OC announces fall programming


The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics is proud to announce an exciting lineup of on-campus events for the fall semester.

The semester’s opening event, “Can Nonprofit Newsrooms Save the South?”, will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Overby Fellow Marquita Smith will moderate a panel discussion featuring Marlon Walker from the Marshall Project, and Andy Lack, former NBC News chairman and founder of Mississippi Today. 

“From local investigative news reports to in-depth state projects, southern nonprofit news organizations tell stories that otherwise would not be told,” Smith said. “These reports connect our communities, create accountability and strengthen democracy. I am delighted to talk with two nonprofit leaders who believe and understand that all people deserve trustworthy information.”

A month later on Thursday, Oct. 26, the center will host Tony Plohetski, a Pulitzer Finalist and Ole Miss alumnus. Plohetski will share his experience covering the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting and the investigations that followed. Plohetski, a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, will be joined by OC Senior National Fellow Tony Pederson, a Texan himself. Together, they will delve into the ethical and logistical challenges reporters encounter when covering tragic events like Uvalde. 

“School shootings in which students and teachers are murdered are unspeakable tragedies for communities, and news organizations face difficult issues in every area of coverage,” Pederson said. “Especially in the Uvalde case, a video released by news media added controversy and emotion. This discussion will explore the difficulties in how news organizations serve the public interest in such cases.”

For the Center’s final event of the semester on Thursday, Nov. 2, OC chairman Charles Overby and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman, Jr., will discuss “Objectivity and Fairness: A Thing of the Past?” The discussion will center on the growing concerns among Americans about the credibility of news reporting, particularly in the era of fake news, and whether the concept of ‘objectivity’ remains attainable in contemporary journalism. 

The Overby Center’s mission is to promote the highest standards in journalism and news media, support First Amendment principles, and further the understanding of the essential relationship between democracy and a free press. The center was funded by a $5 million grant from the Freedom Forum and operates in state-of-the-art facilities adjacent to the School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi.

All programs are open to the public and begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. A generous reception and open bar will follow.