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News & Press: President's Corner

NABJ President Visits GSU Campus

Sunday, May 13, 2012   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Aprill Turner
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Azania Briggs, Grambling State University Student

Special to NABJ

Hot topics in the sports media world like Jeremy Lin and the Saints bounty were addressed in an open session, regarding sports scandals and African- American journalists, to offer more insight into the competitive culture.

Gregory Lee Jr., the National Association of Black Journalists president, who expanded on issues concerning bias in the media and journalistic ethics, held the session. His visit is part of a cooperative effort with the Donald W. Reynolds Center Visiting Business Journalism Professor Program to bring in media professionals to assist with training students involved in the Department of Mass Communication at Grambling State University.

The senior assistant sports editor for the Boston Globe took center stage in a large room adorned with square floor tiles and circular tables to face a crowd of eager attendants, including student media and faculty from various institutions, who listened to Lee’s speech on Monday at 5 p.m. in the Washington-Johnson Complex.

Lee, a former editor at the Washington Post, informed the audience about the media’s portrayal of public figuresin relevance to athletes such as Allen Iverson, Michael Vick and Jeremy Lin. The NABJ president noted how the overinflated story of Lin, the Asian sensation that came off the bench, put a spotlight on a task that Black NBA players are expected to do. He also compared the uncanny social stigmas that branded former baseball players, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, following allegations of steroid use.

"White athletes are held to a higher standard than Black athletes because they are debatable topics,” Lee said. In the case of Bonds and McGwire, "one guy was lifted on a pedestal and one guy was in hell.”

When questioned about the Saints bounty scandal where NFL players were paid to intentionally injure opponents, the New Orleans native emphasized that the NFL is based on violence and that those held accountable "should be punished for continuing after being told to stop.”

Lee stressed how it is "important to have an editorship as reflective as our society” because the country has become diverse as far as gender, sexual orientation, and race. He also stressed the importance of a journalist’s ability to report both sides of a story without bias.

The buzz about Lee’s visit evidently extended past Grambling’s campus with attendance from local residents and Louisiana Tech students. Derek Amayah, a sophomore from Metairie, La., arrived to the meeting wearing his university’s bright red and blue colors, and with a notebook and pen in hand.

"The speech was very informative,” Amayah, a marketing and journalism double major, said. "Mr. Lee spoke from a different perspective that I’ve never heard.”

Amaya learned about the event through Reginald Owens, a professor and the journalism head at Louisiana Tech, who took the initiative to spread the word because Lee "cares about the education of college students in journalism” and will expose budding media professionals to the issues and opportunities prevalent in the field.

The visitation of the NABJ president was considered as a great honor for Eric Cummings, a senior mass communication major, because the president "took time out of his busy schedule to let us know how to get where he is.”

The NABJ is an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of black journalists worldwide. Over the course of two days during his visit, Lee also carried out his proposed plan to tour the campus and meet with classes. Students benefited from hands on training, workshops and one-on-one sessions with the avid sports fan that made a point to challenge students with actual newsroom scenarios and ideas.

Andrea Beasley, a sophomore mass communication major, appreciated Lee’s assistance through workshops that ramped up her confidence with writing.

"I was very insecure about my writing,” Beasley, a San Francisco native said, "and it helped me build a better understanding as to what I’m doing right and what I need to work on.”

Comments...

Kanarian Kindred says...
Posted Monday, July 02, 2012
Thanks for taking the time to visit my alma mater, nice article.......

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