No one at Madison County High School (MCHS) can remember the last time a journalism class was offered at the school, but that is no longer the case. Glyndell Presley, with more than 20 years of journalism experience behind her, came to MCHS in August of 2011 to teach English. This school term she began her first year of teaching journalism, now teaching English, Journalism and
DCT-OJT (Diversified Cooperative Training/On-The-Job Training – a program intended to provide students with competencies from paid, supervised, on-the-job training related to instructions for job preparation). She continues to maintain working in the journalism profession as the International Editor-in-Chief of The Aurora magazine for Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
When studying journalism at Florida A&M University (FAMU), she became friends with fellow student, Rod Carter. Together Presley and Carter worked on the University school newspaper, The FAMUan and worked on the campus radio station – WANM 90.5. They produced news reports together and Presley remembers their big break as co-anchors during election night at that time. She says it was exciting and a learning opportunity and what she wants her journalism students at MCHS to experience, “The thrill of excitement when they cover a news story for publication or for broadcast.”
Today, Rod Carter is the morning anchor at WFLA-TV’s News Channel 8 in Tampa. During his 25-year career, he has been an intern, cameraman, a reporter and worked at WFLA’s sister station, WVTM in Birmingham. While working as a journalist, Carter has covered many local and national stories including the championships for both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When speaking to Presley’s journalism class, Carter shared with the students exciting people and events he had covered, such as Florida’s current and past Governor, professional sports and his travels to Canada. In this way, Carter told students journalism had afforded him opportunity to do things and to meet people he never thought he could.
Students were prepared with questions to ask Carter, among them was a question inquiring of the negatives of journalism. Separating or masking emotions when you cover “hard” stories was Carter’s answer and he gave a compelling example of a story he previously covered that made as equal an impression on the students as the positive examples he had given earlier when covering news. Two students said they already knew they wanted to study and work in the journalism field. Emilie Gainey has goals of being an editor for a publishing company and Eric Bright, Jr. thinks being a sports commentator is something he would enjoy. Carter encouraged them and the entire class to study so they will understand and know what they need to succeed in journalism, adding they should strive to write interestingly and creatively in order for them to stand out in a field with high competition.