10 Questions for the Journalism Entrepreneurship Evangelist

There are at least 10 questions or concerns one might anticipate as he or she launches a journalism entrepreneurship course or program. I pose these as I begin this week the Scripps-Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute.

phoenixfilingsWe’re on the eve of the second Scripps-Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute at Arizona State University.
I’m excited to be among the more than a dozen journalism faculty from around the country who are participating in what I know will be an outstanding learning experience.

This is the second in a series of posts I’ve dubbed “Phoenix Filings” related to that Institute and the incredible opportunity to spend a few days in the Southwestern United States.  In a post yesterday, I set up this experience with five goals I have for the trip.

Today, we’ll talk more concretely about the business at hand– preparing to launch a course in entrepreneurial journalism.
Continue reading “10 Questions for the Journalism Entrepreneurship Evangelist”

Venturing Back to the Valley of the Sun

Besides attending the Scripps-Howard Entrepreneurial Journalism Institute at Arizona State University, I have five goals in mind for a weeklong trip to the Valley of the Sun, my fourth opportunity to spend time in Phoenix, Arizona’s state capital.

Today marks the first in a series of posts on a trip to the Southwestern United States, to one of the few areas of the country where they don’t observe Daylight-Saving Time.

phoenixfilingsI’m talking about Arizona, which sometimes has the same time as California in the summer and is one hour ahead of California this time of year.

I’ll be spending at least part of six days in this state, the longest ever, an exciting thing, especially for one whose hometown is Richmond, Va.

It will be my fourth trip to the region.

Continue reading “Venturing Back to the Valley of the Sun”

Christmas Eve Funeral To Be Held for Alma White

A funeral will be held today for 93-year-old Alma White, a former City of Richmond employee who worked at the voter registration office and served faithfully at First African Baptist Church.

almawhiteRICHMOND, Va.– In a rather unusual way today, those of us at my home church will be having a funeral on this day before Christmas celebrating the life of a woman I came to know as a dedicated voter registration worker here in my hometown.

Mrs. Alma White worked for years at Richmond’s City Hall on North 9th Street downtown.

I used to see her at the counter when I would attend meetings of Richmond’s Youth Services Commission, of which I was a member more than 20 years ago.  Sometimes I’d wave to her as I was heading to a meeting or doing other city hall business there as an active high school student.

I didn’t have many long conversations with Mrs. White, but I knew her as the lady from my church who worked at City Hall.   She was equally as dedicated at Richmond’s First African Baptist Church, serving many Sundays as a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Usher Board.

Mrs. White’s funeral probably won’t have all of the media attention that each of the funerals for the 26 young victims in this month’s Sandy Hook shooting will have.    We should never compare one’s life to another.

But unlike those youngsters whose lives were cut short, Mrs. White lived a long life.   According her obituary, she was 93 years old when she passed on last Tuesday.

Circumstances did not permit me to see her in the final years of her life.  But, my parents did visit with her recently and remember her spirit as a senior saint who up until her death always had a special place in her heart for her church, First African Baptist.

Ironically, I was just in Richmond City Hall this past Friday for the first time in more than ten years.  At the time, I did know of Mrs. White’s passing.    Much has changed in that building.  Among other things, the Voter Registration office has moved to a different side of the 1st floor.    Few in that office today would probably remember Mrs. Alma White.

One person who would have been able to tell you about Alma White would be her former boss, Richmond City Registrar Alice Lynch.

Sadly, Ms. Lynch won’t be at today’s service.  She proceeded Mrs. White in death just last year.  The Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution in her honor earlier this year.

They probably won’t be doing the same for Mrs. White.  But, Mrs. White was one of those foot soldiers who worked alongside Ms. Lynch to increase access to the voting for African Americans and the handicapped.

Today as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we also celebrate the life of one of Alice Lynch’s lieutenants.

We praise God for the long life that Mrs. White lived, the thousands of Richmonders she helped register to vote and the thousands of worshippers she greeted as an usher at one of Central Virginia’s oldest African American congregations.

Soledad O’Brien’s Latest Black in America Project a Starting Point for a Colorism Conversation

CNN’s “Who is Black in America” introduces all of America to the issue of colorism and the struggles of many Africans Americans with their racial identity. Viewers of the documentary that premiered Sunday night also see multiple efforts to address experience of the millions of bi-racial or multi-racial Americans.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since CNN’s First “Black in America” debuted.
After taking viewers to the “New Promised Land of Silicon Valley” a year ago and focusing on debt in the African American community in 2010,  O’Brien and her producers are back on the East Coast in Philadelphia, Penn and my hometown of Richmond, Va.  to turn the spotlight on those Americans who are struggling with their racial identity.


The program “Who is Black in America” that premiered on CNN Sunday evening also features several scholars who educate viewers about many of issues surrounding racial identify, issues that date back to the time of slavery.

Like the previous installments in the overall “In America” series,  viewers have to realize the documentary is not just something to watch and then do nothing.

Each “Black in America” program has points that are doorways for discussion.

I’ve been monitoring much of that discussion Sunday evening on Twitter (via #blackinamerica) and Facebook.  Some of the commentary from viewers (and non-viewers just reacting to other Twitter posts) can provide an entire program in and of itself.

WhoisBlackinAmericagraphic2Tonight’s premiere of “WHO IS BLACK IN AMERICA?”  provided such a doorway.  Like a good journalist, O’Brien used the points in the documentary as an opportunity to teach the viewing audience about such concepts as colorism,  “The One Drop Rule”,  “The Brown Paper Bag Test”  and even derogatory terms such as “hi -yellow”

Most African Americans have heard the above concepts at one point or another in their lifetime.

The issue of interracial marriage was addressed in one of the earlier installments of “Black in America: Black Women and Families”  (originally aired in 2008)   One of the black women featured, Kimberly Mitchum of metro Atlanta, was married to a man, who is white.      The couple admitted how difficult it was raising their mixed race children in a world that saw them as African Americans.

“Who is Black in America”  featured lots of mixed-race children,  exposed viewers to those who identify as Black, but not necessarily as African Americans.

If you didn’t know much about racial identity,  you will after seeing this particular documentary.

The documentary exposed us to Dr. Yaba Blay’s  1 Drop Project and provided us an opportunity to see an excerpt from Blay’s upcoming book.

This is an official press photo of Nayo Jones (left), Perry “Vision” DiVirgilio (center) and Becca Khalil, who all tell their stories in “Who is Black in America?”

In the city of Brotherly Love, we’re introduced to spoken word presentations facilitated by Perry “Vision” DiVirgilio.

The over-the-air product is just part of the network’s coverage,  one has to look at the web presentation of this topic to see even more people’s stories that answer the question “Who is Black in America?