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Journalism Students Tackle Tough Topics for Film Project
April 23, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla
. – The assignment was to produce a 15-minute documentary on any topic.  The subjects that emerged include tough issues like homeless veterans, voter laws, population control and the disabled.  These documentaries, recognized as the best in class projects, will be unveiled at J-School Journals - a biannual event that showcases documentaries written and produced by journalism students at Florida A&M University (FAMU).  This event is scheduled for Friday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in the Charles Winter Wood Theatre located in Tucker Hall.  Admission is $2 per person and the general public is invited.

“I select the topics from among stories the students pitch and write in class,” said Kenneth Jones, a professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication and the film guru who selects the projects for the J-School Journals each semester.  According to Jones, typically 15 projects are submitted for review; four or five are selected.
       
The five films selected this year represent the 2012 theme, “Life Stories.” They include:
  • “Grassroots” by Kari Knowles and Curtis Ford
  • “Eternal Climb” by Shanica Johnson and Kiarra Hart
  • “Life?” by Leonie Louis and Shari Karesh
  • “Burden of the Banner” by Kristen Holloway and Jadaun Sweet
  • “Disability?: A Matter of Perception” by Lenneia Batiste
Lenneia Batiste, a graduate student in the master of science in journalism program, wrote and produced one of the documentaries that will be featured.

“One of my friends in high school had a disability,” said Batiste, whose film explores the phenomenal courage and abilities of the disabled.  “I have always been motivated and inspired by her determination and wanted to share that with others.” 

Batiste said her documentary titled “Disability?: A Matter of Perception”  looks at the remarkable achievements of three disabled adults.
       
This semester, for the second time in its six-year history, J-School Journals will also include four mini-documentaries and three-minute videos that explore some aspect of the Obama presidential campaign, his presidency, and his upcoming battle for a second term in the White House.  The mini-documentaries are written and produced by sophomore and junior students in the Advanced TV News Reporting class. 

For more information about J-School Journals, contact Prof. Kenneth Jones at (850) 599-3379 or Prof. Gina Kinchlow at (850) 412-5389.

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About J-School Journals
Today, J-School Journals is a biannual event that continues to grow in popularity as an end-of-semester entertainment source for the Tallahassee community.  Once referred to as Student Doc’ Night, the event name was later changed to J-School Journals when student associates in the PRodigy Public Relations Firm took over the promotion and production of the event and realized minor re-branding was needed.   The 18-week process that eventually culminates in J-School Journals begins at the top of each semester in the Specialized Reporting class where students, in teams of two, are challenged to identify a topic, pitch the idea, and spend the remainder of the semester conducting the research, writing the script, securing informants, and videotaping and editing the footage that will finally become a 15-minute documentary.
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