Overby Fellows

Will Norton, Senior Overby Fellow

Dr. Will Norton, Jr. has been a visiting lecturer at Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He was a board member of the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communication, Pristina, Kosovo. He served as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (2000–01) and as president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications (1989–90). He was vice president of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and is chair of the Accrediting Committee of ACEJMC.

He has made more than 90 campus visits as a consultant, a member or chair of site teams of ACEJMC or as a state board program evaluator. Norton is a partner in ownership of The South Reporter, Inc., Holly Springs, Miss., a corporation that publishes two newspapers and a total market publication. He was publisher of The Daily Iowan. He previously was on the staff of the Chicago Tribune and was sports editor of The Daily Journal, Wheaton, Ill. Norton is a trustee of the Freedom Forum, the Diversity Institute and the Newseum. He was dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1990–2009) and interim chair and chair of the Department of Journalism at The University of Mississippi (1977–1990) and was recently Dean of the school. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in history from Wheaton College, a Master of Arts degree in mass communications from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in mass communications from the University of Iowa.

Terry Mattingly, Inaugural Overby Fellow & Religion Columnist

Terry Mattingly (tmatt.net) writes the nationally syndicated “On Religion” column for the Universal Uclick Syndicate and is a Senior Fellow at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi. For 20 years he was the leader of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Mattingly’s father was a pastor and his mother a language arts teacher. Thus, it’s no surprise that Mattingly is a journalist and teacher who focuses on religion and that he continues to study both writing and religion.

He double-majored in journalism and history at Baylor University and then earned an M.A. at Baylor in Church-State Studies and an M.S. in communications at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Mattingly has worked as a reporter and religion columnist at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and the Charlotte Observer and the Charlotte News. In 1991, Mattingly began teaching at Denver Seminary. While teaching, he has – for three decades – continued writing his weekly “On Religion” column, sent to about 300 newsrooms in North America. He is the founder and editor of GetReligion.org, a weblog that — since 2004 — has critiqued the good and the bad in mainstream coverage of religion news.

In addition to his online duties, Mattingly has lectured at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass., the Torreys Honors Program at Biola University, the School of Journalism at the University of Nebraska, Baylor University, the University of Mississippi, Brigham Young University, Yeshiva University in New York City and in many other academic settings across the nation and around the world.

Mattingly is a prodigal Texan who has never met a mountain that he did not love. He is a music fanatic whose interests range from Celtic guitar (12-fret guitars, especially) to Russian chant. His wife, Debra Bridges Mattingly, is a public librarian. They have two grown children, Sarah Jeanne Wagner, and Frye Lewis Mattingly. The Mattinglys are members of St. Anne’s Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Marquita Smith, Overby Fellow

Dr. Marquita Smith, Ed.D., is the assistant dean for graduate programs. Smith earned her doctorate from the University of Arkansas focusing on curriculum and instruction and faculty leadership. She believes that graduate education is a privilege and opportunity for students to gain outstanding communication and research skills.

Her vision for the school’s graduate programs is for students to acquire advanced and enhanced knowledge of journalism and integrated marketing communications. The goal is for each degree program to provide a unique experience for those who are interested in professional practitioner development, media production expertise and leadership, or the generation of new knowledge in the field.

Smith has a background in journalism and worked in various newsrooms in Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia for 16 years. Her last newsroom position was Virginia Beach bureau chief at The Virginian-Pilot. In 2008, Smith went on leave from The Pilot to complete a Knight International Journalism Fellowship in Liberia. During her time in West Africa, she created a judicial and justice reporting network. Both networks continue to operate in the post-war country today. Smith, selected as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana for the 2016-2017 academic year, is passionate about teaching and researching in West Africa.

In 2012, Smith, an associate professor, was named to the JournalismDegree.org list of Top 50 Journalism Professors. Prior to moving to Oxford, Smith served as the Communication and Fine Arts Division Chair and Coordinator of Diversity Relations at John Brown University. She is a past chair for AEJMC’s Commission on the Status of Minorities and a past member of the national organization’s board of directors. Her research interests focus on media development, public health communications and topics on diversity and inclusion.

R.J. Morgan, Overby Fellow

Dr. R.J. Morgan is an instructional associate professor in the School of Journalism and New Media and a nationally-known figure in the field of scholastic journalism. He’s served as director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association since 2013 and recently launched the Integrated Marketing Communication Association, a national high school media/marketing organization housed at the University of Mississippi. He sits on executive/advisory boards for multiple scholastic media organizations, serves on the national certification committee for the Journalism Education Association, and was recently named Awards Chair for the Scholastic Media division of the Association for Educators of Journalism and Mass Communication. He received the Elizabeth Dickey Distinguished Service Award from the Southern Interscholastic Press Association in 2018 and earned Master Journalism Educator status from JEA in 2020.

Morgan has a Ph.D. in K-12 education leadership from the University of Mississippi. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Mississippi State University and began his teaching career at Starkville High School, where he received several honors including STAR Teacher, Third Congressional District Teacher of the Year and the Paul Cuicchi Innovative Educator Award.  He also advised the school’s newspaper, yearbook and broadcast programs and was thrice named MSPA Adviser of the Year.

Morgan spent 16 years covering college sports for The Associated Press and has written pieces for Religion Unplugged, Sporting News magazine, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, to name a few. He is currently working on his first book-length project about the folk and civil rights movements of the early 1960s.

Among other university appointments, he is a member of the School of Journalism and New Media’s executive committee and leads the school’s Talbert Fellows honors cohort. He was elected to the University of Mississippi Faculty Senate in 2021.

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