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Journalism Symposium Examines Impact of 44th U. S. President
School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Lecture Hall
11/3/2012 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Tired of polls and politics?  Then you will really enjoy the fact-based, scholarly-focused discussion that will take place in Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Lecture Hall on Saturday, Nov. 3 before what may arguably be America’s most important election.  Five diverse and interesting local thought leaders will gather to share their observations about the impact of America’s 44th president, Barack Obama.  Obama: Impact on America will begin at 10 a.m. and is free and open to the public. A second panel discussion led by student leaders will begin at 2 p.m.  

Panelists for the morning session include Marjorie Turnbull, Byron Dobson, Margie Menzel, Patrick Mason and Keith Simmonds.  These local citizens who make important contributions to the community through their work as educators, journalists, volunteers and more, are also respected as thought leaders with informed opinions and observations that, when combined, will make for a provocative two-hour discussion.

“The symposium is an extension of our Obama: Impact On America series that has allowed our students to explore the historical nature of the first African-American president of the United States,” said Kenneth Jones, a full professor in the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) and sequence coordinator for the broadcast degree program.  “We began the series in early 2008 and have continued it through the current semester.”

Jones stated the perspectives captured by his broadcast students serve as evidence of the unique impact this president has had on our country.

The project began when students in the news reporting class were asked to take their video cameras into the streets of Tallahassee on the evening of the 2008 election.  What the students found was a mixture of emotions, expectations, and concerns.
   
Most importantly, the five-minute documentaries capture an important moment in time when America was reacting to the immediate impact of having elected their first president of color.  Since then, Jones has assigned his students to look at various issues ranging from military and unemployment to media and education and examine public sentiment. [For a review of the entire library of documentaries, go to www.famutvnews.com and click on ‘student documentaries.’]

Associates in the university’s student-run public relations firm will serve as event facilitators, discussion moderators, fact-checkers and on-site social media technicians.  

“This is another opportunity for students to hone their skills,” says Gina Kinchlow, an assistant professor in the FAMU SJGC and faculty adviser for Prodigy, the university’s student-run PR firm.  “The ability to research the issues, moderate a discussion between professionals, and execute this event is value-added for today’s competitive PR students.”
   
“This symposium isn’t a political debate or campaign rally,” Professor Jones said.  “Regardless of your political persuasion or your personal opinions, I think the impact of this president is worthy of objective, unbiased study.  This is history.”  Jones believes the ability to hear varying perspectives on the historical impact of President Barack Obama from scholars, media professionals, students and others is a special moment in U.S. history that should not be lost.  
   
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