Reaction to the Aug. 9, shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo. policeman continues to drive news cycles throughout the country. News coverage of the tragedy, largely driven by social media, resulted in the arrest and tear gassing of numerous journalists, who said such acts violated their first amendment rights. Critics argue that the journalists’ mistreatment should never have been part of the story’s narrative.
A few weeks after the Michael Brown shooting, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens dominated the news when video footage showed the running back punching his soon-to-be wife in an Atlantic City elevator. Public outrage was swift and has yet to subside. Still, many observers say the punch, which knocked Janay Rice unconscious, is nobody’s business but the Rices.
What do crisis communicators say?
Those questions and more will be deliberated on Friday Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 12: 45 p.m. when the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication presents its 2014 Town Hall Summit, “Hands Up! Who’s Shooting!” and “Players’ Brawl: When Athletes and Celebs Need Crisis Communications.” The summit, which falls during A&T homecoming weekend, will enable alumni, students, faculty and others to explore the tenuous role of news media and public relations practitioners when tragedy and trauma unfold. The event will be held in the Crosby Hall TV Studio.
Invited special guests for Part I of the summit, “Hands Up! Who’s Shooting!.” include Wesley Lowery, a Washington Post reporter who was ordered to leave a McDonald’s while covering the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson. Lowery, recently named Emerging Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, is also a frequent guest and contributor on MSNBC. Other panelists include Yasmine Regester, a reporter for the Carolina Peacemaker; Linda Florence Callahan, PhD, an A&T journalism professor; and A&T police chief, Glenn C. Newell.
Part II of the summit, “Players’ Brawl: When Athletes and Celebs Need Crisis Communications,” will welcome back Garry Howard, a seasoned sports and business journalist based in Charlotte, N.C. Other panelists include Brooke Waller, an employee communications representative for Northrop Grumman Corp.; Dawn Nail Davis, a communications officer for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at A&T; Kymberlee Norsworthy, a former Sony Music executive; and Bryan Holloway, associate athletics director/communications at A&T.