Reporter's Notebook: Discovering Delectable Butter Cake While Profiling Athens for Texas Highways Magazine
It was January 2023 and I was on assignment for Texas Highways magazine in Athens, an East Texas town well-known for its food and exciting aquatic experiences. Just like its namesake, Athens, Greece, people flock here to have new adventures. I sensed my profile on the town, through Athens City Councilmember SyTanna Freeman’s eyes, would be memorable. For example, when we went to the $18 million Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, I was thrilled to include this treasure in my story. We made other stops as Freeman narrated insights about her childhood and early life.
Read my Texas Highways' Athens profile here
Remembering RFK's trip to the Mississippi Delta (Article and "When D.C. Came to the Delta" Video by Junior Walters)
Copyright © June 11, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
‘The Fight for Civil Rights in the South’ is on display through Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
By Regina L. Burns
“We were searching for an exhibit that highlighted some seminal events in the fight for civil rights in the United States and connected to the African American history section in our American Ideals Reality Repair Gallery,” Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins said. “The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute had these two wonderful exhibitions available, so we put them together and added original artifacts and additional historical material to create a unified whole.”
The exhibition includes some African American Museum of Dallas works dating to the Jim Crow South, according to Higgins.
Martin’s photographs pinpointed the violence of Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, when nonviolent marchers were beaten by state troopers in Alabama as they stood up for voting rights. His images also documented the other two Selma to Montgomery marches held that same month. Photographs of civil rights legends, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, Andrew Young and John Lewis, among many others, were also included.
Joseph Postiglione’s photographs showed the horror Freedom Riders experienced when their Greyhound bus was “set on fire by members of the Ku Klux Klan,” according to the exhibition’s notes. The Freedom Riders were protesting segregated public transportation in Anniston, Alabama on May 14, 1961. “Postiglione caught the Freedom Riders in the immediate aftermath [of the firebombing], their clothes ashen, their faces distraught, and the flames and smoke from the bus in plain view,” according to the exhibition’s notes.
Each collection’s 48 photographs transport visitors to the segregated 1960s and the battle for civil rights. Other standouts include a comprehensive timeline and excerpts of Dr. King’s powerful speech, "How Long? Not Long." The exhibition is on display through Memorial Day. For tickets and more information, check out DHHRM.org.
1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
U.S. Civil Rights Trail
Our God is Marching On!
#MLK: How Long? Not Long!
The Heinous 1961 KKK Attack on the Freedom Riders
Get On the Bus: The Freedom Riders of 1961
Copyright © May 29, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications.
All Rights Reserved.
What are some of the outcomes achieved from this event?
We have helped finance travel and accommodations for journalism students attending conferences and conventions, career enhancement programs and workshops. When big funders fall through, we were able to use funds raised to help with feeding students, providing transportation or purchasing supplies for the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists Urban Journalism Workshop.
Some of the funds have helped young journalists with training. Tell me about that work.
We have paid registration fees to conventions. Additionally, the proceeds from the event have helped take students to conventions in Seattle, Phoenix, Orlando, D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Oklahoma. Jeffries Street Learning Center, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and the African American Museum of Dallas are just a few of the beneficiaries over the years.
Anything else to add?
I love doing this event and I love bringing people together for a good time and a good cause.
Cheryl Smith knows how to organize a longstanding and successful fundraiser that supports her passion for journalism and fun gatherings. The veteran Dallas publisher, journalist and National Association of Black Journalists' board secretary founded the Don't Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon a little more than two decades ago.
The 23rd annual event, slated in Dallas June 17, 2017, promises to supply ample laughter, loads of good-natured, competitive bowling and financial support for various causes.
Smith, who has made her mark across all media platforms, also serves as longtime president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists. Additionally, she led the NABJ Region VII during two terms as director. A tireless advocate for journalism and journalists, she revealed during a Question-and-Answer interview conducted by email, how the Bowl-a-thon got its name, some of the event's beneficiaries and the highest score she's ever bowled.
Where did the name of the event come from?
"Don't Believe the Hype" is a hit song from the popular rap group, Public Enemy. I used the song as the opening for my award-winning talk show on KKDA-AM, "Reporters Roundtable with Cheryl Smith." When I decided to come up with a fundraiser, I bounced around names and a friend suggested I use the song. So, I called Chuck D and told him what I wanted to do and asked his permission. He said, 'Yes!' He actually came for the first event and also for the 10th anniversary.
What was your original vision?
Just to bring together people to have fun and raise money for scholarships.
Have you achieved your original vision?
Yes, people consider the event to be a quality program and while I have raised a significant amount of money over the past 22 years, I would like to raise so much more.
How much money has the event raised since its inception?
We have raised over $300,000.
Why did you decide to use bowling to raise money?
Growing up in New Jersey, we went to the movies, bowled and skated. I felt that bowling was something that people of all ages can do. After a while, I couldn't see myself 85 [and] skating. Maybe there are some, but not me. ...
What's the best game (score) you've bowled?
I was on a bowling team in 8th grade and used to go bowling with my Godmother and her friends. The best game I bowled was about three years ago, and it was like a 230. Everyone was amazed. I was and am still in shock.
To register your team for Saturday's Bowl-a-thon, click here. Team preregistration is highly encouraged to ensure participation.
(c) HarvestReapers.com, June 14, 2017. All Rights Reserved.
Q: Do you have or do you make [New Year's] resolutions?
Norma Adams-Wade broke the story that Dallas' two distinctive parades honoring civil rights leader Rev. Martin L. King Jr., were facing massive changes.
Her original reporting led to a request for more Morning News staffers to cover the controversy, which eventually resulted in Dallas having one MLK parade Jan. 18, 2016, instead of two.
She has been making journalistic history for decades and has no plans to stop any time soon.
Adams-Wade first made history in 1974 when R.E. "Buster" Haas literally came to her front door to hire her as the first black full-time staff writer to report about all of Dallas. She made history again Dec. 12, 1975, as one of the 44 founders of the National Association of Black Journalists to convene in Washington, D.C., to launch the organization. She was among the 12 cofounders who attended a 40th NABJ anniversary celebration in December 2015.
The columnist and former senior staff writer retired from the Morning News in 2002. In 1988, she started writing a column devoted to events in Dallas' black community, which she writes weekly.
Adams-Wade is quick to mention a name not heard much these days: Julia Scott Reed, whom the Morning News hired to cover the black community in 1967, making Reed the first black staffer at the newspaper.
You should also know that December was a busy month for Adams-Wade because the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists honored her and several others at its holiday mixer. And that event is where I learned about all that she did to further the profession. We discussed my interest in writing about her trailblazing career and you can listen to excerpts of the Jan. 11, 2016, telephone interview to the left.
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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Dallas immigration attorney M. Elizabeth Cedillo-Pereira and her husband Oscar Pereira, a mechanical engineer on the Joint Strike Fighter Program at Lockheed Martin Corp., say Dr. King's influence is alive and well, especially in the immigration reform battle.
They agreed to be interviewed for my MLK Day 2013 blog post. The interviews were conducted at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas, Texas New Year's Day, where attorney Cedillo-Pereira gave the keynote address at the Dallas County Elected Official Swearing-In Ceremony.
All photos by Regina L. Burns.
“n. one who innovates, one who makes changes, one who introduces new methods or procedures”
Innovative megapastor, entrepreneur and author Bishop T.D. Jakes is preaching memorable sermons that can be translated into strategic lessons for innovators. The July 1, 2012 sermon “Commitment” coincided with the 16th anniversary of The Potter’s House’s founding. Jakes issued a call to service for members in the 30,000-plus megachurch. The July 15, 2012 sermon “Is There Not a Cause?” provided insight into the damaging effects of narcissism.
Using that backdrop, here are 12 lessons for innovators that I gleaned from listening to Bishop Jakes, whose comments are in quotation marks:
2. Embrace sacrifice; make it work for you – “Be sacrificial of your time [and] resources.”
3. Put everything into achieving your dreams – “People won’t believe in your dream unless you do.”
4. Find something beyond you to contribute to –“Do you believe in anything other than you?”
5. Give your way through –“I put my whole check into my first church. I didn’t have but seven members.”
6. Keep your promises and commitments—“What do people get when they get you?”
7. Pay the price to be great—“Greatness costs what it costs.”
8. Share in the responsibility AND the benefits –“You want the benefits but you don’t want the responsibility.”
9. Expect no reward – “Stop expecting to be rewarded for [doing] what you’re supposed to do.”
10. Demonstrate that you value relationships by reciprocating -“Any relationship that has no reciprocity will die.”
11. Use social media intelligently – “Say something that makes me want to follow you [on Twitter].”
12. It’s not about you – “Marriage is about sacrifice.”
Also of interest:
4 insights gleaned from the friendship of Bishop T.D. Jakes and Rev. Joel
SharePoint 2010 – Level 1
In an effort to continually expand my technological education, I am pursuing a Project Management certification. Recently, I completed a SharePoint 2010 – Level 1 class and plan on taking SharePoint Level 2.
And speaking of SharePoint, I was especially interested to see this headline: From PCWorld: NewsGator to Integrate Its SharePoint Add-on With Yammer
My Summer Reading/Listening List
Tony Award nominee and funnyman David Alan Grier’s “Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-Covered Truth” audiobook caught my attention during a recent library visit. It’s a frank and edgy breakdown on President Obama’s election to going ballistic after being voted off of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Flickr photo by Alipyon
Photo from Ms. Paine's Twitter profile
I discovered strength strategist, author and researcher Marcus Buckingham on the “Oprah” show and his audiobook “The One Thing You Need to Know About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success” is a keeper. His research is sound and this is an excellent tool for innovators.
Photo from Mr. Buckingham's Twitter profile
The Careers/Job Hunt edition (March 2012) of Public Relations Tactics includes an article I wrote. The path of perseverance: Carving out a new career explores the journeys of three former journalists who transitioned successfully to public relations.
Below are additional insights from some of the story's subjects and an audio excerpt of my interview with Yolette Garcia, Assistant Dean, External Affairs and Outreach, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University.
Ginger Anderson is a career development facilitator with RESCARE, Inc. and works
at the Richardson Workforce Center in Richardson, Texas.
Q: What are the first steps a career changer should take when beginning a job search?
A: Before you start a job search, know what your minimum personal budget is and what salary range will meet that. Don’t expect to make what you did at your last job. Ask yourself ‘what is the absolute minimum I can live on'? Anything above that is gravy.
Q: How can the career changer obtain
experience in a new industry?
A: Do volunteer work to hone the skills you need.
We have to show the employer that we are trying
to increase our skills... Then during the interview, tell the hiring manager that you are willing to learn from the bottom up—it’s the best way to learn about a new industry. Assure the prospective employer that you are there to help the company grow and obtain it goals.
Anderson is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Was your faith tested [during your unemployment]?
A: Oh yes, definitely tested. I stayed on bended knees hoping and praying that the Lord would open a door for me. And He did. And it was definitely a faith-tester ... . Every time I thought I was getting close to landing a job, it failed. It didn’t come through.
And also, just when unemployment [benefits] were about to run out, that’s when I got the call from Deidre [Malone, who hired him to work for her firm, Memphis-based The Carter Malone Group LLC]. I had about a month left [of unemployment benefits]. That’s God... .
We are taught in church that God is an on-time God [and] that He was will be there when you least expect Him to be. I’m a living witness that He will be right there.
Henry is reachable at email@example.com.
Q: What advice do you have for journalists who may be considering PR?
A: Seek a mentor.
When you are a
journalist sometimes you have
an affinity to not want to deal
with public relations professionals. This is an awesome career to have … .
A great deal of what we do is strategic communications. I recommend they seek out small PR firms that may need assistance like Wiley ... . You can learn to pitch and put together a communications strategy. That’s something you can learn.
Her firm is reachable at http://www.thecartermalonegroup.com/.
Yolette Garcia left her news management job at KERA in Dallas because she wanted a new career path. She joined SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development
as assistant dean of external affairs
Here is an audio excerpt from my January 2012 interview with her:
Anthony Hicks, APR, is director of public relations and development at Shelby Residential and Vocational Services in Memphis. Hicks, formerly a staff reporter at the Arkansas Gazette, has advice for journalists or anyone else considering a job in PR.
Q: Do you have any regrets about PR?
A: The biggest challenge is managing expectations
of senior executives. Unfortunately, public relations is a difficult field to understand if you are not experienced in it. Consequently, many organizational leaders do not have experience in public relations. That means the public relations person is expected to work miracles.
Have a thick skin. Be strategic. Always be strategic.
Q: Why get the APR (Accreditation in PR credential)?
A: I got it because I wanted to be recognized as the best in my field. I wanted to know for myself that I had the best skills that my industry required and I wanted some authentication. You have to be in PR for a while to get it. I knew it would be a valuable commodity to have. PR is highly competitive so anything you can do to differentiate yourself, the better off you are.
Q: Any other advice?
A: Before and after joining a company, learn its business thoroughly. Once hired you will consistently use your innate news gathering skills to identify programs and initiatives in the company that will make good news stories -- adapted to the press release format. A reporter’s instinct will serve you well in public relations and media relations. Understand that once you make the transition, reporters are not publicists for the company you work for.
For more information about Shelby Residential and Vocational Services, go to http://www.srvs.org/
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.
She previously worked for a variety of news media organizations as an editor and journalist, including The Associated Press in Mississippi and Texas. She was news director at WLOK-AM and WGKX KIX-106 FM in Memphis. Learn more
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