mom was a lot smarter than me,” he said. “She just didn’t have the opportunity.” It was those lessons of hard work that Weeden remembers about Ole Miss. So does retired Ole Miss journalism professor Jere Hoar, now 87, when he talks about his former pupil. Weeden considers Hoar his favorite professor at Ole Miss, saying that Hoar “was engaging, didn’t play favorites, and was extremely smart.” “The thing about the terrific students I had at Ole Miss was they didn’t know how good they were,” said Hoar, who has become a successful author. “They needed to be pushed out of their comfort zones. Larry was one of those.
have been a first-class journalist. He has the demeanor, confidence, successful relationships with people to really have been a good investigative reporter.” Through Weeden, his law students have studied a range of subjects, from constitutional law to labor law. His early experiences as a law professor took him to such places as North Carolina Central University, Southern University in Baton Rouge and Antioch College, where he received a fellowship in their legal clinic. Without Ole Miss, he doesn’t see how the success he’s had would have been possible. “I am very glad I went to Ole Miss,” he said. “It turned out to be a very good marriage. Is my life better from having gone to Ole Miss? I say absolutely. “As I see how Ole Miss has progressed, I see African-American athletes, professors, students. African-Americans and others are helping Ole Miss as a growing institution. I’m not surprised that a lot of people want to go to Ole Miss. The pluses I had far outweighed the negatives. “The only regret I have is that I didn’t take full advantage of what Ole Miss had to offer.”
THE WEEDENS ESTABLISH SCHOLARSHIP
By Deborah A. Purnell
From left, UM then-Chancellor Robert Khayat celebrates with Tracy and L. Darnell Weeden and thenVice Chancellor Gloria Kellum upon the Weedens’ establishment of an Ole Miss First Scholarship in 2006.
Larry Darnell Weeden readily admits that a scholarship and financial aid package were deciding factors in his decision to attend the University of Mississippi in 1969. The Tunica County native said he grew up poor and at one point did not know if he could even afford to attend college, especially UM. “When I was a high school junior, I had an opportunity to visit Ole Miss for one of its weekend college visits,” said Weeden, Roberson King Professor of Law at Texas Southern University-Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston. “I enjoyed the speakers and presenters, but especially the one who mentioned that if I qualified, I could get financial aid while attending Ole Miss.” Nearly 35 years after becoming the first African-American to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the university, followed by a law degree from the UM law school, Weeden wants to help other Tunica County students attend his alma mater. To this end, he established the Larry and Tracy Weeden Scholarship Endowment with a $10,000 gift in 2006. The scholarship is available to full-time undergraduate students majoring in journalism, political science or education. If an eligible student is not available in Tunica County, consideration is given to residents of Coahoma, Lafayette, Marshall and Washington counties. Weeden earned his bachelor’s degree and juris doctorate from UM in 1972 and 1975, respectively. “I’m still surprised that money was there for me to go to school. That’s what I remember and respect about Ole Miss – that I was able to attend in spite of being poor.”
Weeden said he wants other Tunica County students who dream of attending college to be “hopeful that even if you don’t have all the resources, there are people out there who will help support your dream.” “This scholarship is for a deserving student who shows academic promise,” he said. “With the financial aid I received, I knew I could afford to go to college. That was a good feeling, a feeling I want to pass on to others. I just wish I could give more.” Weeden said that he could “relate to the environment because I wasn’t that far away from home. “It’s a good school that offers a good education in relatively familiar surroundings,” he said. “The older I get, the more I love Ole Miss. “I was pretty young, finishing law school at 25, but as I as traveled, worked and interacted with other successful people from across America, I realized that Ole Miss had given me the opportunity to compete on their level,” he said. Weeden, who joined the TSU faculty in 1990, was associate dean for faculty development and research from 2005-2012 and director of clinical programs at the university from 1990 until 1992. He is a member of the Texas Association of College Teachers, American Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and a life member of the NAACP. Weeden is the author of more than sixty law review publications and has been cited in nearly 200 law review publications. Weeden’s wife, Tracy, earned an Ed.D. from the University of Houston and is currently the president and CEO of Neuhaus Education Center in Houston. The family resides in Katy, Texas.
Year the Weedens’ scholarship endowment was established
1,612 Students currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at Meek School
$8,190 Average cost of tuition for full-time undergraduate students in 2017-18
Meek School students awarded scholarship and endowment funds in 2016-17
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The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College prepares citizen scholars who are fired by the life of the mind, committed to the public good, and driven to find solutions.
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COVERAGE DAVID DILLARD STAYING COOL BEHIND THE SCENES KEEPS THIS SPORTS TELEVISION DIRECTOR ON TOP OF HIS GAME
BY HANNAH FIELDS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY IVY
avid Dillard sits comfortably in his control room in the Intercollegiate Athletic Offices at Ole Miss giving instructions to his switchboard operator and the announcers in the Pavilion while listening to the multiple conversations happening between his crew. If it sounds chaotic, that’s because it is. But Dillard is content in his element, unaffected by all the commotion. Dillard compares his duties to those of a symphony conductor, making sure everyone does his or her part. He is a beacon of calm to his crew, directing and guiding them in the right direction. The employees who work for Dillard express how reassuring it is to have him managing behind the scenes. Dillard, a 1989 graduate of the University of Mississippi, says coming to school in Oxford was a “no-brainer.” His family lineage had a strong representation here, and he says there was no other option. Once he got to campus, former University of Mississippi Professor of Journalism Jim Pratt had a huge impact in getting Dillard involved in the department. Another professor who had a big impact on Dillard was Gary Grigsby, now at the University of Missouri, who oversaw the nightly newscast produced in the Student Media Center when Dillard was in school. He even aided Dillard in producing an Emmy-winning documentary about catfish farming in the Mississippi Delta in 1989.
After receiving his degree in journalism, Dillard moved to Tupelo and started working full-time for WTVA, the NBC affiliate there. Dillard’s work with Grigsby and his work directing weekend newscasts at WTVA gave him a great footing for his career in productions. A few years later, Dillard founded Total Production Services LLC and is now under contract with the University of Mississippi to produce sporting events on campus. He is in charge of broadcasting shows on air to ESPN’s standards while directing his employees to get the perfect shot at the right moment. His job is to sift through all the noise and make split-second decisions about replays and graphics while being sure to relay those decisions to the appropriate channels. He has to think ahead and tell his team what should come next while staying in the moment and not missing anything important. In the midst of the action, Dillard says he sometimes has to pinch himself. Looking back to his time as a student at the university and coming full circle to his work producing sporting events for it today, he feels very fortunate. “I am very proud to be an Ole Miss graduate and am even more proud to be able to work for the university and contribute to things happening on campus,” said Dillard. Shane Sanford, the manager of creative services for Ole Miss Sports Productions, has worked with Dillard since their time together at WTVA starting
Clockwise from far left: David Dillard at the Pavilion; some of the monitors Dillard watches during the game; Dillard and technical director Josh Hinkle work a broadcast of the SEC champion Ole Miss women’s softball team.
DAVID DILLARD in 1999. At WTVA, the pair enhanced how election coverage results were delivered on-air and improved the Friday night high school football shows the station produced. “David Dillard is one of the smartest people I’ve worked with in the industry and an extremely hard worker,” Sanford said. Although Dillard took a quick detour from campus during his time in Tupelo, his work with Total Production Services ensured this apple did not fall too far from the Grove. Total Production Services has only one other full-time employee, Rodney Gray, an engineer who recently rebuilt the control room from scratch. He and Dillard wanted to ensure technical proficiency in the control room. Will Kollmeyer is one of the play-by-play announcers currently working with Dillard. The two worked together for years at WTVA where Dillard produced and directed Kollmeyer’s weeknight sportscasts. The chemistry they developed back then has carried over to their broadcasts at Ole Miss. “It is an absolute pleasure to work with David … although there are stretches of time when I hear his voice in my ear more than my wife’s,” Kollmeyer said jokingly. Dillard has produced more than 6,000 shows in his career, yet he claims to have never had a perfect show. With all the unexpected elements of a live sporting event, Dillard must anticipate a variety of situations and react quickly.
Fortunately, when things do go wrong, Dillard has the unwavering support of his wife Rosemary and daughter Mary Payne. He and Rosemary recently celebrated their 25th anniversary and his daughter is currently a junior at Ole Miss majoring in biology with plans to go to optometry school after graduation. Because his biggest priorities are his wife and daughter, Dillard knows that life is too short to stress over a missed replay or a mistimed graphic. Dillard doesn’t just watch the sports he’s broadcasting. He’s a coach of his own. Before the start of every show, Dillard watches game film by streaming video from his camera crew to adjust angles and frames prior to airing. He has his graphics team show him all the images they have lined up for the run of the show to check for inaccuracies and other problems. Dillard even does a quick run-through of the opening to check the sound level and give the announcers a chance to work out any kinks. After he has completed all of his pre-show checks, Dillard enjoys a much-needed but brief rest before the game officially starts. If anyone has learned to find comfort in the calm before the storm, it would be Dillard. “If you never think of me when you watch one of our live shows, then I have done my job,” he said. As he orchestrates live sporting events, he knows the support of his family and a great crew makes it possible for him to do everything he does for the university.
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LAND MELISSA TOWNSEND
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA TO THE PAGES OF DELTA MAGAZINE, THIS ALUMNA LENDS HER CONSIDERABLE SKILLS TO FINDING THE NEXT BIG MEDIA PROJECT
BY ELIZABETH BLACKSTOCK PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAY ADKINS
rom a young, age Melissa Townsend can recall being interested in magazines. “I can remember sitting on the floor in my bedroom with a ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine,” she says. “I would come in, flip through it and just always have my head in a magazine.” Growing up in Indianola, Mississippi, strong examples of writers were all around her. The local newspaper, the Enterprise-Tocsin, was an award-winning publication recognized throughout the state for excellence. Townsend’s high school, Indianola Academy, always has had a strong English program. The influence of great literary figures continued when she moved to Oxford to attend Ole Miss. “When you go to Ole Miss, you go to school in the shadow of Willie Morris, William Faulkner, Barry Hannah, Larry Brown and all these amazing writers,” she notes. Because of her interest in all things reading and writing from a young age, Townsend never considered studying anything unrelated to those fields. Her father, an Ole Miss graduate with a degree in business, wanted her to pursue advertising within the business school. However, earning a degree from the business school meant more math classes than Townsend was interested in.
“That was just not my thing,” she explains. “When I was taking all my freshman courses, I was making A’s in English and not-so-good grades in math. That steered my course and then I just never thought of anything else, once I made the decision to pursue journalism.” Her time as a journalism student helped to prepare her for her future endeavors in ways other than just textbook knowledge. “I can remember not wanting to stand up in front of a class, but I got out there, did it and faced my fears,” she says. “Experiences like that helped me to continue to grow for my career.” Even having earned her degree in print journalism, her first job taught her invaluable lessons that she hadn’t learned in school. “I was green and a little more shy,” Townsend remembers. “I had my degree, but I didn’t really feel like I knew anything.” This first job brought her to Chicago, where she worked for a news and arts weekly magazine called Newcity. The publisher of the magazine had a lasting impact on Townsend. “He taught me ethics in journalism and that is something that has always stuck with me,” she says. “Even when the lines are blurred between advertising and editorial writing, he emphasized the importance of writing a story because the target audience wants to read it, not because somebody paid to have it written.”
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This lesson served her well in her most recent position as ediadapt to the internet industry and didn’t know how yet. Those glamorous tor-in-chief of Delta Magazine. She began working with the magazine dot-com jobs were suddenly not so glamorous.” in 2003 when it was just an idea. After that company failed and before moving back to Mississippi, “I was in the right place at the right time when the publisher of ‘Delta Townsend worked with the Disney-owned ABC Cable Networks for Magazine’ was looking for an editor,” she recalls. “I was the founding about a year. She enjoyed the excitement of working for one of the editor, and we launched it tolargest media companies in gether in 2003.” the world and being part of She says that after the innovation in cable media. “I’ve always been proud to say that first issue, the team never “At that time, we were sitting looked back. One of the phoin all these meetings about I went to journalism school ... And I tographers that Townsend video on demand and it never think there’s no better place to be for frequently worked with, Jay happened,” she remembers. Adkins, says that Townsend’s “Now I sit in my living room journalism than Ole Miss.” work as the editor of Delta watching Netflix, and I think, Magazine directly influenced ‘Well, we finally have video – Melissa Townsend its success. on demand.’” “For something like that to The job was not exactly work, for a magazine to be the what she was interested in voice of a region, it requires a level of dedication, creativity and passion because it was more corporate than it was creative, but it proved to be very few people possess,” Adkins explains. “Melissa has all of those qualhelpful to her later. When she became the editor-in-chief at Delta Magities and because of them, in her time as editor, she created a magazine azine, she realized that she learned a lot about how to manage and orgathat was a direct reflection of her love and fascination with the modern nize while she worked with ABC. Mississippi Delta.” After working at Delta Magazine for 13-and-a-half years and helping As Delta Magazine grew and evolved, so did her role. Some of her to build it from the ground up, she resigned in September of 2016. responsibilities included hiring the freelance photographers and writers “This is the first time since I graduated from college that I havfor each story and managing the publication. en’t jumped out of bed and immediately been on a deadline,” she said. “I considered myself a producer as far as execution of each magazine “I’ve been married almost 15 years and I’ve been on a deadline for our issue was concerned,” Townsend explains. whole marriage.” Her hard work with producing the magazine was evident, according Townsend’s husband told her that she needed to rest for a few months to Meek School Dean Will Norton. She was an innovator in the field. after leaving Delta Magazine. That only lasted about two weeks, she says. “Melissa Townsend is an exceptional magazine editor with sophistiImmediately, companies began calling her for marketing needs, so cated skills,” Norton said. “She brought the latest trends to her readers. she established a social media consulting firm, Socialyte Media. She has For years, she edited a magazine as good as any that I read regularly.” also been filling her schedule with hobbies like exploring the art of craft Townsend remembers running into Meek School professor Samir cocktails, photography and volunteering with organizations such as the Husni on campus many years ago. She had been a student in Husni’s Grammy Museum’s ladies board, The Red Carpet Guild. Editing by Design class while she was at Ole Miss. They discussed her “I think once you’re so heavily involved in the working world of work with Delta Magazine and his comments reflected the difficulty of being an editor, you can’t really turn that switch off,” she explains. “I’m her job as a magazine editor and the executor of each issue’s contents. still out ‘editing’ every day and keeping the creative juices flowing “He told me, ‘You’re doing a great job. I tell my students all the while I plan my next big media project.” Her passion for the various time that it’s not ideas that are hard. It’s execution!’ I’ve always thought aspects of media is evident in her work even now as she takes some about that and laughed because it’s very true,” she said. time for herself. She attributes her success and the success of Delta Magazine to the “I actually looked at the current course list for the Meek School and clear vision that was established early on because it made executing I’m flabbergasted,” Townsend says. “I contacted the school about taking their ideas simpler. Launching a magazine is difficult, but her expericlasses because students now have the opportunity to take up-to-theences earlier in her career prepared her for helping to start something minute new media courses and learn the newest versions of software that could be successful. programs. They will graduate having the skill sets needed in an everA few years earlier, Townsend joined a company that was caught up evolving landscape.” in the dot-com craze that many got swept up in during the early phase As she continues to learn inside and outside the classroom, of the internet. The company, backed with venture capital from the five Townsend’s heart still remains at Ole Miss and the Meek School. major music labels, lasted a short time. “I’ve always been proud to say that I went to journalism school “I was literally in the bubble that burst,” she said. “The job that I because it meant something when I graduated and it means something took lasted maybe four months. Their entire business plan simply did not now,” she notes. “And I think there’s no better place to be for journalism work, and they pulled the plug on it. The music industry was desperate to than Ole Miss.”
BROADCAST NEWS KAYLA LUSBY THIS RECENT JOURNALISM GRADUATE SHARES THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY SO FAR AND THE REWARDS OF A JOB WELL DONE
TTENTION, STUDENTS: Do not be afraid to go above and beyond as a journalism student. Take risks, practice unique standups, and remember that internships are key. While at Ole Miss, I worked for ESPNU as a student broadcaster, Rebel Radio, and for Rebelvision. I was able to intern at both News 5 in Nashville and Fox 13 in Memphis. The more I did, the more I learned. It’s about trial and error. It’s about absorbing as much as you can while in college to prepare you for that first countdown to LIVE television. After my graduation in May of 2013, I found myself living in Phoenix with my best friend. I was working as a radio host for NBC Sports, and I knew it still wasn’t the right fit for my life. I returned to the South and found my first job as a TV news reporter in Monroe, Louisiana. It was a small city, market 136. The station was considered a duopoly, which is a word used to describe being both a Fox and NBC affiliate. The best way to describe the start of my life in a small television market is sink-or-swim. My news director quickly taught me how to use a camera, edit, build graphics, and fine-tuned my very outof-practice writing skills. After one week of training, I was on my own. Welcome to the life of a multimedia journalist, or “MMJ.” There is no feeling in the world like creating a new product every day. The feeling of creating a piece that you shot, edited, and wrote all before a set deadline is exhilarating. The process of creating a news reel to bring to the public’s attention is an art. The vibrant culture of Louisiana also brought jazzy stories to my plate. From Mardi Gras celebrations to giant alligators that somehow get into your kitchen — every day comes with a new story. Being a reporter means
Kayla Lusby at her anchor desk with KTVE in Monroe, Louisiana
you never live the same day twice. Forget a 9-to-5 office job! After the high of being on live television or chasing after an inmate with questions about a gruesome crime, you will never want to go back. It’s that heartening feeling of landing an exclusive interview that makes the job worthwhile. After hitting the ceiling with my local reporting skills, I was offered a job of being the weekend anchor. This meant learning how to produce shows and sitting at the desk every weekend. (Yes, that’s right, I haven’t had a weekend off in nearly two years, and that’s OK!). Soon after the promotion, I encountered even more mountains to climb. I did my first live cut-in during regular programming when the deputies in Baton Rouge were shot. The Pulse nightclub shooting also happened during my time as weekend anchor. At this point, I was juggling producing, anchoring, web content writing, shooting, editing, and reporting as a part of my weekly tasks. I began to realize that my dream of becoming a big-time news lady like the Katie Courics or Megyn Kellys of the world takes time. There is a process to becoming the best. It is about sacrifice. Ramen noodles, grueling hours, constant deadlines, and a roller coaster of emotions is not what I thought I signed up for while walking through the Grove at Ole Miss sipping my coffee. The real world is just that — it’s very real and in your face. As I visit my alma mater, which has grown substantially in the past four years, I breathe in the mighty oaks and I smile. This is where it all started. If I knew then what I know now, maybe I would have started in this career sooner in a different media market with an entirely new learning curve and new discoveries of what I love about this business. I am a reporter, an anchor, but first and foremost, I am an Ole Miss Rebel.
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PHOTO FINISH KARL FLOYD A LOVE OF PHOTOJOURNALISM LED TO A SURPRISING CAREER CHANGE
BY ELIZABETH BLACKSTOCK
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KARL FLOYD
ROM A YOUNG AGE, KARL FLOYD was interested in photography. “I started working for my hometown ‘Times Post’ when I was in high school,” Floyd recalls. “I had a biology teacher who got me interested in photography, showed me how to develop film and shoot pictures. So I shot for the annual and started working for the newspaper when my mom worked there.” Floyd was born in Taiwan and came to the United States when he and his twin brother were adopted. After moving around the United States, his father retired from the military and the family moved to Houston, Mississippi, the hometown of Floyd’s mother, from the time he was in fourth grade until he graduated from high school. Before his senior year of high school, he had not considered where he would attend college. That was, until he visited the Ole Miss campus. “I had a friend who was writing for the newspaper in Houston, and he and I both came up here to Oxford. Back then you could just say, ‘Oh I guess I’m going to go to Ole Miss,’ and show up. And that was pretty much the summer before school started, and we decided we were going to attend Ole Miss.” During this first visit to Ole Miss, Floyd and his friend investigated what the journalism school had to offer. “First time we came up here, we walked downstairs to ‘The Daily Mississippian,’ and my
KARL FLOYD friend told them he could write, and I told them I could shoot pictures, and they let us get going.” As a student, Floyd worked with The Daily Mississippian, the Associated Press, Ole Miss Public Relations and the Ole Miss Press Room. While working in Public Relations, Floyd met Robert Jordan. Jordan and Floyd lived together for one year and worked together for even longer. Jordan recalls that Floyd was a photographer to look up to. After seeing Floyd’s photography in the The Daily Mississippian, Jordan decided they needed to meet. “I was photographing an Ole Miss home football game, and I asked someone to point out Karl
Floyd among the photographers on the sidelines. I introduced myself to Karl, struck up a conversation and we have been good friends ever since.” Since they both were interested in the same field, Jordan recognizes that their competition with one another could have gotten the best of them. Luckily, though, it did not. Jordan says, “We competed fiercely to get the best photos, and be published in the ‘DM,’ but because we were friends, we also shared insights, tips and techniques and helped each other become better photographers.” In addition to his work with student media, Floyd was also a member of ROTC.
“That’s how I ended up not getting into journalism right out of college,” he explains. When it came time for him to graduate in 1985, he discussed his future plans with his adviser and decided that he would serve his country after graduating. “I really liked journalism, but I knew I wanted to try the military, and I figured I should try it right then because I wouldn’t be able to go back and do it,” he elaborates. After three years in the Army, Floyd moved back to Mississippi to pursue his career in photojournalism. Back home in Mississippi, he worked in local access programming for a few months before starting work as a weekend photographer for The Daily Journal in Tupelo. In the fall of 1989, The Daily Journal hired him as a full-time photographer. At The Daily Journal, Floyd’s path crossed with one of his former coworkers at The Daily Mississippian, Eileen Bailey. She recalls Floyd’s work as extraordinary. “Karl Floyd was, and still is, one of the best photojournalists I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” she said. After several years with The Daily Journal, the opportunity came for Floyd to get into pig farming. He recalls, “I was still working for the paper and they would do some stories about it, I’d go shoot pictures and I’d find out more information about it. The more I found out, the more I thought, ‘I think I want to try doing that.’” He had always wanted to own his own business. After discovering that photography would not provide reliable income, the pig farm was his next opportunity to pursue owning his own business. He adds, though, “I still have fond memories of being in journalism.” Floyd would not change anything about his years at Ole Miss and his career path, saying, “I did everything I wanted to do when I did it. I’ve always been the kind of person who said you only get one shot to go through life and look to see what you want to do.” The most beneficial thing that Floyd did during his time as a student was getting hands-on experience. “The reason I came to Ole Miss was ‘The Daily Mississippian.’ You could actually work with something that printed five days a week, and Mississippi State’s paper was only one or two days a week. I thought that was the best way to learn.”
His favorite part of college was doing photography at football games, saying, “I loved going to the ball games, shooting them, then printing the pictures and seeing how it turned out.” As a result of his work in student media, he developed what would become his career for many years and continue to be a passion even when his career took him away from professional photojournalism. “My biggest piece of advice for students today would be to get in there and do whatever it is that you want to do.”
Right: Floyd and his daughter during the early years of his pig-farming business; below: Floyd is caught behind the camera as a student working for The Daily Mississippian.
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THE LENS COLLECTIVE
THE LENS COLLECTIVE: BLUES THREAD WORKSHOP INSPIRES STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS AS THEY LEARN A DIFFERENT WAY TO TELL A STORY BY ELLEN KELLUM PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALYSIA BURTON STEELE AND WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS
IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR, EIGHT UNIVERSITIES PARTICIPATED in a multimedia immersion program: Allegheny College, American University, Delta State University, Guilford College, Jackson State University, Ohio University, West Virginia University and the University of Mississippi. When Meek School professor Alysia Burton Steele wrote to their representatives asking for participation no one hesitated in contributing. They knew, that collaborative efforts, when done well, give wonderful practical experience to students, produce strong local content, support local businesses, engage communities and cultivate long-lasting working relationships. The beginnings of this collaboration started years ago at Ohio University with a project called “Dawn to Dusk,” where students documented stories for a day and published them in the local paper. Several years later, Ohio alumna Cheryl Hatch, then a professor at Allegheny
College, brought it to her school so students could become engaged in the community, and the community would spend time on campus. With this inspired approach, Hatch invited various schools to participate and in 2015, she invited Steele to not only speak and share her work, but also to bring Ole Miss students. They loved the experience. Meek School associate dean Charlie Mitchell was so impressed, he asked if it would be possible to alternate locations and bring it to Oxford. The Meek School committed to funding a majority of the costs, including travel and hotel accommodations for four speakers who are accomplished photojournalists – Hatch, who specializes in documenting international conflicts; Smiley Pool, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist at The Dallas Morning News; native Mississippian Jerry Holt, a staff photographer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune; and Akili Ramsess, executive director of the Na-
tional Press Photographers Association. They all agreed to speak as well as mentor students that weekend. Students are still talking about what an inspirational experience they had as a result. “We traveled 13 hours to get to the Delta,” said West Virginia University Professor Mary Kay McFarland, “and I worried the students would be exhausted and have a negative experience. But when they began to work on their stories with students from other schools, they got energized.” The students learned new ways of editing, and used different equipment, but most importantly they had to work through the story vision and direction with a team of people. They saw different approaches to storytelling, and learned to be assertive about sharing their own. When they were at breakfast on the day they left the Delta, the students couldn’t stop talking about their experiences and what they learned.
Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, wanted to help with an authentic Delta eating experience and sponsored meals, which also invested back into the Delta community and highlighted local businesses. “You cannot come into the Delta without experiencing the food; as we know, people and communities bond when sharing a meal because it creates cultural connections,” Steele said. “The students are still talking about the food.” This year the theme was about blues music and how it influences all aspects of Delta life here — including art and culture. The students saw that it wasn’t just about feeding people, but investing back into the community. Feedback from the students was exceptional. Ohio University student Sarah Holm said, “The feeling of community in both Cleveland and Clarksdale was so strong and thriving.
Above: Students interviewing a source in the Delta. Students broke into teams of two or three to tell stories in various towns near Cleveland., MS. Left: Josh Birnbaum, Ohio University professor, goes over best practices for collecting audio with Ole Miss students Veronica Mejia and Marlee Crawford (right).
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Right: Ole Miss student Cady Herring sets up lighting while photographing food at Senator’s Place restaurant in Cleveland.
Above: Lens Collective organizer and Ole Miss Assistant Professor of Journalism Alysia Burton Steele has all 28 students come on stage to receive a standing ovation for work well done.
Even though I was in a completely unfamiliar environment, I felt this sense of belonging and comfort while in Mississippi. Everyone that passed me on the street said hello and cars honked and waved as they passed us by on the streets. This kind of positive human interaction just makes your day more pleasant.” Students dressed up and enjoyed the screening of their videos at the Grammy Museum Mississippi. A private reception was sponsored by the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the International Delta Blues Project. Feedback from the audience and the students participating were overwhelmingly positive. One comment read, “I loved the overall experience. I was impacted on an emotional level during the entire conference. It touched me to hear stories from people I can relate to and also be a part of a community of international photographers.” Another said, “I have just learned so much being here ... I have gotten to know some of the best and kindest people I have ever met.
I have learned about a culture and have absolutely fallen in love with the Delta. Truly an amazing experience.” When asked about her favorite part of the experience, Steele replied, “I enjoyed seeing the sense of accomplishment from all of the students. Seeing them smile when they received a standing ovation made me super-proud of them. It doesn’t get any better than that.” The program will take place again next year with another addition — the University of Missouri has asked to participate. Steele expressed special thanks to Delta State University President William LaForge for hosting this unique conference in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.
To see more of the student work, visit the Lenscollective website at: lenscollective.org
Above: Brittany Brown (left) and Kamera Griffin, Ole Miss students, test their equipment before recording a story.
Collaborative efforts, when done well, give wonderful practical experience to students, produce strong local content, support local businesses, engage communities and cultivate long-lasting working relationships.
Left: Ole Miss Instructional Associate Professor Ji Hoon Heo (left) and Ohio University Associate Journalism Professor Stan Alost listen to music for a video. Below: Mentor Akili Ramsess shares a laugh with Ohio University students after lunch on the Delta State campus.
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Magazine Making in New York City STUDENTS OF SAMIR HUSNI LEARN ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF MAGAZINES FROM THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE INDUSTRY BY ALLISON ESTES
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SAMIR HUSNI
n May of last year, I was lucky enough to join 10 Universtiy of Mississippi students and Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni for Magazine Making in New York City, a May intersession class through the Study USA program. Monday through Friday, we spent all day, every day, meeting with top execs at the “Big Four” of magazine publishing: Meredith, Condé Nast, Hearst and Time Inc.; at Rodale, Bauer and TV Guide; at MPA, the Association of Magazine Media; and at the James G. Elliott Co. We also toured The King’s College, which offers a semester in journalism studies for undergraduates that includes an internship at a New York media outlet. But the value of the class was so much more. For both undergraduates and the recently graduated, the class was a foot in many doors in the world of magazine publishing. Several publishers were actively looking for interns and graduates to fill entrylevel positions. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and acquire contact information regarding these substantial opportunities. And I expect that a recommendation from Husni greatly improves the likelihood of acceptance. Students gained a clear understanding of the differences between the business and editorial sides of magazines –– which in turn gave them a better understanding of positions they might ultimately be applying for and the qualifications for those positions. They received detailed advice on how to improve the possibility of success when applying and what to expect at an entry-level position. Most of the executives cheerfully recounted their own stories of how they got their start and how they ended up in their respective positions, which were both grounding and inspiring. And it was clear how much they were enjoying the exchange –– time after time I saw them wave away assistants who had come to remind them of other obligations, and go on talking and answering questions. To imagine having a top position at a Big Four magazine is one thing; to hear how it’s done from
Above: Samir Husni (far right), Allison Estes (next to him), and other Meek School students visit Hearst Magazines.
someone who worked her way up from editorial assistant to editor-inchief actually makes it seem like an attainable goal. Another incredibly valuable aspect of the class was the total immersion in the world of magazine production. Publishers, editors-in-chief, ad salespeople, CEOs, presidents, VPs, owners, and content creators spoke and fielded questions on all facets of the business. It was both fascinating and useful to hear that: • A magazine is no longer a magazine, but a brand; • Meredith, the second-largest licenser in the world in terms of total revenue (second to Disney), is moving toward alldigital licensing; • Rodale, a family-run business started in Pennsylvania 80 years ago (with a progressive little magazine called Organic Life), now publishes the top-selling magazine in the U.S. (Men’s Health); • The publisher of GQ is a super-nice, brainy jock who excuses his frequent use of the f-word by saying, “Sorry, but it’s ‘GQ’ – we’re allowed,” has a spectacular office in 1 WTC and no background in journalism, but believes devoutly in storytelling to an active community — and today, every 20 seconds, someone types “#GQ.”
We also learned that:
• German-owned Bauer, a company that bucks the traditional system of running magazines on “rate-based” ad sales by making inexpensive weekly magazines with 100 percent addictive, reader-engaging content and minimal advertising, has 90 percent of its sales on newsstands;
• The former EIC of the National Enquirer spearheaded investigative journalism that discovered the photo of O.J. Simpson wearing the Bruno Magli shoes and the tip that led to the conviction of Ennis Cosby’s murderer, and that at least a few of these articles were nominated for Pulitzer Prizes; • People engage with magazines expecting to read, and that magazine advertisements are savored as part of that experience; • At Hearst, it’s all about voice and audience, and even social media people are expected to have a strong print background; • The frontier of magazines is sponsored departments, and freelancers have a place in the industry. At TV Guide, students witnessed a true marriage of media, content and marketing as the execs there discussed plans for the re-launch; they also got to watch “Mr. Magazine™” in action, as he threw out ferociously astute ad hoc critiques of the relaunch concepts before the new owner. And they experienced the beautiful integration of art and copy in the innovative, open-floor design of the new Time Inc. building, designed to spur “serendipitous meetings” of personnel and do away with segregated departments. From my personal perspective as a professional writer, I was amazed and impressed by the experiences this class offered. I have been working with editors and agents in book publishing in New York for decades, and I know that it is no small feat to secure time with busy industry professionals at any level, never mind CEOs and publishers and presidents. (The Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT Experience held at the Meek School every spring is an equally impressive assemblage.) In this class we spent time with nearly 50 top executives in magazine publishing. They sat (or stood) and spoke about their personal experiences and the professional world, answered questions, asked questions and seemed to genuinely enjoy engaging with us. Real-world application is the most vital gift educators can give their students. Journalism is by nature all about what is happening now—and now is changing and evolving by the second. A professor of journalism must stay involved in that change in order to truly serve the interest of his or her students. A class like Husni’s Magazine Making in New York City is an invaluable window into the dynamic world of magazine media. I would go again in a heartbeat, just to listen to these people at the top of their
profession talk about what’s going on in that world. For students, this type of knowledge and experience makes the academic relate to the real world; for instructors, it brings real-world relevance to the academic. It’s this kind of exposure and “continuing education” experience that keeps good teachers at the top of their games. When I set the bar high for my IMC 205 students, I can quote Maile Carpenter, editor-in-chief of Food Network Magazine, who summed up the importance of good, clean copy by saying, “We are hiring right now. I cannot tell you how many cover letters I just looked at with mistakes in them. I throw them out. We are fanatical about that.” I can stand by my standards for good writing skills and reiterate, as Kate Lewis, senior vice president and editorial director of Hearst Magazine Digital Media said, “We don’t hire people who can’t write.” Overall, the best thing I heard in this class—and I heard it over and over from different professionals at different publishers—was this: Print is not dead; storytelling, and voice, and audience all still matter; people still want to hold a magazine or a book in their hands and savor the reading experience.
Above: Husni and students at Condé Nast Publications with Howard Mittman, publisher, GQ magazine. Below: The students at the James G. Elliott Company.
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Book Report Published works by Meek School alumni and current faculty
ILLUSTRATION BY SETH KELLUM
Memphis Politics From Boss Crump to King Willie Otis Sanford
Otis Sanford, a longtime columnist for The Commercial Appeal, has written about the racial conflict and transition that took place in Memphis politics, from the era of longtime political boss E.H. Crump’s rule of the city in the first half of the 20th century to the election of Willie Herenton as the city’s first black mayor. He tells this story in his new book, From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics. Sanford, who grew up near Como, a north Mississippi town in the shadow of Memphis, is a 1975 graduate of the University of Mississippi. He majored in journalism. He served on the staff of major newspapers in Jackson, Pittsburgh and Detroit before settling at The Commercial Appeal, where he eventually became managing editor. In 2005, Sanford was awarded the Silver Em, the highest honor given by the university’s journalism school to native Mississippians who excel in journalism or to those who have distinguished themselves in the state.
Presidential Goals The Road to Camelot Curtis Wilkie
With their new book The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign, award-winning journalists Tom Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie provide a comprehensive account of John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign based on personal reporting, interviews, and archives. The authors have examined more than 1,600 oral histories at the John F. Kennedy Library; they’ve interviewed surviving sources, including JFK’s sister Jean Smith; and they draw on their own interviews with insiders including Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Curtis Wilkie is an Overby Fellow and associate professor of journalism at the Meek School. A 1963 graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in journalism, Wilkie worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for nearly 40 years. Most of his career was spent as a national and foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe. Following his retirement, he began teaching at Ole Miss in 2002. He has written for many national magazines and is the author of three books, including The Fall of the House of Zeus, published by Random House.
History of Integration We Believed We Were Immortal Kathleen Wickham
On Sept. 30, 1962, the nation was transfixed over the integration crisis at the University of Mississippi as James Meredith sought to become the first African-American to enroll in any public school in the state. More than 300 reporters descended on the small town of Oxford. Before dawn, a reporter would be murdered and 30,000 troops called in to quell a riot. In We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss, Meek School professor Kathleen Wickham details the challenges faced by reporters covering the story—beatings by rioters, snipers on rooftops, a KKK lynching party and lack of support from Mississippi law enforcement. Wickham shows the reporters overcoming obstacles getting their stories, followed by the original reports they filed. Included are crusty old-school journalist Claude Sitton of The New York Times; Agence France-Presse reporter Paul Guihard, who was murdered on campus; Sidna Brower, the Ole Miss student newspaper editor who stood up to her peers in editorials calling for calm; and Moses Newsom, who was barred from covering the story because of his race. In his preface, CBS journalist Bob Schieffer writes, “There have been many heroes in this long struggle, and Kathleen Wickham gives long-deserved credit to twelve men and women who risked their lives to tell the story.”
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Learning to Expect the Unexpected ALEX BEENE A JOURNALISM DEGREE LEADS TO A CAREER WRITING CHILDREN’S BOOKS AND HELPING OTHERS LEARN BY ELIZABETH BLACKSTOCK
THE YEARS THAT CHILDREN’S
book author Alex Beene spent at Ole Miss were filled with change. During his first year as a student, Hurricane Katrina hit the coast of Mississippi just a few hours away from Oxford. Toward the end of his time as an undergraduate student, the journalism department transitioned to being a journalism school and moved into Farley Hall. The Lion and the Lyceum “I was here during kind of a chaotic time,” he recalls. “For my first two Alex Beene years, we were all over. You’d have an international journalism class in the biology building, for example. Classes were wherever they could fit us in. It was a fun time, kind of crazy, but it was neat to see a school come together.” During his years as a student, a lot of his time was devoted to being an editor at The Daily Mississippian. “We’d work nights, and I remember being up there until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning,” Beene remembers. “Back then, the ‘Daily Mississippian’ was everything.” Even before coming to Ole Miss, he had an interest in newspaper journalism. He wrote articles for his local newspaper in Henderson, Ten-
nessee, when he was in high school. He says that it was around this time that he discovered his knack for writing. “I realized when I was putting those newspaper articles out there that people really liked what I was writing,” he explains. He also remembers that when he wrote his first paper in his sophomore year of high school, he felt something he had not felt before. “My teacher read my paper to the class and said it was the example of how to write an essay,” he says. “It was like light bulbs went off, because I had never been told I could write well. That was a changing point and everything else that has happened since came from that.” His childhood contributed to his passion for journalism in other ways, as well. He describes his youth as “very Americana.” Beene grew up on a farm in a rather isolated area, with the nearest house about two miles away. He remembers spending time exploring the rolling green hills and the flat farmland. “I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that the farm, as rustic as it was, out in the middle of nowhere, was the best thing for me because I had to use my imagination a lot,” he notes. The development of a strong imagination when he was a child is part of what led him to be interested in writing children’s books. His family, which he describes as a family of storytellers, also contributed. “I was surrounded by storytellers. Not that they wrote books, but that they loved sharing stories, and it was probably the best thing for me,” Beene says.
He felt the same warm environment that he grew up surrounded by Currently, his job is with the Department of Labor and Workforce when he visited Ole Miss for the first time. Like many other students, he Development. He focuses on helping people earn their diplomas and getfell in love with the campus and the town of Oxford. ting the training necessary to find jobs. “It was a very warm environment,” he says. “It was beautiful and “We have a huge problem now with large percentages of people who alluring, with nice people. I felt comfortable making the transition from don’t have a high school diploma, a technical degree or technical traina small town.” ing,” he explains. “We have so many companies that want to move to the When he came to Ole Miss, his interest in writing flourished. He South, but we don’t have the workforce. We’re trying to fix that with this remembers that after just a few jourinitiative.” nalism classes, he was hooked. Although this seems unrelated to the There are two things that he says children’s books that he writes, Beene exstick out the most from his time as a plains that there actually is a connection. student. The first is The Daily Missis“My job is related to the children’s sippian. At the newspaper, he had to books I write because I see the need in design the layout for the pages of the communities where reading is not emphasection for which he was the editor. sized,” he said. “I’m far from the world’s best Before writing his first book, he had designer, but designing my own considered ideas for books, but had not pages at the ‘Daily Mississippian’ seriously thought about publishing one. has helped me know about things like However, when his mother passed away text placement, imagery, knowing unexpectedly, he realized that life is too what looks good and what doesn’t short to not pursue your dreams. and what will catch the reader’s eye,” Once he published his first book withBeene explains. in nine months of pitching his idea to an Working at The Daily Mississipillustrator, he thought he had gotten the pian taught him to manage people, itch for writing out of his system. as well. “The interesting thing is that you think The second thing that Beene says that when you’ve done something once, contributed most to his life at Ole you’re done,” he says. “I thought I was Miss were the professors. “My job is related to the children’s done, but when you know you can do it “My professors were the people and you have a good story to tell, you books I write because I see the who shaped me,” he recalls. keep doing it.” One of his most beloved profesJennifer Rose Reid, also an Ole Miss need in communities where sors and his thesis adviser, Kathleen graduate, has become one of Beene’s reading is not emphasized.” Wickham, still remembers him fondly good friends. The two have worked tofor his warm personality and strong gether on one of his books. - Alex Beene work ethic. “Working with Alex is truly a joy,” “Alex was an inquisitive student Reid says. “He says he has an idea, and I with wide-ranging interests including travel, journalism, teaching and immediately say, ‘Count me in,’ without even waiting for details. I know art,” Wickham says. “His master’s thesis tackled media coverage in the that Alex only pursues projects that he is very passionate about, and I removies and it was a joy to work with him on the project. He met every deadspect him for that. His passion infuses the project, which not only makes line. His research was comprehensive, and his writing skills were a wonderful finished product, but it makes the process fun and fulfilling.” superb. He set the standard high for the graduate program.” Beene says that when he graduated from the journalism school in Beene graduated with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and an En2008, he never would have guessed that his life would have progressed glish minor in 2008. He earned his master’s degree in 2010. the way it has. After earning his master’s, Beene went on to New York and worked “I thought I’d be barely making minimum wage,” he remarks. “But for several film festivals before doing corporate communications for that’s the great thing about life. You never know what tomorrow will General Electric. He discovered that corporate communications was not hold for you.” to his liking, so he moved into the education field. He has learned to live in the moment and worry less about what toHe has been working in education for the state of Tennessee for the morrow holds and encourages young college students to do the same. last five years. “I don’t think it’s ever bad to take life step by step,” Beene says. “It’s “Education is something that’s really empowering to me, because I important to test your feelings to see what works for you. The best types wanted to influence others like my professors influenced me,” he says. of feelings are the ones you haven’t had yet.”
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The Life and Tragedy of Reporter Bill Barton THE LIFE OF A MISSISSIPPI JOURNALIST WHO WAS SERIOUSLY WOUNDED IN VIETNAM RETAINS ITS RELEVANCE FOR TODAY’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ARENA, AS A NEW BIOGRAPHY SHOWS
n the unpublished Vietnam diary of UPI correspondent Ted Marks, I finally found a reliable account of the tragic shooting of Bill Barton ’62, the subject of the biography I’m writing: As we started to cross a bridge, … almost immediately someone started shooting. Barton said to me, “Are those shots” and then his head fell into my lap. The shots continued so after a brief attempt to get the jeep off the side of the road, I put my foot on the floor and got the hell out of [there]. I continued until I thought I was out of range and then stopped. One look at barton [sic], though, and I figured I had better get help – fast. He had been shot in the head and the bullet had obviously exited through his right eye. He was bleeding profusely. My pants were soaked with [his] blood and what I believed were bone chips. … Barton, meanwhile, had recovered consciousness somewhat, but was hysterical. I don’t believe I’ll ever forget the sound of him trying to breath [sic] while I was driving with his head in my lap. It was a sucking, strained noise. I’ve been close to death before but that’s the first time I’ve ever heard death . . . These words are only a portion of Marks’ March 14, 1971, journal entry. UPI did not issue a statement concerning this horrifying incident. Marks never spoke about it. He was the only witness. Barton did not die that night in Saigon. But he would be dead in less than a year. Marks died in 2012 before I could interview him, although I had found his name and contact information. My research eventually led me to his widow, who eventually found Marks’ journal and shared this entry with me. While his so-
bering words are almost unbearable, obtaining Marks’ account was a highlight of my research. I knew Bill Barton. In Southerner-speak, my people and his people are from the same place. Today when I visit my parents’ graves in Pontotoc County, I can turn 180 degrees and face Barton’s. Barton had captured my attention when I was an Ole Miss journalism student in the late 1960s. In my law and ethics of the press class, our textbook explained libel relating to race, nationality and patriotism in the segregated South. Illustrating their point, the authors selected a court case, Barton v. Barnett. Barton had sued Gov. Ross Barnett (and others) for libel. Barton
contended they conspired and published false accusations against him that embarrassed and humiliated him and that damaged him in his profession. He lost. The lawsuit stemmed from the fact that Barton had become a “person of interest” to the Sovereignty Commission and Citizens’ Council, both organizations generally dedicated to preserving Mississippi’s traditions and way of life regarding segregation. The reason for Barton’s targeting remains a mystery. The only concrete clue is a letter written as he returned to Oxford from his 1960 summer job at The Atlanta Journal. It charged: Bill was a communist; an NAACP member; a
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did a Mississippi “farm boy” 50 years ago. The number of primary sources still available surprised me. They have encouraged me and expressed gratitude for a book about Barton. People liked him and want to talk about him, and remembering has been bittersweet. Expressing genuine affection for the person they remember, they have been open and judicious. Journalists who knew Barton have been generous and gracious with time, information and contents. Through the internet and social media, I found the only living Saigon AP bureau chief, and he was Barton’s bureau chief. The AP and Barton had ended their relationship earlier in the day, but the news bureau still got the call that night when Barton was shot. I’ve talked with the AP correspondent who answered that Jennifer Bryon Owen, ’69, holds a call. And, I’ve talked with a UPI correspondent BA in journalism who was with Barton that night, which began at and English with a the Melody Bar, aka the UPI bar. minor in history. But it was a primary source from Barton’s After a career in Mississippi struggles, seemingly where Barcommunications, ton’s controversial trajectory began, who afshe is devoting her firms the veracity of Barton’s lawsuit. “He was time to writing. blackballed from working in the state of Mis- To learn more, go to sissippi,” says veteran journalist Bill Minor. her website at Minor’s explanation will be in the book. jbowrites.com
protégé of Ralph McGill, incorrectly identified as editor of The Atlanta Journal; and a friend of P.D. East, fiery editor of The Petal Paper. Harassment and intimidation followed this “confidential” letter becoming public. Barton ran for editor of the Mississippian, Ole Miss’ student newspaper, in the spring campus-wide election, but he could not overcome these charges, each a lightning rod in the South. He lost. Barton surfaced again in March 1971. I was working in Nashville when I heard on the radio, “AP correspondent shot in Vietnam.” I called the AP, asking if it was Bill. After repeated assurances I would not talk to the family, they confirmed it was. Barton did not lose this one—yet. Eventually, he returned home to live with his mother and try to figure out “whatever kind of life he might have.” The night before he was to start reconstructive surgery on his “bashedin” skull, he went drinking, alone. He did not return. A week later, a farmer noticed something in his pond. Meanwhile, I had discovered a Mississippi Magazine article that asked its former editors who had left the state if they would ever return. Barton had replied that he might someday “return to the land of my forefathers, but I’m not ready to be buried yet.” In fewer than three years, he was buried there. My book had found its title—Return to the Land of My Forefathers. This biography is significant for two reasons. Much has been written about Barton, most of it centering on events leading to the lawsuit, some mentioning his shooting and death. Most is contradictory; almost all cloaked in misinformation and mystery. My goal is to craft this information into a compelling story, while trying to answer some of the questions. Barton had been an engaging, intelligent, young journalist from the South, whose short life was determined by the complexities of his own humanity as he confronted this country’s most controversial and divisive issues of the 20th century: civil rights and the Vietnam War. This book remains viable in today’s social and political arena, in which people are struggling with—and divided by—change, diversity, equality, control, individual rights and war. My second goal is to give readers a glimpse of how such issues can affect anyone, as they
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WHY I GIVE
Learning Beyond the Classroom MEGHAN CEASE CREATING A SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT ALLOWS THIS SUCCESSFUL EVENT PLANNER TO PAY IT FORWARD
BY HANNAH PICKETT
N COLLEGE, MEGHAN CEASE never imagined she would become one of the most successful event planners in the Southeast. At only 32 years old, the owner of Birmingham, Alabama-based M. Elizabeth Events reached a point in her career when she felt it was time to give back to the University of Mississippi — the place she credits for much of her success. With her recent gift to UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media to create the Meghan Elizabeth Cease Student Experience Scholarship Endowment, Cease wants to give students an opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. Cease chose the Meek School because she says her classes there made the biggest impact on her professional journey. “My public relations classes in the Meek School were the ones that made me seek internship opportunities, guiding me toward a career in PR and eventually event planning,” Cease said. “With the added major of integrated marketing communications (IMC), Meek students now have even more exposure to how technology and marketing is evolving.” Cease cites one class specifically as a landmark in her college career: journalism instructor Robin Street’s public relations campaign class, which required an internship. She still remembers the day a wedding planner came to speak to the class. “I decided that I would like to intern for her,” Cease recalls. “To my dismay, I ended up being placed in a sports marketing internship. However, as part of the internship, I was planning a variety of events, coming up with unique ideas for each. I come back to this experience time and time again as I plan my own events.” Cease hopes her gift will enable students to take advantage of the type of opportunities that shaped her own career — internships in New York City at Condé Nast’s Cookie magazine, David Yurman, and Elie Tahari, where she specialized in public relations and special events. Additionally, her résumé
Meghan Cease, owner of M. Elizabeth Events in Birmingham, Alabama includes two international study-abroad experiences. “Not every student has the means to pack up and leave,” Cease said. “I want this to provide a chance for students to quit worrying about finances and to simply delve into the industry and focus on the experience at hand.” Cease’s college classmate, Jason McCormick, now development officer for the Meek School, has witnessed his friend’s interest in public relations grow to the level it is today. “To paraphrase an old saying, if you love your work so much that you would do it without pay, you will be a great success. Meghan is a perfect example of this. I’ve seen her passion flourish into a spectacular business that includes planning events for some of the nation’s most prominent families,”
Our mission is to create a better understanding of the media, politicians and the role of the First Amendment in our democracy.
An outdoor wedding reception created by M. Elizabeth Events. McCormick said. “We greatly appreciate Meghan’s willingness to share her good fortune to benefit our students.” Cease graduated from Ole Miss in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and corporate relations and completed a master’s degree in international marketing and project management from Auburn University in 2008. “My path was unclear,” Cease said. “Personal relationships led me to look into starting my own event planning company. Two weeks later business cards were made, and I had discovered my passion.” In its first year, M. Elizabeth Events planned six weddings. Focusing on thorough research and a detail-oriented approach, Cease saw that number grow, and now plans 70 events a year. Most recently, M. Elizabeth Events has taken on a handful of corporate events for Samford University and Tervis Tumbler. “I am going on nine years of owning my own company,” she said. “Every day is different and presents a new set of problems to solve. But what I love most is the individualism that each new client brings. I get to tell 70 stories a year that are uniquely their own.”
Individuals and organizations can make gifts to the Meghan Cease Student Experience Scholarship Endowment
FOR SOUTHERN JOURNALISM AND POLITICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
Send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to: University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, Miss. 38655 or by visiting umfoundation.com/makeagift
For more information, contact Jason McCormick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-5944
All programs will be held in the Overby Center Auditorium. These events are free and open to the public.
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The Overby Center features programs, multimedia displays and writings that examine the complex relationships between the
Congratulations to the Class of 2017
MEEK SCHOOL MAGAZINE
Congratulations to the Class of 2017
We gratefully acknowledge these generous donors who provide support for the Meek School - Fiscal Year 2017
Leslie M. Westbrook BENEFACTOR ($10,000 TO $24,999)
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A State of Mind, a Place of Dreams REFLECTIONS ON THE JOY OF INSPIRING STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM AND THE LARGER LESSONS IN LIFE BY BILL ROSE
PHOTOS BY UM COMMUNICATIONS
hen I retired from the news business after 42 years, God set me up with a dream job teaching journalism at the University of Mississippi. I know God was behind it because every day for eight years I have gone to work in Heaven. Now I am 70 and in January, for the third time in my life, I plan to retire. It’s time. And this time it will be for good. I swear. Really. Still, I will miss it. A big part of it is the sheer beauty of the place. It’s hard to walk beneath the giant, leafy oaks of the Grove, cooled by the shade, luxuriating in that soft green grass, inhaling the sweet seductive smell of the place without wondering if this is awfully close to what God was up to in the Garden of Eden. All those trees and shrubs and flowering plants, all that green, have an instant calming effect. Remember, universities are places full of insecure people and more self-inflicted tension that you could imagine. I really believe the beauty of these surroundings, especially the Grove, is what allows this driven place to breathe. In fact, its very presence breathes for us. If you doubt me, take a good look at the classes that flock there in the spring, students and professors alike struggling to keep their eyes open as nature whispers to them, a balm for the soul. Peek at the benches scattered through the trees and you’ll find solitary folks — professor and student alike — taking a break, communing with nature, relaxing before plunging anew into the maelstrom. But I will miss engaging some of the university’s brightest, most ambitious
students in my magazine class, miss those “Aha!” moments when the light suddenly comes on in their eyes and they figure out how to make words sing, how to use the sounds of words to slow down a story or make it read faster, to finally break the shackles of the concrete and begin to use the abstract to pound home a crucial point. I really believe it’s all about the students. I consider the students a sacred trust. It’s my job to not just impart information but to help them in any way I can. I have spent hours with individual students going over their stories and telling them how to make them better, what they have done right and, yes, what they have done wrong. They are tender young souls on a journey and they are looking to us for wisdom. We owe them our time, our knowledge, our hearts. Without becoming schmaltzy and emotional, I cannot begin to describe how powerfully it affects me when they give me their hearts in return. I promise you, it is not money that kept me here for eight years. It is that feeling I get when they return after the course to thank me yet again or to continue to seek advice on their lives. Their challenge when they arrive at
Ole Miss to confront the future is so great that we owe them every bit of magic, every scintilla of time we can possibly muster. It’s not easy, of course. Writing is personal, perilous business, bruising and sometimes fatal to the ego. The high schools of Mississippi and, yes, even the University of Mississippi, neglected writing instruction for decades and this generation is paying a price for it. So, helping students figure out they could really do it if they thought about it is what has kept me going. I felt like it was an almost holy cause, no matter how ham-handed I might be sometimes in the instruction. My class, Depth Reporting, has produced eight in-depth magazines in its eight years, exploring Delta poverty, Delta food and obesity, lessons that can be learned from a record Mississippi River flood, Mississippi’s Indian tribes and more. Each class started off in what can only be described as a hopeless state of puzzlement and despair. But at some point, they got it. The lights came on. In some cases, they came on brightly enough to win national awards, producing the best college magazine journalism in America. A very special moment came when they won two Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and our students were called onto a podium in the nation’s capital and congratulated by Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late attorney general who was involved in sending thousands of soldiers to Ole Miss after the James Meredith 1962 riot. “My, my,” Mrs. Kennedy told that first set of award winners. “It looks like a lot of things have changed for the better at Ole Miss!” Watching the university grow and get better has been another source of happiness for me. When I was a journalism student here in 1965-69, the school had fewer than 5,000 students and was still limping along from the riot and the negative publicity and malicious political interference that accompanied it. The best professors did not want to come here. The New York Times poked fun at us with a story that talked about how some had viewed us as a campus of empty-headed scions of bankers and lawyers. The journalism department operated on a shoestring budget out of an old wood frame house that seemed to have only three, maybe four full-time instructors and a relative handful of students. (Yet, that little department produced some of the best journalists in the land.) Like Mrs. Kennedy, when I returned here in 2010 after all those years at The Miami Herald and The Palm Beach Post, I was amazed at how far we have come. A presidential debate. No longer just a department but a full, nationally known journalism school with nearly 1,500 students. An expanded football program and excellent athletic facilities. New construction all over an ever-growing campus. Each year, another record enrollment. Suddenly Ole Miss was being recognized for research and academics and getting better rankings nationally. Yes, we still get really bright kids who enroll as freshmen with no clue as to how to write or why it’s even necessary. I fear for public education in this state. I fear, too, for a generation with such a short attention span, one whose members run into you on the sidewalk because they can’t pry their eyes from their iPhone text messages. But the university is starting to re-
emphasize writing instruction, and I’m encouraged to see that, too. For decades, I had to respond with a sheepish smile and defensive excuses when friends in Miami and Atlanta and New York and Washington would crack jokes about Ole Miss. “Confederate U.,” they called it. Now I can point with pride to so many changes. We have a diverse student body and a school that at least grapples with the ever-present dilemma of race that so much of the rest of the nation foolishly tries to ignore. We have so far to go on this, but at the university, at least, we are moving forward a little at a time and doing it oh-so publicly. Ole Miss has always been under a microscope and always will be. But it looks shinier by the second. It helps that we are cozied up next to Oxford, one of the coolest little college towns in the land. And yet, all of this doesn’t do justice to why I love the place. Anyone who has gone to school here should instantly understand what I mean. Ole Miss, after all, is a state of mind, a place of dreams, a place in time where young men and women of a critical age enjoy the freedom and pleasures of college life before plunging into the hectic, deadly serious fray of the workplace. It is a proving ground, a place to learn and grow, a place where young people come to grips with who they are and what they can be. The fact that this is the most beautiful campus in America and, for better or worse, one of the most social and fun-loving (think: Grove on game day) merely intensifies the experience. Boil it all down, and I think the key ingredient is freedom. Here, you are free to learn and free to fail. Either way, you learn. And you never forget the larger lessons learned at Ole Miss. I will be forever grateful to God and Will Norton, dean of the Meek School, for the opportunity to be here learning all over again. But of course, we all know that I’ll be back again and again and again. You can graduate from Ole Miss, you can retire from Ole Miss, but Ole Miss never graduates or retires from you.
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THE LAST WORD
Whatâ€™s in a Name? FARLEY HALL was built in 1929 to house the School of Law. In 1959 Farley Hall was enlarged and renovated for use by the University Archives blues collection, Music Library, Ole Miss yearbook staff, The Daily Mississippian, and the Department of Journalism. The building is named in honor of three generations of a family associated with the university since its founding: Robert Joseph Farley, a member of the universityâ€™s first law class; his son, Leonard J. Farley, dean of the School of Law from 1913-21; and his grandson, (pictured, right) Robert Joseph Farley, dean of the School of Law from 1946-63. In 2008, Farley Hall was fully renovated and currently houses the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. An addition to the east accommodates the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.
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