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. 

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Riley Armant

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

Being that I am a COVID-19 graduate, I knew that the job market was not ideal for me. I decided that a master’s degree was the best option for me. The idea of going to school again was not the most appealing, but it has been the best decision I have made so far. I want to be a great storyteller and journalist. I knew that Grady is the best of the best, therefore I felt as though it was only right to join the UGA community.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you? 

Tenacity, in my opinion, means possessing the determination to reach a personal goal or level of success. Having this quality also means that you won’t settle for anything less than what you envision.

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

Being able to get into the Newsource class, hands down. This was definitely the hardest class I have ever taken but I am a better journalist because of it.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about connecting with my community and creating a platform for their voices to be heard. Like I have said before, I want to be a great storyteller and journalist, so a personal passion of mine is to create this platform. I also want to join the efforts to restore trust in news media, especially in the Black community. I have personal passions for things like fine arts (especially dance), food, and music.

Armant was previously an intern with WJBF News Channel 6.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

Creating a newsreel from my summer internship and Grady Newsource that I feel confident in!

Who is your professional hero? 

A few of my favorites are Angela Rye, Maria Taylor (even though I don’t have a huge interest in sports) and Jeannette Reyes.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am classically trained in ballet and danced for a solid 15 years.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why? 

My favorite social media app is Tik Tok because it’s almost like a search engine. I go there for news, makeup reviews and clothing reviews. Instagram has always been a favorite of mine as well, but I would say that I frequent Tik Tok more often.

What are you planning to do after obtaining your degree? 

I have plans to become a multi-skilled Journalist. Later in my career, my goal is to be an anchor and a great storyteller overall.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member? 

“As a journalist you will always get better interactions if you lead with honey” Ralitsa Vassileva, the Grady Newsource professor, gave us this advice before we started doing live shows. To me, this meant that you should always go into an interview with a positive attitude and grace. By doing this you begin to build a bond with your source and which enables you to tell an amazing story.

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Michael Banks

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

I would not be in Grady had it not been for an early pandemic existential crisis in Spring 2020. I realized one night that I wanted to explore my passions for multiculturalism & storytelling while gaining some of the hard skills only a Grady degree could provide. Some of my most inspiring friends and peers at UGA were already in Grady, and having conversations with them about how positive their experiences had been really reinforced the idea to take a leap of faith and pursue a degree in journalism. 

What are you passionate about? 

In one world, multiculturalism. I’ve always had a curiosity for the world to gain a deeper understanding and empath for people across cultures. I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to take that a step further to interact with important groups on this campus to advocate for DEI initiatives, and that passion has led me to gravitate toward stories in culture that elevate diverse media perspectives and creators.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA? 

I’ve walked away from every interaction with a professor in the journalism department changed for the better, so it’s hard for me to just cite one as having the biggest impact.  Two student mentors of mine are Willie Daniely and Lauren Swenson, both of whom were students in Newsource my first semester volunteering, and both taught me so much from their experiences within the college and how versatile a Grady education can be.  

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I used to be an open-water swimmer and with plans to swim the English Channel after graduation, but some of my fitness goals changed. I’m also a classically trained singer. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

I got to attend a special screening of the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation at UGA documentary that was entirely reported on, filmed and produced by Grady students. I was awe-inspired to see journalism that was elevating such an important story in Athens and UGA history, and I walked away excited at the endless possibilities and ways I could use my Grady education. 

What are you planning to do after graduation? 

I would love to work as a communications associate internationally or for a global-oriented brand or company. Digital Design with Amanda Bright has also been my absolute favorite class at UGA and exposed me to technology and its applications to journalism, which has led to my interest in product design as a career that combines my journalism education with a role in the tech industry. 

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why? 

Spotify! I have a very diverse music taste and the way their user experience is set up makes it very easy to explore artists outside of the U.S. and outside my typical genres. I also love when design meets technology, so Spotify Wrapped is so cool to me in that it takes people’s data to create fun, engaging and digestible data visualizations on people’s listening experiences. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

The Hall of Nations in Memorial Hall! There’s something kind of awe-inspiring getting to study under so many national flags. The Office of International Student Life and Pride Center are also located there, and they do some critical work and put on beautiful programming to support students across backgrounds. 

Who is your professional hero? 

Too many. In broadcast, Seth Doane or David Muir. Doane is a CBS foreign correspondent based out of Rome, and Muir is the ABC World News anchor. Both are journalists whose careers have been shaped by international experiences and coverage of international topics. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

I was fortunate enough to represent the College on UGA’s Homecoming Court! So many of my family and friends came out to share in that experience with me, and getting the opportunity to walk my mother on the field is once in a lifetime. It was a testament to my hard work in my time at Georgia and reminded me I have stellar people in my corner.

“The First Five” 50th Anniversary documentary produced by Grady Newsource premieres

Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1971, five football players joined the Georgia Bulldogs football team and became the first Black scholarship football players in school history. Richard Appleby, Chuck Kinnebrew, Horace King, Clarence Pope, Larry West and all they collectively represented are the subjects of a new documentary produced by Grady Newsource.

“The First Five” is now available to watch on Grady College’s YouTube channel.

The production is a result of months of work from students, faculty and staff. Grady Newsource director Dodie Cantrell supervised the project. 

“The students who chose to work on this historic project understood and honored the fact that the work they were producing was a once in a lifetime opportunity to memorialize a watershed moment in American history through the lens of UGA football and the Civil Rights Movement,” said Cantrell. 

Executive producer Molly English (AB ’21) on the far left and Lorna Ramage, producer, on the far right pose with “The First Five” at the documentary premiere (Photo: Sarah Freeman).

Carmical Sports Media Institute student Tylar Norman (AB ‘21) anchored the program and students Jack Sadighian, DonA Traylor, Willie Daniely (AB ‘21), Jessica Green, Southern Britt (AB ‘21) and Jayla Johnson (AB ‘21) reported for the documentary. Molly English (AB ‘21) served as executive producer and Lorna Ramage was the producer.

“In addition to all of the technical skills and journalism tips I learned, I also learned most to sit and listen,” English said. “There were five major stories that we had the responsibility of telling and of telling right. Sitting and listening to those stories, from both the First Five and those they inspired, allowed our team to be able to tell this story fully.”

The students relied heavily on Faculty members Vicki Michaelis, Mark Johnson, Amanda Bright and Valerie Boyd —their “Content Coaches”—who worked with individual students to help them advance the skills they learned at Grady to tell this compelling story honoring the lives of those who lived it. 

“The First Five” is the latest documentary produced by Grady students celebrating the pioneers and trailblazers who helped make UGA a more inclusive campus. Earlier in 2021, Grady Newsource produced “UGA’s 60th Anniversary of Desegregation” special. There are plans for more documentaries in the near future.

The documentary is part of a campus-wide celebration. Included in the celebration will be a pregame recognition of the five trailblazers on Dooley Field, including the unveiling of a monument in Reed Plaza next to Sanford Stadium to mark the milestone event of the integration of the football program.

Tylar Norman (AB ’21) chats with “The First Five” at the premiere of the documentary on Friday, September 17 (Photo: Sarah Freeman).

“I am so thrilled to welcome The Five back to campus and honor the 50th anniversary of this milestone for Georgia Athletics and the University of Georgia as a whole,” J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks said. “Coach Dooley, with his foresight to facilitate this pivotal change, and The Five’s courage, strength and perseverance, changed the course of athletics at UGA in the most positive way imaginable. I am so proud to celebrate their impact this year.”

You can read more about the First Five in this release from UGA Athletics.

For more information on The Five and the integration of UGA athletics overall, you can visit a new exhibit on display at the Russell Building Special Collections Libraries called Not Only for Ourselves: The Integration of UGA Athletics. Parts of the exhibit are also available online: https://gado.gs/7j8.

You can also check out this web extra feature where Norman of Grady Newsource, hosts a roundtable discussion about the 1971 integration of the UGA football team. Guests include:
• Josh Brooks, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics
• Courtney Gay, UGA Asst. Athletic Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
• Kirby Smart, UGA Head Football Coach
• Ben Watson, Former UGA football player 2001-2003

Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Soriano (AB ’19)

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of spotlights highlighting the work of some of our alumni in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Please watch for more profiles in the weeks to come.

Ashley Soriano is a multimedia reporter for Fox News based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She graduated from Grady College with a journalism degree in 2019. Previously, Soriano worked in Laredo, Texas, for a year covering immigration and politics for KGNS-TV. On campus, Soriano was a Grady Ambassador, formed a chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a Yarbrough Fellow in Communications.

How does your Hispanic and/or Latin heritage influence your work? 

I moved to Laredo, Texas for a variety of reasons, but two of them stick out. One, to be around the Hispanic community, because growing up in Georgia, I was not around people who shared similar cultural experiences. So in my adult life I wanted to at least have that a little bit, and I definitely did. It helped me grow, you know, being around people who only speak Spanish but you’re in the United States and seeing people cross over the border, just to come work but they live in Mexico. It really shaped me, even just living there for a year. 

I was doing immigration stories almost every day, and I’m still doing immigration stories, so to be able to understand the culture to an extent, and to live on the border, I feel like you’re able to cover that community a little more thoroughly, and you’re able to connect with them and have them open up with you. I had to get interviews in Spanish in addition to my English interviews every single time I went out. To be able to have that ability to speak to someone in their language is very important, and the story might not have gotten done otherwise.

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

I hated Grady Newsource for the first two and a half months, and I almost quit. I tried it out, stuck it through and ended up absolutely loving it. So if it’s challenging to anybody in Grady Newsource or, you know, whatever Grady students are doing and something’s challenging for them, it’s just going to make you a better person, a better journalist. Just stick with it. You hate it now, but you might look back and think that was the greatest decision you’ve ever made. And it absolutely was, joining Grady Newsource.

Soriano poses at the Hoover Dam while on her first assignment for Fox News.
Explain a challenge that you had to overcome in your professional career. 

A big challenge is viewer feedback and criticism when it’s not constructive — people are mean. They point out what you’re wearing, if you’re not wearing enough makeup. They don’t even know your work at all, but they ask you, “Oh, are you going to make me look bad?” We constantly have to defend our profession and our work, and I work so hard. I’m so passionate about what I do, I love what I do and I make sure what I do is fair, as fair as it can be. So you just have to develop a thick skin and your work will speak for itself.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

It just means celebrating a culture that is so important to the fabric of American society. We contribute a lot to society, and it just means that we’re getting recognition for that. And coming from a Hispanic background, statistically and historically, minorities go through certain struggles, whether it’s socioeconomic struggles or something else. It just means a lot to be able to bring light to my culture and to feel that shared experience with other people.

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

It’s so extremely cliché, but believe in yourself, and keep working at something. If you are rejected, that’s okay because it’s going to open another door for you. At the time, rejection might seem like the end of the world, but it happens for a reason. When you’re about to give up, something is just going to happen, you’re just going to see why you were rejected so many times and those opportunities are going to come flooding in. So don’t let it get you down, just keep working hard, reach out to as many people as you can and establish connections. Don’t burn bridges. I mean, this industry is all connected. Whoever you meet in college can help you grow after college and years down the line.

Journalism students create legacy project with documentary about UGA desegregation

Editor’s Note: The 60th Anniversary of the Desegregation at UGA documentary can be viewed in its entirety on the Grady College YouTube channel.


Many UGA students spend their time as students learning skills that build toward a capstone project.  While some define that seminal project early on, others wait for it to unfold, gradually over time. Then there is the rare student like Kelsey Coffey (AB ’20) who has that defining project of her time at UGA presented to her a month before graduation.

The invitation presented to Coffey was to help research,  anchor and report on an hour-long documentary, “60th Anniversary of Desegregation at UGA,” produced by Grady College Newsource.

Kelsey Coffey graduated in December with the degree in journalism.

“When I started at the University of Georgia, I couldn’t have dreamed finishing this way,” Coffey said. “Doing this project was the greatest honor of my life and my time at UGA. It was an honor, a privilege and a gift to be involved.”

Coffey and a group of  10 students worked under the direction of supervising producer Dodie Cantrell-Bickley and other Grady College faculty to put together a retrospective and study of the social impact of desegregating UGA. The documentary includes rare, archived news footage from 1961 of Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) and Hamilton Holmes entering campus; perspectives from other students during that time; current interviews with Hunter-Gault, Mary Frances Early, Hamilton Holmes, Jr. and others; and a look at the current impact and future plans of diversity at UGA.

The idea for the documentary was presented to Cantrell-Bickley by Dean Charles Davis, who obtained funding support from the Office of the President at the University of Georgia. Cantrell-Bickley enlisted other faculty members including Valerie Boyd, Amanda Bright, Mark Johnson and Ralitsa Vassileva to help the students with the story structure, fact-checking, historical context and consistency.

The archival footage was sourced through the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection and UGA Public Affairs at the University of Georgia Libraries. The WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection is part of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection.

While it is the news coverage from 1961 that gives the documentary its sense of perspective, it is the current interviews with Hunter-Gault, Early and Hamilton Holmes, Jr. that generate its lasting resonance.

“Having the characters tell their stories in their own voices is what gives this project value over time,” Johnson, a content advisor on the project, said. “To preserve their voices telling their story is what will make it so compelling at the 75th anniversary of desegregation and beyond.”

Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence who served as a historical consultant for the documentary, said that Hunter-Gault was extremely generous with her time and was interviewed by the students for nearly three hours during the first session.

“Charlayne was excited watching these young journalists work and ask questions that were great,” Boyd said. “You could see her sheer enjoyment of the process.”

While Hunter-Gault may have been receiving a lot of energy from the students, it was a reciprocal experience for the students.

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a gift to humanity,” Coffey said of her interactions with the professional journalist. “To be able to share time and space with an individual of her caliber is unbelievable. She was kind, gracious, funny, authentic—all of the things you would hope she would be, she is and more.”

Further reflections from students involved with the project are being gathered now and will be shared in coming weeks on the Grady Newsource website.

The documentary concludes with a panel discussion about current initiatives and future plans at UGA. The panel included (upper left, clockwise) Charlayne Hunter-Gault; Kelsey Coffey; Victor K. Wilson, UGA vice president for student affairs; Jalen Polk, UGA Black Leadership Council; and Alton Standifer, UGA assistant to the president.

The UGA student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, another important connection since Hunter-Gault is a national member of NABJ, is coordinating the premiere of the desegregation documentary.

“Charlayne has been an influential leader among NABJ and the Civil Rights movement, so it is important for us to continue to uplift the NABJ community locally by helping with this event,” said Tylar Norman, NABJ chapter president. “I hope that the legacy of this documentary on campus will be one that unites us and reminds everyone of the brave people who took the first step toward desegregating UGA and pursuing diversity and inclusion for all.”

When all is said and done, the legacy of this project focuses not only on the incredible story of desegregating UGA, but in the passion and work ethic the students telling the story committed to this project.

“The biggest bonus of this project were the students,” Cantrell-Bickley concluded. “They  produced excellent work, and when you produce work like that and you find in your soul that you are capable of producing that, you  will not want to hold yourself to a standard less than that because you know what you can achieve. Our mission is an exceptional education for our students…so, if this college can help students do that—yay!”

The 60th Anniversary of Desegregation documentary.

Grady Newsource and ‘Countdown: Election 2020’ students host Election Day coverage

Producing the only video broadcast that Athens-Clarke County residents and those in surrounding counties will see for local Election Day news is no small task in normal times. During COVID-19, the stakes are even larger.

“This is the first major election we or any other newsroom has ever done under these pandemic circumstances. Maybe we say at every election that ‘it’s never been more important,’ but it may not be spurious to say it this time,” said Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, a senior lecturer at Grady College and executive producer of the student-led group putting together this show.

The students, many of whom are journalism and entertainment and media studies majors but who draw from several other majors across campus, are producing a three-hour Election Day show from 8 to 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Many of the participating students are taking the capstone Grady Newsource class, or are volunteering for the special “Countdown: Election 2020” broadcast which started last spring and has continued throughout the fall.

“This is one of the most important things I am doing this year,” Nikki Shotz, a fourth-year journalism student and volunteer for the production crew said. “It is extremely crucial to help inform people.”

The Election Day coverage will report on the races and results of local races from six counties — Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Jackson, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe — as well as state races and the presidential vote. The students will work closely with the Board of Elections offices in each of the six counties, as well as the office of Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State.

A highlight of the evening will be the expert commentary provided by three guests who will be in the studio providing real-time analysis throughout the broadcast. Those guests include:

  • Charles Bullock, III, the Richard B. Russell Chair in Political Science from the School of Public & International Affairs
  • Audrey Haynes (ABJ ’87), associate professor of political science and director of the Applied Politics certificate program at the School of Public & International Affairs
  • Joseph Watson, Jr., the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor and director of the Public Affairs Communications certificate program at Grady College.
Students who will help with interviews of local experts practice transitions during a tech rehearsal in the Peyton Anderson Forum.

Pre-produced stories on topics like elections in the digital age and the impact of misinformation/disinformation will be augmented by tracking of social media updates on a smart board and keeping a watch for issues like voter suppression or long lines at the polls.

The election night coverage is directed by Sam Daniel, a senior journalism major who is working on the show as an independent study before his December graduation.

Helping Daniel produce the show is Molly English a fourth-year journalism student. “I feel so blessed to be here during an election year,” she said. “And, to be able to actually come in and see people face to face and interact with them in a way that’s not over Slack or Group Me feels great.”

In between Cantrell-Bickley’s traditional advice that the students don’t need to be first to announce results, but they have to be right, she sprinkles in new advice about always wearing face masks unless they are on air and making sure their station is wiped down before moving on.

“We consider this show to be a community service, but more importantly, we are here to educate these students,” Cantrell-Bickley concluded. “This is such a great opportunity for them because at the end of the day, to be able to say you worked on an election night show during a pandemic is going to be saying something.”

Viewers can watch the Election Day coverage on Nov. 3 from 8 to 11 p.m. through YouTube Live on the Grady Newsource channel and on Charter Cable 181.

‘Another Angle’ accentuates the positive

Preparing students for the real world of journalism often includes assignments of breaking news, or stories of conflict and strife. Seldom is there time to cover the positive side of news, but for a group of Grady College students, they are making the time by volunteering to cover another angle.

“Another Angle” is a broadcast that showcases the people and places of Athens-Clarke County and provides students an opportunity to stretch their reporting creativity through more upbeat and positive features than is traditionally found in a news format.

The news magazine broadcast is produced by a volunteer group of 15 to 20 students and includes features ranging from profiles of a dancing garbage man and Tyche’s, a role-playing game store in Athens, to football players supporting a local non-profit and an entire episode saluting the music scene in Athens.

“I love the production skills involved with positive news,” said Sam Daniel, who created the vision of ‘Another Angle’ and serves as one of the show’s co-executive producers. “Each episode has been a learning experience.”

Daniel, a third-year journalism student, was inspired by the second and third hours of the “TODAY Show,” a program with which he says he is obsessed and that he will be an intern for this summer.

Daniel pitched the idea to Dodie Cantrell, a journalism instructor and producer of Grady Newsource, a half-hour news program. After a little coaxing, Cantrell became a supporter of the project and a mentor to Daniel as he put the show together. With Cantrell’s blessing, Daniel recruited volunteers, some of whom were already involved with Grady Newsource, and some who were beginning their broadcast education as a way to get plugged in before the capstone Newsource course.

While Daniel manages the staff and decides which stories will air, Brittany Carter, journalism master’s student, serves as the other co-executive producer and writes the content.

Using the platform as a way to learn and be creative are the reasons that Carter is involved with the show.

Sam Daniel provides direction to Sara Bertolini during the filming of “The Music of Athens” episode.

“We try to break the boring mold of the news, while following the basic tenants of journalism,” Carter said. “I hope it is strengthening the community to have all positive news.”

Lucia Vereen, a fourth-year EMST student who serves as a production manager, also appreciates the freedom of the feature stories reported in “Another Angle.”

“’Another Angle’ allows us the flexibility to do stories that are more fun,” Vereen said. “The platform encourages us to try something new. Plus, I have learned a lot about Athens.”

Jenna Maddox, a third-year journalism major, likes the fact that it is a smaller group involved with this production versus other student productions. “Since there aren’t as many people involved, it makes the duties and responsibilities more important.”

“Another Angle” produced four shows during the spring semester, with plans for more episodes next fall.

New Grady Newsource website, G-Span elevate visibility of student journalism

Grady College students have two new innovative outlets to publish their work. Grady Newsource, the journalism capstone class and news organization covering northeast Georgia, has launched a new website to publish content from student journalists and provide an interactive look at the journalism process. Accompanying the site is G-Span, a 24/7 television station operated out of Grady College that broadcasts throughout campus and the Athens area.

“G-Span provides Grady College with a wonderful vehicle to air programming produced by students throughout the College,” said Charles Davis, dean, Grady College. “In the future, you’ll see the channel used increasingly as a platform for innovation and experimentation, as well as a home for all sorts of events across campus that our Grady Productions students record and edit. It’s a wonderful new experiential playground for us.”

G-Span can be seen on University Cablevision channel 15 and Charter cable channel 181. It will serve as a platform for student productions, informative lectures, and meaningful University of Georgia events. G-Span currently broadcasts Grady Newsource at 5 p.m., Monday and Wednesday during fall and spring semesters. It also airs Grady Sportsource on Fridays in the fall.

Student journalists publish their work digitally on gradynewsource.uga.edu and select articles feature annotations through which reporters will reflect on the newsgathering process and further explain the decisions behind their reporting.

“Being transparent about what we do as journalists is very important,” said Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism, and head of the Department of Journalism.

Innovation, learning and service to the local community are core principles of the Grady Newsource mission.

“We, as journalists, need to increase credibility with our audiences,” said Amanda Bright, an academic professional in journalism at Grady. “We are in a place at Grady College where student journalists can try new things, think outside of the box and see what works.”

All measurable audience statistics have increased as the website content has been revamped. The average visitor to gradynewsource.uga.edu is on the site for four minutes, a 75% increase from early 2018.

“We have an opportunity to work on a converged system and learn how to best reach audiences with important news stories on a variety of platforms,” said Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, Grady College journalism lecturer.

The website collaborates with The Lead podcast, a show from the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism that examines the ever-evolving nature of journalism. It also features work from health and medical, sports journalism and photo journalism programs.

The site invites guest curators from journalism organizations to highlight outstanding pieces. Hume was the first guest curator.

“Curation serves two purposes,” Hume said. “It allows the audience to potentially get a look at a quality story they might have missed. Also, it is recognition of students for their hard work.”

Hume says the website launch is the culmination of a four-year process at Grady College to revamp curriculum as the journalism and broadcasting departments merged to create a digital-journalism first product.

Future plans for the website include a social news desk to best integrate social media with the site, weekly e-mail newsletters and collaboration with Grady College’s New Media Institute to develop a Grady Newsource mobile app.

Grady College will celebrate the Grady Newsource website and G-Span with a launch party on Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Studio 100.

 

Grady alumna teaches workshops in Vietnam

The power of networking is a huge lesson that is emphasized to the students at Grady College. It’s not every day that a former professor asks an alumna to go to Vietnam to lead workshops for a television station, but for Sheeka Sanahori, that is just what happened.

Michael Castengera, who retired last December from teaching journalism, was contacted by a representative from the Television Network of Vietnam looking for recommendations of people that could help VTV with specific training. Castengera has worked with VTV on a large production company in Ho Chi Minh City called Dien Quan Media and Entertainment for five years.

The request prompted Castengera think of people Grady graduates that he knew who could do a good job at these workshops. He looked up their background through a Facebook group that has more than 500 Grady alumni in it.

“When you do that with a group like this, you find out that there are a number of Grady grads who have become major “movers and shakers” in the industry and it is astounding,” Castengera said. He recommended Sheeka Sanahori (ABJ’ 06) along with a few others, because he has seen the work that they have done after graduating from Grady.

Sanahori spent two weeks away from her job at USA Today teaching three workshops in Vietnam on creating trailers and teasers for both news and programming to VTV employees.

The first workshop that Sanahori taught was a class for news and programming employees in Ho Chi Minh City. The second workshop, located in Hanoi, was the same workshop but it was geared toward news professionals. The last workshop was for VTV employees that work in the programming division.

Interpreter (right) sitting with Sheeka Sanahori (middle) having lunch with an employee of VTV’s training management division getting ready for a class in Ho Chi Minh City.

“The biggest challenge was getting a crash course in Vietnamese culture,” Sanahori said. “This was my first time in Vietnam, let alone teaching workshops there. Some marketing and video strategies that work in America simply wouldn’t fly in Vietnam. I made sure to let the workshop participants know that at the beginning of my workshops that some of my examples will work for them, and some of them may not.”

Sanahori learned from everyone she met while working with VTV. By going over to Vietnam and being immersed into the culture, she was able to learn a lot about the food, history and their news and entertainment offerings.

The courses Sanahori took at Grady, especially her experience with Newsource, taught her the value of hard work. Sanahori said that those lessons have been imperative for every step throughout her career.

“VTV’s news channels are producing sophisticated, globally-focused reporting,” Sanahori said. “Their entertainment channels produce content that are both thoughtful and interesting. I approached this as an opportunity to learn from them as much as they learned from me, and that’s absolutely what I experienced.”

Castengera, through his consulting work with VTV, has also been involved with workshops in India and Pakistan. His company grew out of the work he did with Audience Research and Development, one of the largest consulting firms in America. Castengera left the company and went out on his own after joining the university. In Vietnam, his focus was on producing a multi-platform material that would work in the multimedia/transmedia world.