Henrico to hear arguments for renaming Byrd Middle School after someone, or something else

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – After months of discussion among students, parents and Henrico school leaders, the Henrico School Board will officially take public comments about changing the name of Harry F. Byrd Middle School. The West End school is named after the former United States Senator and Virginia Governor who, among other things, fought to keep Virginia schools segregated.

Read more on wtvr.com

About Me

“Originally from Norfolk, Va., I am a multimedia journalism and Spanish major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Since the young age of 9, I have desired the life of a journalist and have worked hard to make this dream come true. I was previously a staff member on VCU’s student newspaper, The Commonwealth Times, and write profiles for Urban Views Weekly. As a former reporter for Capital News Service, I served statewide publications by covering the General Assembly. With iPad Journos I produced content for CBS 6 WTVR’s website. Continue reading

SPJVPA16: Pros offer tips for editing copy

By Janeal Downs

A good news story means more than presenting information as an inverted pyramid and applying AP style. In today’s newsrooms, reporters also must be copy editors and turn in articles that are as ready for publication as possible.

At the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference, two experienced editors offered advice on how journalists can better copy-edit themselves. Karen Denny, director of the Annapolis Bureau of Maryland Capital News Service, and Suzanne Wardle, copy editor and books editor for The Roanoke Times, led a session titled “Stop Errors in Their Tracks: Copy Editing for Everyone.”

Both Wardle and Denny have had their fair share of editing reporters’ work: Wardle joined The Times’ copy desk in 2006, and Denny has been an editor for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and the Washington Times.

Read the top 10 tips here on spjva.com.

Signs of a Bright Future for VSU

New VSU President speaks on plan for first 100 days at the university

By Janeal Downs

After representatives from the Virginia State University (VSU) board of visitors, faculty, staff, students and community members formed a search committee to find the university’s next president, Dr. Makola Abdullah was chosen to become VSU’s 14th president. While being president is different from his previous positions, Abdullah is humbled but also determined to protect the legacy of the VSU alumni and students. “Trojan nation is a special place. The roots at Virginia State University run deep and I think that it’s one of those things you can’t know until you’re here,” Abdullah said. “I think that’s been one of the most exciting things is to see the depth in which people care and people love Virginia State University. That’s exciting.”

To read more visit urbanviewsweekly.com

VCU activists march into president’s building, demand changes

By Noura Bayoumi and Janeal Downs

RICHMOND, Va. — Inspired by student activists at the University of Missouri, a group of VCU students and activists marched into VCU president Michael Rao’s office building Thursday morning to demand a more inclusive college environment from university leadership and faculty.

VCU senior Attalah Shabazz helped organize the sit-in in the lobby of the president’s office building on Franklin Street with around 20 students as well as a large rally on Wednesday with around 200 students at the Compass, the university’s central square.

Read more and watch the accompanying videos here at wtvr.com.

Gecker or Sturtevant? See which one voters chose at the ballot box


RICHMOND, Va. — Come Election Day Tuesday, all eyes were on the senate race in district 10 as Virginia voters headed to the polling stations. The outcome of the race between Democrat Dan Gecker and Republican Glen Sturtevant and the Independent and Libertarian challengers will decide the balance in the state senate and the future of the Medicaid expansion debate in Virginia.

Read more and watch the accompanying videos here at wtvr.com.

Pushed: Bullies & Bystanders

“Pushed: Bullies & Bystanders” works to create a safe place for children  

By Janeal Downs

Fat, stupid or gay. These are just a few examples of words that accompany bullying, a phenomenon that is all too real and hurtful to children. “They seem like playful harmless teasing, but in fact they’re mean and hurtful,” Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates said about the negative effects of bullying. “Kids can go into major depression or even retaliation mode.” Pettiford-Wates is the director and facilitator for the collectively authored play and workshop of the Anti-Bullying Coalition (ABC) play, Pushed: Bullies & Bystanders. With this play they hope to bring awareness to the effects of bullying.

Read more here at urbanviewsweekly.com.

Black List: August Wilson

100 years of African American voices: Black List presents August Wilson’s work

By Janeal Downs

When Mary Shaw was in school minoring in Theatre, she was never exposed to black playwrights. That was until a professor introduced her to the work of August Wilson. “I had never read a play, or plays, before that struck me in such a way,” Shaw said. “The reason why was because Wilson not only spoke about the black experience, but spoke about it in a way that illustrated that black Americans are not so different from any other Americans.” Shaw said Wilson helped show that all races long for the same things, “intimacy, closeness, happiness and money.” Shaw was so moved by Wilson’s work, she felt compelled to do something and now with Black List, she is doing just that.

Read more here at urbanviewsweekly.com.