The chairman of J.C. Watts Companies hopes to merge the Black Television News Channel (BTNC) with Florida A&M’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC), bringing a 24-hour news channel to the university.
J.C. Watts Jr., along with the company’s management team, toured the SJGC and met with faculty Thursday.
The BTNC program consists of a news channel geared towards the African-American demographic. Its programming targets a high-growth and loyal consumer who is bombarded with news about sports, crime and entertainment.
The program’s mission is to provide intelligent programming that is informative, educational, inspiring and empowering for its African-American audience, according to the company’s business plan.
Watts said his colleagues have had their eyes on the SJGC for many reasons.
“The people involved in the network know of the university and the human resources, as well as the students at the School of Journalism here, would be very beneficial to a news channel,” he said.
Watts said 80 percent, or $4 million, has already been funded for the program.
The goal of the collaboration between the BTNC program and FAMU would be to benefit students’ educational experience, as well as to contribute to the delivery of important news to the African-American community.
FAMU officials think the program will provide learning, internship and employment opportunities to students.
Ann Kimbrough, dean of the SJGC, is excited about the changes the university could undergo as a result of this partnership.
“There are many exciting features to this proposed partnership,” Kimbrough said. “School of Journalism & Graphic Communication students and faculty will have fresh opportunities to participate in newsgathering and related worldwide distribution of news content.”
This partnership is also expected to highlight the achievements and duties of the faculty at the university and attract high-quality students. Journalism programs at other HBCUs will also benefit from the BTNC partnership by having the resources provided by the channel to enhance their programs.
Perhaps the biggest contribution the BTNC program would bring to the university is its revenue generating ability.
Tallahassee would also benefit by producing $33.6 million of goods and services across the local economy, according to the Florida State University Center for Economic Forecasting & Analysis.
Students are also anticipating the possible collaboration. Kendrah Mincey, a senior broadcast journalism student from Miami, thinks the program will bring many opportunities to FAMU.
“I hope the Black Television News Channel does come to FAMU, mainly because it will provide a real-world experience for students in the journalism program,” Mincey said.
To find out more information on the BTNC program coming to FAMU, visit the network’s website at http://blacktelevisionnewschannel.info.