Mass Communications Day Celebration a Success

April 16th, 2014 by masscomm


audience mc dayOver 100 students took part in Mass Comm Day on April 16.   Students and faculty welcomed Vivian Brown, a Jackson State University alumna who earned her B.S. in Meteorology, as the keynote speaker. Brown is a Jackson, Mississippi native who serves as an anchor for The Weather Channel. After her speech Brown gave advice to students during a question and answer session.




Regina Toney and Vivian BrownThe Departmental Awards presentation was one of the highlights of the celebration. Campus Media Awards were also presented to students who were active in University Communications, The Blue and White Flahs, WJSU-FM, JSU-TV and Tiger TV.





Here is a list of winners:

Portfolio Contest Winners

1st Place – Taylor Bembery

2nd Place – Dan "Caroline" Zhao

3rd Place – Crystal Killingsworth

Honorable Mention: Kristopher Campbell/Kimani McCullough


Departmental Awards

Integrated Marketing Communications Award-Chelsea Tillman

Multimedia Journalism Award – Tiffany Thompson

Media Production – Chanel Williams

Highest G.P.A. Award – Tiffany Thompson

Howard Lett Service Award – Harold Johnson

Distinguished Student Award – Crystal Killingsworth

Overcoming Adversity Award – Dhahran Hall, Chanel Williams, Kimberly Gibson

Dominique McCraney4


Posted in Students

Viviann BrownmcOn April 16 the Mass Communications Department will welcome Vivian Brown, a Jackson State University alumna who earned her B.S. in Meteorology, as the keynote speaker for Mass Communications Day 2014. Brown is a Jackson, Mississippi native who serves as an anchor for The Weather Channel.

"I get the most satisfaction out of my job knowing that the information I share could help someone save their life, property and loved ones," Brown said. She added, "I've always been fascinated with cloud development and storms. When I was in high school, I started thinking about my career and thought Meteorology was a wide open field for women and minorities."


Wednesday, April 16, 2014
9 – 9:45 a.m.
Breakfast Roundtable Discussions with Media Practitioners*
"Building Your Personal Brand within the Industry"
More than a dozen area media professionals will participate in this opportunity for students to intimately engage with practitioners in their area of interest. In small groups, students will be able get feedback on their resumes,
professional image and presentation style. Career tips, internship leads and building contacts are added bonuses.

10 – 11:00 a.m. Keynote Address and Q&A Session with Vivian Brown
"Maintaining Your Individual Image and Protecting the Corporate Brand"
Long-time anchor for The Weather Channel, Vivian Brown, will speak about her career challenges and successes and share her insights on how to maintain your personal image and support the network brand identity in a complex and competitive media landscape. (A moderated Q&A period will follow.)

11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Luncheon and Student Presentations
"You Are the Brand" and “Rising Star” Contest Winners Announced
Mass Communications Awards, Honors and Special Presentations

The winners of the portfolio competition themed "You Are the Brand" will be announced as will the winner of the “Rising Star” competition. Prizes will be awarded. Academic, campus media and special recognitions will be made.

Posted in Students

Czech native, senior, directing films in Prague

February 28th, 2014 by masscomm

Thirteen years after arriving in the United States as a high school junior foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, Jaro Vacek expects his persistence to pay off when he receives his mass communications degree from JSU in May. Vacek has completed his course work and is now working as a film director in his native country.
"I was not your typical student," he said. "I did not have the best80 grades always, but I always wanted to do the work. I would tell students to do what you are interested in and what you love so that your work is fulfilling and not just a job to you."
Working for PRAGOFILM, Vacek has been involved in three major productions so far. All three are sequels to earlier children's films that are widely known and beloved to generations of Czechoslovakians, he said. The most recent film, "Saxana a Lexikon Kouzel," (which translates to "Little Witch on a Broomstick") was completed in 2012. Vacek served as the director for "The Making of . . ." companion documentary.

The Art minor gained photography/videography and editing experience while still an MC student with several area media outlets, including The Jackson Free Press, the Associated Press bureau in Jackson, WJSU and JSUTV-23. He credits a number of JSU mass communications alumni with assisting him in his quest to complete his training and earn his degree.

Posted in Students


MC students Taylor Bembery, Winston Curry, Tenesha Hughes, Ivory Jones, Crystal Killingsworth, Kourtney Paige and Tiffany Thompson got a taste of the life of a foreign correspondent by participating in a training simulation conducted by the Army ROTC program at Jackson State on Feb. 22. Students were prepped on the training exercise, which was designed as a humanitarian aid mission to the Central African Republic. The students participated as part of the Broadcast Documentary class taught by Olivia Goodheart, visiting instructor and chair of the department's Advisory Council.

ROTC student learns how to work with the media.

 "We were quite fortunate to have six JSU Mass Communications Department students involved on Saturday," said Lt. Colonel Travis Smith, professor of military science.  "Some of the students served as embedded media on the patrolling lanes, while others interviewed my Cadet battalion Leadership and other Cadets on the weekend's training and on Army ROTC in general. We are looking forward to seeing their articles and videos.


The student journalists further developed our Cadets' critical thinking skills and turned the event into a first class training opportunity," Smith added. 

(Click here for video) 

(Click here for video)

Posted in Students

Faculty, students attend HBCU media conference

February 28th, 2014 by masscomm

The National HBCU Student News Media Conference focuses on strengthening skills and giving students a chance to meet with industry practitioners. MC students Taylor Bembery, Avi'Yam Jordan, Crystal Killingsworth, Guy King and Derrick Walton attended the 16th annual event held at Prairie View A&M University in Houston, Feb. 6-9.


Shannon Tatum, adjunct mass communications instructor and publications manager for The Blue & White Flash said, "It is very important for students to have the opportunity to not only network with current media professionals, but to also network with current mass communications students at other HBCU's. This conference gave them the opportunity to meet the students they will be competing against for jobs after graduation."


One of the sessions, presented by screenwriter and television producer Kristen V. Carter, was called Faces Behind the Lens: The Unseen Jobs. Information about off-camera jobs was shared, and students were strongly encouraged to have a cover letter, resume and reel by the time they graduate.


Texas Southern University assistant professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker, Richard White of ABC 13-TV, Tiffany Williams, adjunct professor at Prairie View A&M and brand manager/creative director for Twice Media Productions, presented Multimedia and Mobile Journalism. A variety of mobile apps were discussed, as well as external devices compatible with cell phones. The session gave students insight on how cell phone usage can be helpful in the field of journalism.


"The experience of the overall conference was beneficial for me because I plan to go into the field of journalism," said Bembery, a senior from Detroit. "I will be able to apply the things I learned in Houston to my work here at JSU. My favorite part of the conference was meeting Stephan A. Smith from ESPN. His message was very powerful. I loved how he emphasized that students [who] major in mass communications should never be complacent. He said that all students should be 'mission minded'."


(Article by mass comm senior Derrick Walton)

Posted in Students

The Clarion-Ledger
Feb. 11, 2014

The Gannett Foundation and The Clarion-Ledger awarded $32,000 in grants to 13 nonprofit organizations Tuesday morning.

Photo by Greg Jensen - The Clarion-LedgerPhoto by Greg Jensen – The Clarion-Ledger

“We’re putting money where our mouths are. … We’re pleased to help you support your programs,” Clarion-Ledger Publisher Leslie Hurst told recipients in a ceremony at the paper’s downtown office.

The Mississippi Children’s Museum received a grant to help fund its literacy garden, set to open in the spring.

Chief Operating Officer Susan Garrard said the garden will be an outdoor gallery with sculptures, an edible garden and exhibits that “explore literature in nature.”

“Literacy is an important foundational mission for the museum, so this garden is a very important piece in the development of these experiences,” said Garrard.

Jackson State University’s Mass Communication Department also received a grant. Professor Sunny Fridge, who wrote the grant, said the department will buy mobile devices like iPods, iPads and digital cameras so students can participate in a mobile journalism project.

“It’s a way for our students to tell stories in a different way. … Sometimes the best story is (told with) whatever camera you have in your hand, so we want to go mobile,” she said.

Gannett Grant

The Community Grant Program supports nonprofits in communities Gannett serves by awarding them funds to execute programs that serve the greater good.

For more information on the program, visit


Posted in Students

Nelson MandelaJackson State University celebrated the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela during a program of music, dance and tributes on Dec. 12 at the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium.

The hour-long program was hosted by Dr. Rico Chapman of the Department of History and Philosophy. 

The event featured music, a performance by MADDRAMA, video tributes produced by the Department of Mass Communications and reflections about Mandela's life and legacy.

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Posted in News, Students

By Kachelle Pratcher
MC Senior

Andrew Nomura, a May graduate, is a new reporter/multimedia journalist for WAFB Channel 9 in Baton Rouge, La., thanks to multiple internships that allowed him to get a jump start on his career and an aggressive job search.

“If you want to get in this business, just know that you must be proactive," said the Los Angeles native. "What you put in, is what you get out of it."  

Nomura, 22, made every second count as a student, taking advantage of every opportunity to work on a story, build his portfolio, and meet potential employers. He interned at both WJTV Channel 12 and WAPT Channel 16, and volunteered for TigerTV, JSU-TV and WJSU 88.5FM, serving as a reporter, anchor, producer and weekend personality.  

Nomura’s eager attitude helped him land his first media job. He made the drive to Louisiana in February to sit down with the news director.

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Posted in News, Students

By Jade Hewitt
MC Senior


Dr Ngwainmbi lobbyAfter a four-year, on again-off again search, the Department has a new leader.

Emmanuel Ngwainmbi is not as new as some may think, however. He traveled more than 6,000 miles and across three rivers to Jackson State from Cameroon, a West African country, to further his education, earning a master’s in English/Communication in 1986. He earned a doctorate in Mass Communications five years later from Howard University.

After mastering the fields of English, psychology, communications, and educational management and development, Dr. E. (as he is known to students and faculty) ventured into the work force, traveling across the world. Along the way, he has gained experience as a department chair at Wiley College and Elizabeth City State University. He has also been professor of mass communications, journalism, speech and drama at George Washington, Morgan State, and other universities; lecturer in Europe, Asia and Africa; a poet and author.

It’s no wonder the new chair, fluent in eight languages, is also a senior communications consultant for the United Nations.

So what brings a UN expert back to JSU? Dr. E smiles at the question, answering without hesitation, “It was my desire to give back. It is always better to give than to receive, so why not come back to [my] roots in the U.S.”

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Posted in Faculty, News, Students

Faculty, students make “connections” on WLEZ

January 19th, 2014 by masscomm

By Jermaine McClinton
English/Journalism Senior

WLEZ team

  A new talk show has hit the airwaves, courtesy of WLEZ Radio.  JSU Connections debuted in May and broadcasts live from the Mississippi e-Center on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., said Sunny Fridge, assistant professor and co-creator of the show, which is also streamed live on 

The non-commercial station, which plays a mix of music ranging from jazz to New Orleans fare, offers programming opportunities to the public and covers the Jackson metro area. WLEZ is owned by Edward Saint Pe, who moved his Weathervision operation to the e-Center in Aug. 2012.

 “We were approached by e-Center Executive Director Dr. William McHenry, who had been talking with Mr. Saint Pe about collaborations,” said Fridge. “Dr. McHenry asked us if the Mass Communications department would like the opportunity to produce a radio program, and without hesitation Dr. [Monica] Flippin-Wynn and I both said ‘yes’, and the rest as they say is ‘history.’” Flippin-Wynn, former interim chair, is also an MC assistant professor.

Fridge teams up with a group of MC students to host the show each week, delivering local, state, national and world news, as well as interviews and commentary.

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Posted in Faculty, News, Students