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Saturday, April 12, 2008




the monitor


NABJ Region V looks at emerging media



THE MULTIMEDIA REVOLUTION NABJ arms its members with an arsenal of new media skills. See Page. 2

BARACK OBAMA’S BID FOR THE PRESIDENCY Barack Obama is fighting to become America ’s first black president. However, is America ready for Obama? See Page. 3

More than 100 people, including keynote speaker Roland Martin, gathered at the NABJ Region V conference that focused on transforming careers in a changing industry. In addition to his speech, Martin participated in a town hall discussion on the presidential race with TSU political science professor Franklin Jones, University of Houston political science professor Christine LeVeauxHaley, Houston Defender publisher Sonny Messiah-Jiles, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, and the New Majority newspaper publisher/editor Paul Bennett. Overall, the National Association of Black Journalists’ conference, held at Texas Southern University’s Tavis Smiley School of Communication, gave participants a hearty dose of new media. “We’re going to make sure that journalists, communications professionals and students that want to go into journalism, in particular the communications field, have an idea of what it’s like to be a multimedia journalist in this changing media climate,” said Cindy George, NABJ Region V director. “We know that the way students were taught in the past, the way professionals are working now, is not going to give them the type of career that is going to last them another 10 or 20 years.” NABJ has taken it upon itself to arm students with the necessary tools

Dallas Weekly’s Cheryl Smith and Langston University’s Dr. Karen Clark lead students in boot camp practicum.

“ ”

We know that the way students were taught in the past, the way professionals are working now, is not going to give them the type of career that is going to last them another 10 or 20 years.

– Cindy George NABJ Region V Director

to compete in a changing, more competitive industry. Experts say the changing industry will force communications students and media professionals alike to either adapt to the changes or simply be left behind. “I think the simple fact of reality is that nowadays it’s not as easy to get a job in the television or media profession as it was four, five, even 10 years ago,” said Freddie Willis, a a sports copy editor with the Houston Chronicle. “Nowadays it’s a matter of

getting out there and working at what you do and getting better at what you do.” New medium now requires reporters to have the total package, including video and blogs, to stay current in the changing business. “Reporters must now diversify their skills. Not only are they expected to go out and report, but they will have to take their own photographs and video and get them posted online ASAP. We are now in a minute-byminute competitive market,” said Pete

McConnell, deputy metro editor/suburbs at the Chronicle. TSU students also realize the importance of having the conference on their campus. “I think this is a great opportunity for journalism students,” Nakia Cooper, a senior broadcast journalism major at TSU, said. “They get a crash course and real life experience to see what it’s going to be like in the job market.” Times are definitely changing, journalism experts say. Whether they are changing for better or worse will be dictated by the future and how new media professionals adapt to the changing market. The whole purpose of the NABJ conference is to better prepare students and professionals for a new journalism industry that is tougher and more competitive. “You’ve got to get aboard this train,” said George, also a Chronicle reporter. “We don’t want this train to leave the station without black journalists on it.”ck journalists on it.”

Martin inspires conference participants By Tristan Jones MONITOR STAFF WRITER

HBCU’S LEADING THE PACK Historically Black Colleges and Universities are producing some of the nation’s top leaders See Page. 4 Roland Martin, CNN contributor and national syndicated columnist.

CNN contributor and nationally syndicated columnist Roland Martin is committed to teaching students and fellow media professionals the ins and outs of journalism. He said he’s adapted well to the changing industry, as his work and various projects demonstrate. His biography embodies what it means to be the total package as a journalist. “I’m a contributor on CNN (and) commentator on TV One cable network. I write a blog and a column for Essence magazine. My column is nationally syndicated – also the radio show in Chicago; do public speaking; and I’ve written two books.” Martin was the keynote speaker at the luncheon April 12 at the NABJ Region V Conference at Texas Southern University. He discussed the changing journalism industry and what students and media professionals need to do to thrive in the business. “In talking to students as well as professionals, I want to get them to understand that they are operating in a new world,” Martin

said. “They must be able, as journalists, to adapt to the changing conditions of our industry and … access and exploit new opportunities to allow them to thrive in this industry.” The point of new media journalism is to allow journalists to appeal to a broader demographic, which also introduces them to a wider audience, he said. Other professionals concurred. “When you’re doing all of these things in multimedia, you’re branding yourself,” said Gloria Neal, CEO of Aliglo Media Partners LLC. “If you’re a journalist, you should never stop branding yourself. You are your own company.” Freddie Willis, a Houston Chronicle sports copy editor, said: “I think in five to 10 years online journalism is going to take over.” On the subject of diversity, Martin said he does not believe media companies’ contention that they cannot find qualified black talent at TSU and other predominantly black institutions. “I’ve always rejected that,” Martin said. “If some folks know how to look and know where to look, you can always find them. I’ve always seen that as a cop-out.”


The Monitor



Student Editor

Tristan Jones Texas Southern University Assistant Student Editor

Kangsen Feka Wakai Texas Southern University Editor

David Ellison Houston Chronicle Managing Editor

Pete McConnell Houston Chronicle

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Journalism in a Digital Age KEEPING UP WITH TECHNOLOGY

Assistant Managing Editor

By Jerrell Allen

Lee Warren


Houston Chronicle City Editor

Robert Stanton Houston Chronicle Assistant City Editor

Peter Thornton Texas Southern University Assistant City Editor

Lewis Smith Prairie View A&M University

Director of Photography

Evan White Prairie View A&M University Assistant Director of Photography

David Butler Prairie View A&M University

Design Editor

Cale Carter Houston Defender Deputy Design Editor

Terry Jackson TSU Alumus Practicum Coordinator

Serbino Sandifer-Walker Texas Southern University Design Staff

Randi Crowder University of North Texas

Kent Floyd Langston University

Richard White Prairie View A&M

Jasmine Gibson Skyline High School

Alisha Renae Prince Paul Quinn College

April Garland North Garland High School


recent presidential primary for Sen. Barack Obama has reacquainted the United States with one its past specters — uncomfortable racial tension. As a result, African-American journalists find the new landscape of the professional media a little more difficult to navigate. They have to deal with a new “revolution” as well as the constant struggle to keep up with the higherthan-usual standards placed on them by mainstream media outlets. In a society nourished by TV talk show hosts such as FOX’s Bill O’Reilly and CNN’s Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck – all of whom preach that race doesn’t matter – minority journalists face challenges simply by mentioning the importance of race in politics or journalism. Compounding this problem is the question of how African-American journalists will be able to find a place in the paradigm of digital media. Those familiar with professional journalism know the revolution of the new digital media will certainly not come in the form of television; instead, it will be podcast, zipped and downloaded en masse. Practically every newspaper in the country maintains a presence on the Internet, and even other publications that have been traditionally restricted to the narrow parameters of print journalism have used the Internet to branch out. And even if minority or black publications have not completely translated their ideas and thoughts into the realm of the new media revolution, the community is certainly ready for it. The Internet has substantially changed the way African-Americans (and, indeed, all Americans) communicate with one another. The ever-chang-

ing technology influences the media’s functions by providing more tools to news organizations for greater coverage. The question does not seem to be whether black journalists are ready for the new media revolution because mainstream black journalists have proved that they can adapt to the new technological changes. The question, instead, is whether the black media, those publications that specifically target African-Americans, are ready to embrace the revolution. Newspapers like African-American News and Issues or the New

Majority use very few of the revolutionary media tools that the mainstream has come to embrace — independent blogs, podcasting and the like. As well, magazines such as the Crisis have not yet made the leap into the 21st century such as Time or People magazines. If black media are to continue the tradition of keeping issues of importance to AfricanAmericans relevant to mainstream American society, it is imperative that they keep up with technological advances.


At a glance Led by Cheryl Smith of The Dallas Weekly and Dr. Karen Clark of Langston University, students attending Boot Camp learned cutting edge techniques for gathering, evaluating and writing news across various media platforms. They were also introduced to strategies used by backpack journalists. The backpack journalist performs at optimum levels in a convergence journalism environment.

n Actual Attendance: 128 n 52 pre-registered n 45 on-site

n 20 speakers n 11 volunteers/staff

« Print

« Online

« Radio

Student journalists produced an

Professional journalists from the Houston Chronicle, including sports writer Terrance Harris, and other leading regional journalists explained to students the benefits of reporting, writing, and storytelling for the Web.

Led by Texas Southern University journalism professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker and student executive producer Nakia Cooper, 10 students wrote, edited and produced a five minute newscast that aired live on KTSU radio.

eight-page online newspaper with

See pictures of mentors and students, page 6

Roland Martin

11 stories focusing on issues that include black journalists’ ability to adapt to the new media revolution, the significance of black colleges, and journalism students’ transition into professionalism.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Monitor


Is America Ready For a Black President

two demographic groups, specifically the younger and the more educated, would most likely support a black president MONITOR STAFF WRITER because they are apt to be more liberal minded and capable of looking beyond race and sex. Journalists and educators at the NABJ Region V On the other hand, Broussard said ,older people who Conference expressed optimistic views about the possibililive in areas where institutional racism is still visible might ty of electing the United States’ first black president. not be willing to fathom the idea of a black or female presFreddie Willis, a Houston Chronicle sports copy editor, ident. believes that political, social and ideological change is the Broussard also emphasized that when considering the top priority for many reactions of different ethniciAmericans. White America ties to the potential election of will not respond to a black a black president, it is imporleader in the same way the I think Barack Obama can definitely tant that Americans not think of black population might, he black and white communities said, but that whites, too, are each as monolithic. help the lower and middle class get looking for a break from the “I think there are white peopolitical norm that traditionalple in this country who will better jobs, just get jobs period. There ly controls the country. If anyvote for a black presidential thing, Willis said, the white candidate because of who they are a lot of talented young Africancommunity will welcome the are, where they’re from, their change. socioeconomic class and their Americans out there and the workWillis said the country educational background,” said needs a boost in the economy, Broussard. force is just not presenting those which is something that a He said the prospect of black president can accomObama becoming president lies opportunities to them plish. with his speaking ability that “I think Barack Obama engages and inspires, and his can definitely help the lower Freddie Willis willingness to embrace all peo– and middle class get better ple. Also, his open manner of jobs – just get jobs period. discussing his biracial backThere are a lot of talented young African-Americans out ground adds to his credibility. there and the work force is just not presenting those oppor“I think that this is going to engage certain groups of tunities to them,” Willis said. people who may not have been that interested in politics. I Obama presiding as the nation’s commander-in-chief think he is going to be able to reach across racial and culwill allow him greater influence and power to make such tural lines in a way that’s unprecedented for an American opportunities more feasible, he said. president,” he said. The Illinois senator is locked in a tight race with Sen. Broussard said he was impressed that Obama has Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination. reached his position on personal merit. William Broussard, assistant athletic director at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., said By Benna Sayyed

Barack and Michelle Obama


Young voters flock to polls By Da’Janai Woods

By Jarreth Alexander


Traditionally, young people have not been motivated to vote in national elections, but this year things seem to be drastically changing, especially in the Democratic primary races. What has inspired the attention of people ages 18-29 to inspire them to vote? Overwhelmingly, the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama – the first African-American to make it through major primaries – has served as an inspiration for them to take a stand and vote. Students who attended the National Association of Black Journalists Region V Conference on April 12 at Texas Southern University had some definite opinions about the presidential campaign. Natalie White, a 25-year-old student from Langston University in Langston, Okla., said she didn’t vote in the 2004 election, but she is inspired to vote this year because she wants to be a part of history. “I want to be able to say that I voted for the first black president,” she said. “I like his positive attitude toward facing the crisis that is taking place in America.” According to ABC News, a record number of youth have turned out to vote in the primary elections. In Massachusetts, 28 percent of youth voted, more than double the number that voted in 2004. In Illinois, 23 percent of youth voted, up from 14 percent in 2004. Hip-Hop mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs played a major role in the 2004 national election through Rock the Vote, which encouraged youths to go to the polls. But many reports showed that the percentage of youth that voted in 2004 was almost the same as in 2000. However, this year young voters – especially black youths – are casting ballots in record numbers. One of the states that experienced the most dramatic increase in youth voters was New Jersey, where the number of youth voters climbed from 4 percent in 2004 to 20 percent in this year. Markita Guy, a 24-year-old TSU student, thinks one of the reasons for the increase is that people want to see a change. “This year will really make a difference,” she said. “I want to vote for someone who is willing to make a change and Obama is that guy.”

After the love is gone MONITOR STAFF WRITER

Guy said she likes the critical issues that Obama is focusing on in his campaign, such as health care and education, because they affect her. In the Texas Democratic primary, voters ages 18-29 overwhelmingly supported Obama by a 61 percent to 39 percent. His opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton, was a favorite among those 60 and older, leading Obama 63 percent to 36 percent. Obama has won among 18- to 29-year-olds in every state, capturing 67 percent of their votes in South Carolina, 59 percent in Nevada, 51 percent in New Hampshire and 57 percent in Iowa. In the past, young people have felt that their vote doesn’t count. But Richard White, a student at Prairie View A&M University, disagrees. He says that every vote matters. “I think my vote will make a difference,” said White, 21. “Whether you win by 100 or 1, every vote matters at the end of the day.” White said America is ready for a change, and that it’s good to hear that message is being reaffirmed by Obama. “A change is going to come,” he said.

A career in the media isn’t for the faint at heart and requires journalists to be well-rounded and flexible, professional journalists say. Without the necessary skills, a journalist’s frustration builds and a career can become a revolving door – one day you’re in, and the next day you’re tossed out. Those messages were delivered in the “After the Love is Gone” seminar that provided tips to recover from a bad first internship. It also gave student journalists insight on how to survive in the profession. “It’s very important that you network with everyone that you come in contact with in this business,” said Tamara Washington, assignment editor at KPRC-Channel 2 in Houston. “You never know, that person you just met might be your new boss in the near future.” A degree in journalism doesn’t automatically mean a job, panelists said. But success is based on your experience, which is what gets you ahead in the industry. While it’s good for media personnel to be experts in their concentration, they also say it’s vital to know about global events. Panelists said it’s imperative to learn the tricks of the trade so that the revolving door doesn’t spin out of control. They posed questions that students might ask themselves after a bad internship: “What do I do next?” “Where do I go from here?” Cheryl Smith, executive editor for the Dallas Weekly, suggested finding a mentor and selling your skills. “Presentation is a must, leaving a lasting good impression so that a person will work with you again in the near future,” she said. Smith said it’s good to have a life outside of your career but offered another caution. “(Romantic office) relationships may interfere with your career, but it’s up to you to decide. It’s very important to have that balance of your personal life and your career life,” she said. “Find a partner who understands your career and won’t use it against you in every scenario.” Panelists said survival is the key to helping young journalists stay ahead in the field by being knowledgeable of the media.


The Monitor

Saturday, April 12, 2008 Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Significance of HBCU’s Preparing a new generation of African-American leaders


The Monitor

“ ”

8 out of 10 AfricanAmerican engineers gradcontinued from page 5 uate from HBCUs. …[HBCU’s] must produce individuals Whalum is a proud “It [HBCUs] must seek graduate of TSU. He that make the greatest individual impact, today to move into the recently completed a twomainstream and serve the competent and trained citizens who can year stint as Artist in whole urban community. As achieve for themselves and their commuResidence at the never before it must proStax/Soulville Music duce individuals that make nity.” Academy in Memphis. the greatest individual He is still one of the top impact, competent and – Granville Sawyer selling contemporary jazz trained citizens who can artists and a respected achieve for themselves and saxophonist. Meanwhile their community as never 07 annual report, HBCUs constitute his former teacher and mentor, before it [HBCU’s] must produce 3 percent of all colleges and univerHarris is gearing up for a grueling individuals that make the greatest sities in the nation. But they enroll schedule this fall when he perform individual impact, competent and 16 percent of all African-Americans some dazzling shows so to raise trained citizens who can achieve for attending four year degree granting money for the TSU jazz studies prothemselves and their community,” institutions and graduate 30 percent gram, his gem. stated Sawyer. of them. The report also states that According to NAFEO’s 2006-

TSU campus


On a warm summer day in 1976, 22 years after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark Brown v Board of Education decision, a young man and his father drove from Memphis, Tenn., to Houston, Texas. Their destination: Texas Southern University, a historical black university that in its own way had played a monumental role in desegregating the city of Houston. That young man eventually enrolled at TSU, and credits that institution for molding and sculpting his flourishing career. Today, that young man is one of contemporary jazz’s giants: Kirk Whalum. Recently, Whalum was joined by an alumnus of the Duke Ellington Band, Barry D. Hall, among other jazz greats, former students, friends and members of the TSU community at the university’s Sterling Student Life Center to pay homage to Howard Harris, composer, educator, mentor, musician, teacher and walking jazz archive. Theirs was a musical tribute to a man who personifies the ethos of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)—excellence and sacrifice. Today, Harris’ jazz studies program is one of only two such programs in the state of Texas. “I have been involved with the jazz ensemble since 1971. Then in 1981 the director resigned; so from 1981 till now I am still standing,” said Harris. TSU is the nucleus of Houston’s historic Third Ward neighborhood. It was born out of the inequities that characterized the state’s segregated education system. The 50th Texas Legislature established TSU on March 3, 1947. It was founded as the Texas

State University for Negroes and later changed in 1951 to Texas Southern University. The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) represents HBCUs and predominantly black institutions with the executive, legislative, regulatory and judicial branches of federal and state government amongst other non-governmental organizations to provide services to its over 118 members. NAFEO contends that HBCUs were founded primarily for the education of African-Americans, although their charters were not exclusionary. Cheney University in Pennsylvania, founded in 1837 was the nation’s first HBCU.

According to the American Council on Education Minorities in Higher Education Annual Status Report, HBCUs graduated 20 percent of all bachelor’s degrees earned by African-Americans in 2000-01. Twenty-five thousand and ninety baccalaureate degrees were awarded to AfricanAmerican students that academic year the report stated. The Status Report is widely recognized as the national source of information on current trends related to minorities in higher education. The report is made possible by a grant from the GE Foundation. Peter Thornton, a communication instructor in the TSU Tavis Smiley School of Communication, attended a historically white university as an undergraduate, but did his graduate studies at TSU. In fact, Thornton is one of the first to have graduated from the school of communication graduate program. He cites access to resources as a great resource in HBCUs. “I think I had more access to the equipment and professors than I did at Boston University,” Thornton said. Granville Sawyer is a former TSU president who served on President Richard Nixon’s commission on campus unrest and has been a lifelong advocate for HBCUs. Sawyer saw the importance as both a student at an HBCU [Tennessee A&I University] and administrator. In his landmark document on the role of urban universities, The Urban Commitment, Sawyer outlined his vision for the role and importance of HBCUs.

HBCU’s continued on page 6

Photo: TSU's: Earlie Hudnall

Above, Howard Harris, on the right, Kirk Whalum.



The Monitor

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Getting ready for the multimedia World of Journalism By Ashley Minor MONITOR STAFF WRITER


ohen Cosby, a Texas Southern University public relations student, relies on his cell phone to keep up with his busy lifestyle, while also keeping abreast of the latest news. “When not actually using a PC, most people read the news on their PDA (personal digital assistant) like I do,” said Cosby. “All day I get the latest updates from the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major newspapers.” To meet the demands of Cosby and others like him, journalists are becoming multimedia experts. Cosby was one of the students participating in the National Association of Black Journalists Region V Conference at TSU. The theme of one of the workshops he attended was Getting Ready for the Multimedia World of Journalism. Multimedia technology has allowed the news – including newspapers – to have an instant impact. With advances in technology – mobile phones and Internet access – the news is within reach at all

When not actually using a PC, most people read the news on their PDA (personal digital assistant) like I do… All day I get

the latest updates from the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major newspapers.

times. According to an article in, 62 percent of adult Americans have taken advantage of mobile access to digital data and other such tools. Americans use the Internet with a wireless connection away from home or work, or used a nonvoice data application with their cell phone or PDA. “People don’t want to wait until tomorrow to get their news,” said Houston Chronicle sports copy editor

– Cohen Cosby

Freddie Willis. “Now, it just comes down to time.” Journalists are adapting skills that relate to all aspects of communications. Today, journalists are familiar with producing and publishing content online, while also taking advantage of the trend toward social media. Blogging has given people who are not communications professionals an opportunity to have their messages viewed by a broad audience. Some jour-

nalist, authors and celebrities are also famous bloggers. “Blogging started out because people felt like they weren’t getting the news that they needed,” said Gloria Neal, CEO of Aliglo Media Partners LLC. “Then it was considered a form of social media, but now it’s certainly professional media.” Neal said that in order for journalists to have longevity in their field, they must become as marketable as possible. A reporter must also be prepared to design, blog and have experience in radio and television. Some newspaper photographers and reporters are now shooting and producing video. “For those of us on the news side of the business, it is alarming, because we have to learn new skills,” said Billy Calzada wrote in a San Antonio Express –News story. “It is also enticing and fascinating because the Internet offers a new outlet for our news content.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Monitor


Serbino Sandifer-Walker

David Ellison

Cheryl Smith

Pete Mcconnell

Robert Stanton

Texas Southern University

Houston Chronicle

The Dallas Weekly

Texas Southern University

Houston Chronicle

Karen Clark

Lewis Smith

Peter Thornton

Cale E. Carter

Terry Jackson

Langston University

Prairie View A&M University

Texas Southern University

Houston Defender

TSU Alumus


Ashley Minor

Kangsen Feka Wakai

Tristan Jones

Da’janai Woods

Jerrell Allen

Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University

Langston University

Prairie View A&M University

Kent Floyd

Richard White

Randi Crowder

David Butler

Langston University

Prairie View A&M University

University of North Texas

Prairie View A&M University

Jasmine Gibson

Alisha Renae Prince

April Garland

Evan White

Skyline High School

Paul Quinn College

North Garland High School

Prairie View A&M University


NABJ Monitor  

National Association of Black Journalists student publication produced at Texas Southern University. Serbino Sandifer-Walker coordinating e...

NABJ Monitor  

National Association of Black Journalists student publication produced at Texas Southern University. Serbino Sandifer-Walker coordinating e...