FAMU journalism alumni give back

Florida A&M University alumni, who are now media pioneers, traveled across the country to serve as instructors for this past weekend’s National Association of Black Journalists’ annual Short Course.

The three-day teach-in gave undergraduate and graduate students from FAMU and other Universities the opportunity to work with industry professionals at Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication.

Students were grouped in teams and had 48- hours to write, shoot, edit and produce a 30-minute newscast. Students worked with industry professionals like Kim Godwin, a senior producer at CBS New York. Godwin, a 1984 FAMU graduate was also the journalism school’s division director before leaving for CBS.  She said came here to see students succeed. 

“This is an invaluable experience.  Students are learning from professionals with over 100 years experience to put out a product.” 

The gallery in the SJGC had standing room only as students awaited critiques of their finished packages. Demorris Lee of the St. Petersburg Times and chair of the NABJ Student Education Enrichment and Development program came to encourage students on the importance writing a good story.   

“If not you, than who will lead us into the next generation of storytelling?” Lee asked.

All of the guests gave advice about each aspect of the newscast, and Karel Crawford, a videographer at WTVJ in Miami reminded students to “be familiar with your copy.”

Although the students were given constructive criticism, the professionals made it a comfortable atmosphere with laughter and jokes.

Georgia Dawkins, a junior broadcast student from Sebring is president of FAMU ‘s chapter of NABJ. Dawkins said, “They were so helpful, they sat down and had conversations and although they were instructors, they treated us like colleagues as well.” 

The short course brought together 30 students from universities in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Illinois.  David Burnett, a senior at Rust College in Mississippi found out about the short course from his school’s chapter of the organization.

“Last year I participated at the short course at North Carolina A&T and they have been very informative, and prepared me for my first job.” 

Burnett said the instructors “are very strong-minded, but they are also like parents.  I would recommend this to anyone…in broadcast.