May 25, 2019  

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Media and Business Expert to Speak April 10 on Hattiesburg Campus

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Ronnie Agnew

An accomplished and highly regarded media and business professional will speak at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Wednesday, April 10, about his 35-year career, focusing on diversity, public education, and the Mississippi economy. 

Ronnie Agnew, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB), will present “Tales from the Field: From Sharecropper’s Son to News Executive” from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Thames Polymer Science Research Center, room 101 on the Hattiesburg campus.

Since 2011, Agnew has served as executive director of MPB. In this capacity, he oversees strategic initiatives that engage the power of the state broadcasting system. These include emergency preparedness, early childhood education, dropout prevention, healthcare, and job training.

“My career has taken me all over the country to places that a poor kid growing up in rural Mississippi could have never envisioned. It has been a public example of the power of dreams, of goal-setting and of parents who set high standards despite their circumstances,” Agnew said. 

Prior to joining MPB, Agnew served as executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger for more than 10 years. Under Agnew’s leadership, the paper successfully investigated several civil rights cold cases and aggressively pursued government accountability. During his tenure in that role, the newspaper was one of the most diverse in the country.

“During his extensive media career, Mr. Agnew has established a reputation as a dedicated professional who is committed to advancing education, our state, diversity, and government accountability,” said Dr. Vanessa Murphree, professor of communication. “Our campus community is fortunate to the have opportunity to learn from such an accomplished professional, who has dedicated much of his career to strengthening and improving Mississippi.”

A Saltillo, Mississippi native, Agnew earned a bachelor’s from the University of Mississippi. He has served as managing editor of The Hattiesburg American and editor of The Dothan (Ala.) Eagle, and has been a four-time judge of the Pulitzer Prizes. He currently serves as a member of the PBS National Board of Directors; chair of the Mississippi Council of Freedom of Information Committee; and as a board member of the Associated Press Media Editors. He has also served as chair of America’s Public Television Stations board of directors, an executive committee member of the National Educational Telecommunication Association, and chair of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education. Agnew is a member of the USM School of Communication Hall of Fame.

For more information about this event, contact the USM School of Communication at 601.266.4258. For information about the School, including its degree programs and faculty, visit www.usm.edu/mcj.