MCJR Week Ends in a Bitter Sweet Retirement Observance


Dr. Stanley Tickton and Dr. Paula Briggs

Nobody can tell a story like a mass communications and journalism graduate, especially a mass communications major from Norfolk State’s program. And, the stories flowed like fine champagne during the culmination event, a retirement celebration for Dr. Paula Briggs (29 years) and Dr. Stanley Tickton (42), during the finale of the 11th Annual Mass Communications and Journalism Week (MCJR) held April 4-7. One of our dinner companions said, “I can’t even imagine staying at job that long.” Alumnus after alumnus made their way center stage to talk about how the two veteran professors helped shape them as students and then later as professionals. Thank-you was the major theme throughout the reminiscing and storytelling as each speaker placed a live flower in a vase for each retiree, making a “living bouquet.”

Derek Blanks

Keynote speaker Derek Blanks

MCJR Week kicked off on April 4 with iconic photographer and visual artist, Derek Blanks serving as the keynote speaker. Blanks is sought after by media brands like CoverGirl, ESSENCE, BET Networks and Sony Music Entertainment, to name a few. In addition, he frequently sought out for celebrities’ personal photo sessions including the Alter Ego, as made popular by NeNe Leakes of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta. A series of panel discussions and boot camps were also held covering a gamut of subjects from women in the media, social media and the modern-day news landscape, graduate school and goal setting for a career in the media. Media professionals from here in Hampton Roads and around the country participated. “No matter where our graduates are, when we call on them they always respond,” said Dr. Wanda Brockington during the retirement fete. Anita Blanton, from WAVY Channel 10; Kurt Williams, News Channel 3; Stan Donaldson, NSU Media Relations Director; and Charlitta Rodrigues, from CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper, were just a few of the professionals who participated in this year’s MCJR Week.

The MCJR Awards Luncheon was held on Thursday, April 7, and highlighted the accomplishments of students, faculty and staff within the mass communications and journalism department. Student journalists and broadcasters from The Spartan Echo, WNSB and participants in the National Broadcasting Society (NBS) received awards for excellence in journalism, outstanding service and excellence in leadership.

For highlights of all the happenings during MCJR Week, visit


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