Student Media Center

The University of Mississippi

They’re from Mississippi, California, Florida, Texas and Virginia. 

Media Center 2017-2018 Student Managers reflect on their year in charge. 

 Daily Mississippian: Lana Ferguson

Lana Ferguson says working at The Daily Mississippian taught her valuable lessons.

“Some of the most important things I’ve learned are how to find a news hook on just about any story and the importance of not always being first but being right,” Ferguson said. “Readers won’t always remember who published it first, but they’ll remember who was right.”

Ferguson is from Mechanicsville, Virginia, a small town near Richmond. She was editor of her high school newspaper for two years, and when she came to Oxford as a freshman in 2014, she joined the staff of The Daily Mississippian as a writer.

Lana Ferguson

“I remember being excited to get back into the swing of reporting and writing. My first article was at the top of the front page. It was about the uptick in people selling their student IDs for football tickets. Ever since, I was hooked.”

She was promoted to news editor, then managing editor, and for 2017-2018, she is Editor-in-Chief.

“It feels natural to me to take charge, and it has been a goal of mine since freshman year to one day oversee The Daily Mississippian,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson has won awards for news writing, feature writing, magazine writing and coverage of breaking news.

“Lana can do it all,” said Patricia Thompson, Assistant Dean for Student Media and faculty adviser for The Daily Mississippian. “She can quickly put a story together for the website on a tight deadline, and she also has the talent to craft a beautifully written profile. I was especially impressed with Lana’s success at ratcheting up the DM’s social media presence. Any media company would be lucky to have her.”

The DM staff is made up of students with different backgrounds and political views – just like the audience for the newspaper and website.

“No matter where you stand politically, you have to be ready to cover the campus, be confident and accurate in what you’re reporting, and know that you’re never going to make everyone happy,” Ferguson said.

She is majoring in journalism, with minors in Southern studies and digital media studies. During her time at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, Ferguson has traveled to Oklahoma, Texas, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Sri Lanka to write articles for depth reports and The Daily Mississippian.

“I love the experiences I get to have from going out and reporting or representing The DM,” Ferguson said. “There’s no other job that would reward and cure your curiosity like that.”

When The Daily Mississippian switched from publishing in print five days a week to four days a week in fall semester 2017, Ferguson said initially she was nervous. But the staff had more time to provide original online content, completely revamp its social media efforts, create a new logo, and produce more videos and podcasts.

Lana Ferguson on a depth reporting trip in Zimbabwe, Africa, in May 2016

“I think I’m most proud of stepping up to the challenge of the digital shift the journalism industry is moving toward, and leading my team to produce quality work,” she said.

Ferguson has had two summer internships, one at the Calhoun County Journal in Bruce, Mississippi, and last summer for RVA magazine in Virginia.

After she graduates in May, she hopes to continue traveling and telling stories.

“Writing is the goal. I got into journalism to tell stories that matter. Whether it’s internationally or locally, I would be ecstatic to see my hard work pay off.”


Advertising Sales: Blake Hein

Working as the advertising sales student manager for the Student Media Center was the natural next step for senior business administration and integrated marketing communications double major Blake Hein.

Blake Hein at work in the Student Media Center

Hein, a native of Naples, Florida, was introduced to the SMC by a few friends already employed on the sales staff. Under his leadership in 2017, the Daily Mississippian’s back-to-school edition – one of the biggest sources of advertising money for the Student Media Center each year – saw a 55 percent increase in revenue compared to the previous year’s section. And Hein has the staff’s second-highest monthly individual sales total, according to records kept for the past four years.

“Blake has been terrific as sales manager,” said Roy Frostenson, student media assistant director for advertising. “He was one of our top sales reps prior to taking over the manager’s job and has just made a seamless transition. He’s what you look for in a manager. He’s mature, responsible and dedicated, always focused on the task at hand, and improving himself and his team.”

Hein said he couldn’t have accomplished his goals without the help of his staff of four other students, and described them as ambitious, motivated and hard-working.

“I really strive to maintain a team atmosphere with my staff. Everyone always puts forth great efforts to reach our sales goals.”

Hein has sales in his blood. His mother worked in commercial real estate sales, and his older sister is in sales. He enrolled in several advertising classes at the university and enjoyed them.

“Sales is the pillar in any job, whether you are dealing with a service, product, or yourself, you are always selling,” Hein said.

The student staff works daily with advertising clients for The Daily Mississippian, for Rebel Radio and for websites.

“Ultimately, we are in college to gain experience to prepare us for our careers,” Hein said. “Working with the sales department, I’ve gained knowledge of my field and I know that I can be successful.”

Hein’s career goal is to simply be successful in whatever he does. Long term, he wouldn’t mind being the next Robert Herjavec, a businessman and investor.

“I admire Robert because of how he launched his very successful career starting as an IBM salesman,” Hein said. “I like how he built successful businesses and authored multiple books. Also, it is pretty cool that he is featured on the television show Shark Tank.

“I want to make it big, but at the same time maintain a work-life balance. I also wouldn’t mind having my own business with an office and a secretary.”


Rebel Radio: Austin Hille

Austin Hille is a junior integrated marketing communications major from northern California. He came to the Student Media Center looking to meet people and to be part of an after-school program.

“I thought being a DJ would be fun. I never realized how much real-world experience I would gain,” Hille said.

Hille (pronounced Hill-ee) auditioned for a DJ spot his freshman year.

Austin Hille

“It’s funny, they asked me if I liked bluegrass and I had little knowledge of it,” Hille said. “Next thing I knew, I landed the show and was playing bluegrass music.”

In his sophomore year, he switched gears and was a DJ for an electronic dance music show, and he also worked daily as Rebel Radio’s music and programming director. This year, he is student manager of the entire radio station, supervising a music director, a news director and a marketing director.

Roy Frostenson, student media radio adviser, said Hille’s passion and vision have made him a strong manager.

“Austin has been involved with the radio station almost from the day he stepped on campus,” Frostenson said. “He’s been a great manager for Rebel Radio. He’s passionate about music and making Rebel Radio the best it can be. He has a great vision for Rebel Radio and works hard every day to make it happen.”

Throughout Hille’s time with the SMC, he has treated Rebel Radio as if it were a professional job. He wanted an out-of-classroom experience that would give him practice for the real world.

“My biggest accomplishment as student manager is getting Rebel Radio on the Radio FX app and going mobile,” Hille said. “RadioFX represents a major modern push for Rebel Radio and separates us from most college radio stations across the country. Not only does it keep us relevant, but puts us ahead of the pack in so many ways.”

RadioFX has enabled Rebel Radio to make significant gains in its listening audience. The station also airs more student news packages than in previous years, and Hille’s staff has already won several regional awards this year for news coverage and commercials. They continue to be actively involved with Thacker Mountain Radio and live remotes.

Hille’s time at the SMC includes writing for The Daily Mississippian. He covered news, wrote music reviews and, in one of his most memorable assignments, The Daily Mississippian sent him to cover the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in the summer of 2016.

Austin Hille covering the Republican National Convention in summer 2016

“RNC was an incredible experience,” Hille said. “My favorite story happened on my first night in Cleveland. It was a highly contentious time in the country overall —-  attacks in Nice had just happened, as well as the shooting in Dallas —- and Trump’s polarizing campaign really made the convention feel like a target. James Comey stated in Congress the day before I left that he was ‘very concerned’ about the safety of those in Cleveland. I was waiting for a delegate to get out of the convention for an interview, and it was getting dark. Police presence was so excessive it’s hard to describe. I was sitting in Public Square  — which is where the majority of the protests were taking place — working on a story I was going to send off that night. I heard some commotion and peeped my head up to find what looked to be about 30 police officers in full bomb squad gear, running in my direction. So, I closed my computer, left the area and called an Uber to get back to my Airbnb. The interview just had to wait until the next morning.”

Hille is ready for the next stage in his career. He has had an internship with a marketing agency in Tupelo, and he’s looking forward to pursuing a career in the marketing field.

“I feel confident about the future of Rebel Radio,” Hille said. “The staff is the reason the radio station works, and they’ve always done way more than I’ve ever asked. They’re great and the station is in good hands.”


NewsWatch Ole Miss: Abbie McIntosh

As a senior in high school, Abbie McIntosh first learned about the Student Media Center when she came to campus and took a tour.

“As soon as I saw it, I knew this is was the next step, and right where I needed to be,” McIntosh said.

Abbie McIntosh in the NewsWatch Ole Miss studio

McIntosh is a junior broadcast journalism major from Cypress, Texas, with a minor in political science. In high school, she was the first female sports editor of the student newspaper, and its first media editor.

She quickly got more familiar with the SMC her freshman year, working for The Daily Mississippian as a staff writer and NewsWatch as a weather anchor.

One year later, McIntosh landed the role as a sports anchor and video producer for Newswatch. She enjoyed having the access that student media press credentials provided.

“I really enjoyed being on the field, or in a press box, getting to report for the Rebels,” McIntosh said. “My favorite game was the 2016 Egg Bowl.”

Currently, McIntosh is student manager for Newswatch and has fallen in love with the job. She said that because she spends so much time at the Student Media Center, she has jokingly been told she should pay rent to the SMC instead of to her apartment complex.

Nancy Dupont is professor of journalism and NewsWatch Ole Miss adviser, and works with McIntosh every day.

“Abbie constantly amazes me,” Dupont said. “She is a natural leader who has the respect of all the students she supervises.”

McIntosh said working for the SMC provides invaluable experience that will help her get a job. She dreams of becoming a television show producer or working for the Houston Astros.

Abbie McIntosh on assignment in Texas following Hurricane Harvey

“I want to work for the Astros because they’re my childhood team,” McIntosh said. “Some of my best memories are going to Astros’ games.”

Through student media, she got a chance to travel last semester to her home state of Texas as a correspondent, as one of the students covering an Oxford church’s efforts to help rebuild a community after Hurricane Harvey.

Recently, McIntosh won first place for television news reporting in the annual Southeast Journalism Conference Best of the South contest, and the daily newscast has also won awards already this year.

McIntosh said she’s most proud of her NewsWatch Ole Miss staff for its December newscast about the NCAA ruling on the Rebels football team.

“The show was a beast and we crushed it. We really worked like a team and I am so proud of the work we did that day. “

Dupont is confident McIntosh’s future career will be very successful due to her hard work and tenacity.

“Her skill set is perfect for her position, and she always wants to improve. I expect her to get any job she wants and to have a great career,” Dupont said.  “She’s headed for the top.”

Over the last few years, McIntosh has developed a thick skin. She knows that you must leave mistakes behind, learn from them and move forward.

“This sounds cliché, but I love knowing people. I know all my staff and have strong relationships with everyone,” McIntosh said. “I also enjoy being able to call the shots. It’s great when we all work together, because everyone relies on us to get the news out.”


 The Ole Miss Yearbook: Marisa Morrissette

After attending Mississippi Scholastic Press Association conferences, and working as managing editor and editor-in-chief of her high school yearbook, Marisa Morrissette knew she wanted to work on The Ole Miss yearbook staff.

Marisa Morrissette

Morrissette, a senior integrated communications major, is an Oxford native and was familiar with the Student Media Center before enrolling at the university. Since her freshman year, she has worked as a yearbook designer and for The Daily Mississippian as a design editor.

“I love being involved in every step of the process and seeing it all come together as one cohesive book.” Morrissette said.

As she started her position as The Ole Miss Editor-in-Chief in 2017, Morrissette had big goals. She wanted to set the 2018 yearbook apart from past years’, while maintaining the yearbook’s brand.

“I wanted the book to be diverse,” Morrissette said. “We highlighted stories from the most known people on campus, to people who would have never thought they would be in their college yearbook.”

Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson has worked regularly with Morrissette over the past few years.

“Marisa is a talented designer and a newsroom leader, and we knew she’d be the perfect editor for the 2018 yearbook,” Thompson said. “I really like the vision she had for this year’s theme. I know students will be impressed when yearbooks are distributed in late April.”

Morrissette’s dream job is to be a designer for an NBA team, or to create editorial designs for a sports outlet.

Thompson said she isn’t surprised to hear those are Marisa’s career goals.

“Everybody here likes and respects her so much, and we enjoy teasing her about two things: I think she’s the only vegan in the newsroom, and she knows more about sports than anyone else here,” Thompson said.

In addition to her yearbook leadership role, Morrissette is also president of the Meek School chapter of the Society for News Design. She has won regional design and journalism awards, and she was one of the students who traveled to Sri Lanka in August for a depth reporting project.

Marisa Morrissette at the Southeast Journalism Conference in Arkansas in February 2018

Darren Sanefski, assistant professor of journalism, is the adviser for the SND chapter.

“I admire Marisa’s work ethic and the fact that she always strives for excellence in her designs and info graphics,” Sanefski said. “She stays abreast of the industry and its leaders, and when we attend Society for News Design events, it’s fun to see her have fan-girl moments when she meets someone whose work she knows and follows.”

Morrissette said her vision of the yearbook could not have been completed without her hardworking staff.

“I never have to micromanage my staff. They all have initiative, self-leadership, and great communication with each other,” Morrissette said. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of the teamwork.”

This article was written by IMC major Kelly Fagan.
Photos of Ferguson and Morrissette are by journalism major Ariel Cobbert.


UM Students Win SEJC championship


University of Mississippi students won 25 awards in two major regional contests this past weekend, and were named the 1st Place Journalism Champions for the on-site competitions.

The Southeast Journalism Conference 32nd annual convention was February 15-17 at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. SEJC has more than 40 member universities in seven southeastern states, and sponsors two contests. The Best of the South contest recognizes the best student journalist work published or broadcast in 2017. In this year’s contest, there were 412 entries from 30 universities. Each UM entry consisted of several examples of student and staff work, from The Daily Mississippian, NewsWatch Ole Miss, Rebel Radio, internships and published projects.

The on-site competitions are held during the conference, and students in attendance compete against one another to produce content on deadline in 15 separate categories. Harding reported that 170 students competed in the on-site competitions this year.

Meek School of Journalism and New Media students won five first-place awards. In the onsite competitions, first places were won by Devna Bose for arts and entertainment writing; Marlee Crawford, for sports photography; and Ethel Mwedziwendira, for current events. In the Best of the South contest, Abbie McIntosh won first place for Best TV Hard News Reporter, and Thomas DeMartini and Austin Hille teamed to win Best Broadcast Advertising Staff Member.

Other awards won by UM students:

Second places in Best of the South: Lana Ferguson, Best News Writer; Lana Ferguson, Best Feature Writer; Madison Heil, Best Journalism Research Paper; Erin Pennington, Best Radio Hard News Reporter.

Second places in the o-site competitions: Hayden Benge for newspaper design; Clifton Carroll for public relations; Marisa Morrissette for media history/law/ethics.

Third places in Best of the South:Jake Thrasher, Best News-Editorial Artist/Illusterator; DeAndria Turner, Best Radio Journalist; NewsWatch Ole Miss, Best College TV Station. NewsWatch is a live, daily newscast, compared to some others in the competition which are weekly recorded and edited shows.

Third places in the on-site competitions:Matthew Hendley for TV anchoring; DeAndria Turner for radio reporting.

In the Best of the South contest, some of the categories – especially the newspaper categories – attract more than 30 entries each and awards are given out up to 10th place. Other UM students/staffs who placed in Best of the South: The Daily Mississippian, a daily newspaper competing against student newspapers published weekly or semiweekly, won fourth place for Best College Newspaper; Marlee Crawford won fifth place for Best Press Photographer; NewsWatch Ole Miss won fifth place for Best College News Video Program; Devna Bose won sixth place for Best Arts and Entertainment Writer; Ethel Mwedziwendira won seventh place for Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer; Hayden Benge won eighth place for Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer; Grant Gaar won eighth place for Best TV News Feature Reporter; Liam Nieman won eighth place for Best Opinion-Editorial Writer.

Fifteen UM students traveled to Arkansas to participate in the onsite categories, accompanied by Meek School Assistant Dean Patricia Thompson, who oversees all of the Student Media Center.

“Year after year, our students excel in both the Best of the South and the on-site competitions,” Thompson said. “Some of them are in our newsroom for many hours each day, five days a week. They use what they learn in classes to produce outstanding work, and they do so not just to gain practical experience for internships and jobs, but also because they are passionate about keeping the campus and community informed about events and issues.”

This is the sixth time in the past eight years that UM students have won SEJC’s on-site journalism grand championship award. University of Mississippi students were ineligible to compete in the on-site contest last year because the Meek School of Journalism and New Media was the host for the 2017 conference in Oxford.
SEJC’s Friday night awards banquet speaker was Sonia Nazario, who won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and other national awards for “Enrique’s Journey” when she was a Los Angeles Times staff writer and is now an author, activist and frequent New York Times contributor. The conference did not have an overall theme, but it included workshops and panels focused on digital content, engaging audiences, broadcast storytelling, yearbook journalism, how to cover campus hazing issues, photojournalism, design, and a look back at the Little Rock Nine and the role journalists play in documenting stories about marginalized people.

SMC student selected for national multimedia project investigating hate crimes


Meek School major Brittany Brown is one of 26 students from 19 universities selected to participate in a major national investigation into hate crimes in the U.S. as part of the 2017 Carnegie-Knight News21 multimedia reporting initiative.

Brittany is a junior from Quitman, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a digital content producer, anchor and correspondent for NewsWatch Ole Miss. She was an intern at WTOK-TV in Meridian and a research intern in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Summer Research Program, and she is co-president of the University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists.

Headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, News21 was established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to demonstrate that college journalism students can produce innovative, in-depth multimedia projects on a national scale.

Students from journalism programs across the U.S., as well as Canada and Ireland, will join Cronkite students for the 2018 investigation. They will examine the major issues surrounding hate crimes in America.

The students are participating in a spring semester seminar in which they are conducting research, interviewing experts and beginning their reporting. The seminar is taught in person and via video conference by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post and Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism, and News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former senior editor for investigations and enterprise at the Houston Chronicle.

“We chose hate crimes and hate incidents as this year’s timely News21 topic because of the apparent increase throughout the country of such acts – from bullying and vandalism to assaults and murders – involving racial, religious, nationality, gender and sexual orientation bias,” Downie said.

Following the seminar, students move into paid summer fellowships, during which they work out of a newsroom at the Cronkite School in Phoenix and travel across the country to report and produce their stories.

“We will be able to do what many newsrooms cannot, which is to deploy dozens of student journalists to investigate the culture of hate and related acts of violence in every state in the nation,” Petchel said. “Not only do recent attacks on people of different races and religions call for it, it is the right thing to do in the name of public service journalism.”

Over the past eight years, Carnegie-Knight News21 projects have included investigations into voting rights, post-9/11 veterans, marijuana laws and guns in America, among other topics. The projects have won numerous awards, including four EPPY Awards from Editor & Publisher magazine, the Student Edward R. Murrow Award for video excellence, and a host of honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hearst Awards Program, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism.

Cronkite fellows will be named later this semester. In addition to the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, the other universities are:

· DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana

· Dublin City University, School of Communications, Dublin, Ireland

· Elon University, School of Communications, Elon, North Carolina

· George Washington University, School of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.

· Indiana University, The Media School, Bloomington, Indiana

· Kent State University, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent, Ohio

· Louisiana State University, Manship School of Mass Communication, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

· Morgan State University, School of Global Journalism and Communication, Baltimore, Maryland

· St. Bonaventure University, Jandoli School of Communication, St. Bonaventure, New York

· Syracuse University, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse, N.Y.

· University of British Columbia, Graduate School of Journalism, British Columbia, Canada

· University of Colorado Boulder, College of Media, Communication and Information, Boulder, Colorado

· University of Iowa, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Iowa City, Iowa

· University of North Texas, Mayborn School of Journalism, Denton, Texas

· University of Oklahoma, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Norman, Oklahoma

· University of Tennessee, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, Knoxville, Tennessee

· University of Texas at Austin, School of Journalism, Austin, Texas

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provides core support for the News21 program. Individual fellows are supported by their universities as well as a variety of foundations, news organizations and philanthropists that include the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, International Ireland Funds, The Arizona Republic, The Dallas Morning News, Myrta J. Pulliam, John and Patty Williams, and Louis A. “Chip” Weil.


NewsWatch says goodbye to Payton Green

For the past four and a half years Payton Green has worked for NewsWatch as an anchor, producer and station manager. NewsWatch took the chance to say goodbye to him as he graduates this semester.

Click to view the Tribute VIDEO:











Madisen Theobald at Condé Nast corporate headquarters.



Alumni Update: Madisen Theobald (’16)

Madisen Theobald is coordinator for digital advertising and product monetization for Condé Nast Publications in New York City. She works on all 16 of the company’s brands: Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Allure, Glamour, The New Yorker, Pitchfork and nine more. Her day-to-day duties include working with the corporate team’s directors and managers to execute and create digital advertisements and grow overall digital revenue. She also facilitates video interviews and production work for Condé Nast’s The Scene.

Madisen graduated Magna Cum Laude in May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a minor in graphic design and an emphasis in magazine services. While at the Meek School, she was Ole Miss Yearbook Design Editor, Daily Mississippian designer, and president of the Society for News Design chapter.

“It has been my dream to work for Condé Nast for as long as I can remember,” Theobald says “But it didn’t come easy. During my senior year at the Meek School, I worked five journalism-related jobs, strived for straight As, joined as many clubs in the Meek School that I could, found life-long mentors that saw my strengths when I saw weaknesses, and took classes that I didn’t even need to graduate just so I could learn more. The Meek School was more than the school that gave me an education and my dream job. It was my family that pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

Ole Miss student media leaders offer advice to high school journalists at regional workshop

On Saturday, Sept. 3, the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association partnered to host a free workshop for journalism students and teachers in Mississippi and surrounding states. The event was at Lafayette High School, and featured Ole Miss student media leaders in a panel discussion about working for college media. Pictured, left to right: Sarah Nichols, vice president of the Journalism Education Association; Lana Ferguson, managing editor of The Daily Mississippian; William Wildman, yearbook writing editor; Ariel Cobbert, Daily Mississippian photo editor; Marisa Morrissette, yearbook and Daily Mississippian designer; Payton Green, NewsWatch manager; and Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media.


2015-16 Student Media Leaders

By Taylor Morton

As their time as managers ends, we say farewell and thank you. They are headed to jobs and internships in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Orlando.

Amy Hornsby (Rebel Radio)

Amy Hornsby meets with sports DJs in the Rebel Radio studio

Amy Hornsby meets with sports DJs in the Rebel Radio studio

Amy Hornsby climbed her way up at Rebel Radio, from DJ, to marketing director, to interim station manager, to station manager.

WUMS-FM 92.1 Rebel Radio is one of the few college student-run commercial FM radio stations in the country. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and boasts a signal stretching nearly 40 miles across North Mississippi.

Hornsby is a junior integrated marketing Ccmmunications major from Starkville.

“Delegation has been the greatest challenge in this role,” Hornsby says. “You have to learn how to ask for and accept help from the people you work with. I’m proud of the things we do all the time, both on and off the air.”

Hornsby says the Student Media Center has been a gift to her.

“The Student Media Center has guided me. It helped me make new friends, get used to campus and meet older students who became my mentors and got me on track to find the best major for me.”

Additionally, Hornsby says she learned vital professional skills, such as teamwork, delegation and time management through her role as station manager.

“Amy Hornsby has just done a terrific job with radio this year,” said radio adviser Roy Frostenson. “She’s organized, dedicated and enthusiastic, all great traits for a radio station manager. She has assembled a great staff and they all work together very well which is a testament to Amy as a leader.”

Hornsby will spend fall semester 2016 in Orlando as a merchandising intern with the Disney College Program. After graduation in May 2017, she hopes to get involved in marketing for theater. Her ultimate goal is to combine the things she knows best: marketing, theater and radio.


Logan Kirkland (The Daily Mississippian)

Logan Kirkland on assignment in Lalibela, Ethiopia

Logan Kirkland on assignment in Lalibela, Ethiopia

Logan Kirkland didn’t start Ole Miss as a journalism major.

The senior from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, says friends encouraged him to take a journalism course. He realized how much he enjoyed interacting with people and telling their stories. He began writing for The Daily Mississippian, and remembers being excited when he saw his first byline in print.

Kirkland was a DM news editor during his junior year. After covering major stories on campus, he decided he wanted to take what he loved to the next step, and applied to be editor in chief for 2015-2016. He graduates this month with a bachelor of journalism degree.

He says his greatest challenge this past year has been making decisions about whether or not something should be published. “The subject matter can be touchy,” he says. “You want reaction, but you want it to be tasteful.”

Kirkland says he is most proud of his staff this year for the role it played in covering the campus controversy over taking down the state flag.

Patricia Thompson, director of student media and faculty adviser for The Daily Mississippian, praised Kirkland for his leadership of his staff and his individual work. The Society of Professional Journalists, for the second year in a row, has named The Daily Mississippian as one of the Top 3 best all-around student newspapers in the nation. Kirkland has won first-place awards in several contests for his writing and photography, including a multimedia project he produced from a journalism trip to Ethiopia.

“Logan is an ambitious, talented young journalist with a variety of skills that make him very marketable in this digital age,” Thompson says. “In addition to his editorial strengths, he has been an outstanding leader for the DM. There’s never a dull moment when Logan is in the newsroom. We will miss him, and we know he will have a successful career.”

This summer, Kirkland will work as a photo assistant at Harper’s Bazaar in New York. He said he would ultimately like to be a conflict photographer, working to document topics like conflict, war and poverty.

“I’m going to miss this place a lot,” Kirkland said. “I’m going to miss the staff and what we did on a daily basis.”


Mallory Lehenbauer (The Ole Miss yearbook)

Mallory Simerville Lehenbauer with the 2016 The Ole Miss yearbook

Mallory Simerville Lehenbauer with the 2016 The Ole Miss yearbook

Mallory Lehenbauer’s interest in the yearbook began when she applied for a position as yearbook writer her freshman year at Ole Miss. While she was a graduate assistant in the Student Media Center last year, her passion for the yearbook recurred.

Lehenbauer, a second-year graduate student in the Meek School’s integrated marketing communications program, received a bachelor’s degree in English and Southern Studies from Ole Miss in 2014. As an undergraduate, Lehenbauer worked in several writing and editing positions at The Daily Mississippian – including a summer as DM Editor in Chief.

“Mallory has been a valued member of student media for several years,” says Patricia Thompson, director of student media. “I was delighted when she applied to be yearbook editor. I knew that with her talent as a writer, editor, designer and leader, the yearbook would be in good hands and that she would lead her staff to produce a beautiful publication. She also used her IMC training to create branding and social media marketing for the yearbook.”

Published for the first time in 1896, The Ole Miss annual is the student yearbook that provides a permanent record of each year as seen and told by student staff.

The 2016 yearbook was distributed to students in late April.

Lehenbauer attributes much of The Ole Miss’ success to her staff. “They’re all amazing people and they make my job really easy,” she says.

“On a personal level, the Student Media Center has given me relationships with my peers that are forever. On a professional level, it has taught me to work in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines and take criticism,” Lehenbauer says. “It is a mini professional environment hidden on the Ole Miss campus.”

Lehenbauer graduates this month, and is interviewing for jobs in Chicago.


Evan Miller (Advertising)

Evan Miller

Evan Miller

Evan Miller is a senior integrated marketing communications major from Decatur, Illinois. Evan’s father is a salesman, so he grew up knowing all about the demands and rewards of the career.

As the advertising manager for the past year and a half, Miller is most proud of hitting staff sales goals. He said the most rewarding part of his job has been helping new employees make their first sales.

“The Student Media Center has provided me with the opportunity to get real-world sales experience in a part-time setting,” Miller says. “It has been great for me.”

Roy Frostenson is the SMC assistant manager in charge of advertising. “In sales you’re only really measured one way and that’s by performance and the sales staff has performed extremely well under Evan’s leadership,” Frostenson says. “Our ad sales are up this year over last year and that’s to Evan’s credit. Evan does a good job working with our staff and making sure our advertisers are getting value for their investment with us.”

Miller graduates this month and has accepted a full-time sales job with Yelp in Chicago.


Browning Stubbs (NewsWatch)

Browning Stubbs interviews Athletics Director Ross Bjork in the NewsWatch studio

Browning Stubbs interviews Athletics Director Ross Bjork in the NewsWatch studio

Browning Stubbs, a senior broadcast journalism major from Memphis, is well acquainted with the Student Media Center. He has worked in almost every platform of the Student Media Center, and has worked his way up at NewsWatch.

Stubbs loved the arts from a young age, but his passion for live television began in high school. He started an online sports network that broadcast more than 50 sporting events throughout the year. He would give play-by-play commentary on-air.

“From that moment on, I knew I wanted to do TV,” Stubbs says. “I had acted in films and in plays, but I just really liked being live. There is so much hard work and pre-production, and when you can turn that into something live, it’s just magical.”

NewsWatch Ole Miss is the only live, daily, student-produced newscast in Mississippi, and the only local television news broadcast in Lafayette County. The 30-minute program airs live 5 p.m. on channel 12, the university’s cable station, and is live streamed on A repeat broadcast airs at 10 p.m. on channel 12.

Stubbs worked his way up at NewsWatch from sports anchor, to sports director, to newscast manager.

“As I moved up with NewsWatch, I got to learn everything about it. I learned how to break a news story, how to put graphics together, how to edit video, how to produce a show, how to make sound, how to operate cameras. I just wanted to broaden my knowledge and learn everything I could.”

Stubbs also worked as a sports DJ for Rebel Radio, and as the basketball beat writer for The Daily Mississippian. He even has an article in the 2016 yearbook.
Stubbs says the most challenging part of his job was covering controversial topics, making sure everyone was ready to go at 5 p.m., and working to change the name of the show to NewsWatch Ole Miss. He added more sports coverage to NewsWatch by creating a Friday show called RebelWatch.

Stubbs and his NewsWatch staff have been honored this year with awards in several contests. NewsWatch, for the fifth year in a row, was named best college newscast in the state by the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters organization.

“The Student Media Center is my second home. It has gotten me job offers, won me awards and made me really happy. I love this place,” Stubbs says. “Because of the Student Media Center, I feel like I’m qualified for a lot of jobs. The Student Media Center has given me opportunities in every field.”

Nancy Dupont is faculty adviser for NewsWatch. “Browning’s dedication to TV journalism is obvious to anyone who meets him,” she says. “He throws himself, heart and soul, into every newscast. He knows how to lead a team to get the best result possible. He’s a wonderful student to work with.”

Stubbs graduates this month, and has a production internship with ESPN in Los Angeles.

Stubbs plans to use what he has learned at the Student Media Center in his career. “I hope I have a successful career and can give back to this place one day,” he says.

President Obama answers Meek School student’s question at College Reporter Day briefing

Daniella Oropeza.Briefing Room

Daniella Oropeza in the White House Briefing Room

When Juan Oropeza came to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant 25 years ago, he couldn’t have imagined that his daughter would one day ask the president about immigration policies. But that’s what happened in the White House Briefing Room last week when Daniella Oropeza, a junior in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, raised her hand and was called on by President Obama.

Oropeza reporting from outside of the White House

Oropeza reporting from outside of the White House

“We weren’t supposed to meet the president, so I was shocked he came into the room and shocked that he called on me, “ Oropeza said. She was chosen as one of 50 college journalism students to participate in the first White House College Reporter Day.

President Obama answered a few questions from students, and called on “the young lady right there in red.” When Oropeza began her question, her first words were, “Hey, I’m Daniella,” which prompted President Obama to teasingly interrupt by saying, “Hey.” He gave a lengthy answer to her question about whether his administration will make any further changes in its Mexican immigration policy.

Oropeza’s question got attention. Immediately after the press conference with the president, Oropeza was interviewed by CBS News. She then received emails from Univision and Telemundo, the two Spanish-language networks, asking her for interviews, which she conducted in Spanish and English.

“It was very exciting. I didn’t expect to see President Obama and I didn’t expect what came after with the interviews,” Oropeza said. “It was the experience of a lifetime.”

Oropeza in the White House Briefing Room

Oropeza in the White House Briefing Room

Oropeza, of Clinton, Mississippi, had an internship last summer at WAPT-TV in Jackson. She worked last summer as a sales and marketing intern at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Oropeza traveled to D.C. with her mother and grandmother. They drove 14 hours from Mississippi to the nation’s capital and stayed for two days. On their way back to Oxford, they stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in a small town in Georgia. While paying for their food, the waiter asked: “I’m sorry, but I just have to ask, were you on the news a couple of days ago?”

“I was speechless,” Oropeza said, “but my grandmother was quick to say, ‘Why yes, she was!’ After paying our check, our waiter came back with his phone in hand and showed us a clip of my question to the president from the White House account on YouTube. That lunch still feels like a dream.”

White House College Reporter Day was on April 28. It was designed as an opportunity for student journalists to talk to senior administration officials about issues as varied as sexual assaults on campus and student loans. Students were selected based on applications they submitted, and they had a full day of events and briefings at the White House, including sessions with Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the White House Press Corps, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education John King.

Near the end of the day, President Obama walked in, saying, “I hear there’s some hotshot journalists here.” USA Today reported that you could hear “audible gasps and freak-outs from the unsuspecting students.”

At 3:28 p.m. that day, Oropeza tweeted: “When your Mom is so excited that you spoke with the POTUS that she can’t even type.”

Oropeza’s coverage of College Reporter Day aired on NewsWatch.

Ole Miss broadcast students dominate MAPB awards

From left to right: David Kennedy, Payton Green, Steven Gagliano, Sereena Henderson, Leah Gibson, Kelly Smith, Shelby Sansone, Browning Stubbs.

From left to right: David Kennedy, Payton Green, Steven Gagliano, Sereena Henderson, Leah Gibson, Kelly Smith, Shelby Sansone, Browning Stubbs





















UM broadcast students won 20 awards in the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters annual contest for college students, including best newscast for the fifth year in a row for NewsWatch.

Shelby Sansone was named the state’s outstanding student television reporter, and Steven Gagliano was named outstanding radio reporter. They each won cash scholarships. UM television and radio students won nine first-place awards.

Dr. Nancy Dupont, Meek School professor, NewsWatch adviser and president of the Mississippi Associated Broadcasters Board for 2015-2016, was honored for her service.

The awards were presented Saturday night in Jackson. The college categories had 51 television entries and 23 radio entries from five Mississippi universities. The contest year covered work produced during spring and fall semesters 2015.

Here are details:

First-Place Awards:
College Television
Best Newscast: NewsWatch, for its Oct. 21 newscast
Best Feature Story: Sereena Henderson and Ji Hoon Heo, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church 10 years after Katrina
Best News Story: Shelby Sansone, Dan Jones rally
Best Sportscast/Sports Program: Browning Stubbs and David Kennedy, Oxford Chargers state championship preview
Best Documentary or Series of Stories: Atomic, Mississippi, produced in a course taught by Dr. Brad Schultz and Dr. Kathleen Wickham
College Radio
Best Feature Story: Steven Gagliano, end of semester feature
Best News Story: Steven Gagliano, state flag removal from campus
Best Sports Story: Riley Mueller, concussion study
Best Documentary or Series of Stories: Riley Mueller, concussion study

Other awards:
College Television
In addition to the first place awards NewsWatch also won:
2nd Place Best News Story: Kelly Savage, state flag removal
2nd place, Best Sports Story: Browning Stubbs, Tip Six, Alabama game
3rd Place Best News Story: Browning Stubbs, metro narcotics unit investigation
3rd Place Best Newscast: Sept. 21 newscast
3rd Place Best Sports Story: Waverly McCarthy, Who is Chad Kelly
3rd Place Best Sportscast: Nov. 20 RebelWatch
College Radio
2nd Place Best Feature: Riley Mueller, fitness instructor
2nd Place Best News Story: Steven Gagliano, new chancellor
2nd Place Best Newscast: Meredith Parker
2nd Place Best Sports Story: Steven Gagliano, women’s soccer
2nd Place Best Sportscast/Sports Program: Steven Gagliano

The MAPB ceremony also included awards to professional broadcast journalists in the state. Among our recent graduates who won first-place awards: Courtney Ann Jackson (WLBT), Gerard Manogin (WJT) and Ryan Moore (WDAM).


UM student journalists receive 28 awards at conference


University of Mississippi students left the annual Southeast Journalism Conference with two of the top prizes: Grand Championship Team for the on-site competitions, and College Journalist of the Year.

Sudu Upadhyay, a junior journalism major, won first place and $1,000 in the prestigious Best of the South College Journalist of the Year contest. Upadhyay was NewsWatch Manager in the 2014-2015 academic year. His entry included several examples of his campus and international television reporting, a resume, an essay about his commitment and responsibility in journalism, and letters of recommendation.

The entire Student Media Center team won the grand championship for its performance in 16 on-site competitions. Points are based on how many first, second and third places each university wins.

The conference was hosted by Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and attracted 324 students and faculty from 27 colleges.

University of Mississippi students won a total of 28 awards in the two contests sponsored by SEJC, including eight first-place awards, nine second-place awards, and two third-place awards.

Logan Kirkland, Daily Mississippian editor-in-chief, won two first-place awards, one for special event reporter/editor in Best of the South, and one for sports photography in the on-site competition.

ON-SITES: In addition to Kirkland’s first-place win for sports photography, other students who won first-place awards were Caroline Callaway, for newspaper design, and the public relations team of Tori Olker and Victoria Lanza.

Second-place winners were Drew Jansen, for news writing; Tori Wilson, for copy editing; Holly Baer, for op-ed writing; and the multimedia team of Brittany Clark, Dylan Rubino and Kelly Savage.

BEST OF THE SOUTH: Best of the South includes entries for student work produced from mid-November 2014 through mid-November 2015. This year, there were 441 entries from 35 universities. UM student media won 20 awards.

First places were won by Logan Kirkland, for special event reporting/editing, for his spot news and enterprise coverage of the IHL board decision to not renew Chancellor Dan Jones’ contract; Dylan Rubino, for his sports writing and profiles in The Daily Mississippian; Kelly Savage, for television news reporting, for packages that aired on NewsWatch; Jake Thrasher, for his Daily Mississippian cartoons; and Sudu Upadhyay as College Journalist of the Year.

Second place awards went to Steven Gagliano in the radio journalist category, for reports that aired on Rebel Radio; Anna McCollum, in the journalism research paper category, for a paper she wrote in the The Press and the Changing South class; Riley Muller for radio feature reporting, for reports that aired on Rebel Radio; Kelsey Shumate for advertising, for commercials that aired on Rebel Radio; and Clara Turnage for feature writing, for a series of articles published in The Daily Mississippian throughout the year.

Other Best of the South awards: Browning Stubbs, third place in the television journalist category; Cady Herring, third place for magazine writing; fourth places for Caroline Callaway, for newspaper design, and Morgan Burger, for radio feature reporting; fifth place for Zoe McDonald, for arts and entertainment writing; seventh place for Madisen Theobald, for design; eighth place for Logan Kirkland, for press photography; ninth place for Brittany Clark for television feature reporting; and 10th place to in the website category.

The Daily Mississippian won fourth place in the Best Public Service Journalism category for its coverage of the controversy over removing the state flag from campus.

Student Media Director Patricia Thompson and 19 Ole Miss students attended this year’s conference. Next year’s SEJC conference will take place in February at Ole Miss. Thompson is president of SEJC for the next year, and DM Managing Editor Clara Turnage is student president of SEJC.


Alumni Update: Laura Houston Santhanam

LSanthanamI’m Laura Houston Santhanam (’05), and I recently celebrated my first anniversary as the data producer for the PBS NewsHour. Every day, I use narrative and numbers to tell stories, but my path to this newsroom wasn’t direct. At one point, I even thought I was done with journalism for good. I should have known better.

I grew up down the road from Oxford in Tupelo, where Niki Peel (’92) helped me get my first newspaper job as a high school sophomore stringing Friday night football coverage for the Lee County Courier and then the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

After editing The Daily Mississippian and graduating a year later, I briefly worked at the Chattanooga Times-Free Press (thanks so much for your letter, Mr. Wilkie) before I returned to The Arizona Republic in Phoenix where I had interned during undergrad. At that time, journalism’s shifting economic reality began to make newspapers everywhere ache. In June 2007, I decided to turn my back on the profession I had chosen as a 12-year-old and study public policy at American University in Washington, D.C.

That decision led me in 2009 to join Pew Research Center where I analyzed media trends and the news agenda. I was never too far away from the world of journalism, but I still craved deadlines, interviews and a humming newsroom. After briefly updating my online reporting skills at Media Matters for America, I itched to jump back into journalism and applied to the NewsHour.

Since then, I haven’t looked back and am thankful to report the news again. In my job, I explore data and interview policy experts and people whose lives helped shape the numbers. Those figures strengthen narrative in ways that anecdotes alone just can’t. That’s the fun thing about data reporting and why I love my job. Each statistic represents a person with a story, and some days, I’m lucky enough to tell it.

Posted 9/28/15