By Alyssa Schnugg
A.J. Norwood, sports director of the student-run TV show NewsWatch, has been named the 2022 Oscar R. Pope Life Every Voice Follow.
He is the first Ole Miss student to earn the fellowship created by TNT in honor of Oscar Pope who died in June 2021 at the age of 32.
The fellowship offers one black student journalist from anywhere in the United States the chance to come to All-Star weekend and produce various forms of content with Turner.
“My heart is full to think that A.J. Norwood has become the very first Oscar Pope Lift Every Voice Fellow from our school,” said Debora Wenger, the interim dean of the School of Journalism and New Media. “Oscar was an extraordinary young man who went out of his way to help others succeed, and A.J. is exactly that kind of person, too. I know A.J. will take this opportunity to lift others up, just the way Oscar would have wanted.”
Norwood is a University of Mississippi senior from Batesville majoring in journalism with a minor in legal studies. Along with being sports director at Newswatch – where he formerly worked as a sports reporter – he is the president of the university’s Association of Black Journalists and the vice president of the School of Journalism and New Media’s Ambassador Program.
Norwood said being named the Oscar Pope Lift Every Voice Fellow for the Final Four is an “absolute honor.”
“Oscar’s initiative gave young black journalists an opportunity to see what the journalism industry actually entails at the professional level, and I’m truly grateful for that,” Norwood said. “His legacy will truly live on.
“I hope that as a result of this, it will open up more opportunities not only for myself but for other aspiring journalists as well.”
Oscar Pope Memorial Scholarship
Pope, a native of Terry, Mississippi, graduated from Ole Miss in 2010 with dual degrees in broadcast journalism and graphic design.
During his time at Ole Miss, Pope was a production manager for Rebel Radio and a news anchor for NewsWatch. His artwork was featured in the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition Exhibit. After graduation, he worked in advertising and marketing for various firms in Atlanta.
Pope went on to work at Turner Broadcasting as the marketing coordinator for the NBA on TNT and NBA TV. His work on Inside the NBA, NBA Roadshow and developing NBA legend Charles Barkley’s “Guarantee Button” distinguished his career at the network.
After his death, Pope’s friends and loved ones established the Oscar Pope Memorial Scholarship to benefit future School of Journalism and New Media students majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications.
“We are very close to fully funding the Oscar R. Pope Memorial Scholarship here at the University of Mississippi. More than 60 people have already donated to the effort to preserve Oscar’s legacy of lending a hand to anyone who needed it. We just need a little more help to get us to that $25,000 goal.”
To learn more on how to contribute to the Oscar R. Pope Memorial Scholarship, visit https://ignite.olemiss.edu/project/27962.