February 21, 2018  

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Mass Communication and Journalism Symposium, Hall of Fame Event Nov. 10

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The University of Southern Mississippi School of Mass Communication and Journalism will host its fifth annual symposium Thursday, Nov. 10.  “From Here You Can Go Anywhere:  Southern Miss and the Future of the Entertainment Industry” will be held in the Thad Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg campus. 

The symposium will include the induction of four alumni into the Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame, which was created in 2006 to give the School of Mass Communication and Journalism a way to honor its most distinguished graduates. Among the alumni to be honored at the symposium will be a Grammy-winning music producer, the director of the biggest box office hit in Venezuelan history and the veteran general managers of south Mississippi’s two most influential television stations.

“Each year, I become more amazed by the remarkable talent that has come through Southern Miss,” said Dr. Chris Campbell, director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism.  “The alumni we are honoring this year are exceptional role models for our current students, who we hope will follow in their footsteps.”

The keynote address at the luncheon will be delivered by Southern Miss journalism alum David McRaney, whose hilarious self-help book, “You Are Not So Smart,” was given a national release in October by Gotham Books.   

This year’s inductees include:

  • Jim Cameron, general manager of WDAM-TV since 1992 and whose broadcasting career spans four decades, beginning with his involvement at the Southern Miss campus radio station as a freshman.  He worked his way through school as a disc-jockey and announcer on commercial radio, and he managed his first radio station at the age of 24.  He was named a lifetime member of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters in 2003 for “outstanding contributions to broadcasting in Mississippi.” He is best known to the television viewers in the Pine Belt for his regular editorials and commentaries on the “Viewpoint” segment of WDAM News, for which he has won numerous awards.


  • Tena Clark, a music producer who has written award-winning country hits, contributed to multi-platinum movie soundtracks, written songs for television shows and was the creator of the instantly recognizable national campaign theme, “Have You Had Your Break Today,” for McDonald's.  She produced Natalie Cole’s “Still Unforgettable,” which won two Grammy awards, and she is the founder and CEO of DMI Music & Media Solutions.


  • Diego Velasco, a filmmaker whose five short films have won a total of 26 awards, including one that was considered for an Academy Award.  Velasco premiered in 2010 his first feature film, La Hora Cero (“The Zero Hour”), which broke all box office records in Venezuela, making it the highest grossing Venezuelan film of all time. It has won more than 20 awards, screening at many different festivals, and has secured distribution in the United States and Latin America.


  • Dave Vincent, vice president and general manager of WLOX-TV in Biloxi.Vincent joined WLOX-TV in Biloxi in 1977 and worked as a reporter, anchor, assignment editor and news director before becoming station manager in 1996. Under his leadership, the WLOX news department won numerous national awards, including the prestigious Peabody, duPont and Murrow awards in 2006 for the station’s heroic twelve days of coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Clark and Velasco will appear on a panel at 9:30 a.m. to talk about their careers and the state of the entertainment industry. That session will be in room 218 of the Thad Cochran Center and is free and open to the public. 

At 11:30 a.m., the four honorees will be inducted into the MCJ Hall of Fame at a luncheon in Cochran Center Ballroom III. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased through the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. Proceeds from the luncheon will support scholarship endowments established in the School of Mass Communication and Journalism in the names of former professors Gene Wiggins and the late Larry Albers.

McRaney, the guest speaker, is the director of new media at WDAM-TV. His popular blog, “You Are Not So Smart:  A Celebration of Self Delusion,” caught the attention of a New York publisher and led to the publication of the book, which is subtitled, “Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself.” His appearance at the luncheon is part of a national book tour that began in October, and he will be available after the luncheon to sign books.

Clark and Velasco will conduct master classes for students in the recording industry and film programs while on campus.  Velasco will also be on hand for a screening of his film, “The Zero Hour,” at 6 p.m. at the Fleming Education Center auditorium on the Long Beach campus.  That screening is free and open to the public. 

For more information or luncheon tickets, contact Mandy Nace at Amanda.Tilley@usm.eduor call 601.266.4258.