Student filmmakers bring attention to social issues in the community



Six students from Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication showcased their talents as filmmakers at the 10th year anniversary of Jschool Journals. SJGC yet again set the bar for the student award winning screening event, sparking conversation and an open discussion on topics ranging from police brutality to “Bridging The Gap”

This year`s selection of narrative features were: “Black and Blue Lives Matter: Unite” by Courtney Mitchell and Devin Powell, “Black and Blue all Over” by Autumn Bell and Mark Giles, “Bridging The Gap: Generational Detachment” By L’Oreal Major and Bryan Smith and Obama: Impact on America, a retrospective piece exploring the influence President Barack Obama`s presidency had on the community.

These features were pitched individually during class and students were assigned partners to begin working on the narratives.

“The Jschool Journals pitching process is a true test of your creative mind in a short period of time,” said senior producer Mark Giles.

Creator of Jschool Journals and professor of the specialized reporting course, Professor Kenneth Jones, introduced this student narrative feature in 2006. Giving students in the class the opportunity to report and videograph short narrative features on topics that are relevant to society.

“I think Jschool Journals is important because it gives the community the opportunity to view various, different perspectives on societal issues and other things based off a viewpoint of young minorities in ways they usually don’t see it,” said Jones.

“Bridging the Gap: Generational Detachment” focused on socio-cultural differences within generations in the black family.Themes discussed in the film are the state of the black family, drugs, and the impact they have on communities mannerisms and  how they affect the communication between different generations.  

Jschool Journals displayed 12 weeks of hard work and time that students took to create compelling narratives that not only covered issues that were not easy to discuss, but in the process were impactful.

“I`m now inspired by the younger generation, watching all the documentaries give me a sense of inspiration and hope that our future is in good hands and students aren’t just coming to FAMU shuffling their feet, but putting in hard work,” said Leroy Conner media producer for WCTV.

When constructing their documentaries students wanted the audience to examine their stories from various viewpoints and inform them on the importance of coming together to be a part of the solution. Seeing their art on the big screen stirred emotions and celebrated a vision that each producer set out to achieve.

“It was emotional, I was happy and proud that we were able to accomplish what we wanted. The fact that people enjoyed it and learned from it was an ultimate success,” said producer Bryan Smith.

While continuing to serve the community Jschool Journals continues to draw new faces and welcomes new talent to continue the legacy.

“This is my first Jschool Journals, and it won’t be my last. I`ll be back in the spring,” said  biology student  Shakimo Martinus.

Jschool Journals is a free biannual event opened to the community that takes place in Lee Hall Auditorium at 1601 Martin Luther King Blvd. For more information regarding the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication visit: or call (850)-599-3379.