Department of Communications

Nashville mourns the death of Getahn Ward, The Tennessean business reporter, TSU alum, former editor of The Meter and adjunct professor.  He was admired for his journalism and his community, church and personal service.  He died Saturday, December 16, at his home after a brief illness.

Getahn Ward’s life crisscrossed mine for over 20 years causing me to think of him as my best student that I never taught.

 It all started at TSU.

Ward came to TSU as a student from Liberia shorty after I left the faculty to teach in Florida.  He soon became editor of the TSU student newspaper, The Meter.  I had been Meter adviser for a decade.  We began to hear of each other and he sought me out for advice.

His career moved to reporting for the Nashville Banner, then business reporter for The Tennessean.  Mine moved to the University of South Florida in Tampa then the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, FL, an international school for professional journalists.  I rose from Poynter faculty to dean then President.

During that time Ward attended programs at Poynter twice and we talked.  I admired his quiet smarts in making connections and getting things done, his instincts for helping others and his passion for journalism.

When I retired from Poynter in 2014, I returned to Nashville and taught a class or two each semester at TSU.  Ward was my colleague.  He taught an early morning journalism class before going to The Tennessean, so we talked teaching techniques and resources.  He was energetic, creative and willing to share with me and with students and to seek my advice.

I resumed membership at Nashville’s Born Again Church, and found Getahn servicing as usher and deacon.  He led an annual cultural day of short speeches, food, dance and other expressions of the nations represented by members.  He and his committee put young people out front and upheld two of Born Again’s values: expressions of the arts in worship and excellence in all things.

Most Sunday’s after church Getahn and I spotted each other in the lobby and talked in the driveway.  He gave me updates on the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists since I was back and forth to Tampa.  We talked about family, school, and the news, especially his stories.

Ward’s business reporting exemplified the journalism I championed at Poynter.

He was on top of changes in a fast-growing Nashville. He broke the news but also brought context and completeness.  Reading his work was a daily treat.

I got a call Saturday from my friend, Sandra Long Weaver, an NABJ founder, TSU adjunct and current adviser to The Meter. She told me of Getahn’s death. 

The shock and the sorrow are deep for me and for others, but so is the inspiration.  He touched so many.  He achieved so much.  What are we doing with our lives?

May we savor the time we had with Getahn; may we grow from his example.   May he be long remembered and loved.

Karen Brown Dunlap


 Journalism students win 3 awards at the 2016 Southeast Journalism Conference and 5 Tennessee Associated Press student awards.

 The Life and Times of Paul Laurence Dunbar, "Jingle in a Broken Tongue": February 21-23 at 7PM  PASB 127 - The Black Box

TSU Forensics team have won over 3,000 total lifetime awards.

Hands-On Learning

From theatrical set construction, working on an advertising campaign, participating in a 48 hour film challenge, covering a news story to developing an effective corporate presentation.

Thank you for your interest in Tennessee State University and its Department of Communications.  We offer three areas of concentration:

  • Mass Communication  (4 tracks in:  Journalism, Film & Television Production, Integrated Marketing Communications and Media Leadership & Performance)
  • Theatre  (2 tracks in: Performance and Production)
  • Communication Studies (2 tracks in: Cultural Communication, Health Communication)

Mass Communications

C-MAP The Center for Media Arts and Production: All Platform Production

At TSU we stress a hands-on approach to learning in a multi-media environment.  C-MAP includes:  The TSU News Network, WTST, TSU TV, Tenn State IMC Agency, PAC House Productions, the  BluePrint (online magazine), and the Meter (newspaper, housed under Student Affairs).  Our faculty bring a blend of scholarly activity and creative professional work to the classroom.  Students also learn each other through their work in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities that complement formal instruction.

TSU TV News, Sports and Entertainment programs are produced by students in a state-of-the-art studio with two studio sets and a multi-row control room.  Video news and production now features 18 Avid or 16 Final Cut Pro video edit work stations.  WTST, Tennessee State University Campus Radio, is our student-run radio station and is open to all students.  The station is now in brand new facilities.  Students have won hundreds of awards in recent years.  The program now features an annual student 48 hour film challenge.  In new media, the TSU News Network is a new entity involving the multiplatform distribution of student media.

Theatrical Productions

The theatre faculty and students produce two major productions per year. Theatre was selected for national recognition for 2 productions, Ruined and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill.  The theatre program is rich in its history and uses the beautiful Cox-Lewis Theater as its centerpiece.

Communications Studies

Preparing you for a variety of careers

Communication Studies promotes the responsible use of communication as a tool in a variety of situations: interpersonal, small group, intercultural, and corporate settings. Students gain an understanding of how communication serves as the organizing feature of relationships:  interpersonal, work, societal and more.

At the TSU Department of Communications, we're small enough to know you, big enough to challenge you and diverse enough to stretch you. We've been in the communications education business for many years, not only adapting to, but leading the changes in our remarkable field.   We look forward to meeting you and hope you will join us in your journey.

Contact Us for More Information

Department of Communications

Dr. Tameka Winston, Interim Department Chair

Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN 37209

(615) 963-5804

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