TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) senior broadcast students are bringing a touch of Hollywood to that highest ‘Hill’ as they gear up to unveil their short documentaries.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) will premier four, 15-minute student documentaries that take a critical and not-so-glamorous look into topics ranging from women in the prison system, to the plight of failing schools, to the rising number of single black women, and an inside look at one of the candidates in this year’s historic national election campaigns.
The Student Documentary Night will be held in the SJGC Lecture Hall. A reception is scheduled immediately following the program in the SJGC Gallery.
Professor Kenneth Jones, an associate professor in the Division of Journalism and Coordinator of the broadcast sequence, teaches specialized reporting in television where some 20 students, working in teams of two, vied for the opportunity to showcase their work.
“I choose the student documentaries based off of story content, uniqueness of the story, the high level of production quality and in terms of the ability of the student producers to do such dynamic stories,” said Jones.
The broadcast degree sequence at the FAMU continues to enjoy tremendous popularity and impressive growth. There are more than 115 students in the program today and many of them are award-winning journalists. Three of the filmmakers, Driadonna Roland, John Marsh, and Gabrielle Brinson, are Associated Press College Contest Winners.
“We are pleased to share these documentaries with other students and the University community at large,” said James Hawkins, dean of the SJGC. “They (the documentaries) reflect the hard work of our students and provide insight into important topics and issues.”
In addition to these four documentaries, there will also be a special showing of a short movie that was written, directed and produced by Jones called “Effects on Families.” Developed as a promotion piece to accompany a university-wide seat belt safety campaign, the film seeks to increase awareness of safe driving. Even though Jones produced the movie, several students participated in the production of the film as editors, writers and assistant directors.
“I thoroughly enjoy the students being able to showcase their storytelling ability to the public and to tell some very unique and compelling stories that have not been told,” said Jones.
Student associates in the PRodigy Public Relations Firm, a student-run, campus-based company housed in the SJGC), designed, planned and implemented the marketing and publicity for the spring 2008 Student Documentary Night and reception.
“Student Documentary Night is important to PRodigy because we can help shine light on our peers in the Division of Journalism and show their hard work and commitment on the big screen,” said Brandi Brown, a graduating senior public relations student who serves as account supervisor for this project.
According to Brown, there are eleven PRodigy associates, all public relations majors, who worked on the Student Documentary Night Account. They wrote feature stories, contacted media, organized the program and reception, and posted fliers.
The winning documentaries are as follows:
“The Highest Hill”
Reporter: John Marsh
Videographer / Editor: Senita McRae
“The Highest Hill” takes a critical look at the reasons behind the ‘F’ school designation of Nims Middle School and Florida A&M University Developmental Research School. Students often take the blame but they are often the ones being failed. Failed by society. Failed before they step inside of the classroom. Low test scores are the end result but there are certain challenges that the students face before they even take out a No. 2 pencil.
“Too Late for Love”
Reporter: Driadonna Roland
Videographer: Brittney Terrell
Nearly 70% of black women 30 and over are single. After being divorced, black women are less likely than women of any other race to remarry. Most reality shows center on bachelors or bachelorettes who are young, but young people have many options. This documentary follows a 30-something year old woman who is looking for love. Society attaches sexiness to youth, but there is a basic human desire to feel needed and loved. The longing for love is not reserved to a certain age or image.
“The Secret Cell”
Reporter: Deborrah Humphrey
Videographer: Jayda Parker
“The Secret Cell” is about the lives of women in jail. The film features two women currently serving time in Gadsden County Correctional Facility, located in Quincy, Florida. The film focuses on four issues which include: the psychological effects imprisonment can have on women, overcrowding in jails, how jail has become enjoyable for some inmates and the rising incarceration rates of women.
Reporter: Garbrielle Brinson
Videographer: Maya Franklin
“The Dream Deferred” explores the political process and the presidential candidates.
For more information about Student Documentary Night, please contact Jones at (850) 561-2779. For information about the PRodigy Public Relations Firm, call Professor Gina L. Kinchlow, visiting assistant professor, at (850) 412-5389.
About the Specialized Reporting in Television Class
The Specialized Reporting in Television Class is part of Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication broadcast journalism track. Besides broadcast, FAMU’s SJGC offers sequences in magazine, newspaper and public relations. The school is also home to The Famuan newspaper, Journey Magazine, WANM-FM 90.5, and Live at Five, TV 20’s news show which broadcasts twice a week. Under the administration of Dean James Hawkins, there are more than 300 students in the journalism and graphic communication school combined.
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