Why a Media Camp?
I’m excited about helping young people explore a career field that has provided me countless opportunities that continue to this day. For 40 years, journalism and news media have allowed me to report and edit at several news outlets located in various parts of the country. I have interviewed and met numerous public figures, business leaders, artists, authors, musicians and more. My journalism skills have enabled me to teach at several leading institutions of higher learning, and I have traveled to dozens of U.S. cities and states, as well as countries in Africa and the Caribbean. And when the full-time jobs weren’t always available or met my expectations, my journalistic skills have allowed and continue to allow me to run a consulting business for clients that include corporations, universities and sole proprietorships. In addition, I routinely mentor and tutor current and aspiring journalists pro bono.
My combined skills and passion for journalism are the result of veteran journalists taking an interest in me when I had no clue about my future. My first inkling of what life could be like after college was sparked by my North Carolina A&T professors such as Dr. Richard E. “Dick” Moore, Professor Loreno Marrow, Dr. Ethel Taylor, Dr. Sandra Alexander and Dr. Samuel Mosley. After taking my first newswriting class under Professor Marrow, she convinced me that my writing was strong enough for the local black weekly newspaper, The Carolina Peacemaker. (That newspaper’s iconic founder, Dr. John Marshall Kilimanjaro, died this year.) So I wrote about A&T’s homecoming celebrations, of course, and other campus-related activities. Dick Moore further sprinkled seeds of hope that I could become a journalist by serving as my cheerleader and bringing to A&T well-known journalists such as Pamela Johnson, the first African-American woman publisher of a daily newspaper; Jay T. Harris, who became publisher of the San Jose Mercury News; Samuel Adams (who also died recently), a veteran civil rights reporter and distinguished professor at the University of Kansas at Lawrence; and Max Robinson, the first African-American to anchor a network news show who also happened to be from Richmond, Va. Drs. Taylor and Alexander were meticulously stylish women whose English courses furthered instilled in me a love for the written word. I pledged to one day to be like them. Meanwhile, Dr. Mosley was a young, brilliant political science professor who made figures such as Shirley Chisholm, Maynard Jackson, Coleman Young, Tom Bradley and Henry Marsh come to life in our cramped, drafty classroom.
After my first student internship in Wilmington, N.C. in 1978 and graduating from college in 1979, I attended the University of Michigan on a full fellowship. Before starting Michigan, I participated in the Dow Jones Newspapers Internship program, which came with a paid internship in Louisville, Ky. During that summer, as we trained to be copy editors in Bethlehem, Pa., I figured out where boxing champ Larry Holmes’ family was living in nearby Easton, Pa. and interviewed them. I also covered President Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign in Louisville. A year later, as a summer intern at the Ann Arbor News in Michigan, I interviewed Barbara Bush who was campaigning for husband George Herbert Walker Bush’s presidential bid. In between all the political reporting, I “freelanced” on the side by reviewing musical acts such as James Brown and Bootsy Collins, and got my first taste of reggae music at local nightclubs. Irie, mon! I arrived at the Richmond News Leader in Richmond, Va. in 1981. Since then, the girl whose mother loved to describe as “smart, but shy” has grown comfortable approaching people from all walks of life to explore, listen to and write their stories.
Yes, I’ve had a wonderful career and it is my intent and purpose to inform as many young people as possible that they, too, can enjoy the same career highs in journalism that allow them to tell stories, edit, shoot, speak and deliver the news in today’s ever changing 24-7 news environment. I hope that you will join me by supporting this very worthy endeavor.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.
Bonnie Newman Davis
Journalist, Journalism Educator, Media Consultant
Executive Director, BND Institute of Media and Culture Inc.