Showing posts with label J-School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label J-School. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hawkins, former FAMU journalism dean, dies

James E. Hawkins, former dean of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication,
died Monday at Coliseum Northside Hospital in Macon, Ga.

“The entire School of Journalism & Graphic Communication family, I am sure, joins me in offering sincere condolences to his family,” said Ann Wead Kimbrough, who succeeded Hawkins as dean last year.

Hawkins arrived at FAMU in 1977, just three years after the journalism program began, as an assistant professor in broadcast journalism. He continued his professional development during the summer as a working journalist with the Associated Press and the Oakland Tribune. In 1982, the program evolved into the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, and Hawkins was named director of the division of journalism.

In 2003, Hawkins became interim dean after the sudden resignation of founding Dean Robert Ruggles. Less than a year later, FAMU appointed Hawkins to serve as the permanent dean in 2004.

As dean, Hawkins led both the Division of Journalism and Division of Graphic Communication through successful reaffirmation of accreditation processes.

Hawkins is survived by his wife, Judith, his son Jason, and one grandchild. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

FAMU PR alumna selected as Coro Fellow

Gianina Marquez Olivera came to FAMU as a transfer student from Lima, Peru with a volleyball scholarship and a determination to succeed. Motivated by the limited educational opportunities available in her home country, she learned English in three months to pursue a degree in public relations in the United States.

Today, after becoming the first woman from the San de Lurigancho district to graduate from an American university with honors, she is preparing for her next journey to the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in Pittsburgh as one of 66 individuals who have been accepted into the 2013-2014 Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.
“Gianina is destined for greatness!” exclaimed LaRae Donnellan, a public relations professor in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) who taught Marquez Olivera and recommended her for the fellowship. “Her determination to succeed as a student and her ability to persevere through personal challenges are inspiring and will serve her well as she pursues her career goals.”

Saturday, May 04, 2013

FAMU journalists receive a Student Emmy

Amber Mackie (left) and Lacrai Mitchell (right) pose on the red carpet outside the 2013 College Television Awards Gala.
The winners of a 2013 College Television Award are…Amber Mackie and Lacrai Mitchell!
The two Florida A&M University (FAMU) broadcast journalism students have returned home from Hollywood, Calif. with a gold statue commonly referred to as a Student Emmy. Both were honored at a gala for their work as co-producers on the “2012 FAMU Homecoming Special: Ignite the Strike.” The 30-minute show, which recaps homecoming events during the university’s 125 anniversary, won second place in the magazine category.
“This marks the first time in the history of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication that our students have received this prestigious award,” said Ann Wead Kimbrough, SJGC dean. “It reaffirms our commitment to provide quality instruction and hands-on training to best prepare the next generation of journalists. I applaud Amber and Lacrai for their hard work.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

FAMU TV-20 announces Spring 2013 anchor team

The FAMU TV-20 spring 2013 anchor team features four women from various regions, an international student and a 4.0 scholar, who bring a wealth of talent to the live student-run newscast. News 20 at Five will air Monday through Thursday beginning Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. on Comcast 20 and on the web at

FAMU-TV 20 is an educational access channel operated by the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. It reaches more than 80,000 households.

The anchors are broadcast journalism students Tanya Glover and Valeria Sistrunk (co-anchors on the main news desk), Samone Davis (sports) and LaCrai Mitchell (weather).

Friday, January 25, 2013

J-School announces new adviser for FAMUan

Kanya Simon Stewart has been named the adviser for The FAMUan for the spring 2013 semester.  Stewart is a 2004 FAMU graduate who majored in journalism and magazine production. 

Since 2006, she has been the owner, operator, publicist and content writer for Proclaim Creative & Marketing Group. In 2012, she served as the associate editor, senior reporter and page designer of the Capital Outlook newspaper, and has previously held reporting and editing assignments for several organizations including The New York Times Regional Group.

While a student at FAMU, Stewart served as the managing editor and senior writer for Journey magazine. She also served as a staff editor and writer for The FAMUan.

“Kanya offers students and the FAMU community a wealth of knowledge as a multi-media communicator,” Ann Wead Kimbrough, dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, said. “She has proven integrity, leadership, excellent multi-media skills and a strong commitment to ensuring that future journalists and graphic designers receive excellent training in a key student media laboratory.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Report: FAMU requiring student newspaper’s staff to undergo training, reapply for positions

Sara Gregory, a staff writer for the Student Press Law Center, took a closer look at the recent shake-up at The FAMUan.

From her article:

The student newspaper at Florida A&M University has been suspended from publishing, its adviser removed and its staff told they must reapply for their positions by the dean of FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.

FAMU administrators declined to comment beyond a brief statement. The statement cites a libel lawsuit as one of the things that prompted the publication’s suspension. Last month, the paper was sued for defamation for an article it published following the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion.

The December 2011 article incorrectly stated that Keon Hollis, a fellow drum major, had been suspended in connection with Champion’s hazing death. No disciplinary action was taken against Hollis, according to a correction published by the paper in February 2012. The original article has been removed from the paper’s website.

[Ann Kimbrough], who took over as dean last August, said in an interview that she’s been told that the reporter who wrote the piece in question was not enrolled at the university, which is a requirement for working on student publications. She said the reporter said the information came from “reliable sources,” but that he wouldn’t identify who the sources were.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

J-School dean postpones first Spring 2013 edition of The FAMUan

FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) Dean Ann Kimbrough announced yesterday that she will postpone the publication of the first edition of The FAMUAN for the Spring Semester. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, her decision comes in the wake of a libel lawsuit against FAMU and the student newspaper.

The lawsuit, filed by former Marching 100 drum major Keon Hollis, says that The FAMUan hurt his reputation by incorrectly reporting on Dec. 3, 2011 that he was among four students whom FAMU expelled in connection to the hazing death of band member Robert Champion. The FAMUan amended the article later that day by removing Hollis' name and stating that it "unable to confirm the name of the fourth student."

Hollis also filed a libel lawsuit against Cox Media Group, which owns WFTV in Georgia. He says an online article published by WFTV included the same incorrect information that The FAMUan ran.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

J-School symposium to examine impact of 44th U.S. president

Today, five distinguished Tallahassee-are panelists will gather at the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication to share their observations about the impact of America’s 44th president, Barack Obama.  Obama: Impact on America will begin at 10 a.m. and is free and open to the public. A second panel discussion led by student leaders will begin at 2 p.m.

Panelists for the morning session include FAMU trustee and former state Rep. Marjorie Turnbull, Tallahassee Democrat Associate Editor Byron Dobson, Florida Public Radio producer Margie Menzel, Florida State University economics professor Patrick Mason and FAMU political science professor Keith Simmonds.  These local citizens who make important contributions to the community through their work as educators, journalists, volunteers and more, are also respected as thought leaders with informed opinions and observations that, when combined, will make for a provocative two-hour discussion.

“The symposium is an extension of our Obama: Impact On America series that has allowed our students to explore the historical nature of the first African-American president of the United States,” said Kenneth Jones, a FAMU broadcast journalism professor and sequence coordinator for the broadcast degree program.  “We began the series in early 2008 and have continued it through the current semester.”

Saturday, September 01, 2012

FAMU TV20 announces anchors for fall 2012

(Left to right)  FAMU TV 20 anchors Daija Barrett, Ashli Doss, Olivia Smith and Kristen Swilley.
Four new anchors have been selected for the fall 2012 season of FAMU News 20 at Five. The live newscast will air at 5 p.m. every Monday through Thursday beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4 on Comcast 20 and on the web at

The anchors are broadcast journalism seniors Kristen Swilley (weather), Daija Barrett (sports), Ashli Doss and Olivia Smith (co-anchors on the main news desk).

“We are very proud of the talented students who will be leading the live newscast as well as other student media,” said the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean Ann Wead Kimbrough. “There is lots of news to cover and they will aggressively do so.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

FAMU appoints two new deans

FAMU has appointed two new deans — the dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences and the dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.  They will both begin on August 13.

Ann L. Wead Kimbrough is the new dean for the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication and Robert W. Taylor is the new dean for the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences.

“We are proud to announce the appointment of two new deans who will lead our journalism and agriculture programs,” said FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson.  “We made the decision after conducting a national search and believe that we have appointed individuals who are leaders in their fields and will produce graduates who will contribute greatly to the fields of journalism, agriculture and food science.”

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Teens tackle bullying in multimedia workshop at FAMU

Fifteen aspiring young teen journalists from Florida, Georgia and Alabama have completed a multimedia workshop at FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication with a special focus on tackling bullying.

Kennington Smith, a rising senior from Fayetteville, Ga., said, “What I enjoyed the most was the fact that we were able to make blogs and prepare ourselves for our future in a career.”

Tomás Monzón, a recent high school graduate from Miami, Fla., said, “Success depends on your ability to make friends, and this workshop allows you to do just that and more.”

Nayirah Muhammad, a rising junior from Birmingham, Ala., said, “Being a bully is worthless and has no benefit and needs to be stopped.”

Inesha Carruth, a recent high school graduate from Athens, Ga., said, “Bullying can destroy or end lives…so stand for something or fall for anything, STOP THE BULLYING!”

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

FAMU-TV 20 story picked up by ABC News

The quality reporting by FAMU-TV News 20 at Five reporters Rebecca Azor and Kiarra Hart has attracted the attention of one of the biggest news organizations in the country.

ABC News picked up a story that TV 20 ran on May 3 based upon an earlier report by Azor and Hart. The two students went to Decatur, Ga. on Nov. 30, 2011 to cover the funeral of FAMU drum major Robert Champion, a hazing victim. The important information from their report is now spreading to ABC News affiliates across the nation and world.

After Leon County, Florida deputies booked drum major Rikki Wills for allegedly hazing Champion, TV 20 re-posted his interview with Azor and Hart at Champion’s funeral. Wills and two other drum majors who face third degree felony charges in the Champion case marched in front of the casket of the man they are accused of helping to haze.

Rattler Nation did its part to spread awareness of the TV 20 exclusive by posting Azor and Hart’s original report on May 5.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Division of Journalism earns reaffirmation of accreditation

The Accrediting Council on Journalism and Mass Communications approved the reaffirmation of the FAMU Division of Journalism's accreditation on April 27 in Arlington, Va.

“This vote of reaccreditation signals the high quality work produced in our Division of Journalism, said the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean James Hawkins. “Kudos to Professor (Dorothy) Bland, the journalism faculty, staff and students.”

A team of journalists and media professionals visited the university in February. Phillip Dixon, a veteran journalist and former chair of the Journalism Department at Howard University, was the team chair. The site team report praised the division for engaged and enthusiastic students as well as “dedicated faculty committed to their own development and holding students to high standards of achievement.”

The team report said Bland, the journalism division director, has “strong leadership and management skills and a huge appetite for hard work.” The team report also gave the division high praise for “strong relationships with local media and mass communication professionals.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

J-School student documentaries tackle tough topics

Today, the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication will present its biannual student documentary showcase. The 15-minute films will tackle a variety of topics that include: homeless veterans, voter laws, population control and the disabled.

“I select the topics from among stories the students pitch and write in class,” said Kenneth Jones, a journalism professor and the film guru who selects the projects each semester.  According to Jones, typically 15 projects are submitted for review; four or five are selected.
The five films selected this year represent the 2012 theme, “Life Stories.” They include:
  • “Grassroots” by Kari Knowles and Curtis Ford
  • “Eternal Climb” by Shanica Johnson and Kiarra Hart
  • “Life?” by Leonie Louis and Shari Karesh
  • “Burden of the Banner” by Kristen Holloway and Jadaun Sweet
  • “Disability?: A Matter of Perception” by Lenneia Batiste

Sunday, February 05, 2012

New anchors named for FAMU News 20 at Five

Four new anchors have been selected for the FAMU News 20 at Five live newscast. The newscast will air at 5 p.m. every Monday through Thursday on Comcast 20 and on the web at

The anchors are Paige Moore (weather), Chelsi McDonald (sports), Jasmine Harris and Lenneia Batiste (co-anchors on the main news desk). Students enrolled in the Advanced TV News class offered in the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) will also produce a live webcast airing Fridays at 12:30 p.m. During the live newscasts, viewers will be able to tweet their favorite news personalities to ask questions or to simply offer comment.

“I feel ecstatic about being selected as a News 20 at Five anchor,” said Moore, News 20 at Five weather personality from Atlanta, Ga. “I am so delighted to have received the opportunity to present the weather to our viewers.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

FAMU professor publishes book examining AIDS epidemic in the South

FAMU Professor Andrew Skerritt will host a reception and book signing in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) Gallery on Tuesday, November 1 at 5:30 p.m. for his book, Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial, and the AIDS Epidemic in the South.

The book deals with the ongoing complexities of battling the virus in America, despite the spread of AIDS awareness and medical breakthroughs of the past 30 years.

Skerritt, a professor in SJGC, is a longtime journalist who has contributed to publications all over the country including the St. Petersburg Times, Asbury Park Press, Journal (N.Y.) News, Charlotte Observer, Rock Hill Herald, Rochester Democrat, Tallahassee Democrat and

Focusing on the African-American Pegram family in Clover, S.C., the book documents how one woman—Tricia Ann, a sister, aunt, wife, mother and pastor—cares for Carolyn, her drug-addicted and AIDS-infected sister, and Carolyn’s young son. Relying on her faith, Tricia Ann enters into a fight to save others dying of AIDS in her rural Southern neighborhood, but often ends up presiding over funerals instead—funerals where the cause of death is rarely admitted.

Skerritt traces the impoverished family’s history and depicts how taboos about love, race and sexuality—combined with Southern conservatism, white privilege and black oppression—continue to create an unacceptable death toll into the 21st century.

A native of London, England, Skerritt grew up on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Howard University and a master of liberal arts degree from Winthrop University. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pitts encourages FAMU students to dream big

CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Byron Pitts told the up-and-coming journalists of FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication to “do you” during the CBS Harold Dow Professor Luncheon.

“Be the best that you can be,” he stressed to them. “Be excited about life and all of its opportunities.”

Pitts served as keynote speaker during the event, which was also an official welcome for the inaugural CBS Harold Dow Visiting Professor Benjamin Davis. Davis is a two-time Columbia-Alfred du Pont award winner who has 30 years of experience working for major broadcast companies such as NBC Universal, ABC, CBS, Fox and National Public Radio.

The position was named after long-time CBS News Correspondent Harold Dow, who died in August 2010.

Davis described the position that bears Dow’s name as standing in a giant’s footprint because of the legacy that Dow left on the field of journalism.

“FAMU is the mother load of students looking for success,” said Davis. “At the end of the day, I hope to help produce good journalists. I have to imagine what Harold Dow would expect and then I push (the students) a little further. He has a giant’s footprint.”

CBS officials announced last year they would donate funds to support hiring a visiting professor as part of their diversity initiative and as a tribute to Dow.

“Harold was my friend and mentor,” said Susan Zirinsky, executive producer for CBS 48 hours and Dow’s former supervisor. “There wasn’t a single story that he didn’t see the merit. It was more than losing a colleague — it was losing a member of the CBS family.”

FAMU President James H. Ammons said he was grateful to CBS for investing in the university.

“CBS wouldn’t put this professorship anywhere,” he said during the luncheon. “They put it at Florida A&M University because of its tradition of academic excellence. The students at the

School of Journalism and Graphic Communication are indeed fortunate. We have somebody special. We got it right.”

Dow’s widow, Kathy Dow, also attended the luncheon. She gave the students advice that she felt her late-husband would give.

“Always remember to dream big,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Be disciplined; be determined.”

Friday, October 07, 2011

TV 20 Homecoming show prepares for 15th annual broadcast

The FAMU TV 20 Homecoming show is returning for its 15th annual broadcast. It will air Oct. 12at 8 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 9:30 p.m.

Anchors for the show are journalism students Lenneia Batiste, Kristen Holloway, Kaci Jones, Alexandria Collins, Clarece Polke, and Donovan Long.

The Homecoming TV show began back in 1996 under the leadership of Professor Kenneth Jones, a third-generation Rattler and the broadcast sequence coordinator in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication.

In addition to the TV show, Jones said the TV 20 team will also provide online coverage.

"We’re doing three webcasts along with social media such as Facebook and Twitter," Jones said. "Students from the broadcast journalism, graphic design and public relations sequences have worked collectively to televise this event."

Rattler fans are encouraged to follow the reporters on Twitter at RattlerHCTV2011 and on Facebook at FAMU Homecoming TV Special.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

FAMU names new Dow professor

Benjamin Davis, an award-winning broadcast journalist and digital journalism professor, has been hired as the CBS Harold Dow Visiting Professor FAMU.

Davis, a two-time Columbia-Alfred du Pont award winner, has 30 years of experience working for major broadcast companies such as ABC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC.COM and National Public Radio. He also was an adjunct professor at Rutgers University School of Journalism in New Jersey, where he gained nine years of experience teaching courses in broadcast and digital journalism. Davis is an entrepreneur who developed the Digital Media Pyramid writing style and founded, a company that helps major media companies locate diversity experts. He also worked with students at Rutgers to create, a website geared to 16- to 25-year-olds.

“I hope to live up to the expectations that Harold Dow would have wanted, which are pretty high,” said Davis.

Dow was a long-time CBS News correspondent who came to FAMU and spoke to students as part of the Division of Journalism’s 35th anniversary in 2009. Dow died unexpectedly in August 2010. CBS officials announced last year that they would donate funds to support hiring a visiting professor as part of its diversity initiative and as a tribute to Dow.

Crystal Johns, CBS news director of development and diversity, said, “We are very happy to support a program that will be such a wonderful recognition of all that Harold Dow embodied.”

Davis will be teaching broadcast news writing and broadcast announcing classes. He also plans to “teach students about the digital media pyramid, which is a model I created to replace the more than century-old inverted pyramid...”

A luncheon reception to honor Davis is scheduled for Oct. 14 with the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Board of Visitors (BOV) and faculty.

The CBS Harold Dow Visiting Professor position will be funded for three years by CBS, according to SJGC Dean James Hawkins.

“This professorship will strengthen the quality of our broadcast journalism program, to another level,” Hawkins said. “Our students will be even more competitive when they are ready to enter the world of work.”

Hawkins also thanked Kim Godwin - who is a senior producer for the CBS Evening News, an SJGC alumna and BOV member for lobbying CBS for this professorship.