Best Moderator of the Day: Jeff Johnson

JACKSON, Miss.– The last of our awards from today’s Summit on Educational Excellence for African Americans goes to the best moderator.

Jeff Johson
Jeff Johson

Jeff Johnson, a fellow journalist and an MSNBC commentator, had just the right edge needed to keep the sessions that he moderated on time.

At times, he used his moderator privilege to mount the soap box and do a little preaching on a topic of concern.

One of the highlights of the day was his call for those in the African American community to stop “punking out”  and have some “honest conversation” about how we treat African American young men who might love someone of the same gender, especially when it’s the black church who’s talking.

His statement followed a question from  a person in the audience who queried panelists about the issue of GLBT teens and their experience in the African American community.

One of those panelists, Jackson State’s Dean of College of Education and Human Development Daniel Watkins, also has pastored a church here in the Mississippi state capital for 29 years.

Watkins stressed the importance of loving all of young men and women regardless of sexual orientation or any other difference.  The response has be one of love.

Still, Johnson had the occasion to short-circuit a few members of the audience who had statements to deliver rather than questions to ask.

He was pretty firm with his three rules– Rule #1: ask the question   Rule #2 Ask the Question   Rule #3  Ask the Question

And we had to do it in 30 seconds.


Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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