FAMU Family Mourns the Death of Former Journalism Dean

This was a video produced for the Dr. James Hawkins retirement celebration in fall 2012 honoring 35 years of service. More videos and testimonials can be seen on www.deanhawkins.com

FAMU Press Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) is mourning the death of James E. Hawkins, former dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) from 2004 to 2013.

“We have lost a great educator and administrator who worked tirelessly during his tenure to continue the great legacy of the School of Journalism at FAMU,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson. “Due to the commitment and dedication that Dr. Hawkins demonstrated to the professional development of his students, the program produced outstanding journalists and graphic design professionals who helped diversify newsrooms, and design studios throughout the U.S. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family. He will be sorely missed.”

Dr. James Hawkins

Dr. James Hawkins

Hawkins a graduate of Oakwood College and Ohio State University, began teaching at FAMU in 1977 as an assistant professor in broadcast journalism.  In 1982, Hawkins was named director of the journalism division.  As dean and director, Hawkins was always a student advocate and maintained an open door policy.  He prided himself on his ability to remember the names of all students who matriculated through the SJGC.
Hawkins guided the school to becoming the first historically black college or university recognized by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. He is also credited with:

• Establishing FAMU TV-20;
• Increasing the wattage of WANM 90.5 FM;
• Establishing the CBS Harold Dow Professorship andInternship Program;
• Creating the Thelma Thurston Gorham Distinguished Alumni Award;
• Implementing the National Association of Black Journalists Multimedia Short Course;
• Establishing the Media Sales Institute;
• Creating the FAMU Music Recording Program; and
• Establishing the Black College Communication Association’s national office.

Among his many honors, was being recognized as “Educator of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists.

“Dean Hawkins had this amazing ability to see the potential in every student,” said Kathy Times, former president of the National Association of Black Journalists.  “Not only did he inspire and encourage us to be excellent journalists, he also made sure we were exposed to professionals, conferences, and other events beyond Tallahassee that would help us stand out in an extremely competitive field. He was also a masterful magician. I don’t know how he did it, but he made it possible for me and others to receive scholarships and opportunities time and time again with limited financial resources.  Words cannot express how much I will miss hearing his quiet and reassuring voice. He was one of my must trusted mentors and cheerleaders. I’m so grateful for his guidance and friendship and thankful to his family for allowing him to spend countless hours performing miracles and changing thousands of lives.”

Hawkins began his career working as a reporter, photographer and film editor at WLWC-TV in Columbus, Ohio.  He held news reporting positions with the Associated Press and the Oakland Tribute.  A native of Newport News, Va., Hawkins received his bachelor’s’ degree from OakwoodCollege in Huntsville, Ala., and earned his master’s and doctorate from Ohio State University.

FAMU Names New Director of Marching and Pep Bands

Dr. Sylvester Young New FAMU Director of Marching and Pep Bands

Dr. Sylvester Young
New FAMU Director of Marching and Pep Bands

FAMU Press Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) has named Sylvester Young its new director of marching and pep bands. Young, a FAMU graduate and former member of the Marching “100,” spent nearly 25 years at Ohio University, most recently as band director. FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson made the announcement Tuesday after an extensive nationwide search process.

“Dr. Young is a talented and experienced administrator, musician and scholar who I believe will provide strong discipline, leadership and vision for the Marching “100,” Robinson said. “Dr. Young has had a stellar career as director of bands at several universities and I am looking forward to Young continuing the great traditions of the Marching “100″ when we deem it ready to return to the field.” Read the rest of this entry

FAMU Journalists Receive a ‘Student Emmy’

Photo caption: Amber Mackie (left) and Lacrai Mitchell (right) pose on the red carpet outside the 2013 College Television Awards Gala. [Photo credit: Xavier Higgs]

Photo caption: Amber Mackie (left) and Lacrai Mitchell (right) pose on the red carpet outside the 2013 College Television Awards Gala. [Photo credit: Xavier Higgs]

FAMU Press Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The winners of a 2013 College Television Award are…Amber Mackie and Lacrai Mitchell!

The two Florida A&M University (FAMU) broadcast journalism students have returned home from Hollywood, Calif. with a gold statue commonly referred to as a Student Emmy. Both were honored at a gala for their work as co-producers on the “2012 FAMU Homecoming Special: Ignite the Strike.” The 30-minute show, which recaps homecoming events during the university’s 125 anniversary, won second place in the magazine category. Read the rest of this entry

Gaines Street project ends, some business owners still upset

by Mhisha Compere, News 20 at Five Rep.

Tallahassee, Fla. – The reconstruction of Gaines Street came to an end today and city officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the major roadway. Plenty of Tallahassee residents attended the ceremony- happy that they could now drive through Gaines Street. But some storeowners along the road are still upset.


Lawmakers face bill that will crack down on cyber bullying

by Paige Moore, News 20 at Five Rep.

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Senate is set to consider a bill to crack down on cyber bullying among high school students. Rude comments, inappropriate pictures and threats are issues that high school students are dealing with daily. It’s called cyber bullying. In the coming days the Florida Senate will consider a cyber bullying measure.

Godby High School assistant principal Marcus Scott says students that are currently caught cyber bullying at school face consequences.


Florida’s identity theft laws may change

by Kristen Swilley, News 20 at Five Rep.

Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida is the number one state for identity theft, but lawmakers are looking to change that. A new bill would make it easier for criminals to be prosecuted for stealing your identity.

Picture this: someone you’ve never met gets their hands on your information and goes on a spending spree. It sounds like something from the movie, “Identity Thief.”


Local organization marches in honor of Sexual Assault Prevention Month

by Ashli Doss, News 20 at Five Rep.

Tallahassee, Fla. – April is Sexual Assault Prevention month and here in Tallahassee, survivors of sexual abuse marched from Governor’s Square Mall to the Capitol with Laurel’s Kids, an organization founded by Lauren Book who is also a sexual assault survivor. Book started this organization to help promote awareness and educate others about what they can do to prevent sexual assault. After being a victim for 5 years from the age of 11 to age 16, Book decided to create an event titled Walk in My Shoes. The event was a 1500 mile walk across the state of Florida starting in Key West. Once Book and several advocates arrived to the Capitol, she spoke about the importance of sending the message that it’s okay to tell no matter what age no matter your circumstance. This is Book’s fourth year hosting the event and she plans to do it again next year.

“It makes me tougher. It just strengthens my resolve to do the things that we do every single day to help protect the children of Florida,” said Book.

Book believes that 95 percent of abuse is preventable through education and awareness.

Lawmakers review bill that requires animal shelters to report euthanasia records

by Mhisha Compere, News 20 at Five Rep.

Tallahassee, Fla. – For the most part, pet owners love and care for their animals like they would family members. But many animals aren’t so lucky. Local shelters take in homeless and abandoned animals and care for them until they’re adopted. But most don’t get adopted…and many are killed.

The Leon County animal service center takes in over 9,000 homeless animals each year. Nearly half of them are euthanized.


Organized Terror: News 20 at Five Multimedia Presentation

By Jason Brown

Associate Producer, News 20 at Five

News 20 at Five

In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Boston, News 20 at Five Associate Producer Jason Brown takes a look at known major terrorist groups and offers a brief history of each.

City of Tallahassee relaunches ‘Change for Change’ program

by Kristen Swilley, News 20 at Five Rep.

Tallahassee, Fla. – Anicia Supportra has been homeless for five years. She lives in the woods and relies on resources from a nearby shelter to survive. The City’s homeless initiative “Change for Change” seeks to help remedy Tallahassee’s problem by allowing residents to make monthly contributions on their utility bill. Supportra said it just puts a Band Aid on a larger issue.

“They should consider the program, which is good, but also have people who live on the streets. There are still people like us that’s good.”