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UM Alumnae Labeled ‘Rising Star’ in Social Media

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Clarion-Ledger social media coordinator and Ole Miss alum Alex McDaniel is tweeting and facebooking her way to the top.

In an article by Craig Kanalley on The Huffington Post, Kanalley listed some of the top “Rising Stars” in journalism, and Alex McDaniel got some well deserved recognition.

“If there’s one thing I can tell you definitively about the future of journalism, it’s that young people of the present will be the leaders of that future,” Kanalley wrote. “These are the Millennials. They grew up with computers, instant messaging on AIM, using Facebook in school –– they’re not afraid to communicate in GIFs or acronyms, and they’re poised to do great things in the future. That’s why they’re worth watching.”

McDaniel graduated with a Bachelor’s in journalism from Ole Miss in 2010, and won multiple achievements for her work during her time here. She was also the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Mississippian. While she stated that her degree from Ole Miss definitely helped her with her career, getting to her current position took some innovative thinking.

“I didn’t exactly go to journalism school with plans of being a social media editor,” McDaniel said in an e-mail interview. “However, like other people my age who have similar jobs, I was able to apply my journalism education and experience to the social web. Just as I learned in school how to tell a story through the written word, photography, video and the web, I basically go through the same process now.”

McDaniel also expressed how it’s important for young journalists to understand the importance of social media as a tool for growing a personal audience.

“I suppose something for young journalism alums or soon-to-be graduates to consider is the fact that my interest and activity on social media has directly impacted my career,” she said. “Had I not put myself out on a limb at my first job by proposing a social media strategy for the company, my former editor never would have recommended me for those skills when I applied for a reporting position at The Clarion-Ledger.

“That reporting position obviously turned into something much bigger.”

McDaniel stressed that, while social media will continuously evolve as it always has, it won’t stop growing.

“I think everyone knows the social web is no longer the temporary trend everyone treated it like ten years ago. It’s baked into our lives. It’s how we communicate, how we discover and share information, how we participate in a 24/7 digital world,” she said. “The media itself will undoubtedly evolve, but the underlying socially driven experience will continue. News organizations have to be mindful of that if they’re going to continue to be relevant to their audiences.”

In Kanalley’s article on huffingtonpost.com, he labeled McDaniel as one of more than 100 young people to follow, not just on social media, but in the field of journalism.

“If there’s one thing I can tell you definitively about the future of journalism, it’s that young people of the present will be the leaders of that future,” he wrote.

“Those in college now, who have recently finished college, or maybe a few years out of college, they’re the leaders of tomorrow. There are a lot of questions about what that future will look like, but these folks have the creativity, innovative mindset and smarts to take journalism to places it’s never been before.” –– Jared Senseman, senior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

Email Jared Senseman at jrsensem@go.olemiss.edu

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