New job!!!

As of August, I am the interim associate director of the University Writer Center at N.C. A&T.

We have a small staff with a lot of heart. In addition to helping students in the office, we are also creating a strong and consistent online presence. Our Twitter page is full of writing resources that students we hope will find useful.

This cargo ship is huge!!!!

While taking a tour of the Charleston, S.C. harbor today, I had the opportunity to see the largest cargo ship to arrive on the East Coast.

COSCO (based in China) has 14,000 containers. It’s 1,200 feet long/158 feet wide (large enough to hold the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, with room to spare for Big Ben, according to this story published in the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finishes dredging the harbor from 45 to 52 feet, the Port of Charleston will be able to handle 18,000 container cargo ships coming out of the newly-renovated Panama Canal.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Tribute to Jim Burch

Jim Burch, the first black ACC basketball official, died May 19, at age 91 in Apex, NC. He was my cousin’s father. He had a brilliant history as an athlete and basketball official with the CIAA, Southern Conference, and the ACC.

One of the great pictures is one where he is staring up at University of Virginia’s Ralph Sampson during a game with Clemson. He also trained other referees. Listen to reflections from some of the hundreds of men and women basketball officials he trained who made careers out of officiating.

Learn more about him.

Talking research

Courtney Turner

It has been a banner academic year for JOMC when it comes to undergraduate and faculty research.

Undergraduate Research

    • Mass communication students entered a record five posters in this spring’s A&T Undergraduate Research Symposium.
    • Courtney Turner, a recent graduate, won honorable mention in the fall 2018 Black Doctoral Network Undergraduate Research Poster Competition. It was the first time a JOMC student has placed in a national conference. Students in a mass communication class helped gather the data for the “Black Panther” poster.

Faculty Research and Creative Works

  • Drs. Kortni Alston,  Mari Zhang, and Kim Smith presented research at regional and national communication conferences. They are now working to get their presentations published.
  • Dr. Yahya Kamalipour’s book, “Global Discourse in Fractured Times: Perspectives in Journalism, Media, Education and politics,” was published in 2018.

  • Dr. Kevin Keenan presented a paper on American advertisers expanding into the Middle East at the Arab-U.S. Association for Communication Editor Conference in Lafayette, LA.

  • Arthea Perry’s artwork was exhibited at the H.C. Taylor Art Gallery at North Carolina A&T in 2018.

1200Here is the lineup for next week’s JOMC Research Showcase: the best yet.

    • “Happiness Scholar,” Dr. Alston, will conduct a workshop for students on the psychological benefits of being happy and how to achieve it.
    • Dr. Zhang will talk about research on the use of mobile health Apps.
    • Professor Arthea Perry will tell us about the research she is conducting on her roots: The Yorubo people of southwest Africa (Nigeria and Benin).


    • You’ll hear research from mass communication students on R.Kelly and what black women tweeted the night of Lifetime’s “SurvivingR.Kelly” as they attempted  to frame and influence the public conversation about Kelly.


  • Dr. Gary Guffey will talk about the value of undergraduate research.

The showcase will be held Wednesday, April 24 in room 215, from 12-2 p.m. This is part of the weeklong activities associated with JOMC Week.

What do Nipsey Hussle, MLK and Jesus have in common?

Note: This piece was printed in the Greensboro News-Record on April 16, 2019

Nipsey Hussle (front) performing with singer TeeFlii in December 2013. Photo: Courtesy of Flickr

I live-streamed Nipsey Hussle’s “going-home” celebration last Thursday afternoon in my journalism class. It was done by accident, as I noticed one student had tuned it in on her mobile phone during a short break.

I felt that this was a historic news event that all of my students should experience.

When the picture began playing through the projector in Room 110 in Crosby Hall, the silence was deafening. Perhaps this was their “Martin Luther King moment,” I thought, just like it was my father’s “MLK moment” when I watched him sob in front of the TV during Rev. King’s funeral that CBS News broadcast live from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on that sad day in April of 1968.

At 8, I didn’t fully understand the impact of Rev. King and his commitment to nonviolence and economic justice.

But after observing my students, some of whom had become emotional, I slowly began to appreciate the moment, and essence of Nipsey. Just as my father was hurting that day in 1968, my students were also in pain.

A hero of theirs had not only won a Grammy nomination but had committed himself to improve the lives of people in this poor part of Los Angeles by opening stores and providing jobs and educational opportunities. He gave back to the L.A. community that helped make him famous.

The politicians, Bloods, Crips and the L.A. police were united: Nipsey was an asset to his community, the nation, and the world.

Last week, members of “West Coast Aggies,” a club at A&T made up of students from California, held a vigil on campus that some of my students wrote about. So, I thought about the students who held the vigil. I thought about the students in my class who were processing the death of Nipsey while watching his funeral.
Then it dawned upon me that Nipsey was 33 when he was gunned down (some say assassinated) in a senseless act of violence. Jesus was also 33 when he was nailed to the cross in another senseless act of violence. Rev. King was 39 when he was assassinated, the third act of senseless violence.

All three were trying to make the world a better place, as they fought for social and economic justice for the “have-nots.” It goes to show you that following in the footsteps of Jesus is risky business.

But the risk is worth it. Their deaths give the world and my students something to look up to and hope for in a sometimes hopeless world.

JOMC students represent at Undergraduate Research Symposium


JOMC showed up and showed out at last week’s Undergraduate Research Poster competition. Although we didn’t win, we had a record 5 posters from the department.

Two former students nominated me for the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. I have some stiff competition. Will find out in May.

Next week is the JOMC Research Showcase.

Last but not least, it was great to see students from Johnson C. Smith who entered the competition. They are students of Dr. Gary Guffey.


A&T student wins award at national conference


JOMC student first in the department to place in a national undergraduate research competition

JOMC student Courtney Turner received an honorable mention at the undergraduate academic poster competition sponsored by the Black Doctoral Network, which held its national conference October 25-27 in Charlotte, N.C.

The poster, “The Black Panther Effect: Movie Ups Aggie Swag,” summarized survey results from a pilot study of nearly 260 N.C. A&T students about their reaction to the movie.

See Poster


First for JOMC

It was the first time in the history of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department that a student has placed in a national undergraduate research poster competition. Students have won 1st (2012) and second place (2017) in previous A&T undergraduate research poster competitions.

The poster was among 45 entered in this year’s BDN Undergraduate Research competition from such universities as Loyola Marymount, Rutgers, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Florida A&M.

Turner was a student in Dr. Kim Smith’s Mass Communication Research class, where he learned basic quantitative and qualitative research skills. He is scheduled to graduate in December from North Carolina A&T State University and is considering graduate school, especially after networking with African-American scholars at this conference.

About BDN

(From the BDN website)

The Black Doctoral Network (BDN) is a clearinghouse for individuals of African descent who are holders of or scholars engaged in the pursuit of doctoral degrees from accredited institutions of higher learning worldwide. We provide opportunities for networking and collaboration and foster interconnectedness within the black intelligentsia for the purpose of eliminating the achievement gap among persons at all education levels while creating a pipeline for the most underserved students toward the upper echelons of the academy and beyond.”

Keywords: North Carolina A&T State University, Courtney Turner, Black Doctoral Network, Undergraduate research, award








Learning new journalism skills



Fighting a good fight
Oakland, Ky. farmer Teheran “Saint” Jewell, is one of only a handful of black farmers in the Warren County. He has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture but still faces racism and discrimination. Read the story to learn how he got his nickname “Saint.” Photo: Courtesy of Jason Miccolo Johnson. Visit his web site.

I was part of a reporting team last week that attended the Dow Jones News Fund Workshop for journalism professors at HBCUs. It was held at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky, July 22-28, 2018.

We learned some new media skills that we will bring back to the classroom. Our project focused on the plight of farmers in Warren County, Ky. We found a black farmer, with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, who is still facing racism and discrimination but dedicates his life to helping all farmers become better farmers.

All small farmers, whether black or white, struggle to survive against vanishing farmland that is being overrun by development and a younger generation that is not interested in farming. The farmers we interviewed predicted the small farmer will be extinct in 20 years.

See project.

The best part of the trip hanging out all week with Jason Miccolo Johnson, a nationally famous photographer and author.  He was our photographer for the week and my roommate. We had a great time catching up and working together.


Tornado hits near N.C. A&T’s campus

Greensboro Tornado

Editor’s Note: Here is a sample of student journalists’ coverage of the tornado that hit on April 15, 2018, near N.C. A&T. They used professional and mobile phone cameras to cover the devastation and clean up by local organizations and members of the A&T community. Click on the picture.

Google Map of areas hit near campus

Click on icons for videos from damaged neighborhoods or places where tornado victims can get relief supplies.