Preparing Students for a Career in Digital Media

PGCC and PGCPS Host the 5th Annual Student Media Day

On November 16 and 17, Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) partnered with Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) to host the 5th annual Student Media Day. More than 150 high school and middle school students convened on PGCC’s main campus in Largo, Maryland for the two-day event.

The event is designed to help encourage students interests in pursuing careers in mass communications. My workshop allowed students to see how they could make a career out of social and digital media and maximize the social following they have already developed.

Students also had the opportunity to anchor a live news show produced by PGCC mass communication students, get first-hand experience with the latest in digital video technology, and interact with local media professionals.

It was an exciting day for the students as well as PGCC and PGCPS faculty and staff.

“I enjoyed seeing students actively engaging in the workshops, learning about the magic of digital video technology, interacting with local media professionals and having fun participating in our live newscast in front of the camera as anchors and reporters and behind the scenes as part of our production crew,” said Angela Mathis, senior producer and adjunct faculty, Prince George’s Community College.

Beyond the workshops, Student Media Day provides “an opportunity for students who are taking video production classes in the public schools to visit PGCC’s campus, explore their interests, and learn from professionals working in their field.”

Click here to view more photos from this year’s Student Media Day.

Ed4Good: Using Social Media 4 Social Good


I recently signed on as an ambassador for the Dell Education for Good (Ed4Good) social media initiative in Washington, DC at Thurgood Marshall Academy in S.E. The initiative is part of Dell’s SXSW Interactive (SXSWi) outreach effort in Austin, TX later this week.  If you don’t already know, SXSWi is a five-day event that brings together the best and brightest minds in technology, social media and innovation.  The goal for Ed4Good is to have those of us attending SXSW “bring a little of our hometown with us, doing something great with social media and a local school, while also supporting our community.”    In preparation for Ed4Good coaches like myself are teaching social media classes to students across the country to not just show them how to use their web interactions to entertain and engage with friends, but to also “connect, collaborate and build support for important causes.” 

I taught my class to an eager group of students taking an elective course on Digital Media Literacy.  It seems fitting to use Thurgood Marshall Academy for this particular Ed4Good program.  The schools mission is to prepare students to succceed in college and to actively engage in our democratic society.  They serve 390 students in grades 9-12K and you may have seen the school featured on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in a piece that highlighted their 100% acceptance rate for graduates from school. 

<br/>Watch CBS News Videos Online


As the DC coach for Ed4Good, it was my job to not only teach a social media class but to also help the students develop a strategy to raise awareness for a cause of their choosing.  After much deliberation, the students decided we would put our social media efforts behind a campaign against animal cruelty called “UnFURgivable” as in “it’s unFURgivable to be cruel to animals”.  Our goal is to have the students and their supporters do enough Tweets, blog posts and Facebook comments to trend across the social web on March 10, 2011.   We’ll be working hard to make a difference over the next 48 hours.  Then, on Thursday, March 10, just one day before the start of SXSW, Dell will use their new Social Media Listening Command Center to aggregate and monitor all of our community Internet efforts across the country.  Dell will use its social media monitoring and measurement tools to identify the best local effort by the nationwide teams and reward the school with the most traction on the web up to $10,000 dollars in prizes.


Here’s where you come in:

Please help our cause by following @unFURgvble on Twitter.  Then, on Thursday, March 10, 2011 please RT @unFURgvble as often as possible using the hashtags #WDC and #ed4good to identify our Washington, DC Education for Good efforts.


Spread the word:

Please tell as many people as you can about the unFurgivable efforts within your social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.).


Participation is about:

  • Students using social media to do good in their community.
  • A fun social experiment allowing social media folks to play, teach, learn, do good and give back to our community.
  • Supporting social efforts that interested you.
  • Knowing you helped students gain bragging rights that they create a trend across the social web.

The students have already started their Twitter social media initiative… here’s an example of what’s being Tweeted…




Image Makers: A Video Production Teaching Moment

Recently I spoke to a group of local area students on how to prepare for a video production shoot.  My presentation was part of Women in Film and Video’s (WIFV) Image Makers Program.  The program is WIFV’s community outreach initiative for metro area high school students. It was created in 1997 to teach local youth about film and video production while also helping deserving nonprofit organizations.  During their time in the program, the Image Makers participants learn how to interface with clients, brainstorm, write, produce and direct a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) for broadcast distribution. These PSAs are made for up to three deserving nonprofit organizations each year.  

My colleague and friend, Yolanda Arrington, a board member for WIFV asked me to come back for a return visit to speak to the students.  In preparation for their upcoming field shoot, I shared with the students some tips for preparing for a field production shoot.


The Image Makers Program is operated through the tireless volunteer efforts of WIFV members. These professionals lend their time and ability each Saturday morning for up to 10 weeks.  Yolanda spoke to me about her role in the program and the process for selecting students for the 2011 program.

See the WIFV You Tube Channel for previously produced PSAs and check back later for the 2011 upcoming PSA productions. 


A Conversation with Tyrese and His Mission to Save Our Youth


Just before Tyrese Darnell Gibson, also known simply as Tyrese, hit the red carpet for the Kennedy Center Honors, I caught up with him at a Georgetown Hoyas game to discuss a venture near and dear to his heart, “Community in Schools.”   


Tyrese, an R&B singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, model and former MTV VJ first came to my attention when he did his very first TV interview on BET’s Video Soul.  I was a young Senior Producer and he was a model looking to crossover into the music business.  Fast forward several years and we found ourselves in a sky box at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC reminiscing about old times and talking about the dire state our youth find themselves in. 

While the official announcement won’t be made until next month, Tyrese spoke to a few select DC bloggers and I about his upcoming appointment as the spokesperson for “Community In Schools” and his role as the voice of the youth and the mission of the program.

You may think of him as only a pretty face and a talent singer/actor, but to his friends and the children he represents, Tyrese is a beacon of hope.

At a time when dropout rates are an issue in all communities, The Alliance for Excellent Education, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., estimates that dropouts each year cost the nation more than $300 billion in lost income.  Community In Schools is making it their mission to beat those odds.  Tameka Green, CEO of Community In Schools in the Nation’s Capitol shared with me the program’s mission to combate the dropout rates in Washington, DC.

Championing the connection of needed community resources with schools to help young people learn, Community In Schools goal is to help students stay in school, and prepare for life.



Congratulations and many thanks to Tyrese and Community In Schools for taking on the challenge of decreasing school dropout rates and for their continued dedication to our youth.  To learn more about Community In Schools go to their website at and look for the announcement of Tyrese as their new spokesperson coming in February.