Man playing a saxophone

Why the New Narrative Festival and Conference at Mississippi State?

The Mississippi State New Narrative Festival and Conference explores and documents the rapidly changing, multi-platform ways we show, tell and share stories across society, culture, politics and business.

As we look at the transformative power of the New Narrative -- the technologies, entrepreneurs, channels and creatives that are dramatically changing the way we show, tell and share stories -- I think we have an opportunity to position Mississippi State University as a proponent for responsible, truthful and ethical communication.

The new narrative and all the advancements we are seeing in citizen journalism and social media are neither positive or negative forces.  While much of it is very ethical and beneficial to humanity, a lot of it is not.  Like most transformative movements (i.e. globalization, advances in bioscience, etc.),  it needs to be charged in the right direction.  And it's up to leaders like those who are coming to our conference, and to universities like MSU, to be the conveners and champions of a New Narrative that is transforming lives, getting to the truth, and advancing humanity.

Isn't that the point of higher education as well?  So when people ask me why the Department of Communication at Mississippi State University is doing this, I can't think of a more noble reason: To produce students and faculty who are framing a positive, humanity-advancing New Narrative for our state, nation and world.

Steve Soltis

Former Head of Executive and Internal Communication, The Coca-Cola Company
Principal, MAS Leadership Communication
Advisory Board Member, MSU Department of Communication


What Advisory Board Members and Others Are Saying

We come from a long line of talkers and story-tellers, of those who love words so much that each one is drawn out and given special attention. Now, Mississippians continue the story with the New Narrative Festival.

When the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library became a jewel of the Mississippi State University campus, the school and the state expressed enthusiastic support. The past is not forgotten here, but the present and the future are the real focus of its citizens. The Mississippi State New Narrative Festival is a symbol of the modern direction of this all too often negatively labelled state. Be aware, America, that Mississippi’s future is already here, and the New Narrative Festival demonstrates it.

Scholars across disciplines have long recognized the power of narrative to shape human behavior, inform, entertain, and persuade. The Mississippi State New Narrative Festival is an opportunity to explore the changing narratives of the South and examine their effects.

What an absolutely fascinating weekend I spent at the 2018 New Narrative Festival. Until that marvelous spring weekend, I never really thought much about Mississippi. I only knew it from the images I saw as a child growing up through the civil rights era of the 1960s. I had no idea of its rich contributions to American culture, past and present: of its great artists, writers, and musicians, several of whom I actually got to meet. I knew virtually nothing of its embrace of a single community that welcomes everyone or of its warm welcome to innovators seeking to make modern, forward-leaning and even futuristic technology work for all of us. I learned all this at the New Narrative Festival. I look forward to learning more in 2019.

Stories come in many forms and if your organization has an interest in doing it well, attend this festival.  You should expect to walk away with inspiration for work and a heart for the role of Mississippi on the national stage.

MSU On-Campus Partners

Department of Communication
Department of English
MSU Libraries
MSU Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Williams Collection of Lincolniana
National Center for Women in Information Technology, Mississippi Alliance for Women in Computing
President of Mississippi State University
Information Technology Services