J School Journals showcases student narrative features
By Travis Milton
Broadcast journalism students of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) at Florida A&M University debuted their narrative features at J School Journals for all of the community to see.
J-School Journals is a day that takes place once in both the fall and spring semesters, where students enrolled in the Specialized Reporting course at the SJGC showcase their investigative reporting skills in 15-minute narrative features on touchy topics to bring awareness and hone in on something that affects our society daily.
J-School Journals has been around since fall 2006 as it was then called ‘Doc Night’.
In this years’ J-School Journals, the afternoon highlighted topics ranging from hunger, child homelessness as well as the way the media portrays some African American women.
10 student producers worked tirelessly to investigate more information on their various subject matters.
“J School Journals was refreshing! It’s amazing to see how a simple idea from the second day of class evolved into a series of diverse documentaries. It was rewarding to sit back and view the quality of work created by my peers after all of the hours of hard work filming, editing and producing,” said Gabrielle Dawkins, a graduating senior from Miami, Fla.
The feature lineup, producers and description is as followed:
“Where is My Breakfast”
By: Gabrielle Dawkins
Highlighting the issue of hunger in America.
“Guilty Before Proven Innocent”
By: Nicole Doty and Amari Thomas
Highlighting African American males who are first time offenders with the law.
“Zip Code Conduct”
By: LaCrai Mitchell and Alesha Thomas
Highlighting the lack of enforcement related to the socioeconomic issues along with the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
By: Javonni Hampton and Widson Charlemont
Highlighting the negative media portrayal that media has on some African American women.
“The Elephant in the Room”
By: Perris Jones and Azaria Samuels
Highlighting the image of African Americans who are a part of the Republican party.
By: Star Manning and Jasmine Jackson
Highlighting the lack of African Americans as high-ranking officials and racism in the military.
Gabrielle Dawkins highlighted the issue of hunger in our society with her narrative featured ‘Where is my Breakfast?’.
“With this piece I wanted to shed light on hunger in the United States. Within the Big Bend area alone there are 23,000 children who are in food insecure homes and within the United States there’s 15.3 million people. To create a documentary on that importance alone, to start a conversation, is just amazing to me,” said Dawkins.
Her narrative feature touched hearts of many in attendance as the testimonies of people in our community shared their experiences with hunger.
Another feature debuted that was heartfelt was titled ‘Guilty Before Proven Innocent’ by Nicole Doty and Amari Thomas as they showcased how African American males all over the country face charges within the justice system and they are unsure of exactly what all is taking place during their court dates and bond hearings.
“The purpose of ‘Guilty Before Proven Innocent’ was to spread the awareness of how young African American males are accepting guilty pleas as first time offenders at bond hearings due to their lack of knowledge in the judicial system,” says Nicole Doty, a graduating senior from Miami, Fla.
“We chose this touchy subject because we wanted to show a much-needed look at where we need reform in the criminal justice system.”
The afternoon concluded with the narrative feature titled “Shade” as producers Javonni Hampton and Widson Charlemont showcased their issue with media negatively portraying African American Women.
“Everyday Black girls are challenged with socialization and the negative stereotypes in American society. Usually the issue is not addressed in the home, so it is important for prominent Black women in American society to give back to the communities of the hopeless little black girls that desperately are seeking help for a better life and greater dreams,” said Javonni Hampton, a senior broadcast journalism student from Orlando, Fla.
Being an African American man who was raised and influenced by African American women, Widson Charlemont, a graduating senior from Polk County, Fla. says that he doesn’t like the fact that these women of color are being shown in such a negative light and wants people to know that there are a lot of positive figures in the world that encompass the true essence of being an African American woman.
“We wanted to bring awareness to the negative portrayals of how African American females are made out to be in the media and to see what the people that we interviewed had to say about it,” Charlemont said.
The man who, year after year, is responsible for the guidance of these student narratives and is the teacher of the Specialized Reporting course, Professor Kenneth Jones shared how proud he was for another great year of J School Journals and all of the students hard work over the course of the semester.
“I can not say enough about these students taking this on. It’s a heavy task and some very heavy topics, but they handled it like some professionals. I can not say enough about their character and their work ethic, nonetheless,” Jones said.
J School Journals will return in the spring semester as part of the Artists in Bloom Festival where another batch of stellar students will debut narrative features on various social issues.