Speaker Bios:

RONNIE AGNEW is executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where he has oversight of radio and television programming and the agency’s legislative, education and digital initiatives. He was awarded the 2016 National Advocacy Award by America’s Public Television Stations for his efforts in furthering public television’s legislative goals and marshaling grassroots support for public broadcasting. Before joining MPB in 2011, Agnew served as executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger, among Gannett’s most decorated newspapers nationally for its coverage of civil rights issues. Agnew, a University of Mississippi journalism graduate, is advisory board chairman for the journalism program at Jackson State University. He is on the journalism advisory boards for the University of Southern Mississippi and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss, and he taught journalism at Belhaven University.


DAVID BRANDT is a sports reporter for The Associated Press. He has covered sports in Mississippi for more than a decade, first with The Clarion-Ledger and for the past six years with The Associated Press. His main area of expertise is Southeastern Conference football, basketball and baseball, but he’s also covered the NFL, NBA and the PGA Tour.


GREG BROCK is senior editor for standards for The New York Times.

Previously, he was the Times’ Washington news editor, overseeing

day-to-day coverage of the White House, Congress and the federal government, and deputy political editor/national. Before joining the Times in 1995, Brock was an editor at The Washington Post and the Charlotte Observer. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and still serves on the Nieman Foundation Advisory Board. He is also active in the Campus Newspaper Program, traveling to universities as a consultant and resource for campus publications on behalf of The New York Times. Brock is a journalism graduate of the University of Mississippi, and was managing editor of The Daily Mississippian.


LAYNE BRUCE is executive director of the Mississippi Press Association. He joined MPA in 2006 as director of marketing and was named executive director in 2007. He began his career in the production department of his hometown newspaper, the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Mississippi. He later served as a reporter for the Starkville Daily News, publisher of The Star-Herald in Kosciusko and as editor and general manager of the Glasgow (KY) Daily Times. He oversees management of MPA, Mississippi Press Services and the MPA Education Foundation.


AARON DODSON is assistant editor of The Undefeated, ESPN’s premier platform for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture, based in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he worked for four years at The Daily Tar Heel as a sports reporter and copy editor. He had sports internships at The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.


ADAM GANUCHEAU is a reporter covering state government issues for Mississippi Today, a nonpartisan news service that covers state and local government affairs and community issues including education, health, economic development, poverty, race and social culture. He previously worked as a staff reporter for The Clarion-Ledger and The Birmingham News/AL.com, and he had internships at the Daily Journal in Tupelo and USA Today in Washington, D.C. Ganucheau, a 2014 graduate of the Meek School of Journalism & New Media at the University of Mississippi, was editor in chief of The Daily Mississippian. He won several awards in the annual SEJC contests, including first-place awards.


ALEX HARRIS is a breaking news reporter at the Miami Herald. Her multimedia coverage includes the Pulse shooting in Orlando, the spread of Zika in Miami and the sinking of the El Faro in Hurricane Joaquin.

She graduated from the University of Florida, where her reporting on the Pedro Bravo murder trial for the independent student paper won her an SPJ Mark of Excellence award.


MIKKI HARRIS is a multimedia journalist and educator with special interest in documentary photography. As assistant professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, she was photojournalism and multimedia faculty leader on several national award-winning projects. She was a Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute, a photojournalist at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and a new media instructor at Morehouse College. Her images have been featured in national publications and at The Studio Museum in New York. She worked as a technology consultant for Accenture, a global information technology firm. She has a degree in economics from Spelman College and a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University.


NAEEMUL HASSAN is an assistant professor in the computer and information science department at the University of Mississippi. He has interests in research areas related to big data and data science, including database and data mining. His current research projects are related to computational journalism, natural language processing and social sensing. His works have won several awards. He has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Texas at Arlington. Before that, he worked as a lecturer at Daffodil International University after receiving his bachelor of science degree at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. This semester, he is teaching a new UM course called computational journalism, designed to teach application of big data and data science in journalism and reporting, and to explore journalism and reporting-focused open source tools.


JI HOON HEO is a multimedia journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi and an entrepreneur operating a startup digital agency. He teaches courses in digital media innovation and xxx. He was an intern for the National Press Foundation in Washington, D.C., and Ole Miss Sports Productions. He has a degree in convergent media from Morehead State University and a master’s degree from Ole Miss. During his graduate studies, he won awards from the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters and the Society of Professional Journalists. He is an FAA certified drone pilot.

JESSE J. HOLLAND is the Race & Ethnicity reporter for The Associated Press, responsible for coverage and analysis of U.S. minority and ethnic groups for the world’s largest news organization. A former AP Supreme Court, White House and Congressional reporter, Jesse has been named by TheRoot.com as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans. He is the author of the new book, The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves In the White House. His book Black Men Built The Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C., was published in 2007. And he wrote this year’s Star Wars young adult book, Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finn’s Story and is writing the upcoming Marvel Studios prequel adult novel, The Black Panther, to be released this year. Holland served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Ethics in Journalism at the University of Arkansas in fall 2016. He graduated from the University of Mississippi with a liberal arts degree in journalism and English – and was Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Mississippian. He has a master’s in fine arts in creative nonfiction from Goucher College.


CYNTHIA JOYCE is an assistant professor in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media. Previously she was a writer, editor and web producer for more than 15 years, and she has contributed to several regional and national publications, including The Washington Post, Newsday, NPR.org, Entertainment Weekly, and MSNBC.com, where she was a senior producer from 2007-2011. She also worked as a producer for Nola.com, and as arts and entertainment editor at Salon. She has a BA from Duke University, and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University.


FRANK LOMONTE is executive director of the Student Press Law Center, a nonprofit corporation that is the nation’s only legal assistance agency devoted exclusively to student First Amendment rights and open government on campuses. It provides free legal advice and information to high school and college student journalists. LoMonte joined the SPLC in 2008 after practicing law with Atlanta-based Sutherland LLP and clerking for federal judges on the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Before law school, LoMonte was an investigative journalist and political columnist for daily newspapers in Florida and Georgia. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was a senior editor of the Georgia Law Review. His articles about the First Amendment and media-law topics have been widely published in Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the American University Law Review, the University of North Carolina First Amendment Law Review, and many other outlets.


ALEX MCDANIEL is editor of the Oxford Eagle and Oxford magazine. Before she took her current position in 2016, she worked for Alabama Media Group as a feature writer, SEC sports reporter, video personality and audience strategist for AL.com in Birmingham, where she also was managing editor of Birmingham Magazine. Previously, McDaniel was social media coordinator at the Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com/where she developed the brand’s initial social media strategy, specializing in audience engagement. She was also a news, lifestyles and sports writer, earning statewide, regional and national honors for her work. The Huffington Post named her a Rising Star in Social Journalism in 2013. She got her start in New York at Parade magazine, where she managed the brand’s social media presence. McDaniel is a 2010 graduate of the Meek School of Journalism & New Media at the University of Mississippi. She was editor in chief of The Daily Mississippian, editor in chief of The Ole Miss yearbook, and an anchor for NewsWatch, Ole Miss’ daily live news broadcast. She is a former first-place SEJC College Journalist of the Year.


MATT MILLER is Talent Acquisition Leader for the E.W. Scripps Co.,
which owns 33 television stations and 34 radio stations in 17 states. Previously, Miller was a news director, senior executive producer and anchor at television stations in New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia. He has degrees in electronic media and drama/theater arts.

JERRY MITCHELL is an investigative reporter for the Clarion-Ledger, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and MacArthur genius grant winner. His work ensured that unpunished murders from the civil rights era were finally prosecuted, and helped put four killers behind bars. Mitchell is currently writing a memoir about his investigations into the civil rights cold cases. In addition, Mitchell has published a broad range of articles on such subjects as racial reconciliation in the South, judicial bribes and chicanery in Mississippi, corruption in the state corrections system, and a series on his own family’s battle against a rare genetic ailment. Mitchell has received more than 30 national awards. He received a B.A. from Harding University and an M.A. from Ohio State University.


WILL NORTON JR. is dean of the Meek School of Journalism & New Media. Previously, he was dean of the College of Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has been a visiting lecturer at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, and a board member of the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communication. He has served as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and as president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications, vice president of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and chair of the Accrediting Committee of ACEJMC. He has made more than 90 campus visits as a consultant, member or chair of site teams of ACEJMC or as a state board program evaluator. He has a BA from Wheaton College, an MA from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He is a trustee of the Freedom Forum, the Diversity Institute and the Newseum.

He has been called “a loose cannon,” “a pain in the ass” and a “white or.”

MARSHALL RAMSEY is a Pulitzer finalist for editorial cartoons, a radio host and author of short stories. He spent 20 years as a cartoonist for the Clarion-Ledger, and his editorial cartoons are syndicated nationally and have appeared in The New York Times and USA Today. He is the author of several books, including two cartoon collections, the short story collection Fried Chicken and Wine, and the children’s book Banjo’s Dream. His weekly statewide radio program, Now You’re Talking with Marshall Ramsey, airs on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2001, Ramsey actively promotes skin cancer awareness and sun safety, and has been honored by the Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society for paying his survival forward. Ramsey is a Georgia native and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where he was cartoonist for the student newspaper. His first editorial cartoon appeared when he was cartoonist for his high school newspaper; his cartoon of the school librarian holding a machine gun and challenging students for their pass to get into the library landed him in the principal’s office, but it also led to better library access for students.



BILL ROSE is Senior Overby Fellow for the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics and a graduate of the University of Mississippi. He joined the journalism faculty at Ole Miss after a 40-year career as a professional journalist, most of it at The Miami Herald. As a reporter, he covered city and county government and the governor’s race before going to Atlanta to cover the South. When he returned to the Miami newsroom, he served in a number of editing roles, including national editor and editor of Tropic magazine. He left the Herald to become managing editor of The Palm Beach Post. Rose started his career as a reporter for the Delta-Democrat Times in Greenville, Mississippi. At Ole Miss, he runs The Delta Project, a course in which students report on poverty in the Delta and produce depth reports documenting their findings.


KATE ROYALS is a reporter for Mississippi Today, a nonpartisan news service that covers state and local government affairs and community issues. She previously worked as a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She has won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Millsap College and a master’s degree in communications from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications.


ADRIAN SAINZ is an Associated Press correspondent based in Memphis. He has worked for AP since June 2000, covering breaking news, sports, politics, business, and entertainment in Miami and Memphis. He is a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans.


DANIEL VICTOR is a senior staff editor at The New York Times, where he spent his first two years as a social media editor. He now reports for the Times’ Express Team, a breaking-news desk covering news readers are searching for and talking about online. Victor is a frequent speaker at Associated Press Media Editors’ NewsTrain conferences. Before joining the Times in 2012, he ran social media and crowdsourcing for ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom for investigative journalism, and he launched a hyperlocal site for Philly.com and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was a community host for TBD, a website/TV station that covered local news and sports in Washington. He began his career with four years as a reporter for The (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) Patriot-News. He is a graduate of Penn State University.


MICHAEL WALLACE is senior editor and contributor for Grind City Media, where he provides columns, commentary and news reporting and also serves as a broadcast analyst on the Grizzles LIVE! pre-game and post-game shows. He is a rotating member of the Grizzlies’ radio broadcast team. Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Wallace spent six years as an NBA reporter with ESPN and contributed to ESPN.com’s ‘Heat Index,’ a groundbreaking digital media site that chronicled LeBron James’ four seasons with the Miami Heat. He was a regular co-host on ESPN Radio’s national weekend show lineup and a daily co-host on ESPN’s radio affiliate in Miami. He also worked as a writer and columnist for the Tallahassee Democrat and The Clarion-Ledger. He is a graduate of Grambling State University, and is pursuing a master’s degree in new media communications.




DEBORA WENGER is associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in journalism at the University of Mississippi. Prior to her academic appointments, Wenger was assistant news director at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida, and a journalism faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University. Wenger conducts multimedia training in newsrooms around the country and is coauthor of the broadcast, online and multimedia journalism curricula for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Newsroom Training Program. She is part of Google News Lab’s U.S. training team. Wenger has degrees from xx, and Kingston University in London. In January, she was named by Crain Communications’ NewsPro as one of the Top 10 journalism educators in the nation.






Promoting Journalism in the Southeast Region