Black History Month Alumni Profile: Angelique Jackson

Angelique Jackson (ABJ ’12) is a senior entertainment writer for Variety. She previously worked at Entertainment Tonight, where she was awarded two Daytime Emmy Awards as a segment producer. During her time at Grady College, Jackson was a reporter and anchor for Grady Newsource, a member of the Student Alumni Council and a participant in the Cannes Film Festival Study Abroad Program.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

This month is a celebration of all we’ve achieved as Black people, but it shouldn’t be the only celebration. In some ways, I feel like this month serves as a reset – a chance to check in as a community to focus on the future and what hurdles we can overcome next. It’s a moment to take inspiration from those past accomplishments and to use those lessons to build something new.  

Explain a challenge that you had to overcome in your professional career.

The greatest challenge I’ve had to endure in my career was learning to advocate for myself. In school, when you make good grades or put forth a lot of effort, you’re likely rewarded without having to ask. But in real life – and especially in journalism – it’s imperative to promote your work so that your effort cuts above the noise. While your good work will build your professional reputation, there is something to say for engaging with your audience and with your bosses to make sure that people know the effort that you’re putting in.

What classes at Grady College did the most to prepare you for your career?

Newsource was the best preparation any journalist could ask for. I’m always surprised to learn that other journalists in my orbit didn’t have the experience of performing every newsroom duty while still in college. From the first time I transcribed an interview to the moment I stepped onto a red carpet or produced a news segment (live or otherwise), I’ve used the skills that I was taught in those classes about reporting, writing stories, editing, anchoring and more. 

What clubs and activities did you participate in at UGA and Grady that were instrumental to your success as a career professional?

During my tenure at UGA, I was a board member for the Student Alumni Council. That experience taught me so much about the University itself, but it also provided great networking training. As an SAC member, we established relationships with people of all ages and from all sectors of industry. As journalists, relationships are everything and networking is key to that success. Getting the best interviews requires publicists and subjects to trust you and your reporting, and a big part of building that rapport comes from being in the right rooms and knowing how to get there. You never know who you’ll meet that will help you land that next job or bag that exclusive interview!

How has your field of study changed since you were a Grady student?

Broadcast journalism is no longer solely about TV. With the rise of multimedia platforms and social media as a journalism tool, plus the public’s ability to use it and serve as citizen journalists, the definition of “news” and how to get it has expanded — for better or worse. I like to think it’s for the better, not only because it broadens access to the field, but it also stretches the journalists’ imaginations, urging us to think outside of the TV box when it comes to best reaching their audience.

What does the recent movement to continue the fight for racial justice mean to you personally and professionally?

Personally, every day since June 2020 has been trying – but, if I’m honest, living as a Black person in America is trying most days. But we find joy each day, despite it all. Professionally, the recent movement has allowed me to find a way to use my work to fight for racial justice. As a writer and reporter, I’m able to frame the narrative about us as Black people with an emphasis on our humanity and a broader view on what makes our culture distinct, unique and not monolithic. This is a moment when we have the microphone and it’s imperative that we not waste it. 

What advice would you give to young students of color who will soon enter the workforce?

Embrace everything that makes you, you. Embrace your culture, your heritage, your hair, the color of your skin and bring them to your work. Those elements of your personal history and the experiences that you’ve had because you’re a person of color — both positive and challenging — will prove valuable in your reporting because they inform your point of view. Don’t suppress those parts of yourself or allow others to persuade you to do so. We as a journalism community need your voice, but the public that you’re serving needs your perspective even more. Use your lens to tell our stories. 


UGA alumnus builds House of PR at Netflix

(Editor’s Note: this feature was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of Georgia Magazine.)

If you had asked a young Ted Donath ABJ ’03 what he’d be doing now, he would’ve guessed anchoring the news.

He loved that the news helped broaden his worldview and connected him with places beyond his hometown of Marietta. Although he didn’t follow the broadcasting path, he did find a job with a worldwide reach.

Donath works as a public relations director at Netflix, serving the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. With more than 118 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix is the world’s largest internet entertainment service and Donath and his team tell stories to media to get the public excited about it.

But what really gets people excited is talking to Donath about his job.

“No matter where I go, I mention the company I work for, and suddenly everyone’s telling me a story about what they’re watching, what they love, and what they hate,” he says.

“Entertainment serves a lot of purposes. It can make you laugh, cry, think, and feel things. It helps people connect. That’s really important, no matter how you receive your information.”

Before he landed at Netflix, Donath bounced around different industries, using his storytelling talents to promote businesses in fashion, beauty, travel and technology. He even helped with campaigns at the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics and helped facilitate the live broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to work on some of the world’s largest events,” he says. “The scale of those events and the joy they bring to people is immeasurable.”

Today he lives in Los Angeles and wakes up each day ready for a new challenge in the unpredictable world of public relations, basing his storytelling on the ever-changing culture and outside world.

“That’s an exciting thing. Everything moves, and you’re always adjusting and pivoting.” Through the chaos, Donath has fallen in love with his position, and the company he now calls home.

“I love working at Netflix. I have the opportunity to work with some of the smartest and most inspiring people I have ever met,” he says. “We are all working together to influence culture. And we have really good breakfast burritos.”

Panel discussion to address diversity issues in media-entertainment industries

A panel discussion hosted by the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies will address issues of diversity in media-entertainment industries. The event takes place at Grady College on April 6, 2017, 2-3:30 p.m. in Studio 100.

In recent years, such issues have come to the forefront. University researchers and federal agencies have conducted numerous studies of these disparities. News stories have shed light on the challenges women and people of color face in the media industries, as well as how these challenges have been successfully addressed. As only one example, the social media campaign #OscarsSoWhite increased awareness over discriminatory hiring practices that had been common place in Hollywood for decades.

The panel will address what it is like to work in the media-entertainment industries as a woman or a person of color.  It will also tackle how Atlanta-based professionals work to address issues of diversity in the workplace and more broadly.

The panel consists of:

— Kate Fortmueller, assistant professor in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies, who will serve as moderator. Fortmueller’s research addresses labor issues in media industries.

–Susan Moss, who currently is the executive director of the organization Women in Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA). Moss has nearly twenty years of experience in a wide variety of creative management roles, including marketing for NASCAR, film and video production, and legal experience with Kilpatrick Townsend. An Atlanta native (and Grady grad of 1983), Moss is also a member of the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP) Executive Board, an independent producer and SAG-AFTRA actor.

–Michelle Rubenstein. With more than nineteen years of experience in the television industry, Rubenstein has worked on numerous TV shows and pilots including “Fantasy Island”, “North Shore”, “Raines”, “Suspect”, and “Jericho”.  She was a Producer on Lifetime’s highest rated show, “Army Wives”, and most recently was the transmedia producer on Fox’s hit show, “Empire”.  She also just produced her first virtual reality project for Google.  When she is not in production, she is busy developing one-hour TV dramas and several independent feature films.

— Angela Gomes. An assistant director for numerous television shows, most recently the show “Atlanta”, which has received a Golden Globe award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and a second Golden Globe award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy. Gomes graduated with a degree from the Grady College in 1993.

Deirdre McDonald. Founding Artistic Director responsible for program content and film screening acquisitions for the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta, GA. She is an eight time Emmy award winning producer, writer and educator with extensive experience in media project conceptualization and implementation with programming that focuses on social and cultural issues shot locally, nationally, and internationally.

Following the panel discussion, there will be time for informal discussion and conversation with the panelists. Light refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to the campus and general community.