Lanetra Bennett – Multimedia Journalist — Morgan Elise Martin

Nowadays, being a reporter consists of more than just a pretty face and a strong voice. Lanetra Bennett, reporter at WCTV-CBS affiliate in Tallahassee, shared the lifestyle and every day routine of a multimedia journalist. On June 8, 2017 at 11:05 a.m. after the Board of Trustees meeting she informed me there are no videographers…”I […]

via Lanetra Bennett – Multimedia Journalist — Morgan Elise Martin

Embracing your comfort blanket

As a child, I never wanted or needed a comfort blanket or stuffed animal to keep me safe from any perceived harm. Not judging: At least one of my siblings needed the warm touch of an outside object to migrate through infancy to childhood. I also know there are hundreds of children who benefit from comfy blankets or stuffed animals to ease tough transitions.

Linus van Pelt of Peanuts

Yet, in my adulthood, I acquired items that morphed into my comfort blankets. In 1982, received two crocheted and knitted blankets that marked the birth of my oldest son. A friend carefully crafted the yellow and white blanket for my newborn; the multi-colored blanket was designed for my covering during naps from taking care of my baby son.

As life progressed, I would increasingly seek out the yellow blanket and used it to cover each of my three children and my grandchildren during their nap times. While covering the young ones with the blanket, I transferred my prayers for them from me. It gave me comfort and I believe my utterings and the heavier than normal blanket was like a big hug to the napper.

Today, the yellow blanket is my visual reminder of the beautiful passage of time. I keep it in my home office as inspiration for my writing projects and an occasional warm wrap on my shoulders.

The larger, orange, brown and yellow blanket was made for me by my grandmother, “Mama Helen” Douthy. My family, household guests and I have snuggled under the multi-colored blanket.  The blanket seems to have a secret power to immediately place the user into a snug sleep. When Mama Helen died in November 2008, I placed her blanket over my comforter for at least a year to help with my grief for a lady who taught me many things in life, including how to knit and crochet.

Whatever object one finds comfort in —  pacifiers as babies and a single memory item for one nearing the end of life, it brings the user some reconciliation with uneasy points of life. It was Researcher D.W. Winnicott who coined the phrase “transitional object” (1951) to what I call comfort items. I remember that on a police ride-along in DeKalb County,Georgia a decade ago, my “partner” sergeant had a few teddy bears in his vehicle in case we encountered domestic situations that involved children whose trauma could be eased with the hug of a warm, stuffed animal.

I am proud of my comfort blankets. They are symbols like those used during spiritual ceremonies and even by professional athletes.  I worked with the host committee for the 1995 Olympic Games and became familiar with several comfort or good luck items and rituals prior to events. For instance, the 2016  Olympic Games in Rio included three-time parathelete, Army 1Lt., Purple Star and Bronze Medalist Melissa Stockwell always places a small picture of her son and husband on her bike and eats special candy the night before a race.

Author Brian Mayne, “Self Mapping: How to Awaken to your True Self,” suggests that adults should embrace their transitional objects … What’s your comfort blanket?”


Bobby Henry Sr. is the Recipient of the 2017 Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award – National Association of Black Journalists

Source: Bobby Henry Sr. is the Recipient of the 2017 Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award – National Association of Black Journalists

Endurance: Tips for mental strength and spiritual stamina

My mother’s pastor, Dr. Barbara King, author and founder/minister of Atlanta’s Hillside International Truth Center, teaches weekly courses on life skills that promote “New Thought” principles and related insight. Her Wednesday classes are so popular that they are live streamed and archived on the church’s website on a limited basis.

One of the handouts to the “truth students” by Dr. Barbara resonates with me. It is written by a wise individual who wished to remain anonymous. It reads as follows:

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

  1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
  2. They don’t give away their power.
  3. They don’t shy away from change.
  4. They don’t waste energy on things they can’t control.
  5. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone.
  6. They don’t fear taking calculated risks.
  7. They don’t dwell on the past.
  8. They don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
  9. They don’t resent other people’s success.
  10. They don’t give up after the first failure.
  11. They don’t fear alone time.
  12. They don’t feel the world owes them anything.
  13. They don’t expect immediate results. — Anonymous

Thank you for the reminder, Mom.


In the accompanying photo, I am holding one of Hillside’s non-denominational monthly publications with daily, positive thoughts.  I love Hillside for what it has brought out of me to aid me in navigating this great life. 









My ‘pre-existing’ experience: Ailing prognosis on Trump Administration’s new medical listing

In 1986 when my twin son was a few months old, he was refused coverage by our medical insurance company because he had a pre-existing condition. As a result, the Atlanta neurologist who — bi-weekly — reviewed and offered diagnosis for our son based on his EEG lab work, always provided us with a per visit invoice of $1,000.00.

Being denied medical care in the United States because of pre-existing conditions or due to stiff insurance premium hikes, is wrong.

It was wrong in 1986. It is wrong in 2017.  John Kimbrough had a pre-existing condition. His birth caused a severe umbilical hernia.  Upon his delivery by C-Section, the first born of the twins was  whisked away from the delivery room due to my high risk pregnancy and anticipated difficult birth. The second twin, Jocelyn, was born with respiratory issues that were resolved within minutes.

John was fortunate. A surgeon who specialized in intestinal procedures with infants, missed his flight home to Asia and was on-call when John arrived in the surgical room. John lived and his surgery that resulted in a star placed where his belly button should be, has been a blessing. Now nearing 31 years of age,  John is a young man who withstood bacterial meningitis at age 3 months that resulted in Petit Mal seizures, which left him with partial hearing loss and ultimately, he completely lost his eye sight.

When John’s sight completely left his last functioning eye, we took him to the hospital and after review of his case, we were called into a room with two hospital administrators.  They told us that it we would have to provide the hospital with a $1,000.00 cash deposit on John’s surgery to hopefully repair the sight in his right eye. We didn’t immediately have it. Once we produced the money — three days later — the Atlanta hospital scheduled the surgery. Who knows if John had the surgery immediately upon his blindness if he would be able to see today? Yet, today, John bravely begins the full evaluation of a kidney transplant operation. Soon, his older brother, twin sister, father and me along with other family and friends will learn if we are the perfect match for John’s kidney transplant procedure.

My vision dimmed as I contemplated John’s future that would include paying out of pocket for his health care.  It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

I praised the passage of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.  It allowed everyone access to affordable health care. Today, I loudly condemn the repeal of ACA by the recent U.S. House approval. Its repeal allows insurance carriers to determine (again) if patients are outright denied coverage or have to pay higher premiums for pre-existing medical conditions. The bi-partisan list of pre-existing conditions causes my skin to crawl and tears well in my eyes. One denial is too many. How dare the ill-advised Congress determine the life and death of thousands of our Americans by their vote? Whether fully denied coverage or huge hikes in health care premiums result from what could be the Senate’s passage of the Obamacare repeal, this messing-with the Obamacare health care law is a political debacle.

Looking forward to the U.S. Senate rejecting the bill. For more facts on this matter, see

Graduates: How to transfer your ‘top of the world’ status into on the ground results

The season of commencements is one of the most joyful periods in the cycle of life

Even more than New Year’s celebrations,  the season of moving the tassels atop the mortarboards from right to left, symbolizes a new season for graduates and their loved ones.

The congratulations are abundant for graduates during this season. Yet, there is that dreaded, proverbial  ‘day after’ when anxious thoughts and feelings creep into the brand new graduates’ mental space. It is at this intersection where I will offer a few tips on how how graduates, their parents and other family members, friends and others connected to the newly minted alumni can successfully transition to life after graduation:

  1. Savor and digest the collective “moment.” Savor by soaking up the positive and challenging words, hugs, kisses, tears and awakening from everyone and everything you encounter. Digest all that is good and store it away.
  2. Honor those loved ones who were not present — either due to death or inability to travel to the graduate’s location. Thank them for wiling the graduate onto the finish line.
  3. Save the graduation cards. Place the cards in your vision books or scan them or find another way to store them. Memorize the great words on the cards that resonate with your soul.  Make those words your new affirmations or mantras. I still have my high school and graduation cards from three decades ago. When times seem thin or if I just want to celebrate, I refer to those great words of light.
  4. Focus and listen — even if no one around you is listening — to the words of wisdom from your graduation speakers. Most graduation speakers’ names are forgotten unless s/he is famous. However, all speakers often have great nuggets of wisdom to offer graduates. I have found the graduation speakers’ remarks useful in many areas of my life.
  5. Take self inventory.  What do you know and what do you believe that you don’t know? Honesty is essential for success in this example. Many graduates feel the pressure of suddenly being smart because they are receiving a new ticket to a brighter future. Yet, the hardest question to answer for most folk is: What are you going to do with your degree? If you do not yet have the answer to that question, take advantage of the short period between graduation and your next opportunity to fully answer that question. Don’t try to reach for the ‘rest of your life’ answers; start with what you plan to do during the first the first year to five years.
  6. Plan your next steps. Begin your next phase of planning with a few categories of intention that feed off of what you just completed from #5 (see above). Place the following heads atop the page of your initial life’s plans: “Personal,” “Professional,” “Financial,” “Spiritual” and “Other.” For instance, I annually review my goals or plans and make adjustments accordingly.  If not at first, eventually, all of your categories should be in sync.
  7. Time for ‘the talk.’  If you have completed #s 5 and 6, then prepare for ‘the talk” with your parents, grandparents, siblings and other loved ones about your next steps. Far too many graduates are anxious because they have not provided honest or well thought replies to your family members who wish to learn about your immediate plans. I know of one student who is terrified of telling her father that she chose a new major and it is journalism and not a technology or science major.  She needs to be well-armed with the facts that the new forms of multimedia communication is indeed a STEM career. Salaries are rising for individuals who possess a journalism or public relations and especially a graphic design degree, on average will earn salaries higher than or equal to their counterparts with business or technology degrees.
  8. Prepare to “adult.” It means that college grads must find ways to make your prospective return to your parents’ home a short stay. We are all aware that student loan debt for the class of 2016 was more than $37,000 per capita, according to the 2017 website. However, be prepared to save, repay your investment and read to understand your new workplace benefits package. Don’t forget to pay into your retirement. High school grads will be required to minimally wake up yourself and attend courses.
  9. Relax, relate and release. Call on your mentors to remind you of how much road you have ahead of you to travel. Enjoy the journey and shake off those things that do not benefit you.
  10. Smile. Enjoy your great life. I see so many graduates frowning before their names were called and they walked across the stage to accept their diploma covers and receive congratulatory handshakes. Similar to what I stated in #9, enjoy every aspect of your life. Graduating from high school or college means you are at an advantage than most of your counterparts around the world.

Ann Wead Kimbrough is the dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida. She is also the mother of three adult children who graduated from high schools, colleges and universities, religious and military programs.











Where have I been?

The first rule of blogging is consistency.

I blew the first rule so I will make up for my lengthy absence by filling my blog pages with relevant and regular content that ranges from the public’s right to know via the free press to lessons learned on the campus of Florida A&M University. That range may seem to violate another blog helpful hint and that is to keep the blog topics much more narrow.

However, the beauty of blogging is that is one’s preference as to what to write for the desired audience. My primary audience remains college students, especially multimedia majors, their parents and guardians and colleagues engaged in higher education and communications areas.  There are several other curious souls who are populated by former college classmates, family, friends around the globe and the curious.

I will kick off my return to my blog site with a summary of what my primary focus has been regarding my life over the last two years. It has been my physical, mental and spiritual health.  A year ago, I made up my mind to kick my addiction to sugar and all foods that are “bad” for me.  I just completed my annual physical exam and the results from the lab tests, heart check and related reviews are fantastic. My weight is down more than 60 pounds. It was important for me to move away from the negative eating habits that were leading me to the unhealthy path of diabetes. The benefit is that I feel better in all aspects.

I constantly work on my mental and spiritual health. Thanks to great foundational teachings from the spiritual leaders at Atlanta’s Hillside Chapel & Truth Center and The Word of Truth Christian Center, I’ve spent the last 30 years being deliberate about this important area of my life. The results are still coming in as I have great “teachers” encouraging me to pray without ceasing, meditate more and be still. I don’t always get it right, yet I know how and where to go to receive the guidance to turn around.

I have to shout out the meditations delivered by Oprah and Deepak.  The words of T.D. Jakes, Jr., the writings of the late Og Mandino and Florence Shinn, and the countless hours of great messages delivered to me from my favorites Dr. Barbara King, Iyanla Vanzant, Apostle Leon Hollinshed, Pastor Lee Johnson,  Na’im Akbar, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Phil, Louise Hay, Rev. Michael Beckwith and so many more. I read everything that brings encouragement so that I may transfer most of my learnings and beliefs to the students enrolled in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, Florida A&M University.

So let the renewed blogging journey begin. Stay tuned for exciting stuff that is will not be neatly categorized by topics, people, places and things.

Yes, I am not taking my own advice that I have given my new student bloggers. I know.


SJGC and BTNC host successful “Community Conversation”

FAMU SJGC is delighted with this partnership that benefits HBCUs, all students interested in new media, national and worldwide audiences, and the greater Tallahassee economy.

FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication

The Florida A&M University School of Journalism & Graphic Communication recently hosted a “Community Conversation” to update Tallahassee leaders, students and faculty on the progress of the debut of the nation’s first 24-hour news network targeted to African American viewers. See enclosed for the update:

Community Conversation update


The mission of Black Television News Channel network is to produce intelligent programming that is informative, educational, entertaining, inspiring, and empowering for distribution to the network’s African American audience.


  • Recruit and train aspiring black journalists.
  • Give voice to an under-served community.
  • Build bridges to connect the nation’s many diverse cultures.
  • Facilitate a national conversation about the many challenges facing our urban communities.
  • Engage Black viewers in our nation’s social, economic and political debates.
  • Create a platform for Black news-makers to reach their constituents.
  • Showcase African American achievers creating positive role models for black youth.
  • Produce and…

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