Knight Chair host How Race is Portrayed in the Media Forum

Florida A&M University School of Journalism and Graphic Communication held a Knight Chair speaker series about how race is portrayed in the media on March. 24 led by SJGC Knight Chair for Student Achievement Francine Huff at the FAMU School of Architecture and Engineering Technology.

Huff introduced NPR’s TV critic Eric Deggans; FAMU visiting professor Leah Hunter; University of South Florida visiting professor Rondrea Mathis; and WCTV executive producer and anchor Shonda Knight as panelists.

The panelists believed diversity, entertainment, news and social media are major issues in communication and journalism.

Huff’s future research suggests examinations of Black women’s contemporary spirituality and manifestations of Black girl magic.

Huff mentioned the social media hashtag #BlackGirlMagic, created by CaShawn Thompson. Mathis said it’s not a supernatural idea. The focus is to empower African-American women despite the obstacles they face.

“Redlining, racism and sexism are obstacles African-American women endure,” Mathis said.

Mathis clarified although African-American women face trials and tribulations they are determined and persistent. Black Girl Magic is a world created outside the norm.

Knight believes diversity is important in media, especially in the newsroom. In a 2013 Pew Research Center study, African-American journalists represent 4.8 percent of the newspaper employment.

“A newsroom should look like a community,” Knight said.

Deggans discussed the trending social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and the emergence of #AllLivesMatter. He said the focus for #BlackLivesMatter is to bring awareness to the way African-American men and women are being treated by law enforcement across the country.

“The focus is social justice and institutional racism (and how) affects health and safety,” Deggans said.

For more information contact Francine Huff at or call (850)-412-6587.