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UM Journalism Professor Honored Award for Civil Rights Article

Dr. Katheen W. Wickham, professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, was recently awarded the Ronald T. and Gayla F. Farrar Award in Media and Civil Rights History for “the best civil rights research article published in an academic journal over a two-year period.”

Dr. Katheen W. Wickham, professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, was recently awarded the Ronald T. and Gayla F. Farrar Award in Media and Civil Rights History.

The award was established by the College of Information and Mass Media at the University of South Carolina in recognition of the late Ronald Farrar’s leadership and was presented during the USC Media and Civil Rights Symposium.

Wickham’s article was published in Journalism History in 2020, but the announcement of the award was delayed due to Covid. Her article explored the relationship between the media and the civil rights movement using primary source documents and audio tapes found in the Henry Hampton archives at the University of Washington-St. Louis. Wickham was granted a 2013 research fellowship by Washington University to explore the archives. Hampton produced and directed the legendary 14-part Eyes on the Prize civil rights documentary which aired on public television in 1987.

Wickham also presented a paper at the 2023 USC symposium: ‘Different audiences, different coverage: The 1962 integration of the University of Mississippi” as portrayed in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and four Black newspapers was based on research conducted by students enrolled in her Fall 2022 class “Press and the South.”

The student authors were Caroline Cristler, Jenell Davis, Sara Moore and Camryn Rios.

Earlier in the month, a paper by another group of students from the same class, Newspaper Coverage of James Meredith’s integration of the University of Mississippi: A comparison of three Black newspapers with the New York Times, was presented at the Southeast Colloquium. Those student authors were: Ann Marie DeFrank, Katelyn Kimberlin and Brittany Kohne.

Wickham has also received a 2023 research grant from Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism
honor society, to continue her media research related to civil rights coverage of pivotal events.

Between 1973-1977, Farrar served as chair of the University of Mississippi (then) Department of
Journalism before moving on to other academic posts.

Farrar was instrumental in attaining national accreditation for the journalism department in 1976.

Under his leadership, the journalism department moved from Brady Hall to Farley Hall and transferred from the School of Business to the College of Liberal Arts. Farrar also authored “Powerhouse,” a history of journalism at the University of Mississippi which was published in 2014 by Yoknapatawpha Press.


Staff report

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