The Jackson State University School of Journalism and Media Studies (SJMS) partnered with the Mississippi Press Association to discuss the new ways media is delivered and received during an annual conference held March 30. The event was filled with media professionals’ imparting knowledge to journalism students from junior colleges and universities across the state of Mississippi.
On the topic: “Multimedia: How it is Delivered; How it is Received”, most of the media professionals agreed on one fact: the way the news is delivered and received is changing from traditional media channels to digital media channels.
SJMS Dean Elayne H. Anthony, said, “The School of Journalism and Media Studies conference was a resounding success. Our students learned cutting edge information from current media professionals on what is going on in the media industry today. They also learned however, that some things in the industry will never change, and that’s having a foundation in writing, ethics and integrity. As a faculty, we were empowered to continue the good work of preparing our students for careers in media.”
Presenters from the Mississippi Today, an online non-profit magazine, offered many examples of the impact of the digital information age such as how their magazine extensively uses social media as a tool to spread their news stories nationally. Dennis Moore, an editor for Mississippi Today, explained how social media played a part in making their “Legislature: All Our Contracts are Secret” article popular among readers outside of Mississippi.“We got a lot of national attention for this story,” Moore said. “Serena Henderson is our social media coordinator and she was very quick to monitor Twitter and Facebook reactions to this. We got readers all over the country who were interested and had no clue who Mississippi Today was.”
During the “New Media Skills for Public Relations, Advertising, Integrated Marketing Communication” panel, the media professionals described how social media and public relations coincide with each other in the digital media age. Nsenga K. Burton, the editor-in-chief for Grady Newsource, described how the new generation of media professionals are at an advantage when it comes to using digital media.“One of the things that is important is that you do have skills to contribute because you are digital natives. That is what we refer to you as in our field,” Burton said. “That’s awesome because you have grown up in these digital media age and you know how to use different social media platforms. However, you must know how to use them in a professional setting.”
Michael Wallace, an award-winning newspaper journalist who reports on sports, politics, crime and education, served as the luncheon speaker. Wallace, who now serves as senior editor and analyst for Grind City Media, explained how he uses digital media in his profession, during the luncheon discussion: “Survive and Thrive in Today’s Digital Media Age.”
Wallace explained that when he first started working in journalism, it was during the time when newspapers were still the common way of getting news. Now, in 2017, he has become adapted to the digital media age. Wallace had on display an iPhone attached to a tripod and a microphone; this is how he records his sports segments that are uploaded online.
“This entire get-up right here is probably $1,500,” Wallace said. “This use to be the job of four people. In today’s digital media economy, one guy or one woman has to do it.”
Afternoon panel discussions included: “It’s More Than a Game” which delved into the area of sports media with local sports journalists Ashley ShahAhmadi with WAPT, T.J. Werre with WJTV, Jeff Baker with Fox40 Sports and Jon Weiner of 105.9.
The last discussion of the event: “The Write Thing: Applying Old School Skills to New School Journalism” which included input from Alice Tisdale of the Jackson Advocate, Todd Stauffer of the Jackson Free Press, Jackie Hampton of The Mississippi Link and Dustin Barns of The Clarion-Ledger.
The conference ended with an awards banquet and heartfelt speech from banquet speaker Alysia Burton Steele, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist. She is author of the book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.” The book is a collection of formal portraits and oral histories from church mothers, including civil rights activist Myrlie Evers – widow of NAACP leader Medgar Evers. The Blue & White Flash, JSU’s official campus newspaper, won 17 awards including seven first-place awards.
For a list of the awards, click WINNERS.