Wednesday, November 14, 5:30 p.m. Reading the Returns A pair of veteran Mississippi political handlers with opposing partisan interests – Republican Austin Barbour and Democrat Brandon Jones – will debate the outcome of the November 6 election as well as a prospective run-off later in the month for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Thad Cochran.
National Politics and Mississippi's Senate Runoff to be Analyzed
Two veterans of Mississippi's politics—a Republican and a Democrat — will review the results of the Nov. 6 election and offer commentary on the extraordinary runoff for a U.S. Senate seat later this month at the final program of the fall season at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 5:30 p.m.
Austin Barbour, who held prominent roles in past Senate campaigns of Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, will join Brandon Jones, a former member of the state House of Representatives and co-founder of the Mississippi Democratic Trust, in an hour-long discussion with two former national political reporters, Charles Overby, chairman of the center, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie.
A focus of the program will be the Nov. 27 runoff between Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican appointed to fill a seat vacated by Cochran’s resignation, and Mike Espy, a former Democratic congressman from Mississippian who served as President Clinton’s secretary of agriculture. Hyde-Smith and Espy both won more than 40 percent of the votes in the midterm election but because neither topped 50 percent it triggered a rare runoff to determine who would take the remaining two years of Cochran’s term.
The panel will also discuss the state of politics in the rest of the country and what the mid-term elections will mean to the 2020 presidential campaign.
“The end of the midterm elections signals the beginning of the presidential race,” said Overby. “We will talk about the ramifications of the midterms in Mississippi and beyond.”
Barbour comes from a First Family of Republicans in the state. His father, Jeppie Barbour, became one of the first members of the GOP to be serve as a mayor in Mississippi when he was elected to the post in Yazoo City nearly 50 years ago. Former Gov. Haley Barbour is Austin’s uncle. As a result, Barbour has worked in and around campaigns all his life.
He is managing partner of the Clearwater Group, a regional public affairs firm in Jackson, and also a partner in Strategic Partners & Media, a national advertising group based in Annapolis, Md.
Jones is an attorney with Baria-Jones, a law firm with offices in Jackson and Bay St. Louis. (His partner, David Baria, ran unsuccessfully against Wicker for the other U.S. Senate seat at stake this month.)
Jones has also worked as an advisor for Democratic candidates in a number of other state and local campaigns in Mississippi.
The event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in a lot adjacent to the Overby Center Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus, and a reception will be held following the program.
Showtime in American Politics: Boyer Headlines at the Overby
Peter Boyer, a nationally-known political reporter, will lead a discussion about the upcoming Congressional elections in a special program at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics on Friday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Overby Center Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus.
A native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast who attended Ole Miss, Boyer now serves as national correspondent for The Weekly Standard. His career has included important stints at The New Yorker magazine, Newsweek, and Fox News.
He first gained prominence as a correspondent for the PBS documentary series, Frontline, where he won an Emmy and a George Foster Peabody award for his reporting.
“Peter Boyer has been one of the finest journalists in America for decades,” said Stephen F. Hayes, the editor-in-chief at The Weekly Standard. “He is the kind of reporter that ambitious young journalists read to learn how to write narrative nonfiction.”
Though his work has kept him on the East Coast, Boyer retains a familiarity with developments in Mississippi. Ten years ago he wrote a long piece for The New Yorker about the criminal investigation that engulfed Oxford attorney Dick Scruggs and other lawyers and judges. Earlier this year Boyer was the author of an article concerning the spirited race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Thad Cochran before his retirement.
Boyer is expected to talk about the contest – featuring Cochran’s appointed Republican successor, Cindy Hyde-Smith; the insurgent Chris McDaniel, who has the backing of the Tea Party wing of the GOP; and Mike Espy, a former Democratic congressman from Mississippi who is making his state party’s strongest bid in years for a Senate seat.
Boyer will also discuss the political fall-out from the recent battle involving Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the electoral pull of President Trump and the chances for national Democrats to win control of at least one of the houses of Congress in the Nov. 6 election.
He will be joined in the conversation by Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie, who covered national politics for a more than a quarter-century for The Boston Globe.
John Herbers' Book on Civil Rights Era Next Up at the Overby Center
The daughter of the late Mississippi journalist John Herbers will join a discussion at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics next Tuesday about her father’s recently-published posthumous memoir, “Deep South Dispatch,” and his reporting during the civil rights era.
The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. There will be a reception following the event, and arrangements had been made for parking in the campus lot adjacent to the auditorium.
Herbers, who died last year, began covering the civil rights movement as a reporter for the old wire service, United Press International, but moved in the early 1960s to the New York Times where he had a distinguished career. In an introduction to the book, Herbers was described as “one of America’s most important news reporters in the second half of the twentieth century” by Gene Roberts, who was himself a prominent civil rights reporter before becoming editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
His daughter, Anne Farris Rosen, collaborated with Herbers to complete the book. She will be on hand to take part in a reflection about his work during a critical period in Mississippi’s history along with three other Mississippi journalists who knew Herbers and reported from the state in the 1960s. The other panelists will be Charles Dunagin, the long-time editor of the McComb Enterprise-Journal; Overby Center chairman Charles Overby, who was editor of the Ole Miss student newspaper, The Mississippi, 1967-68, and covered civil rights activity for the old Jackson Daily News; and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie, who was a reporter at the Clarksdale Press Register for much of the decade.
“John Herbers built a great reputation with his strong and honest reporting during a difficult time in this state, and I’m delighted we’ll be able to honor his work in this way,” said Overby.
"In The Dark"
In the Dark, a nationally acclaimed podcast, features a year-long investigation into a why a Winona man has been tried six times for a quadruple murder. Curtis Flowers has been in Parchman for 21 years, even though he has won repeated appeals. Madeleine Baran and Samara Freemark reveal how and why their in-depth investigation focused on the prosecutor, the witnesses and and how justice works or doesn't work.
Politics Dominate the Autumn Schedule at the Overby Center
With a special emphasis on election year events the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics begins its twelfth year of programs on the Ole Miss campus by co-sponsoring a high-powered discussion Friday evening featuring the hosts of the popular MSNBC program “Morning Joe” and two of the most prominent contemporary thinkers and authors in America.
Following a network telecast from Oxford Friday morning, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will appear at 5 p.m. in the Ford Center to conduct a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and commentator Jon Meacham and best-selling biographer Walter Isaacson.
Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, will make opening remarks. Lack is also the founder of Mississippi Today, an online news organization that is the principal sponsor of the program.
The program is sponsored by Mississippi Today and co-sponsored by the Overby Center.
Scarborough, a graduate of the University of Alabama, had vowed several years ago to bring his program to Ole Miss on the eve of a future Ole Miss-Alabama contest after being impressed by the hospitality in the Grove and other game day activities during his earlier visit. The Ford Center program brings to the stage the past two commencement speakers at Ole Miss – Meacham and Isaacson.
All of the other Overby Center programs this season will be held in the center’s auditorium, where events are free and open to the public. Arrangements have been made for free parking in the lot adjacent to the auditorium.
“A broad array of nationally recognized journalists and commentators will give our audiences valuable insights,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center.
The rest of the Overby line-up:
Wednesday, September 19, 5:30 p.m. – “IN THE DARK” – Investigative journalists for a nationally-acclaimed podcast will talk about their year-long probe into the reasons why a Winona man has been tried six times for a quadruple murder. Curtis Flowers has been in the Mississippi state penitentiary in Parchman for 21 years even though he has won repeated appeals. Madeleine Baran and Samara Freemark will reveal how their work focused on the prosecutor, the witnesses and how justice works – or doesn’t.
Tuesday, September 25, 5:30 p.m. – “DEEP SOUTH DISPATCH.” – John Herbers was a Mississippi reporter who covered the early stages of the civil rights movement for United Press International before moving to a distinguished career at The New York Times. At the end of his life, he collaborated with his daughter, Anne Farris Rosen, on a memoir about his experiences in the South in the 1960s that was published this year. Rosen will be here to talk about her father with other journalists in Mississippi during that period.
Friday, October 19, 11 a.m. – ELECTION THOUGHTS – Two and a half weeks before this fall’s critical Congressional elections, political journalist Peter Boyer will be on hand to discuss the chances of a Democratic take-over on Capitol Hill. A native Mississippian, Boyer attended Ole Miss. His background ranges from The New Yorker to Newsweek, from Frontline to Fox News. He is currently a national correspondent for The Weekly Standard.
Wednesday, November 14, 5:30 p.m. – READING THE RETURNS – A pair of veteran Mississippi political handlers with opposing partisan interests – Republican Austin Barbour and Democrat Brandon Jones – will debate the outcome of the November 6 election as well as a prospective run-off later in the month for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Thad Cochran.
ABOUT THE OVERBY CENTER
The Overby Center for Southern Journalism & Politics’ mission is to create better understanding of the media, politicians and the role of the First Amendment in our democracy. The Center is funded through a $5 million grant from the Freedom Forum, a foundation dedicated to educating people about the importance of a free press and the First Amendment.
The Overby Center features programs, multimedia displays and writings which examine the complex relationships between the media and politicians - past, present and future. The Overby Center pays special attention to Southern perspectives.
Adjacent to the newly renovated journalism department facility at Farley Hall, the Overby Center is a new building that features 16,000 square feet of conference space. It includes a 225-seat auditorium, a multipurpose conference room that will accommodate 100 people for seminars and dinners, and a boardroom seating up to 24 people.
The center has state-of-the-art technology and video throughout the building, including a news wall with nine large-screen TV monitors for showing live news programs and current front pages from 12 Southern states.
The center is named for Charles L. Overby, editor of the Daily Mississippian at Ole Miss from 1967-1968. Overby was the CEO of the Freedom Forum and Newseum until his retirement in 2012.