Passing of John Lewis, C.T. Vivian Reminds Me It’s Time To Step Up

While it might not be perceived to be as big a story as the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the passing of multiple civil rights legends in 2020 is, in fact, a clarion call to action.

Just as I was getting ready to retire for the evening, I learned of the passing of Georgia Congressman John Lewis, only hours after C.T. Vivian breathed his last breath.   Both men worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement.

I knew little about Vivian until I got here to Alabama and visited Selma and learned the details of Bloody Sunday and all that he did to ensure that I had the right to vote.   I knew about John Lewis having covered many, many stories involving Georgia congressman during my days as a television news producer in Atlanta.

Sitting right here next to my desk is Walking with the Wind, Lewis’ memoir. I referenced it in my a recent research project.

But it’s not just Lewis and Vivian passed away.  Within the last six months, we’ve lost Dr. Joseph Lowery from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Black Enterprise Founder and Publisher Earl Graves.  Both played crucial roles in the fight for civil rights.

Then in the Washington, DC area, longtime radio host Patrick Ellis also passed away.   While he’s not associated with civil rights leadership,  there are few who have hosted Sunday morning Gospel programs as long as he has.

WHAT THEY DID WE MUST DO 

These men of God — used by the Almighty to create change in our world have now passed  into eternity.  But, what have they left for us to do?

I believe there is a call to action for those of us who believe strongly in the work to which they each dedicated themselves.

John Lewis spoke out about injustice, laid his life on the line and lived for decades after taken some physical blows in Selma, Ala. in 1965 that might have taken the average person out.  He survived, thrived and kept on fighting for 60 more years until tonight.   He lost his battle with cancer.  But,  he won so much more for the rest of us.

Likewise C.T. Vivian spoke up and challenged a Dallas County Sheriff in that same Alabama town.  We owe to him to ensure that the right to vote is protected no matter what it takes.   There are others now who are leading the 2020 fight to ensure all persons can exercise their right to vote.

And, Patrick Ellis left us a legacy of inspiring others with thoughtful words and sounds that reflect our Christian faith and the walk we take as a nation.   Even if you were not in Washington, DC listening to Howard University radio on Sunday mornings, you would be inspired by reading Ellis’  story.

DOING MY PART

Tonight after about five years, I return to writing on this blog,  called to action to do what I do– WRITE, RESEARCH, and ACT.      Tonight I’m writing.   But, the other things that I do in the researching and in my own actions as a black journalist and a Christian writer are the best way I can answer the call to take up the fight of John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, Patrick Ellis, Earl Graves and Joseph Lowery.

It’s time for me and you to do our part.   If you’re already working, work more.  If you’re not doing anything,  it’s time to spring into action.

The Struggle Continues!

 

Former UA Dean Cully Clark Shares Foster Auditorium Story with NOSC 2012 Attendees

Cully Clark, a former dean of the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, returned to Tuscaloosa Tuesday night to share the story of the school’s integration with attendees at the 13th National Outreach Scholarship Conference. Clark was introduced by his successor, current dean Loy Singleton.

E. Culpepper Clark, author of The Schoolhouse Door and a former dean of the UA College of Communication and Information Sciences, told the story of the integration of the University of Alabama in June 1963.

While I’ve been on the faculty of The University of Alabama for ten years, until tonight I had not been inside one of the most talked-about places on our campus– Foster Auditorium.

Thanks to a special event at the 13th Annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference (NOSC) featuring E. Culpepper Clark (affectionately known as “Cully”),  I have walked THROUGH THE SCHOOLHOUSE Door.

Foster Auditorium is now the home of the UA Women’s Basketball and Volleyball teams.   But, in June of 1963, it was the place where students registered for classes and the site of the late Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.”

Clark, a former dean of UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences spoke to a crowd of about 100 who journeyed to the Malone-Hood Plaza tonight as part of NOSC 2012.

It’s been nearly two years since the area near the auditorium was officially named to honor of the late Vivian Malone Jones   and Dr. James Hood and Autherine Lucy Foster.   Both Hood and Foster spoke at the 2010 events.

In true storyteller format, Clark like an old grandfather told us what happened nearly 50 years ago here on our campus and why it was important.  In 20 minutes, he seamlessly weaved together an account of so many civil rights flashpoints in the 50s and 60s and explained their significance while keeping the focus on Foster Auditorium.

If you’ve read his authoritative account of the integration of the University of Alabama, Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, you know the great deal of research that he did on this period.

But, it’s different when you’re visitor to the campus for the first time, as many of the conference attendees were.

For those who had only seen Foster Auditorium through viewing the movie Forrest Gump,  Cully Clark’s presentation Tuesday night pulled all of the pieces together.

Next year –2013– will be the 50th anniversary of the one of the most important years in our nation’s history.

“No year was so pivotal to the civil rights movement than 1963,” Clark said.

He explained why it is important to commemorate those events and the one here on our campus.

According to Clark, who now serves as dean of my alma mater, the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the integration of the University of Alabama “began the transformation of this university.”

An added special treat for those of us in the College of Communication and Information Sciences,  Clark was introduced by current dean Loy Singleton and Clark’s predecessor Edward Mullins was also in attendance.

Did Soledad O’Brien Show Too Much Leg On Magazine Cover?

The depiction of CNN anchor and correspondent Soledad O’Brien on the cover of the August 4, 2011 edition of Diverse Issues in HIgher Education raises some interesting questions about the unintended impact of magazine covers, especially those related to gender and racial diversity.

I usually don’t pay much attention to the ‘letters’ section of Diverse Issues in Higher Education when it arrives in my mailbox twice a month.

But,  after the great journalism-themed August 4 edition that came out last month,  I was interested to see the reader reaction.

Instead of responding to the story about CNN Correspondent Soledad O’Brien’s upcoming “In America” specials (Latino in America 2 airs September 25 and Black in America 4 premieres in November) the reader was concerned about the depiction of O’Brien, on the cover.

Was the former NBC “Weekend Today” anchor and Harvard graduate presented in a pose that was too provocative?

Did it send the wrong message?

The photo credit only says the image was taken by Greg Miles, presumably just  for Diverse Magazine.   It was unlike the images of O’Brien inside the magazine, which were provided by CNN.

It’s certainly a valid question to pose to Diverse Issues Photo Editor Erica Antonelli.

Here’s the letter from Dr. Laina King, director of Diversity in Life Science Programs Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology  as it appears in this week’s (Sept 1, 2011) issue of Diverse:

I have gotten some comments from individuals who read Diverse about the cover of the issue on journalism.  It is fairly suggestive.  We are not in the publishing industry and so claim no expertise in this area.  I just thought you might want to know what some reactions were to the cover.

It does beg the question if we are trying to get students, especially women and minorities, into college and graduate program, what message does the cover send? Why couldn’t the woman on the cover be sitting behind a desk?

What the Experts Say

While I don’t teach magazine design classes in my role on the journalism faculty at The University of Alabama, I do know a little about publication design as it is part of having formal training in journalism and mass communication.

This is what Sammye Johnson and Patricia Prijatel, authors of The Magazine From Cover to Cover,  call a “Multi-theme, one-image” cover.   It’s the prevailing approach for magazines today designed to grab attention with the image and “clinch the sale” with the cover lines.

Elsewhere in their magazine textbook, Johnson and Prijatel, remind us that magazine cover have the ability to “create cultural images through their covers,” often creating a bond between readers and  movie stars or celebrities.

Soledad’s Star Power

In this instance, the reasonably attractive and well-known anchor and reporter O’Brien, not unlike other television on-air personalities, helps to sell DIVERSE Magazine.

She’s recognizable by many who watch television news (an increasingly smaller part of the American population)  and a celebrity in the broadest sense of the word.    Like all on-air “talent,” she’s part of the brand image associate with CNN’s “In America” documentary unit.

In past years, this same publication has featured other broadcast journalists on its cover– CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux was on the cover a few years ago.

Last year, CBS/60 Minutes Correspondent Byron Pitts was their cover for the annual journalism edition.

You’ll notice that Pitts is presented standing in a conservative business suit,  more consistent with the work-oriented/administrative portrayals of most academics who appear on the cover of this magazine twice a month.

My two cents

I think Dr. King and her colleagues have a point.   When considered in context of most magazine covers for DIVERSE Magazine  (click here to see recent covers),  the lady in the red dress with her legs crossed is a little unusual and could have an unintended effect.

Would I put O’Brien behind a desk next time?  No.

Maybe a tighter (more close-up) photo would be a better choice.   That’s just a matter of Antonelli and her staff taking a little more time editing the cover photograph.  It’s just one suggestion to the DIVERSE Magazine designers.

Since DIVERSE Issues in Higher Education is not really a popular press magazine,  but a trade magazine for those in higher education, I think we ought to focus a little bit more on the information about the trade and not the superficial issues like how much of the cover subject’s leg is showing.

That’s just one African-American male broadcast journalist’s opinion.

Race, Gender and Media Class Wraps Up with Bamboozled

In our final night of a four-week course on Race, Gender and Media, students watched Spike Lee’s controversial film, Bamboozled, which was released in 2000.

Spike lee’s camera angles are..awkward? #rgm
annagellis
August 2, 2011
Last night of rgm tweets
melissamitz
August 2, 2011
Watching a Spike Lee film#rgm
PRJSWHIT
August 2, 2011
The "Alabama porch monkey" line stung a little bit. #rgm #bamboozled
Dbivins23
August 2, 2011
He died in those shoes #rgm
Dbivins23
August 2, 2011
@DrSheems I’m watching Bamboozled in my MC 495 class, now I can go back and understand what I missed so I’m not ‘bamboozled’! Thanks! #rgm
Muna1631
August 2, 2011
#RGM I already can’t stand Pierres forced sounding accent.
wwfrazier
August 2, 2011
Watching Spike Lee’s "Bamboozled" in class #rgm
melissamitz
August 2, 2011
Watching "bamboozled" I’m mc 495. Educational tweets coming ur way. #rgm
annagellis
August 2, 2011
Love mos def! #rgm # bamboozled
Dbivins23
August 2, 2011
This movie has the perfect characters to depict the meaning behind the movie #rgm
3970235404
August 2, 2011
I have no clue what these slang words mean #rgm
RachelHulsey3
August 2, 2011
#RGM Spike Lee needs to get a tripod for his cameras.
wwfrazier
August 2, 2011
This movie has the perfect characters to depict the meaning behind the movie #rgm
3970235404
August 2, 2011

UA Students on “Further Off the Straight and Narrow”

As part of a unit on representations of the LGBT community in the media, the University of Alabama Race, Gender and Media class screened and tweeted about “Further Off the Straight and Narrow.”

We are tweeting tonight in @UofAlabama Race Gender and Media class about @MediaEd doc Further Off the Straight and Narrow #rgm
BamaProducer
July 28, 2011
And George Lopez!! #rgm
annagellis
July 28, 2011
Why in most major films/sitcoms if a BLACK male wants to make a break through in the industry he must be willing to play a GAY role? #rgm
MiPradaBaG
July 28, 2011
ALL gay people deserve people’s respect!#rgm
PRJSWHIT
July 28, 2011
I don’t think I’ve heard of Logo #rgm
RachelHulsey3
July 28, 2011
So you wait until your pants are almost off to tell the other person ur HIV Positive?? "QueerAsFolk" #rgm
MiPradaBaG
July 28, 2011
#RGM Authenticity and reality television do not go together lol.
wwfrazier
July 28, 2011
That’s an intense wife swap #rgm
melissamitz
July 28, 2011
The "Fab 5" went to Michigan…#rgm
PRJSWHIT
July 28, 2011
theLword > QueerAsFolk ..guess that’s bias #rgm
Muna1631
July 28, 2011

UA Watches Soulmate

Students at the University of Alabama taking a Race, Gender and Media Class comment on the Andrea Wiley documentary Soulmate. The topic for the evening was media portrayals of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community. Wiley addresses those from this community in the documentary quite differently from those producers of “Further off the Straight and Narrow.”

These women are super impressive. Very inspirational #rgm
annagellis
July 28, 2011
Now that’s gay ..why does a black man wanna do that to our black women #rgm
Muna1631
July 28, 2011
"hole that only God can fill"…so true!! #rgm
annagellis
July 28, 2011
These women just haven’t met me..ijs #rgm
Muna1631
July 28, 2011
Shocking statistics! #rgm
RachelHulsey3
July 28, 2011
Eve ate the apple and messed things up and now I see women understanding GOD #rgm
Muna1631
July 28, 2011
Some of these ladies need to go on match.com or something #rgm
melissamitz
July 28, 2011

Race, Gender Media Class Watch Latino in America

Just two months before CNN Premieres “Latino in America 2,” students at the University of Alabama watched the first Latino in America:THE GARCIAS, which premiered in October 2009.

I wonder if CNN is going to do a ‘where are they now’ #rgm
Muna1631
July 22, 2011
The Garcia boys are trying to ‘pass’ ..I know a thing or two about that topic #rgm
Muna1631
July 21, 2011
@BamaProducer I recommend our class having a Latino foods party! #rgm
annagellis
July 21, 2011
Is the fact that TWO characters in @CNN Latino in America were teenage moms reflective of why Hispanic population has grown so fast? #rgm
BamaProducer
July 22, 2011
Having a baby at 14?? Couldn’t even imagine. #rgm
RachelHulsey3
July 22, 2011
Speaking of movies… when are we going to see a Latino or black super hero? We see what happened to the green lantern.. #rgm
Dbivins23
July 22, 2011
@Soledad_OBrien as an African American woman studying PR at the University of Alabama I fully support "LATINOS in AMERICA" Si Se Puede #rgm
MiPradaBaG
July 22, 2011

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.

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.

SPJ Leaders Get “44 Hours” To Re-tool, Train for Future


INDIANAPOLIS–  The 14th Scripps Leadership Institute is now underway on the Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) campus here in Indiana’s Capital City.

The Scripps Howard Foundation sponsors this weekend, which brings 40+ chapter leaders from Society of Professional Journalist units around the country.

This year’s group represnts campuses and communities from as far away as Alaska and as close by as IUPUI.

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the “State of the Society” address to be given this evening by SPJ President Hagit Limor.