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Broadcast Journalism Professor Jennifer Thomas Heads to South Africa this Summer for Fulbright Award

Jennifer Thomas, professor at the Howard University Cathy Hughes School of Communication

Cathy Hughes School of Communications associate professor Jennifer Thomas will travel to Rhodes University on the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa for six weeks this summer as a recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Award.

Thomas, the Journalism Sequence Coordinator in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film, will work with faculty and media professionals at Rhodes University in Makhanda on a two-fold project. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs formally announced the award in a press release.

“Ms. Thomas is one of over 400 U.S. citizens who share expertise with host institutions abroad through the Fulbright Specialist Program each year,” the Fulbright press release stated. “Recipients of Fulbright Specialist awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.”

Thomas’ first project will examine and re-center the Eastern Cape as a birthplace of journalism and intellectualism on the continent that was globally connected to African American intellectuals at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from the 19th century. The second project involves the creation of a creative research media outlet for academics who are also journalists and media producers, modeled on the Oxford and Doha Debates.

Professor Thomas, a former CNN executive and veteran news producer, is particularly concerned about the representation of Africans and the African continent in both academic and media spaces. Her participation in the program was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is looking forward to working with students and esteemed faculty at Rhodes University.

“I'm very honored to take part in this important research as a recipient of this Fulbright. I hope to share my experience with faculty and students at Rhodes University to unearth and share important and historical research, while learning from them and absorbing the history, culture, and community of Makhanda.” said Thomas.

Thomas is a veteran award-winning broadcast journalist, published author, and noted public speaker who previously served as the featured guest during South Africa's Media Freedom Week and as the featured speaker for Nigeria's World Press Freedom Week. She was also named the 2020 Scripps-Howard Foundation AEJMC Teacher of the Year.  A press freedom advocate, her research dissects current practices and pedagogies in journalism, the transition from professional to professor, and the complex facets of women, media, and images.


About the Fulbright Specialist Program:

The Fulbright Specialist Program is the flagship international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide. Learn more on the Fulbright Specialist Program website.