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Pulitzer Prize Winner Leonard Pitts To Address Right to Protest at Lecture March 6
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. will address the citizens’ right
to protest at the Fourth Annual Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture at 6 p.m., Tuesday,
March 3 in the University Center Theatre at the University of Memphis.
In particular, Pitts’ lecture, “Calling Me Out Of My Name – The First Amendment and
the Right to Defend,” will examine recent protests in the wake of shootings of unarmed
black men in Missouri and New York.
Pitts authors two columns a week for the Miami Herald, columns that appear in more
than 200 newspapers, including The Commercial Appeal.
Working in journalism for more than 35 years, Pitts has authored four books, including
his latest, Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012). In addition to a Pulitzer Prize, his commentary
has garnered awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and American Society
of Newspaper editors.
Free and open to the public, Pitts' lecture is funded by the Hardin Chair of Excellence
in Journalism and is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and the University
of Memphis chapters of National Association of Black Journalists and Society of Professional
Rainer to present paper at AEJMC
Journalism master’s student Jessica Rainer will travel March 26-28 to Knoxville, Tenn.,
to present her paper, “Media Liability: Violent Crimes Committed from Media Messages
and the First Amendment,” at the AEJMC Southeast Colloquium. Her paper, written last
fall in Dr. Matt Haught’s Law of Mass Communication class, was reviewed by three scholars
in competition with other submissions by professors and students.
“I thought it was a dream, someone playing a trick on me,” explained Rainer. “I was
jumping up and down, rolling on the floor thanking God for answering my prayers. It
was a dream come true. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.”
Rainer has always been intrigued by media influence and what inspires people to imitate
crimes from television, movies or books. This is what inspired her to write on the
“In many cases, people blame the media for crimes. I wanted to see if the media actually
could be legally responsible for these crimes,” said Rainer.
Rainer received her undergraduate degree in mass communication from Middle Tennessee
State University. Rainer, who is concentrating on public relations in her master’s
studies, aspires to be an event planner or program developer for a non-profit.
“I’m interning with ALSAC St. Jude, and I would really love to be an event representative
for them,” Rainer said. “I interned with them two years ago and fell in love with
Planning to graduate in May, Rainer encourages everyone under the stress of graduate
school to not give up.
“It hasn’t been easy, but I’m almost at the finish line and I’m so grateful for the
experience. I’m thankful for the professors and my awesome colleagues who have been
by my side since I started this journey,” said Rainer.
Update for Meeman 901 Strategies and PRSSA portfolio party
The portfolio party set for Wednesday, February 18 has been moved to Wednesday, February
25 due to weather. The location and time will remain the same.
Meeman 901 Strategies and PRSSA to host portfolio party
Wednesday, February 18, Meeman 901 Strategies and PRSSA are hosting a portfolio party,
which will include tips and tricks on creating a professional image. The event starts
at 6:00 P.M. at the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship, located on 3618 Walker Avenue.
Attire is business professional.
“We are excited about giving students the necessary tools to represent themselves,”
explained Lauren Turner, director of Meeman 901 Strategies, the student public relations
firm at the University of Memphis.
These tools will include resume critiquing by Baptist Memorial’s PR team, interviewing
skills and wardrobe tips. Free professional headshots will also be offered. A station
with lighting and backdrops will be set up, and the pictures will be emailed to students.
“This is our first event, but we want to offer these workshop-style seminars to the
student body at least once a month. We are trying to bring in professionals, people
who actually hire people, so it’s a great way to network and make contacts,” said
No registration is necessary and everyone is welcome.
#Go Get the News
The Department of Journalism has launched the #GoGetTheNews fundraising campaign!
This campaign will fund professional development for students who are unable to afford
such costs. Alumnus Steve Luttmann is matching all gifts to support the tradition
of excellence in student reporting. See www.umannualgiving.org
for more information.
Duin named Snedden Chair
Julia Duin, an award-winning journalist and an University of Memphis graduate student,
has been named the Snedden Chair at the University of Alaska Fairbanks journalism
department for the 2014-2015 academic year. She presented her capstone lecture: "From
the Pope to Pentecostal Serpent Handlers: Bringing Meaning into Journalism," on Oct.
1 in the Murie Building auditorium on the Fairbanks campus.
She moved to Alaska in August after spending the 2013-2014 academic year as a full-time
graduate student at the University of Memphis. She expects to graduate with an MA
in journalism in December.
She competed against many journalists to be awarded this position, which was made
possible by an endowment from the late Helen Snedden in honor of her late husband,
former Fairbanks Daily News-Miner owner, publisher and journalist C.W. Snedden. Duin
is the ninth journalist to occupy the Chair.
Duin's lecture chronicled her three decades as a religion reporter and editor for
five newspapers. She teaches one course a semester at UAF while doing research and
working on a book.
Duin began her journalism career covering police and municipalities for small newspapers
in Oregon and South Florida. In 1986, she began working as the religion writer for
the Houston Chronicle. She received a master's degree in religion at a seminary in
western Pennsylvania in 1992 and then took a job as a city editor for the Daily Times
in Farmington, New Mexico. In 1995, she moved to Washington, D.C. to be an assistant
national editor with the Washington Times. Duin spent more than 14 years with the
Times and published several books, including "Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are
Fleeing and What to Do About It" and "Days of Fire and Glory: The Rise and Fall of
a Charismatic Community."
In recent years, she has written extensively for the Washington Post Sunday magazine
and Style section, as well as The Economist, CNN.com and the Wall Street Journal.
Her latest book project involves 20-something Pentecostal serpent handlers in Appalachia
who use Facebook to spread their beliefs. Other notable assignments throughout her
career include reporting on Kurds in northern Iraq and the 2005 election of Pope Benedict.
Professor Jin Yang on Research Leave in Spring Semester
Associate Professor Jin Yang will spend spring semester on professional development
leave analyzing media coverage of the dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu
The Diaoyu Islands are a small cluster of uninhibited islands that lie to the northeast
of Taiwan. The dispute over the islands has created tension between China and Japan
and the United States.
Her goal is to study the media coverage of the dispute from a historical perspective.
The research will include visiting the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to
view archived media coverage. She may also travel to Japan.
Yang received this leave through a Professional Development Assignment (PDA), the
competitive university-wide program that allows faculty members to pursue professional
Moira Logan, associate dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, said,
“The CCFA awards committee was most impressed with Dr. Yang’s exceptional research
record, the significance of her publications and the promise of her current research—media
coverage of the disputed Diaoyu Islands between China and Japan.
“The opportunity to focus primarily on research and scholarship will strengthen her
contribution to the research mission of the University and add to the national and
international reputation of the Department of Journalism,” Logan added. “Dr. Yang
is one of our most productive faculty members and this recognition is richly deserved.”
Yang says that studying the media of different nations helps students to “broaden
their limited world view.” She will return to the University of Memphis in fall 2015.
Memphis Students Tweet Importance of Participation in PRSA
The University of Memphis Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter
recently hosted its first Tweetfest. The virtual event used the social media platform
Twitter to organize local UM students and public relations professionals. Topics included
discussion of public relations fundamentals and successful public relations characteristics.
Darrin Devault, adviser for the student chapter, explained the importance of participating
in the chapter—helping students build a portfolio, gain leadership skills, generate
a sense of community and network with professionals.
The tweet conversation was moderated by Hannah Giles, 2013 chapter president, Jason
Smith, 2014 chapter president and Devault. More than two dozen students and professionals
participated in the three-hour event.
Students interested in joining the local student chapter should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or they should follow the chapter on Twitter at @MemphisPRSSA.
Janoske Joins Department as Public Relations Professor
Melissa Janoske joined the Department of Journalism as an assistant professor in public relations this fall. She takes the place of Professor Rick Fischer, who retired in
May after 25 years at the University of Memphis.
Having completed her doctorate at the University of Maryland in May, Janoske moved
in July to Memphis, where she has learned to “embrace the sweat” and that here “people
are serious about their Elvis.”
Prior to her doctoral studies at Maryland, Janoske taught public relations at Lynchburg
College in Virginia, where she helped her students start a Public Relations Student
Society of America chapter.
The Dayton, Maryland, native loves traveling and has visited Austria and southeastern
Asia. In early October she will be traveling to New York City to run a 5K in Central
Park with friends.
Spring 2014 News & Events
University of Memphis Advertising Student Honored in New York City
Feb. 17, 2014 – Morgan McDaniel, a journalism/advertising senior, was selected as a member of the
2014 American Advertising Federation's class of Most Promising Minority Students.
She was honored at the Most Promising Program at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City
Feb. 11-14, 2014. The event included the Building Bridges for Our Future Awards Luncheon
and the Recruiters Expo which featured national advertising and marketing firms.
Learn more about Morgan here
Geneva Overholser Speaking at 2014 Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture Series
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 @ 6 p.m.
University Center Theater
Geneva Overholser is a senior fellow at the Center for Communication Leadership and
Policy at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication
and Journalism. She is the retired director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism,
a former Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of The Des Moines Register, ombudsman of The
Washington Post and editorial writer for The New York Times.
Important Spring 2014 Dates
Feb. 20-22, 2014 – Southeastern Journalism Awards (Lafayette, LA)
March 4, 2014 – Geneva Overholser Speaking at 2014 Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture Series (6
p.m. in University Center Theater)
March 13-16, 2014 – PRSSA National Assembly (Charleston, SC)
April 3, 2014 – Hampton Sides speaking at Freedom of Information Congress (Time & Location TBA)
April 10-12, 2014 – 7th District National Student Advertising Competition presented by the American Advertising
Federation in Birmingham, AL
April 14, 2014 – Teen Appeal Celebration (3-5 p.m.; location TBA)
April 25, 2014 – Department of Journalism Awards Banquet (6 p.m. at Jerry Lee Lewis' Cafe on Beale
April 30, 2014 – Last Day of Class
May 1, 2014 – Study Day
May 2-8, 2014 – Final Exams
Fall 2013 News & Events
Two new Assistant Professors joined the Department of Journalism in August 2013: Matt Haught, who is getting his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, and Ashley Furrow, who is getting her Ph.D. from Ohio University. Welcome!
Read Dr. Carrie Brown
's article on diversity and entrepreneurial journalism here
, published in PBS Mediashift on June 18, 2013.
Five faculty members (David Arant, Carrie Brown, Sandy Utt, Erin Willis and Jin Yang) and two graduate students (Brittany Block and Larry Anderson) attended the Annual Conference of Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication (AEJMC held) in Washington D.C. Aug. 8-11, 2013.
Erin Willis presented three coauthored papers: "Self-efficacy and interactivity: A content analysis
of Weight Watchers' online discussion board," "Not on my watch: A textual analysis
of local and national newspaper coverage of the Martin-Zimmerman case," and "Humanity
as an end: Analyzing Trayvon Martin shooting coverage using Kant's second categorical
Carrie Brown attended three invited panels: "Teaching entrepreneurial journalism," "Presenting
the best of the best student journalism entrepreneurs," and "Participatory journalism."
Jin Yang and David Arant presented a paper "Assessing the Impact of Chinese Journalism Education on Undergraduate
Student Professionalization." Jin Yang served as the discussant for "Government &
Media: International Communication, Regulation & Facilitation," and David Arant served
as the discussant for "From Public Health to Reality TV: Examining Ethical Violations
and Concerns in the Mass Media."
Sandy Utt served as the moderator for the teaching panel of "Teaching Marathon/The Ideal VisCom
Curriculum," and as the discussant for "Wonder Women, Super Kids and High School Students."
Brittney Block presented a paper "Mobile Applications and Advertising: Scan vs Shazam."
Larry Anderson presented a paper "South Park and the Defense of the Status Quo."
Darrin M. Devault was the runner-up for the 2013 Dean's Faculty Advisor Award. He was recognized at
the 2013 Fall Semester's CCFA faculty meeting. Devault serves as instructor and coordinator
of the department's online B.A.degree program in public relations. He also serves
as faculty adviser of the U of M chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of