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SIPA Announces Keynote and #MySouth Campaign

(Photo courtesy of The Bitter Southerner)

By Justin Brouckaert, Scholastic Media Assistant

Posted January 30, 2016


Kyle Tibbs Jones of The Bitter Southerner will be the keynote speaker for the 2017 SIPA Convention March 3-5 in Columbia, SC.

The Bitter Southerner is an online publication that features multimedia storytelling about the South. It has published writing from Drive-By Truckers lead Patterson Hood, author Tracy Thompson and novelists Thomas Mullen and Charles McNair, among many others. NPR’s Michele Norris called The Bitter Southerner “brave and curious and funny.”

Launched in 2013, The Bitter Southerner now averages 50,000 unique visitors every week.

Jones, a co-founder and social media director of The Bitter Southerner, will give an interactive keynote on Saturday, March 4.

On The Bitter Southerner website, co-founder and editor Chuck Reece says, “it’s still too…easy for folks to draw the conclusion that we Southerners are hopelessly bound to tradition, too resistant to change.”

The Bitter Southerner publishes stories that debunk such myths.

“There is another South, the one that we know: a South that is full of people who do things that honor genuinely honorable traditions,” Reece says. “Cooking. Reading. Writing. Singing. Playing. Making things. It's also full of people who face our region's contradictions and are determined to throw our dishonorable traditions out the window.

The Bitter Southerner is here for Southern people who do cool things, smart things, things that change the whole world, or just a few minds at a time… The Bitter Southerner is for the rest of us. It is about the South that the rest of us know: the one we live in today and the one we hope to create in the future.”

SIPA is also announcing a new campaign leading up to SIPA 2017, drawing from The Bitter Southerner’s mission. We want to hear from students about their own Southern communities: how they define them and what they want from them in the future.

“My South is _______.”

Students and advisers are encouraged to fill in the blank and share their own original photos or videos with SIPA on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #MySouth. Images and videos will be shared and compiled for a convention presentation.

The keynote speaker for Friday, March 3 will be Sean Rayford, a South Carolina photographer whose work has been featured in the New York Times, The State, Getty Images and the Associated Press.