The Overby Center seeks to advance the highest standards of professional journalism in news media and education, to support First Amendment principles, to advance the understanding of the essential relationship between democracy and a fair and free press, and to encourage civilized public discussions about politics and the media.
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Adjacent to the School of Journalism and New Media facility at Farley Hall, the Overby Center features 16,000 square feet of conference space. It includes a 200-seat auditorium, a multipurpose conference room that will accommodate just under 100 people for seminars, and about 50 for dinners, and a boardroom seating up to 24 people. The center has state-of-the-art technology and video throughout the building, including a news wall with nine large-screen TV monitors for showing live news programs and current front pages from 12 Southern states. The Center is funded through a $5 million grant from the Freedom Forum, a foundation dedicated to educating people about the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. The center is named for Charles L. Overby, editor of the Daily Mississippian at Ole Miss from 1967-1968. Overby was the CEO of the Freedom Forum and Newseum until his retirement in 2012.
Charles Overby, Chairman
Charles L. Overby is the former chairman and CEO of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and Diversity Institute. He currently serves as chairman of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. He also is an adjunct instructor in Journalism at Ole Miss. For 22 years he was chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, a non-partisan foundation that educates people about the press and the First Amendment. He was CEO of the Newseum from 1997 to 2011 and supervised the building of the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Overby has traveled to six continents speaking about media issues and promoting First Amendment freedoms. Before joining the Freedom Forum, Overby was a reporter and editor for 17 years. As a reporter, he covered Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House and presidential campaigns for Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper company. Overby was the top editor at Florida Today in Melbourne, Fla., and the executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger and Jackson Daily News in Jackson, Miss. Overby supervised the news and editorial coverage that led to the Clarion-Ledger winning the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1983. Overby also served as vice president of news and communications for Gannett and was a member of the management committees of Gannett and USA TODAY.