Daniels Seeks Second Term on SPJ Board

George Daniels announced his bid for re-election to the Society of Professional Journalists National Board of Directors.

ATLANTA–  It is somewhat ironic that from the city where I spent much of my career as a broadcast journalist, I am announcing today my bid for re-election to the national board of the nation’s largest, most broad–based organization for journalists.

It’s been my pleasure to serve the last two years as the campus adviser at-large for the Society of Professional Journalists National Board.   And, I want the opportunity to continue to serve the more than 8,000 members of this great organization another two years.

Over the next two-and-a-half months, I will provide some additional updates on my plans for another term.  As a broadcast journalist, I love using the tool of video to share my thoughts on different issues.   Nowadays I am able to do that even from another gathering here in Georgia’s state capital as I am in town talking with social media enthusiasts at a church convention this week.

If you look back to a blog post two years ago this month when I announced my intentions to run for the SPJ Board of Directors, I expressed a desire as a candidate in 2009  to be “actively engaged in discussions about how SPJ can collaborate with our journalism organizations to keep our members on the cutting edge with jointly-sponsored training events and conventions.”

I’m excited to see those discussions that involved our SPJ National officers and staff and those of us on the board result in Excellence in Journalism 2011.   The joint convention is REALLY special for me as I have been a member of both the Radio-TV Digital News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

I’ll address some of the other initiatives I want to pursue in the coming year later this summer.

Full Gospel’s Social Media Superstars Provide Awesome Advice for Church Media

Robin M. Ware and R. Pamela Adams are the social media superstars at the 18th Annual Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Conference in Atlanta.

ATLANTA– Usually when you come to church conferences or conventions, the men with the collars and the hollers are the ones who get all the attention.

But, at this year’s 18th Annual Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Conference, we have to shine the spotlight on two women who are helping spread the “Full Gospel Flava” to a whole different audience using social media.

R. Pamela Adams of The BizLynks Center (left) takes questions from the audience while Robin Ware of The Ware Agency listens during a session today at the 18th Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Conference.

Robin Ware of the Ware Agency and Pamela Adams, better known as “R.Pamela” teamed up to bring attendees at this week’s conference into  the social media age.

Ware’s experience as a certified meeting planner combined with Adams’ background as a technology strategist together can give churches what they need to extend their ministries to an audience that is already frequenting sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Ware’s Work

“I taught Bishop Morton how to tweet,” said Ware, speaking of her efforts to assist Bishop Paul S. Morton of Atlanta’s Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church and the International Presiding Bishop of the Fellowship.  “Now Bishop Morton does his own tweeting.”

Ware helped launch the first Full Baptist Conference Web site, which went live in late March.  In a previous post last month, I talked about the significance of this for not just Full Gospel Baptist churches, but the Body of Christ as a whole.

While it was re-designed recently, the Fellowship’s old Web site, does not lend itself to interactivity or put the information about this biggest Full Gospel event of the year out front.

For the first time in the 18-year history of the conference,  there are blog posts and a Facebook Fan page associated with this gathering which typically draws more than 10,000 attendees from around the world.

The Effective E-mail

After sitting under the guidance of these two women, I will never do e-mailing the same way again, especially now that I’ve heard from Adams, who until recently worked as a regional representative for Constant Contact, one of the nation’s leading e-mail marketing companies.

“People don’t read e-mails, they scan e-mails,” Adams said as she encouraged those in her e-mail marketing workshop session to utilize e-mails to drive readers longer articles on their Web sites or blogs.

So far, over the past two days, I’ve picked up lots of tricks and tips to use both in my own blog and as a person working in the Technology ministry that supports the Web site for Tuscaloosa’a  Cornerstone Full Gospel Baptist Church.

R.Pamela Adams

5 TIPS For Churches From the Social Media Superstars

1. You Want People to Tweet During Your Church Service

2. Twitter is Not Just About Promoting Yourself, It’s About Being a Resource for Your Followers

3. Your Brand is More than Your Name and Your Logo, It’s Also YOUR VOICE.

4. The Three Keys to E-Mail Marketing:  Connect, Inform, Grow

5. You Don’t Need Lights, Camera and Action to Get On YouTube, the Number-2 Search Engine.  A FlipCam will do.

Alabama, Idaho High School Workshops Take Part in Unprecedented Exchange

High school students at two multicultural journalism workshops took part in an unprecedented exchange about their summer experiences, which were both funded by the Dow Jones News Fund.

A group of students from the Multicultural Journalism Program 2011 talked about their experiences covering the aftermath of the April 27 Tuscaloosa tornado. MJP Director Meredith Cummings joined her students.

Last week at least 10 different high school journalism workshops funded by the Dow Jones News Fund, took place at college campuses across the country.

Our Multicultural Journalism Workshop here at University of Alabama was one of them.

For the first time students from two of those workshops were able to talk to each other via the technology SKYPE.

A cohort of students from Alabama’s 28th Multicultural Journalism Workshop in Tuscaloosa shared their experiences in covering the aftermath of the devastating April 27th tornado with their counterparts at the JAMM (Journalism and Mass Media) Multicultural Workshop at the University of Idaho.

Students from the JAMM Multicultural Journalism at University of Idaho talked to the Alabama workshop students via SKYPE.

Thursday’s exchange across two time zones was arranged thanks to a link between Idaho’s workshop director Dr. Rebecca Tallent and UA Journalism Professor George Daniels.

The Idaho students represented several high schools from the state of Idaho while the Alabama’s workshop participants come from seven states.

During their workshop, the Idaho students traveled to Plummer, Idaho to the headquarters for rezKast, a social networking Web site known as the “YouTube for Native Americans.  They also visited with journalists at   The Coeur d’Alene Press.

The diversity of experience of students from both workshops added to the 40-minute exchange.

Pictures, Sound Tell Story of Alabama’s Biggest Immigration Event

Images and Sounds of the June 25, 2011 candle march in Downtown Birmingham tell the story of the opposition to Alabama’s new immigration law, the toughest in the nation.

BIRMINGHAM– In the last few years, we’ve seen dozens of rallies  and public protests on immigration around the country, including here in Alabama.

But, none in Alabama’s largest city compare to what took place Saturday, June 25 when thousands marched through downtown in silent protest of the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, which was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley earlier this month.

The images of those in the crowd, most of whom dressed in white shirts, and the sounds of prayers tell this story from Birmingham’s primary civic space- Linn Park.


North Carolina Group Among Thousands Who Protest Immigration Law

Groups came from near and far to stand against Alabama’s new immigration law. The silent protest and prayers in Linn Park was one of the largest gatherings yet since the legislation was signed into law.

This group from Knollwood, NC was one of the most visible in the crowd of thousands at Linn Park to pray and walk in silent protest of Alabama's new immigration law.

BIRMINGHAM– They literally came from near and far to Birmingham’s primary civic space to pray and protest what’s been called the nation’s toughest Immigration law– HB 56.

The “Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act” requires public schools to determine students’ immigration status and makes it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride.

I was among those who gathered today and I am glad I did.

It’s not enough to talk about the issues facing immigrant populations in our community and our state.

Sometimes we have to physically get together and make a statement.

While most of those who attended donned white shirts, a large group of those participating wore green shirts.

This group was my group from Tuscaloosa. It was great to share in this experience with them.

They was actually a church group from Knollwood, North Carolina, a community not far from Fayetteville.  They told me they heard about the silent march and wanted to come and support the effort.

Churches, in fact, were the engine for much of what happened today.

In fact, the group from the Tuscaloosa area that I joined used the parking lot at Holy Spirit Catholic Church as a staging area.

But, this truly ecumenical gathering had representatives from a range of religions and faith

Even though HB 56 has been signed into law,  a petition to repeal the legislation was available for those who wanted to sign it.

A petition was available for those who wanted to sign it

There were no political speeches tonight at Linn Park.

That’s for another day.

The focus today was just on prayer and silent protest.

Those members of the clergy who rose to pray also included scriptural references that were appropriate for understanding the faith-based community’s response to HB 56 here in Alabama.

As for the new law,  tonight’s event comes just days before Alabama’s law enforcement leaders are slated to meet with representatives from the Justice Department to discuss the implementation of the law that goes into effect September 1,

Tuscaloosa City Board of Ed Names Finalists For Superintendent, Finalizes Interview Process

Outgoing Lynchburg (Va.) School Superintendent Paul McKendrick and San Diego Area School Superintendent Tony Burks are the two finalists for Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent.

By the evening of July 7, we may know whether a soon-to-be retired Virginia school superintendent or an area school superintendent from San Diego will be the next leader of the 10,000-student Tuscaloosa City Schools.


Paul McKendrick, who announced his retirement as superintendent of the Lynchburg Schools  and Tony Burks from the San Diego Unified School Districts will be invited for second interviews July 6th and 7th here in Tuscaloosa.

The two were just here Tuesday night for Day 2 of interviews as semi-finalists.

After the last two semi-finalists interviewed Wednesday night, the board ranked the six candidates and McKendrick and Burks came up with the highest ratings, which involved a matrix used by Ray and Associates Inc, the search firm hired to assist with the selection of the superintendent.


The board held two rounds of closed-door deliberations to discuss their rankings before returning to an open business meeting  around 11:30 p.m.

After a brief discussion about whether two or three finalists should selected, the decision was made to invite McKendrick and Burks.

But, the decision was not without some discussion about whether the candidate with the third highest ranking, Limestone County Superintendent Barry Carroll should also be invited.

“I think he did very well,” said School Board Member Harry Lee, referring to Carroll, who was the last of the semi-finalists to interview with the Board of Education.

Lee voted against the motion to select just McKendrick and Burks for second interviews.

Following the discussion about the finalists, board members talked for nearly an hour about the dates and process of the final interviews.

The end result of the marathon Board of Education meeting that did not end until 12:15 a.m. Thursday,  was the candidates who advanced to the final round will be interviewed on July 6th and 7th with the board possibly making a final decision as early as July 7th.

Process for Public Input Debated

As has been reported previously, a community forum is set for July 6 at Central High School.

“It is going to be a very structured approach,” said Dan Meissner, chairman of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to submit questions, which will be screened and then posed to each of the finalists, who will appear in separate 45-minute sessions at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m on July 6.

At the end of the 45-minute sessions, attendees at the public forum will be asked to fill out feedback forms.

The information from the feedback forums will be tabulated and reported to the Board of Education, which will have its second interview with the candidates on July 7.

In addition to the community forum, separate focus groups or small group sessions are being organized.    But, exactly who will be invited to those small group sessions was still undetermined.

The board was set to further outline the events for the interview days at its regular open work session Thursday evening.

High School Students Get a Taste of Reporting the News On-Camera

High school students attending the ASPA Long Weekend did some on-camera video work on Day 2 of the three-day event.

WVUA Weekend Weather Anchor Daniel Sparkman gives students pointers on on-air delivery at the ASPA Long Weekend.

The high school students in the video/broadcast track took a break from editing their weekend projects to get some on-camera experience on Saturday.

It’s Day 2 of the Alabama Scholastic Press Association Long Weekend Camp, which is designed to give high school students a taste of all aspects of media.   It’s been my pleasure to help make this part of ASPA Summer Camp a success.

Today one of our University of Alabama journalism students who works as a full-time anchor/reporter at WVUA-TV gave the students some of his sage advice based on his eight years in the broadcast news business.

Daniel Sparkman was our special guest today.  Then, this afternoon he played host as the students went into the studio and delivered a story from the ASPA workshop on camera.

In between their breakout sessions on such topics as writing yearbook captions, tweeting a speech and making good photos great, the ASPA Long Weekend Students was treated to a panel discussion featuring veteran publication advisers with decades of experience guiding students in the delivery of yearbooks, newspapers and other publications.

The students in the broadcast/video track produced short videos from today’s panel.  They also reported on an incident back at their residence hall last night.

High School Students Launch Ambitious Weekend Video Project

High school students begin a major weekend video project in connection with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Alabama Scholastic Press Association.

At least for the next couple of days, I'm not the only "George" in the bunch. This George originally from Sumter County, Ala. and Ashley from Oklahoma interviewed the principal of Oak Mountain Middle School.

The Alabama Scholastic Press Association Long Weekend is underway here on the University of Alabama campus and I have the pleasure of directing a big video project in connection with ASPA’s 75th anniversary.

Twelve high school students from as close as Paul Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa and as far away as Lawton, Oklahoma are making this video project a reality.

They are part of a larger group of 100 students, mostly from Alabama who are with us through Sunday afternoon.   We have a few students on my team from Miami and Fairburn, Ga.  (not far from my old stomping ground in metro Atlanta)

The other students are learning about strategies to make their school newspapers, yearbooks, photojournalism and literary magazines the best that they can be.  It’s part of our award-winning scholastic journalism program here at the University of Alabama.

For those in the video/broadcast sessions, there was not much time for lectures or presentations.   They had to hit the ground running today.

Getting the tripod to set just right was not easy for one of the crews. We figured out later, it wasn't them, but the tripod that was not cooperating.

After a very brief introduction to camera basics,  the production teams sprang into action this afternoon conducting interviews and shooting what those of us in the TV world know as “b-roll.”

Just finished looking at their field tape (which of course, is now on digital

Marie Parsons, former ASPA director will appear in one of the videos. She's also been serving as our ASPA historian.

cards) and we have some great video journalists at work on this project.

Can’t wait to see what they can produce as we start editing in the morning.

Stillman College Loses Technology Leader, Award-Winning Professor

Anthony Nzeocha, an education and psychology professor at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, is remembered for his advocacy for technology in the classroom and his award-winning teaching. His memorial service will be held Thursday, June 16.

Outside of Tuscaloosa’s Stillman College, the name  “Anthony Nzeocha” may not ring a bell.The native of Nigeria was not one to seek a great deal of attention, unless of course you talk about Stillman’s Annual Integration of Technology in the Classroom Conference.

Anthony Nzeocha

“The conference is designed to demonstrate innovative uses of technology to enhance learning,” Nzeocha said of the most recent conference, which has taken place for the last nine years.

Nzeocha was the face of the Integration of Technology technology, which is held each year during the month of February.

I first met Dr. Nzeocha through this event that brings college professors from around the Southeast who are interested in ways to link technology to teaching.

Each year that I attended I remember Nzeocha keeping us on time and on task even as he captured portions of the conference on video and still photo.   He was the perfect host, while also challenging students who attended the sessions to take seriously the insights of the faculty presenters who came from near and far.

Nzeocha lost his battle with cancer this week and will be memorialized at an 11 a.m.  service this Thursday, June 16 at Tuscaloosa’s Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

The West African native graduated from Clark Atlanta University with his Ph.D. in July 1990.

He has been at Stillman for more than 20 years.

He taught classes in both Stillman’s department of Education and Psychology.

In addition to his role as coordinator of the technology conference, Nzeocha also served as Stillman’s National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Assessment Director.

In fact, almost every year at Integration of Technology College, Nzeocha made sure to include a presentation or discussion about how technology aids those in higher education to do assessment.

While I don’t work on the Stillman campus, all of us in the Tuscaloosa educational community are affected when one of our great educators is taken from us.

Fortunately, during his more than decades at Stillman, Nzeocha was recognized for his great work in the classroom.

He received The Joseph A. Gore Faculty Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching twice.

We celebrate the life of this great teacher who was clearly one of Stillman’s biggest champions for technology.

He will be missed!




Breakout Session Provides Productive Hour with Christian Bloggers, Web Enthusiasts

The 2011 Southern Christian Writers Conference afforded me the opportunity to share with a group of women inspired to present their ideas on the web.

Two dozen Christian writers from as far away as Nashville metro area and Northeast Goergia gathered to chat about writing online at the Southern Christian Writers Conference.

As the first day of the Southern Christian Writers Conference wound down, I was fortunate to be in a roomful of writers excited and enlightened about the World Wide Web.

The program listed this informal breakout session as “Using the Internet (Blogs, websites)  in Your Writing”

The small-group session turned into an exchange of ideas, writer-to-writer, blogger-to-blogger that will certainly be a highlight of the day.

There were no PowerPoint presentations or even a projector where we could look at Web sites and do demonstrations.

Instead a circle of women– Godly women– who had the insight and interest to share what they are doing, want to do and won’t do in the online environment, told their stories.

There was plenty of time for questions and answers.

Yes, it was a little weird being the only dude in the bunch.  (Perhaps God orchestrated this environment to inspire me as a single man that there’s hope-SMILE)

But, this was all about how to leverage the collective wisdom in that room and inspire each other.

I think our Southern Christian Writers Facebook Group will grow as a result of this session.

But, most of all, I believe some new Christian blogs are going to be springing up within days of this conference ending.

Can’t wait to see them.