Jennifer C. Thomas
Jennifer C. Thomas is an associate professor and journalism sequence coordinator in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at her alma mater, Howard University. She earned her Master of Arts Degree in Journalism from Columbia University. Named the Scripps Howard Foundation/ AEJMC 2019 Teacher of the Year, she uses multiple instructional methods and is dedicated to ensuring her students have a successful transition from classroom to newsroom. She is an award-winning broadcast journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most recently as an Executive Producer with CNN, where she served as the 9am show producer during the September 11 Terror Attacks. She is the founder of MediaReady Consulting, LLC, which specializes in media training and crisis management. A 2020 Fulbright Specialist awardee, she speaks internationally on press freedom issues. Her published research and creative works examine the complex intersection of women, media, and images.
My research interests include the dissection of current practices and pedagogies in journalism, the transition from professional to professor, and the complex facets of women, media and images. These interests stem from my extensive experience as a journalism industry executive as well as through publications and creative works. My research is published in peer reviewed journals and books and has been broadcast on nationally recognized and respected television networks and represent a variety of disciplinary perspectives and research methods. I have utilized my producing skills, not just as a professor who is helping change the narrative of too few minorities in positions of newsroom management, but also as a practicing media professional and consultant. I continue to lead workshops and panels and partake in leading professional development workshops.
My motto is that journalists are the defenders of democracy, freedom fighters of the First Amendment, and savvy and sophisticated storytellers. I have presented research on this topic, and have been asked to speak on issues of world press freedom as a noted guest with the United States Department of State throughout South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria. I have also received numerous grants to study the issue of women and media as it pertains to the role of Miss Howard University. I have published a peer-reviewed journal article on the subject, presented research in Soweto, South Africa, and am currently working on a documentary on the topic, which features some of the women who served as “queens” of Howard University. As a former “Miss Howard,” I was also able to include fascinating ethnographic recollections of former queens during this transitional period of American history.
Creative and Published Works
Book Chapter (sole author): Women Behind Bars: Dissecting Social Constructs Mediated by News and Reality TV Book: The Palgrave Handbook of Incarceration in Popular Culture Palgrave McMillan Publishers (2020).
Chapter contributor: “From the Trenches” essay, Chapter One – “So, You’re a College Instructor. Now what?” Master Class: Teaching Advice for Journalism and Mass Communication Professors, Roush, Chris ed. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers). (Published January 2018)
June 2018 Journal Article: “The Peculiar Predicament for Teaching Journalism in the Era of Trump” Journal of Media Ethics (sole author) (Under review).
May 2018 Journal Article: “Pageantry and Politics: Miss Howard University fromCivil Rights to Black Power” (sole author) The Journal of Negro Education Vol. 87, No. 1, Special Focus: Black Power, Politics, and the Black Press: Resiliency and Engaged Learning in Education (Winter 2018), pp. 22-32 DOI: 10.7709/jnegroeducation.87.1.0022 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7709/jnegroeducation.87.1.0022
December 2015 (sole author) “Reassessing Journalistic Pedagogy: Howard University’s Broadcast Coverage of the 2014 Midterm Election” Asia Pacific Media Educator Jennifer C. Thomas Asia Pacific Media Educator Vol 25, Issue 2, pp. 238 – 246 First Published December 17, 2015 https://doi.org/10.1177/1326365X15604935
February 2016 For Jennifer C. Thomas, AKA Remains Faithful to the Task at Hand” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution www.ajc.com (sole author)
Winter 2016 “Student broadcast ‘NewsVision’ returns to TV station at D.C.’s Howard University” The Standard Newsletter, AEJMC Commission on the Status of Minorities
Summer 2015 “Howard Alumni and Friends Gather to Honor Dr. Lawrence Kaggwa” The Standard Newsletter, AEJMC Commission on the Status of Minorities
November 2019, Producer, Thurgood Marshall Center Town Hall WHUT TV, Washington, DC
- Served as producer for live-to-tape Town Hall event in conjunction with the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent. The event will also be streamed and recorded for digital distribution.
July 2016, Producer, “Election 2016: Road to the Conventions” WHUT TV, Washington, DC
- Wrote all promotional material, press releases, scripts for voiced reporter stories and scripts for the entire show. I also selected all video clips, created graphic content, and implemented deadline management strategies. Contacted and organized guests, held numerous planning meetings.
February 2016, Producer, “Election 2016: Democratic Debate,” WHUT TV, Washington, DC
- Created concept, rundown, wrote scripts, promos, directed meetings, staff and talent for February 2016 initial one-hour live Election special for PBS station, WHUT TV in Washington, DC which broadcasts to 2 million households in the greater Washington metro area. Series of specials will continue throughout 2016 Presidential Election.
June 2017, Producer/Reporter, Border Patrol Ride Along Gets Real When Migrant Family Appears (digital/multimedia) Borderzine.com, El Paso, TX
- Reported, wrote, produced longform news/documentary report on hotbed issue of immigration reform along the U.S. Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. Spent day with U.S. Border Patrol agents who comprehended a Guatemalan family illegally entering the U.S.
2013 Producer Cable News Network (CNN)
- Treyvon Martin Murder Trial Verdict coverage, July 2013, Served as line producer for Brooke Baldwin two-hour coverage on CNN. Created show, guests and ideas for coverage for the cable network. Contributed ideas for town hall special coverage.
December 2016, Executive Producer, NewsVision Newscast on WHUT TV
- Conceptualized, supervised, and reviewed the newscast which consisted of content (video, scripts, reporter packages, rundowns from students primarily in my section of NewsVision) and production. Met with senior level management to discuss specifics regarding content, programming and traffic. Wrote promotional material and supervised the production of promos which will also be broadcast on WHUT, in the nation’s top 10 television market and negotiated the strategy to bring this newscast from concept to conceptualization. Served as the initial contact for NBCUniversal to attain sponsorship for the program, valued at $5,000.
May 2016, Executive Producer, NewsVision Newscast, WHUT TV, Washington, DC
- Supervised staff of twenty full-time and part-time managerial and union professionals, including Engineering, operations, director and supervisors, students and other faculty, to deliver a quality-controlled broadcast which met the PBS station’s stringent technical broadcast qualifications.
2013-Present, Producer/Writer Cable News Network (CNN)
- Write, manage, and plan segments and content for the CNN Domestic newscasts and global team of more than 4,000 professional staff based at the network’s world headquarters of Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC bureaus.
2014-Present, Executive Producer, NewsVision Newscast, WHUT TV, Washington, DC
- Conceptualized, supervised, reviewed production tapes and revised scripts for reporter packages and newscast (spring 2016) on Howard University’s PBS station which broadcasts to 2 million households in the greater Washington metro area as well as on-line on howarduniversitynewservice.com and shared with 200+ National Newspaper Association (NNPA) members across the country.
August 2016, Executive Producer, NABJ NAHJ TV Newscast, Washington, DC
- Organized, executed newscasts broadcast at the largest convention of minority journalists. Planned students’ meeting with anchors and management, as well as anchor auditions and recording sessions. Organized newsroom. Scheduled meetings, story assignments, helped create rundowns for newscasts, and supervised any post-productions. Held meetings with other mentors and students before and during the convention.
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