Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Journalism

First Advisor

Charles Mitchell

Second Advisor

Robert Magee

Third Advisor

Cynthia Joyce

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

As this thesis reflects a body of work completed by a journalism student near the conclusion of a journalism education at the University of Mississippi, I approached research and writing in that way. I interviewed three people, for an hour each, and the things I learned in those interviews greatly affected the conclusions I reached with this thesis. My full transcripts from those interviews are located in Appendices A-C. I also did a lot of scouring through articles of The Daily Mississippian from fall 2018 and otherwise; I looked at every single edition of the paper from that semester, both news reporting and editorials, to help establish my conclusions, which were as follows: 1) Because Meek was found to have not taken the photos he published, we cannot know whether or not he had racist intentions when he shared his post; 2) Regardless of the first conclusion, Meek’s post was reprehensible for invading the privacy of these two women and for publicly shaming them for the way they were dressed, as well as attaching larger societal issues to them in the words of his post; 3) The actions in my second conclusion alone did not warrant the removal of his name from Farley Hall; 4) The university has an incredibly toxic relationship with its donors and potential donors, and people like Dean Norton, who stood out front and publicly decried Meek, shared the same sentiments with a donor in private; 5) Cutting ties with Ed Meek and losing his endowment money is a bigger cost than people are willing to admit, and it was not worth it; 6) Both of Meek’s apologies were awful and their low quality contributed greatly to the controversy blowing up like it did; 7) The Daily Mississippian was biased in its coverage of Ed Meek, and it made no secret of it; 8) Publicly funded media does not have an obligation to favorably cover the institution that provides for it; 9) Objectivity as a traditional tenet of journalistic ethics is no longer practiced, but fairness and accuracy are the new standard; 10) This entire situation is grossly more complicated than I felt it was before I started this research.

Comments

Disclosure: From February 2019 to March 2020, I was a reporter and photographer for the DM. I did not report any story on Ed Meek, and the paper’s editorial policies had no bearing on my departure. I left the paper on good terms.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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