Steve Soltis

Steve Soltis discusses the upcoming MSU New Narrative Festival at the Starkville Rotary Club meeting Monday.

For the second year, the Mississippi State University Department of Communication will host its New Narrative Festival later this month.

The festival will be held at The Mill on March 22 and March 23, and will feature sessions presented by musicians, corporate communicators, chefs, academics and others. Among the presenters will be Mississippi native and country musician Steve Azar, MSU President Mark Keenum, Mississippi chef and restaurateur Robert St. John and MSU Vice President of Research and Economic Development David Shaw.

Steve Soltis, former head of executive and internal communication for the Coca-Cola Company and MSU Department of Communication advisory board member, discussed the festival at the Starkville Rotary Club’s Monday Meeting.

“It’s a shifting landscape in communication of all forms really, traditional journalism, new journalism, organizational and political communication,” Soltis said. “The landscape is changing. Technology is changing. Social digital media is changing the nature of everything, so we thought it was important for Mississippi State, specifically the department of communication, to take a leadership role in sort of helping lead this discussion on the changing nature of communication and storytelling.”

Soltis also said Mississippi was an ideal place to hold such an event.

“The state of Mississippi has so much credibility in this, because it’s been so instrumental in influencing journalism, music, performance art, theatre, dance, all forms of American art, if they don’t have their roots here, they certainly grew up here,” Soltis said.

Soltis said Mississippi was still a misunderstood place despite its cultural influence. He cited a talk Shaw will give about MSU’s unmanned aerial systems research as an example.

“Steve’s original idea is there are so many things in Mississippi that people just don’t know about, and the impact Mississippi’s had,” said MSU Communication professor and Department Head John Forde.

Forde said last year’s festival drew close to 100 attendees, with a slightly larger number expected this year.

“It’s just a really a good event,” Forde said. “I would encourage anyone to look at the website, and we need to register and sponsor and there are vendor opportunities,” Forde said.

Forde said this year, attendees would be allowed to purchase tickets for just one of the two days, rather than both, if they desired. The cost of registration is $95 per day, or $45 total for students. Additional information can be found on the festival’s website. For additional questions, Forde can be reached at (662)-312-5031.

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