JSU Mass Comm Day attendees urged to write, post, tweet

April 18th, 2013 by masscomm

By Shannon Tatum
Blue & White Flash/Graduate Student

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and digital media were the focus of Jackson State University’s Department of Mass Communications annual Mass Comm Day celebration: “Creating and Engaging in a Digital World,” held April 18 at the Mississippi e-Center@ JSU.

Panel discussions were conducted by distinguished media practitioners, some of whom where JSU mass communications alumni. They included JSU alum Brad “Kamikaze” Franklin, CEO of OurGlass Media Group; Jason Thompson, vice president of marketing for Fahrenheit Creative Group; Alex McDaniel, social media editor for The Clarion-Ledger; JSU alum Jessica Simien, entertainment blogger; JSU alum Kristian Weatherspoon, digital media specialist for Mississippi Public Broadcasting; and Thomas Broadus, director of interactive and new media for The Focus Group.

Newspaper veteran Wanda Lloyd, whose experience includes USA TODAY, the Freedom Forum and mid-sized daily  newspapers/websites, shared insight from her 20-plus years of journalism experience during the day’s luncheon.

She stressed that having a good foundation built on the basics — such as good writing, critical thinking and accuracy, are important in every media platform.

Her laundry list of tips for good multimedia journalists include knowing that traditional rules apply when using social media and to assume that everything you write can become public.

“Be able to deliver in multimedia platforms,” said the recently retired executive editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, where she transformed the news operation from one that was print-centric to digital-first.

“Good writing is the foundation to everything we do in media. Students should understand writing for print is fun, that more people see it,” Lloyd said in a one-on-one session with students following the lunch.  “It has a lasting impression. Broadcasting, its there and gone but when you write for print you have something to hold on to for life.”

“You need to have a fire in your belly kind of passion in order to be a writer; for those who don’t have a passion for writing, you’re not going to be successful.”

A new feature at this year’s  event was a two-part student showcase to give mass communications students an opportunity to present an online portfolio and a creative multimedia public service/PR campaign using the theme “Alumni Giving Back to the Department of Mass Communications.”

The first place winner of the PR campaign competition was Dominique McCraney, a senior computer engineering major from Greenville, Miss. and four-year contributor to The Blue & White Flash and eXperience Magazine. She also is the 2013 JSU eYearbook editor.

“Today’s Mass Comm Day really brought to the forefront the fact that media and technology go hand in hand,” said McCraney. “Working with Student Publications as a computer engineering major has diversified my skills and hopefully will make me more marketable in my future career endeavors.”

Diamond Jenkins, a junior mass communications major from Atlanta, Ga., and managing editor of The Blue & White Flash, placed second, and Taylor Bembery, a junior mass communications major from Detroit, Mich., and variety editor of The Blue & White Flash, placed third. Winners received certificates and gift cards ranging from $100 to $25.

Twelve students also submitted online portfolios and were judged on their resumes and three samples of their work from multiple media platforms.

Andrew Nomura, a senior mass communications major from Los Angeles, Calif., placed first; Bembery placed second; and Reyanna Stowes, a sophomore  from Vallejo, Calif., placed third.  In the student poll, Stowes’ portfolio was voted the best of show by fellow mass communications students.

Many mass communications students in attendance said the speakers for the occasion were very informative.

“Mass Comm Day was great exposure.  I now know what I need to do to prepare for this field and what I need to focus on for my future endeavors,” said Megan Moffett, a freshman mass communications major from Dallas, Texas.  “I think the speakers were very helpful because they opened my eyes about how I need to start diversifying myself in this field.”

Crystal Killingsworth, a junior mass communications major from Utica, Miss., said the advice from the speakers was what students needed to know.

“After receiving guidance from the speakers at today’s Mass Comm Day, I feel that I am prepared for the media workforce,” said Killingsworth.

Jenkins said she was pleased that this year’s Mass Comm Day gave students a chance to show their talents.

“The Student Showcase was great because when you get accolades for your hard work, it makes you want to work even harder,” said Jenkins.  “It also showed us that we have competition in not only our department, but from students at other universities as well.  We need to step up our game.”

In addition to mass communication departmental awards and campus media awards to outstanding students, Lanis Leggett, a media production major from Quitman, Miss.,  received the first Timothy R. Brown Scholarship Award given in memory of Brown, a 1996 mass communications graduate who died in 2010.

Other award winners included the following:

  • Tiffany Edmondson, Distinguished Student Award
  • Tempestt Coleman, Highest GPA Award
  • Andrew Nomura, Multimedia Journalism Award
  • Tamika Smith, Advertising/Integrated Marketing Communications Award
  • Cammrynn Stith, Howard Lett Service Award
  • Zion Pyatt, Tiger TV Award
  • Jarvis Harris, WJSU 88.5 FM Award
  • Mykala Smith, JSU TV Award
  • Darell Robinson Jr., University Communications Award
Posted in Award, Students