Media training program will focus on HBCU students

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A company is creating a media training program focused on students at historically black colleges and universities in Mississippi.

The program by Atlanta-based Gray Television Inc. will be based at one of the broadcasters it owns, WLBT-TV in Jackson. The station is an NBC affiliate.

Gray Media Training Center is expected to host its first internship group when the fall semester begins in August. Gray anticipates spending more than $1 million to create the center.

Students will learn best practices for broadcast and digital journalism and will receive training in production, sales, operations, IT, engineering, coding and marketing, the station reported. Training Center fellows will create a weekly public affairs show that will be produced, directed, hosted, shot and edited by students.

“We want to teach and train the students of today in a real-world environment, so they can become the future leaders of our industry for decades to come,” said Hilton H. Howell, Gray Media executive chairman and CEO.

Gray selected WLBT to house and run the center in recognition of changes that have occurred at the station. More than 50 years ago, the FCC revoked the station’s broadcast license because the station had failed to serve the public interest of the Black community in the Jackson area. The agency gave control of the station to a biracial nonprofit group for several years.

“For the past several decades, WLBT has been a local institution that affirmatively serves the entire local community,” WLBT Vice President and General Manager Ted Fortenberry said. “Starting this year, the WLBT team and resources will be directly involved in expanding opportunities in media for Mississippi students and especially for students of the state’s HBCUs through cutting-edge, immersive training programs right here in Jackson.”

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