Thursday, October 20, 2011

Benjamin Davis is the CBS Harold Dow Visiting Professor

Benjamin Davis, an award-winning broadcast journalist and digital journalism professor, has been hired as the CBS Harold Dow Visiting Professor at Florida A&M University (FAMU).

Davis, a two-time Columbia-Alfred du Pont award winner, has 30 years of experience working for major broadcast companies such as ABC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC.COM and National Public Radio. He also was an adjunct professor at Rutgers University School of Journalism in New Jersey, where he gained nine years of experience teaching courses in broadcast and digital journalism. Davis is an entrepreneur who developed the Digital Media Pyramid writing style and founded, a company that helps major media companies locate diversity experts.  He also worked with students at Rutgers to create, a website geared to 16- to 25-year-olds.

“I hope to live up to the expectations that Harold Dow would have wanted, which are pretty high,” said Davis.

Dow was a long-time CBS News correspondent who came to FAMU and spoke to students as part of the Division of Journalism’s 35th anniversary in 2009.  Dow died unexpectedly in August 2010. CBS officials announced last year they would donate funds to support hiring a visiting professor as part of its diversity initiative and as a tribute to Dow.

Crystal Johns, CBS news director of development and diversity, said, “We are very happy to support a program that will be such a wonderful recognition of all that Harold Dow embodied.”

Davis will be teaching broadcast news writing and broadcast announcing classes. He also plans to “teach students about the digital media pyramid, which is a model I created to replace the more than century-old inverted pyramid...” 

A luncheon reception to honor Davis is scheduled for Oct. 14 with the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Board of Visitors (BOV) and faculty. 

The CBS Harold Dow Visiting Professor position will be funded for three years by CBS, according to SJGC Dean James Hawkins, Ph.D.

“This professorship will strengthen the quality of our broadcast journalism program, to another level,” Hawkins said. “Our students will be even more competitive when they are ready to enter the world of work.”

Hawkins also thanked Kim Godwin - who is a senior producer for the CBS Evening News, an SJGC alumna and BOV member for lobbying CBS for this professorship.

The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication was founded in 1982. Its Division of Journalism was the first journalism program at a historically black university to be nationally accredited by the ACEJMC. It offers four journalism sequences: newspaper, magazine production, broadcast (radio and television) and public relations.

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