B-CU’s Department of Mass Communications teams up with regional journalism group for boot camp


Staff Report

Members of the Central Florida Association of Black Journalists, in conjunction with the department of mass communications, staged a boot camp recently to give students a taste of deadline pressure.

"All I can say is WOW," said Tammie Fields afterward. Fields is president of the Orlando-based CFABJ, after the event, which was named the Bethune-Cookman University Joan Fuller Journalism Virtual Boot Camp.

Fuller was a Central Florida broadcast journalist that taught classes here for several years before relocating. She died in 2019 from cancer.

B-CU Mass Communication students participating in  Joan Fuller Journalism Virtual Boot Camp.
B-CU Mass Communication students participating in Joan Fuller Journalism Virtual Boot Camp.

The camp began at 8:45 a.m. Oct. 23 and concluded around 6:30 p.m. that same day. During the interim six teams of four students hit the streets to find stories, shoot video and edit for publication.

At the end of the day, CFABJ members via Zoom viewed the video packages and offered constructive comments about the final products.

Meanwhile, student Amber Courtney won a $500 award from CFABJ for her essay on why she wants to be a journalist. Courtney, a senior, is a multimedia journalism major.

Monica May, CFABJ panelist
Monica May, CFABJ panelist

This was the first year for the event, according to Professor Valerie Whitney, coordinator for the multimedia journalism program and adviser to the Voice of the Wildcats newspaper.

"We are excited and looking forward to doing it again. Maybe as soon as spring 2022," Whitney said, adding she hopes to add opportunities for students to tell stories in print.

Neilani Saville-Russ, a sophomore, was among the participants.

"I had fun," said Saville-Russ, who found herself taking on the role of the on-air reporter in her group.

Chris Shaw, manager of the campus television station, also helped coordinate the event.