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2022 Journalism Summit: Time Capsule-Then and Now

(l)Tawfiq Muhsen, (c) A. Hussein, (r) Michael Bell

(STX-December 10, 2022, staff). Local media joined a group of national and international guests invited by students of the University of the Virgin Islands Association of Black Journalists (UVIABJ) a successful virtual series of lectures, held last month via virtual format. 

The 2022 UVIABJ Journalism summit, held its second two-day conference in an effort to discuss solutions to social problems affecting marginalized communities with a wide arrange of knowledgeable, inspiring, and influential speakers and panelists. “It was our pleasure to invite the UVI body and Virgin Islanders to our 2nd  annual journalism summit.” said UVIABJ President Nadege Barber.”

Our theme, ‘Time Capsule: Then and Now,’ expressed our efforts to be inclusive and wise in the journalism and media field.”

The first session featured Virgin Islands radio talk show host Neville James, who shared his experiences as a radio personality in the territory. James’s tips for up-and-coming students in the communication field included common-sense advice. He emphasized that media professionals should pay attention to detail, expand their vocabulary, and embrace the advancement of technology.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Melvin Claxton followed in the next breakaway discussion with a plethora of knowledge and stories to share. “At its very core, journalism is about one thing: the search for the truth…It’s about how we get to the truth, and once we get there, we explain to the people what it is,” stated Claxton.

Other speakers, such as VIYA Vice President of Public relations and Governmental Affairs Jennifer Matarangas-King, UVI Creative Assistant Director Lab Leslyn Tonge, “Unstoppable Yes You” Podcaster Curlis Phillip, and award-winning TV producer Eva Coleman, offered their insight, experiences, and recommendations to eager, young media hopefuls during their breakout session.

Taylor Pretty” Honore, Distractify
Curlis Phillip, uyy

These powerful and successful women in the communication field were inspirations to people of color, especially women who want to follow in their footsteps.

International topics were tackled by activist for Middle-Eastern rights Ahmad Hussein and UVI student panelists Tawfiq Muhsen and Waniya Baig. In their session, they brought awareness to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the injustice

Palestinians endure persistently that often goes unreported or misrepresented. The three also discussed the right of women to choose whether to wear their hijab.

“The 2022 UVIABJ Journalism summit was a spectacular opportunity for audiences to learn about and discuss news and media concepts and challenges of regional, national, and international importance,” said UVIABJ PR Director Carlos Eton. “Besides featuring amazing presentations and discussions by acclaimed media and journalism professionals, audiences were also given recommendations on how to pursue careers in media.”

Students of COM 119 and COM 120 at UVI shared videos and recited exceptional poetry. Selections included  I’m Articulate by social justice author Jamilah Lyiscott and Brotha’ Man by R&B/Soul singer–songwriter Kem.

Cameron Brooks recites a section from “I’m Articulate.”

UVI students also read articles published in UVI Voice 2.0, the student-generated online newspaper. Finally, three lucky winners won swag bags, courtesy of VIYA, during raffles between sessions.

The Journalism Summit was sponsored in part by the Department of Communication & Performing Arts, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, USVI Department of Economic Development Authority, Muhsen Supermarket, LLC, VIYA, Smart Signs of St. Thomas, Crucian Gold, and Optimal Printing. UVIABJ stated that they were proud to partner with these exemplary community and social entities.

“ The summit is a great way for the community near or far, to gain new knowledge to grow their skills, and to take something away from our numerous panels throughout two days,” stated UVIABJ Vice President Michael Bell.

“My hope is that everyone who attended the UVIABJ summit will see the hard work and great potential and showcase that UVIABJ has brought once again.”


Mr. Melvin Claxton, Detroit, MI

       VIYA VP J. Matarangus-King
          Dr. Leslyn Tonge UVI
Shaneya Forbes (r), Alonzo Moore (l) Selah Martinez (front right).
Radio PersonalityCommunication influencer Neville James and UViAJB President N Barber

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