Grads Are Back: Digital Story Telling and ‘Giants’ Screening





By Jada Gadson

“Egos out the window, whatever it takes to get the project made is what we do.” was one of the numerous tips given by James Bland at last night’s Digital Storytelling panel and GIANTS screening.

The panel moderated by Ameer Brown (Adobe), included Florida A&M University alum James Bland (“GIANTS”), Daniel Ware (Coors Light), Valeria Sistrunk (Content News), CJ Faison (AT&T Ent. Group & “GIANTS”), Takara Joseph (OWN & “GIANTS”) provided current SJGC students and recent grads with successful tips to guide them as the up and coming generation of content creators and influencers. The event also included a sneak peek screening of the second season of GIANTS, airing on Issa Rae’s YouTube channel.

Digital Storytelling is the millennial process of conveying personal life stories and creative imaginings with others through the use of accessible media and technologies. With use of various video-sharing sites, these stories can easily be uploaded and shared for an international audience. Simone Williams, a 2nd year journalism student said “I like that it seemed that all the members of the panel were risk takers.” Risk taking is a major part of digital storytelling, and something one must anticipate when storytelling.

Valeria Sistrunk, a digital anchor for Content News, spoke on how social media reaches a larger audience than local TV stations and allows for more opinionated reporting. As a former reporter at various TV stations, Sistrunk spoke on how as a journalist she was told not to have an opinion on political issues and how she used her Facebook to overcome that and actively voice her opinion as a Black woman. “I was literally the only black person at my station, from the ground up” said Sistrunk as she recalled her first job as a reporter in Wisconsin. She spoke on how she was often over-looked and made to feel like her opinion didn’t matter. Her video on why Love & Basketball is the worst love movie ever, went viral with over 1.4M views. You can be yourself and allow your personality to be seen when storytelling via digital sources.

Marketing was also an important topic covered throughout the night, as digital storytelling and the use of sponsored ads go hand in hand. “As a PR major I appreciated many of the tips given to us by Daniel. He’s really doing his thing in the world of marketing and I admire that.” said D’Andre Sealy a 3rd year Public Relations student. Daniel Ware, who works in the marketing department for Coors Light, spoke on how targeting the right demographic when digital storytelling is very important. It is also important to organically place ads within your content, so that it doesn’t seem forced or planted to the viewers.

“Giving firsthand experience on how about what the real life is and doing their work” said Christina Hunter a fourth-year Broadcast Journalism student, when asked what her favorite part of the panel was. She spoke on how she appreciated them for coming back and giving current SJGC students a view of what to expect and how to plan for it.

For more information on digital storytelling make sure to follow all of the panelists and don’t forget to watch the premiere of the second season of GIANTS in February 2018.

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