First-class Converged Communications students soon to celebrate graduation

This article was originally written for The Campus Voice, and can be found in Monday, April 28, 2014 paper, Volume 29 Issue 12. Image provided is not the same image that appeared in the newspaper.

As spring term comes to an end, one of FSCJ’s newer Bachelor programs, Converged Communications, , has its first batch of students ready to graduate.

FSCJ Downtown Campus  Photo courtesy FSCJ

FSCJ Downtown Campus
Photo courtesy FSCJ

The first group of students that enrolled in the program began attending classes in the fall term of 2012. Converged Communications is a program that consists of small classes and communication courses like Writing for Digital Media or Political Behavior, Public Opinion and Campaigning.

These pioneer students have been there from the very beginning and are excited to be in their last semester. They are ready to put their education to use.

“I feel like I’m really excited to start the ext chapter just because it’s been a long four years, here at FSCJ. But I’m really excited to see where it will take me,” said Summer Hughes, a senior in the program who concentrated on Strategic Corporate Communications.

The Bachelors ins Science program has four different concentrations: Production Media, Strategic Corporate Communications, Political and Cause campaigns, and Converged Advertising and Promotions. With a variety of concentrations, the opportunities for these students are endless.

“I like the variety in the writing topics. I got to do anything from writing about new media to writing about how technology affects the brain to writing on the street fair. So, it was really fun, there was a lot of writing, a lot of variety and it increased my ability to do different styles of writing, ” says Michelle Irish, another senior of the program who concentrated in Strategic Corporate Communications.

Obtaining her degree was the first step in her future plans to venture out with her new degree. “I’m actually going to move out and kind of decide where I’m going from there. I’m wanting to look for a job in public relations, but I’m not sure which field,” said Irish.

The professors have high hopes for students, are excited to see growth and what the future holds for them. “I feel excited. I think that it is a testament to the program that has been created by the college. I think it gives our students an opportunity to experience another dimension of the work world by having this program,” said Dr. Bakari Akil, communications professor.

The first groups of students who are now graduating from FSCJ with their B.S. in Converged Communications have a bright future ahead of them. Dr. Akil hopes for the best for the students and leaves them with a few words of wisdom.

“They’ve done an excellent job by getting through the program, but, also, never stop learning their field, continue to study, continue to grow, continue to develop and I think that will help them most when they go into their careers,” said Dr. Akil.

The graduation for the student is schedule for Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 2:00pm at the Veterans Memorial Arena. Admission is free.

Here is the news video package version of the article.



Reality Television Popularity in America

Turn on the television, browse through a few channels and the majority of the programming is reality-based television. Since it exploded onto the airwaves, Reality television has grown into a staple among American TV viewers, as more shows in this category make their way onto the small screen each season. But why is the Reality TV genre so popular in America?  According to research, Reality TV satisfies three basic needs for Americans:  the insatiable appetite for fame; the urge to relate to characters on shows they watch; and the need for relatively inexpensive programming.


Hit Reality TV Show, VH1’s Love & Hiphop Atlanta
Photo Credit: Straightfromthea

 The first theory behind why the Reality TV genre is so appealing centers around the American craving for fame. Face it—many Americans have a keen desire for their 15-minutes of notoriety. Sometimes the ordinary people on Reality television shows actually end up becoming stars; and in turn, more Americans tune in to watch one of their very own try to make it to the top. Some viewers even visualize that next season they might get a lucky break and be able to step into that person’s shoes. Steven Reiss and James Wiltz at Psychology Today state, “Reality TV allows Americans to fantasize about gaining status through automatic fame. Ordinary people can watch the shows, see people like themselves and imagine that they too could become celebrities by being on television” (Reiss & Wiltz, 2010).

 The second theory on why the U.S. loves Reality TV is because they feel the innate need to relate to characters that appear on these programs.  The Reality genre features programming that normally involves non-celebrity (actors) being continuously filmed throughout a certain theme, engaging in miscellaneous activities or some type of show in which the people are contestants. These types of shows became an official “genre” after the documentary-type show The American Family on PBS in 1973 (Slocum, 2013). Throughout the show, viewers watched as the family went through their hardships with one of the characters coming out as gay and the parents going through a divorce; the documentary became something in which some people viewed and were able to relate (Slocum, 2013).   Sociologist Margaret Mead notes, “… To engage the audience, the genre moves from observation to storytelling in a way traditional documentaries have not;” therefore, in a way, reality television was not only a way into lives of real people, but also a story about these people lives (qtd. in Slocum, 2013).  These are stories that regular people can relate to, and this connection is like the magnet that draws viewers back each week.

The third theory regarding why Americans embrace Reality TV is because these shows are relatively inexpensive to produce. Reality TV, when compared to other “big name star” programming, is basically cheap TV. Some networks do dish out big bucks to produce shows like the network E! which forks over $100,000 – $500,000 per episode; however, smaller networks and channels greatly benefit from producing these low-budget Reality shows (Joyner, 2010). Most Reality television shows have smaller crews, fewer sets, and will usually not need as much equipment. According to Writers Guild of America, West assistant executive director Charles B. Slocum, Reality television is cheaper to produce than an actual scripted show in every aspect, and in addition networks keep more money (Slocum, 2013). He states, “The economic role of reality-based programming is to permit a network to cost-average down the price of programming across the entire primetime schedule” (Slocum, 2013).   As a result, Reality TV not only saves the network money, but it also helps with the price of programming across the primetime schedule.

Research has discovered that Reality TV serves the American viewing audience in three significant ways:  it feeds their appetite for fame; it satisfies their urge to relate to characters on the shows they watch; and it provides a lower-cost platform for production that ensures a steady stream of new programming.   Reality TV has unwittingly found itself firmly embedded in the fabric of American Pop Culture.


Joyner, Sean. “Why Networks Love Reality TV.” Investopedia. Investopedia US, 30

         April 2010. Retrieved from /0410/why-networks-love-reality-    

         tv.aspx 22 Sept. 2013.

Slocum, Charles B. “The Real History of Reality TV Or, How Allen Funt Won the Cold

            War.” WGAW. Writers Guild of America, West. 2013. Retrieved from 23 Sept. 2013.

Reiss, Steven & Wiltz, James. “Why America Loves Reality TV.” Psychology Today.

            Sussex Publishers. 14 Dec. 2010. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.

            com/articles/200109/why-america-loves-reality-tv 22 Sept. 2013.

Spoken Word at the Ritz Theatre and Museum

I attended a spoken word event at The Ritz Theatre and Museum  last Thursday.  The attendance to the event was in part for my public relations class, and  all of my classmates and I were there because of the class’ end of semester project. The end of semester project is a group project in which groups are supposed to be a PR firm or PR advisors, and we are tasked with the  dutiful assignment of creating a PR plan to further get the theatre and museum out there to the public. We’re trying to get more people to come to the events, and experience the wonderful atmosphere at the Ritz. We also need to incorporate different ways of getting the people of Jacksonville to become aware of organization.  See, the museum has been opened for about 11 years, however, it really hasn’t gotten as much attention, and I suppose, revenue as one would think it would. It’s a place where one can not only learn about Jacksonville’s historic African American community of La Villa , but also see different exhibits promoting local Jacksonville talent. Not to mention, besides it being a museum, one can also attend Jazz events, Amateur Night or Spoken Word. Its a place that really brings a certain type of class and old school atmosphere, and where people can really just have a good ol’ time.Ritz Theatre

I feel like its one of Jacksonville’s best kept secrets of places to go to, but it shouldn’t have to be. People should know that there are more museums than just The Mosh , or The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. I’m also certain that the people of Jacksonville would like the idea of a attending a  Jazz Jamm night where different artist come out to perform Jazz, or a Spoken Word night where poets and poetry lovers join in for open mic.

On another note, I should’ve attended the Ritz a long time ago. It’s located in downtown Jacksonville on the corner of North Davis St.  The sad thing is that I used to live downtown and pass by it all the time! I just, for some reason, didn’t really think anything of it. I never heard about it on the radio, television, nor any of the social media websites. So can you really blame me? Well, I know about it now, and when I went last Thursday to the Spoken Word event I really enjoyed myself. People are always saying that there isn’t anything interesting to do in Jacksonville, but then again, they probably haven’t heard of the Ritz.  At the Spoken Word event, which happens every first Thursday of the month, people had a chance to let their voices be heard, to let their souls speak and just release a flow of thoughts artistically and soulfully. There were probably about about 30 – 40 people there, all eagerly waiting for the next poet to speak and all encouraging. There was no pressure. One didn’t have to be a perfect public speaking poet who had been doing it for years. Anyone who had something to say or express had the ability to go up to the front and take the mic. All individuals, from different walk paths of life, speaking their truths, their beliefs and their spoken word was absolutely inspiring and just plain awesome. I felt inspired, and with the courage of my fellow classmates; Santreese, Asad and Carolyn, I even went up there and did my thang, which is absolutely crazy because anyone who knows me knows I’m shy.

As I spoke out my thoughts, the eyes of the audience gazed upon me and I felt empowered. Some nodded as I spoke,  and I then thought to myself  “they feel me, they see where I’m coming from.”

Converged Communication Majors.

Needless to say, I absolutely loved the experience. I will be going back next month, and I totally recommend it to all who visit Jacksonville, Fl.

Lets discuss “Gamification”

Alright bloggers, let’s discuss a topic that has been growing increasingly in the past year. The topic is called Gamification. Some of you may already know of it, but are more than likely a little blurry on the exact meaning, and then there are some who have never heard of it before (such as myself). It’s actually, however, a pretty interesting concept taken with actual reality and not in the sense of a game.Image

To begin, a brief definition of Gamification that many perceive it to be is: “The Use of game mechanics and dynamics to drive game like engagement in a non-game context.” Buzzer beep. Errr. Wrong. The idea of Gamification goes a little deeper than that. In a clearer definition by Dr. Michael Wu explains Gamification as, “the use of game attributes to drive game like player behavior in a non – game context.” He then breaks it down a little further by stating the 3 components in order for something that one engages in to be considered Gamified, they are: the use of game attributes, to drive game like player behavior and it has to be in a non game context . Non game meaning it would have to be something dealing with education, working and jobs, or better yet, health and fitness.

Gamification has become very popular within different companies, as well as online communities. One can almost think of gamification as a game (in a non-game context) that keeps people engaged continually, possibly by some form of reward. When Myspace used to be popular, people would continue to log on because of new friend requests, the “possible” comments on one’s pictures and on their Myspace. It was exciting to see what someone may have said. Now, Facebook has taken the lead as one of the most used online communities, and some of the ways they keep their users coming back is by being able to have someone “like” a post, or seeing how many shares one of the images posted can get.

When something is called gamified, essentially players don’t even know they are actually playing a game, hence “non game context.”

I think a good example of Gamification that I can apply to my life is to when I was enlisted in the US Navy. I had to go to work everyday (unless I requested a day off). If I was sick, I couldn’t just call out, I had to go on base and go to the bases medical center, than go to my job and give them a slip, and then go home (if they deemed it necessary). There were repercussions for not following rules or regulations. Had I not followed the rules of being in the Navy, I could have potentially damaged the rest of my career outside of the Navy in the long run. Had I not followed the rules of my job as a PR (Aircrew Survival Equipmentman), someone could have possibly been injured or lost their life, and I, and the people above me, would have been under investigation. Still, where there were negative aspects, there were also in a sense “rewards”. Doing my job correctly, packing a parachute well, maintaining a clean appearance – would get me noticed, get me days off, and get me letters of appreciation!

Do you kind of see where I’m going here? I just applied being enlisted in the Navy to the concept of Gamification.

Think about it.

There are some posts that I read that disagree with the idea, and some that completely bash on it, or think it’s just a fad. If you have time, check them out.

Is Gamification Just a Fad?

Gamification is Bull**** !

My Piece of Jacksonville.

Jacksonville has been home to me for three years. Being that I’ve lived in places like Harlem- NY and Miami-FL, people would assume that Jacksonville would be less than impressive to me, but that’s far from the truth. From rainy days to sunny days, and from football games to a nice relaxing night, I’ve experienced some of the greatest times in the city of Jax. The people that I have encountered here, have been some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met; and the tranquility of places like Riverside and the Landing by the river, makes up for the craziness I may experience in a days work.  This is my Jacksonville and I love it – especially at night.