October 21, 2014  

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Music Industry Writer to Speak to Southern Miss Students

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Jennifer Odell

University of Southern Mississippi students will hear from a renowned professional journalist who covers the music industry Tuesday, April 8 on the Hattiesburg campus.

Jennifer Odell, who edits pop culture content for the MSN’s entertainment section and covers the New Orleans brass band and jazz scene for DownBeat and OffBeat magazines, will speak to music industry lecturer Drew Young’s class in College Hall, room 102 at 2:25 p.m. Any student, regardless of major, is invited to attend.

Odell also initiated the formation of a local branch of the Jazz Journalists Association in New Orleans, where she coordinates events that include the presentation of the association’s annual Jazz Heroes Awards and monthly meetings. She spent the better part of a decade managing the technical production needs of live concerts and tours, art exhibits, plays and cultural festivals before pursuing a graduate degree in journalism at Columbia University.

“I hope I can shed some light on the role of journalists and editorial work in the music industry,” Odell said. “Music writers have readers who come to trust their opinions and taste, and when producers label execs and publicists cultivate strong working relationships with the writers in their field, they tap into new demographics of potential audiences for the artists with whom they work.”

Odell said knowing a little bit about where writers are coming from will prepare students to promote projects in a way that will get press, which makes selling albums and concert tickets challenging.

“It's also hard to sell those things without strong marketing and promotional copy,” she said. “I hope students also come away from my presentation with some tips on what makes a great press release or a compelling set of liner notes.”

For information about the School of Mass Communication and Journalism and its programs, visit www.usm.edu/mcj.