News releases about COMM

 June 9, 2016

Two TSU Professors Nominated for Top Nashville Leadership Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University professors are among this year’s nominees for Nashville’s Emerging Leaders Awards.

Dr. Tameka Winston

The awards are sponsored by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville. They recognize professionals younger than 40 who have made significant accomplishments in their chosen field and contributions to the community.

There are five nominees in each of the 15 categories.

Dr. De’Etra Young

Dr. Tameka Winston, assistant professor of Communications; and Dr. De’Etra Young, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, were nominated in the Education, and the Environment and Sustainability categories.

A committee of community leaders and industry experts chose the nominees. Finalists will be announced at a reception June 22 at Cheekwood.

“We are excited to announce this talented group of finalists for the 2016 NELAs,” said Ralph Schulz, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “These young professionals possess strong leadership skills, and their commitment to the community is important to the future prosperity of the Nashville region.”

Winston, a 2015 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 Award winner, called her nomination “a wonderful platform” to represent her university.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized with such a talented group of professionals,” she said.

Young said she is honored to be recognized as a nominee in the Environment and Sustainability category in a city with a number of environmental and sustainability programs and initiatives.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to these programs and initiatives as a member of Metro’s Tree Advisory Committee, and Urban Green Lab’s Board of Directors,”  said Young, who is president of the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University 3500 John Merritt Boulevard Nashville, Tennessee 37209 615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at


TSU Staff Member Sings Back-Up for Barry Manilow with Local Choir

 May 1, 2016

     Tennessee State University Television Operations Manager Sean Laflin was recently honored to sing on stage with music icon Barry Manilow.  Laflin is part of the group, “Nashville In Harmony”, which had a select group join Manilow for his “One Last Time” concert tour show in Nashville.  The concert packed Bridgestone Arena Thursday night, April 28, 2016.  36 Members of Nashville In Harmony learned music and choreography to Manilow’s final three numbers for the show.  The songs were “I Write The Songs”, “Copa Cobana” and “It’s A Miracle”.
     Nashville In Harmony is a 140-member choir that “uses music to build community and create social change”.   Their outreach programs have included singing for Nashville’s Mayoral Inauguration, Nashville’s Jewish Temple Shabat Service and a memorial service for Nashville Civil Rights Pioneer Julian Bond.  Laflin will also be part of the choir for their main summer stage show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in downtown Nashville June 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

                Laflin has worked at TSU since 2009 as a staff member and instructor in the Department of Communications and serves as the TV Operations Manager. 




"Talking Tigers" fare well nationally in Forensics tournaments

April 22, 2016

      The TSU Talking Tigers have officially concluded their landmark season with a number of national awards. Over spring break six students competed in the 86Th Annual Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament held at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Competing against schools from all across the country, Tennessee States' Barbra Dudley (Junior, Indianapolis, IN) advanced to elimination rounds and placed 19th in the nation out of 112 competitors in debate. "It was an incredibly competitive tournament," said Dudley, "I was honored to have represented TSU." Freshman Jose Lazo (Smyrna, TN) also advanced to elimination rounds in Extemporaneous Speaking and Informative Speaking, collectively placing 30th in the nation out of over 200 competitors in each event. Tomale Williams (Freshman, Chicago, IL) was also honored with a quarter-finals appearance in Impromptu Speaking, an event that boasted over 300 qualifiers in 2016. Williams collectively placed 26th in the nation. As a team TSU finished in 18th place out of 115 colleges and universities qualified for the tournament. 

     Topping off the season, TSU competed in the 38th Annual National Forensics Association Tournament held at Ball State University on April 14-21. The Talking Tigers qualified eleven students to the tournament. Junior John Nix (Franklin, TN) advanced to the Octo-Finals rounds in Rhetorical Criticism while teammate Jose Lazo advanced to the Octo-Finals rounds in Extemporaneous Speaking. As a team TSU entered into the tournament at a Division III status based on the number of qualified entries in the tournament. Out of 97 teams the Talking Tigers were awarded with 10th Place at the National Tournament. 

The team will be celebrating their 2015-2016 season with an awards reception to be held on May 4th at 5PM in the Faculty dining hall, all are welcome to attend. 



TSU Journalism Students Win Six State Associated Press Awards

by TSU NEWS (2) on April 9, 2016

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) –Tennessee State University students win five radio and television news and sports categories in the 2015-2016 Tennessee Associated Press student contest.  The Tennessee AP Broadcaster and Managing Editors awards were presented Saturday April 9 at the First Amendment Center in Nashville.

TN AP received 205 entries from universities in the southeast region. These TSU students were finalists in their respective categories: 

2nd place - Best Online Sports Coverage-Program- Cedric Beene, Micah Kennedy,           Josh Walden, Paige Jefferson;

2nd place - Best Inline Sports Program- Kierra Ewah-Washington

3rd place - Best Radio Specialized Topic Reporting- Melody Scales;

3rd place - Best Radio Investigative In-Depth Reporting- Ryan Parham, Tierra           Kimball, Marvel Wade;

3rd place - Best Investigative In-Depth Reporting- J. Michaux;

“We have been working hard for several years to implement best practices in multimedia, open our Center for Media Arts and Production and hire innovative faculty,” said Dr. Terry Likes, Department Chair/Professor of Journalism. “We are thrilled for our students that their hard work is paying dividends with this recognition from professional journalists.”  

The students competed in a variety of categories such as Best TV Radio or TV Newscast, Best Radio Reporter and Best Investigative/Indepth report.  TSU competed against entrants from MTSU, Vanderbilt University, UT-Chattanooga, Lipscomb, East Tennessee State, U-T Martin, Trevecca Nazarene, Austin Peay, Belmont, and U-T Knoxville.

Department of Media Relations
Lucas Johnson: 615.963.5312

Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209



TSU Media Professor Wins Seven Tennessee Associated Press Awards

by TSU NEWS (2) on April 11, 2016 · LEAVE A COMMENT · in FACULTY, NEWS                 

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – The 2016 awards presentation for the best journalism in broadcast and print was held Saturday, April 9, in Nashville at the Marriott Vanderbilt. Department of Communications Chair and Full Professor, Dr. Terry Likes, captured seven total awards in five different categories.  Likes’ reports aired on the Tennessee Radio Network with a variety of topics ranging from the popular culture, news and sports.  Likes’ honors included the following:

Best Enterprise:

1st place- “Truth, tabloids and trust: Declining confidence in the news media”

Best Light Feature Story:

2nd place-“TV Catch Phrases, popular culture to mainstream America”

Best Serious News Story:

1st place- “Pay for play: Unionization and Paying College Athletes”

2nd place- “Truth, tabloids and trust: Declining confidence in the news media”

Best Sports Feature:

1st place-“Pay for play: Unionization and Paying College Athletes”

Best Use of Sound:

1st place-“TV Catch Phrases, popular culture to mainstream America”

2nd place- “Pay for play: Unionization and Paying College Athletes”

Also this year, Likes’ reports have netted one national and regional award from the Broadcast Education Association and three awards from the National Broadcasting Society. 

“It is an honor to represent TSU in this regard,” said Dr. Likes. “It is important for professors to remain active in the discipline in which they teach.”

Likes has won over 70 awards during his career including honors from the Broadcast Education Association, Southeast Journalism Conference, Kentucky Associated Press, National Broadcasting Society and the National Press Club.  Since joining TSU in 2008, students from Likes’ classes have also won over sixty awards from the TN Associated Press, Southeast Journalism Conference, Society of Professional Journalists and National Broadcasting Society.


NASHVILLE (TSU News) – The 2016 awards presentation for the best journalism in broadcast, print and online was held Friday, Feb. 19, at the Southeast Journalism Conference, hosted by the Austin Peay State University of Clarksville, TN.  

SEJC includes its “Best of the South” contest.   In the “Best of the South, Tennessee State University awards included the individual categories of:

‪*2nd Place Best Radio Hard News Reporter - Ashley Parmer

‪*10th Place Best Sports Writer - Todd Dean

‪*10th Place Best Arts & Entertainment Writer - Miranda Brown 

 The Southeast Journalism Conference is a vibrant learning community of journalists honing their craft through professional development and the Best of the South Collegiate Journalism Competition. An organization comprised of nearly 50 member colleges and universities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, SEJC was created to encourage greater interest in student journalism and to form closer ties among journalism schools in the Southeast United States.

The Best of the South competition recognizes individual student journalists and university publications. The competition consists of 23 individual and 8 university categories. 


Press Release


Professor Brian Day was selected as a Faculty Fellow to attend the National Association of Television Production Executives Conference in Miami Beach from January 17th to January 20th.  This conference brings content creators and content distributors together in a convention marketplace.  In addition, the conference holds numerous panel discussions about a variety of current trends and issues in the professional media environment. Mass Communications student, Chasity Gowdy, was selected to be an intern at the conference which is  a great honor for her and for TSU.  She was one of only about 35 students who were selected to be interns. 



Press Release


TSU Forensics takes third in state

This last weekend the TSU Talking Tigers took on the top fourteen programs in the state of Tennessee at the thirty-sixth annual Intercollegiate Forensics State Championships. Overall the team brought home twenty-eight awards bringing the season total to one-hundred and seventy awards. Freshman Blakely Williams (Chicago, IL) started the pack off with a sixth place finish in dramatic interpretation followed by Classmate Lita Browning (Little Rock, AR) with fourth place and top novice awards in Extemporaneous Speaking. In Persuasive Speaking Junior Janet Jordan (Chicago, IL) placed sixth while Junior John Nix (Brentwood, TN) took third. Nix also placed sixth in informative Speaking, fourth in oral interpretation, third in duo interpretation, second in extemporaneous speaking and was declared the state champion in communication analysis and prose interpretation. Overall Nix earned third place out of 78 competitors in the individual sweepstakes division. Freshman Mel Williams (Chicago, IL) also performed incredibly well taking home third place in debate, third place and top novice honors in radio broadcasting and the title of runner-up state champion in duo interpretation with freshman partner Ashanti Holland (Indianapolis, IN). The Freshman duo of Lita Browning and Jose Lazo were declared top novices and state champions in duo, the first novice pair to have ever achieved such a feat in state history. Junior Shaylyn Rice also made history at the tournament by being declared the State Champion for two consecutive years in radio broadcasting. Overall the Talking Tigers took third place in the state a mere four points behind Belmont University and fifteen points behind the state champions of Carson Newman University. 




 Two Tennessee State University Mass Communication students were recently honored with a regional broadcasting award.


    Kody Carr (left in photo), a junior from Nashville, TN, and Marvel Wade (right in photo), a senior from Lansing, MI, received an Award of Excellence in the Student Production Competition from the Broadcast Education Association District 2.  The award was presented on Saturday, February 6, at BEA’s District 2 Regional Conference, held at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL.  TSU Communications professor Sheryl Morris accepted the award on the students’ behalf.

     Carr and Wade produced a story entitled “TSUTSPN Men’s Basketball Pre-Season Package.”  The story was a preview of the TSU Tigers men’s basketball season, and included interviews with players and coaches, as well as practice video.  Carr served as field producer for the story.  He conducted the interviews and assisted with the videography and editing.  Wade provided the voice talent for the story.

     TSPN (Tennessee State Sports Production Network) is a volunteer organization made up of students who produce sports stories and podcasts in an effort to gain practical field experience as sports broadcast journalists.  Professor Morris and Professor Tommy Booras serve as faculty advisers to TSPN, which has been active since 2013 in the Department of Communications at TSU.

Communications Department- Sheryl Morris, contact;


TSU Forensics team wins on the circuit; preps for Nationals


The TSU talking tigers travelled to St Louis on January 29 to participate in the 25th Annual Webster University Speech and Debate tournament. Freshmen Lita Browning (Little Rock, AR) and Jose Lazo (Smyrna,TN) won five of their six rounds advancing to the final four round of competition. "We had a great round against Hillsdale," said Lazo, "but we weren't able to pull off the win to advance to the championship round, we'll get there next time." Junior Shaylyn Rice (Birmingham, AL) advanced to the finals rounds of prose and program interpretation, taking 4th respectively in both events. Other event finalists included Sophomore Shana Woodland (Chicago, IL), Junior John Nix (Brentwood, TN) and Junior Janet Jordan (Chicago, IL). The combined effort of the Talking Tigers resulted in a fourth place finish overall.

With less than a week of preparation, the Tigers were at it again the weekend of February 6th at Murray State University of Kentucky. Lazo placed second in extemporaneous speaking while Browning finished fifth leaving Freshman Thomas Stewart (Atlanta, GA) with sixth place as the ninth student from TSU to qualify for the National Championships this season. Freshman Ashanti Holland (Indianapolis, IN) had a remarkable run in dramatic interpretation winning the tournament and becoming the tenth student at TSU to qualify for nationals this season. Juniors John Nix and Shaylyn Rice dominated the interpretation event taking first and second. Freshman Mel Williams (Chicago, IL) performed exceptionally well in radio and impromptu speaking taking sixth and fifth place bringing the total number of national qualifiers to eleven overall. As a team the Tigers were declared Tournament Champions beating Berry College, Western Kentucky University and twelve other schools from across the nation.  Now the team is focusing their attention on the state championships to be held at Carson Newman University the weekend of February 13 and 14.

Results from Murray State:

Jose Lazo 6th speaker at Murray

Lita Browning 8th speaker at MSU

John Nix 3rd speaker at Murray

Out of 42 speakers.

 TSU took 5th overall in debate sweeps out of ten schools.

 That brings the trophy count to 142 on the season.




I am pleased to inform you that your entry "TSPNTSU- Men's Basketball Pre-Season Package" was selected as an Award of Excellence winner in the BEA District 2 student production competition. Your entry will be screened at the upcoming BEA District 2 regional conference on February 6 at the University of Alabama.

Thank you for entering this year's competition and congratulations on your award and acceptance into the conference. 

Vic Costello, PhD
Production Competition Chair and BEA District 2 Board Representative

Associate Professor
Elon University School of Communications



Dr. Terry Likes,

I am pleased to inform you that your entry "Truth, tabloids and trust: Declining confidence in the news media" was selected as the Second Place winner of the BEA District 2 faculty production competition. Your entry will be screened at the upcoming BEA District 2 regional conference on February 6 at the University of Alabama.

Thank you for entering this year's competition and congratulations on your award and acceptance into the conference. I look forward to seeing you there!

Vic Costello, PhD
Production Competition Chair and BEA District 2 Board Representative

Associate Professor
Elon University School of Communications


Forensics team wins again

This last weekend marked the final tournament of the semester for the Talking Tigers Speech and Debate team. Traveling to the cold state of Ohio, the Tigers took on the Buckeyes of Ohio State and twenty other programs in the tenth annual Holiday Frolic. Freshman Jose Lazo qualified for the national tournament by taking 2nd Place in Impromptu Speaking with fellow freshman Lita Browning falling not too far behind in sixth place, also qualifying for nationals. Junior Janet Jordan qualified her second event for the national tournament by taking 5th Place in Prose Interpretation and finishing 4th in Persuasion. Sophomore Shana Woodland continued her season long success taking 3rd in Oral Interpretation and 2nd in Prose. Junior Shaylyn Rice finished 5th in Poetry and 4th in Prose behind Senior Aaron Walker who took 2nd in Poetry. Topping the pack for the Tigers was junior John Nix who placed 2nd in Oral Interpretation, 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking and was declared Tournament Champion in Communication Analysis. Overall NIx was the 4th Place Speaker in the tournament. As a team the Talking Tigers accumulated 238 points and took 2nd Place overall, losing to last year’s national champions, Western Kentucky University. 

Professor Winston honored


Dr. Tameka Winston, assistant professor in the TSU Department of Communications, received the 2015 Woman of Achievement Award for the state of Tennessee at the 35th Annual Women in Higher Education in Tennessee conference on today. Past award recipients include Dr. Shirley Raines who is the first female president of the University of Memphis. Dr. Raines won the award in 2012. The Woman of Achievement Award is presented to a dedicated leader who has earned admiration and respect, has vision and leads by example, faces challenges with grace and courage, and lives with dignity, integrity and honor. The conference took place at Middle Tennessee State University.

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