The Boy and the Paper: From Wall Street Journal to Bloomberg News

By: Zoe Griffin

The deeply rooted romance between boy and newspaper began much earlier than college years for Matthew Winkler, the co-founder of Bloomberg News. In the mid-1960s, the rosy-cheeked boy would eagerly grab a newspaper from one of the bundles that landed in his driveway each morning, tearing through it as if he were opening presents on Christmas day.

He only delivered papers for three years, but the pungent smell of ink had left its mark on Winkler. He was hooked on newspapers, he told journalism students at Hampton University at a Q & A on Tuesday, Sept. 25. By the time he attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, he was ready to plunge into the riveting world of media and news.

In his freshman year, he applied to become editor of Kenyon College's school paper, never expecting to get the job. It was fitting that he was surprised, he told a packed auditorium at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

"Surprise is the definition of news. There is no more stimulating occupation than coming to grips with surprises and the meaning of surprises and to me that's what the news business is," said Winkler.

Winkler got a summer job after his freshman year as a newspaper reporter and was working full time by the time he graduated. He covered courts, police, politics and even sports. Then he got an assignment he knew very little about: Business and Economics.

It changed the course of his career.

As Winkler pursued business writing, he developed a love for the Wall Street Journal, considered one of the best-written papers in the world. He admired the newspapers "errorless" articles, noting that it seemed there was not a single comma out of place.

In those days, the Wall Street Journal had no photos, relying on the vivid writing of its reporters.

"The Wall Street Journal was a newspaper that said a thousand words were worth a picture," said Winkler. Winkler was so driven to work there, he personally handed his application to the head of personnel. Then he waited impatiently. Two weeks later, he got a letter from the managing editor.

The letter said: "Dear Mr. Winkler, We have no openings for you now or in the future."

Two weeks later, he got a phone call from the New York bureau chief saying, "You may have received a letter. Disregard it. Can you come in for an interview?"

Winkler never knew why there was a change of heart, but he still went for the interview.

As a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Winkler covered topics such as financial markets and the global economy. While there, he found out about a mysterious computer monitor called "The Bloomberg" sitting on the desks of government securities traders. The Bloomberg, founded in the early 1980s, used technology to rapidly disseminate financial information to subscribers.

Winkler and a colleague decided to do a story on how information technology was transforming Wall Street. He called Michael Bloomberg, then president of the company that produced The Bloomberg, and published a front-page profile of him.

Winkler didn't talk about exactly how it happened, but a year and five months later, he was working for Mike Bloomberg. Together they developed Bloomberg News, the leading source of financial news in the world today, touted as the "Central Nervous System" of global finance, with 19,000 employees in 176 locations around the world.

So, why did he come to Hampton to tell students his story? As an editor, Winkler had an epiphany, he told students. He looked around the newsroom and realized everyone looked like him. White and male. "If everyone looks like me, the stories are going to be fundamentally flawed," he said. "There are certain questions that should be asked but are not asked ... Take the most powerful institution, The Federal Reserve. The 40 years I've been writing about money, not once in those four decades, on an international, local or national level, not once was there a journalist of color covering the most powerful corporation."

Winkler urged the students to go into business journalism, saying their perspective is vital to accurate and complete news coverage. He added that this is a great time to be a journalist, "view every problem as an opportunity and follow the money." Today, students at Hampton don't deliver newspapers, and most never experienced the aroma of fresh ink on newsprint, but they can still fall in love with the surprising and rewarding world of journalism as they follow the money.

The Hidden Gem: HU’s counseling center is starting to attract more of the student body

By: Naomi Ludlow

While some students are happy with the newly reorganized counseling center, some students point out the hassle of scheduling an appointment.

In a survey, there was a trend of great reviews for the counseling center, but there is a need of more counselors. Out of 32 responses, 13 responses said this will make their experience better.

"More people are finding out about them, so they're busier and they can't focus on everyone like they used to," said one junior Journalism major from Detroit, MI.

According to the director of the counseling center, Valerie Proctor, there are peak seasons for appointments. The beginning of the semester has the most availability with less than five days from the time that students set the appointment. Toward the end of the semester, the center becomes more hectic which causes a two to three week wait.

At times when the center is booked, counselors recommend community resources instead.

The counseling center is made up of three counselors and a secretary who make it their duty to service as many students as they can. The director is currently interviewing counselors to join the center.

The three counselors are Valerie Proctor, Ayana Churn, and Amanda Albright. The expertise of these counselors ranges from mental health and wellness, LGBTQ and substance abuse to depression, anxiety and anger.

On the Hampton University website, it says the counseling center's sole purpose is to "offer individual counseling for enrolled students who have personal concerns, emotional distress, interpersonal issues, psychological disorders, and critical crisis situations."

The counseling center is open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Counseling, however, takes place from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Appointments can be made by phone or in-person. There is limited walk in service, but depending on the crisis these women will take students.

Emergency appointments are determined by a screening tool used to evaluate the severity of the situation. If there is a crisis, the next available counselor will see the student. Other appointments or meetings taking place at that time are pushed back.

"My first appointment was referred by my professor after I had a really bad panic attack in class. It took some time for me to warm up, but in the end, I'd say it was definitely effective," one student who prefers to stay anonymous said. Students are not forced to attend sessions.

Students can be referred to see the counselors by any faculty member, coach, parent, or health center staff member, Proctor said. "The most effective way is if students come in on their own because although someone may believe they need help, the student may not be ready to seek help." The only mandated sessions are for students who are involved with drugs and alcohol and anger management.

600 appointments are made per semester and the center services 12 to 15 percent of the student body.

Proctor has been the director of the counseling center for two years and has seen an increase in student appointments due to implementing a new software that keeps track of appointments.

The counselor center is planning to do more outreach to service as many students as they can.

Sixty-two students filled out the survey, and mostly sophomores and juniors use this resource. Other students are not aware of the benefits of the counseling center, so enhancing outreach methods and hiring more counselors will further increase student participation with the counseling center.

Boys Don’t Cry: Why we should be talking about mental health with Black men

By Tahshea LaBrew

It is no secret that life is rough for Black men and for people who suffer from mental illness.

The intersection of mental illness and the black man was the theme of the stage production "Boys Don't Cry" written and directed by Timea Whitsley and Brooklyn Baker, sponsored by The Greer Dawson Student Leadership Program.

There are four main characters and each is a young, black, male, college student going through their own unique problems regarding mental health.

Writer and director Brooklyn Baker gave feedback on the subject of the play in the student center theatre. "The reason why there are four main characters is so that it could represent four different types of men. At Hampton University the ratio is 12 women to 1 guy so we really wanted to touch on a subject that would really just resonate with black men specifically. So we really wanted to touch on mental health in the black community. A lot of black men told me that it resonated with them."

Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown shared information on this subject. "In the wake of increasing injustice related to police aggression and brutality there is growing concern about the impact of these events on mental health. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health noted that those who reported more police contact experienced more symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, few Black men seek mental health care. Black men may avoid seeking mental health treatment due to stigma, mistrust of providers, or lack of culturally-informed care."

Because most students at Hampton University, where the play was performed, are women, many events, panel discussions, and campaigns are geared towards women's issues. The campus doesn't have many events regarding black men and their struggles however, this event was an exception. Despite how noisy the environment was, one junior mathematics major spoke about his experience with mental health after the positively received stage production.

"I've struggled with depression for most of my life. It's a lot to talk about honestly," he said "There's always this kind of air of cowardice that's shoved on men with depression or suicidal thoughts. Like you aren't brave or strong if you think about taking your own life. It's never made sense or been helpful to me."

"In general, men in society are taught to be very emotionless, especially with each other. You're seen as weak or gay or feminine otherwise. As a result, I don't trust 90% of people with my thoughts or emotions. People don't understand me or seem to care too much to try so I stopped trying years ago."

The student's statement described hypermasculinity.

According to Britannica.com, Hypermasculinity is a "sociological term denoting exaggerated forms of masculinity, virility, and physicality."

According to strengths and weaknesses of the young Black men, masculinities, and mental health (YBMen) Facebook project, An initial exploration of what 'mental health' means to young black men, Journal of Men's Health and Gender and Huffingtonpost. "Studies show that Black men often are socialized or grow up in homes where masculinity is emphasized and men are not encouraged to talk about their feelings or emotions."

"Research shows that African Americans often under-utilize therapy compared to White counterparts. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 18.6% of African Americans report living with a mental health condition but only 16.9% report using mental health treatment."

Having a mental illness has a negative connotation. More black men should seek help and not just ignore it and refuse to address or even acknowledge it. The play "Boys Don't Cry" opened a discussion that should not end soon.

WHOV: The Hidden Gem of Hampton University

By James Philip JAC 210

Many Hampton University students seeking to pursue a career in media and entertainment are not aware of a broadcast opportunity right under their nose, WHOV Radio. Although the jazz music is extremely popular in the community, students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism do not like it, and the school does not do a good job of promoting it.

WHOV Radio offers students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism the chance to improve their skills in broadcast and production. For those who discover this hidden gem, bold career goals can be met.

"My ultimate goal, I want to become a station manager and run a station myself," Freshman Jabari Resper said.

Smooth 88.1 WHOV-FM broadcasts to the Hampton Roads and Norfolk areas in Virginia. The station runs continuously for 24 hours a day, year round.

Hosting three main formats of music, with several successful and critically acclaimed talk shows. An incredible selection of jazz, gospel, and R&B are permanently played. With a diverse appeal to the Hispanic community, WHOV plays a Hispanic Sounds program over the weekend that is in first place with fans of Latin American music listening in Hampton Roads.

The station does live coverage of the Hampton University football games, and women and men's basketball games, all the way into the playoffs. These live games are broadcasted across the country.

WHOV is a nationally ranked radio station that's directly linked to Scripps Howard. The station has an influence that stretches far around the Hampton communication students' immediate vicinity. It also fits inside the mold of what many students expect their time at Scripps Howard to include.

"To network, hook up with people, and collaborate in any way possible because it's really an advantage to be in a place with so many black creatives," said fourth-year journalism major Mariah Mingoes.

Hampton students often don't know about the career goals, broadcasting opportunities, and internships.

While meeting with WHOV employees, the Station Director Mr. Lang addressed the way students feel about the current format. That Hip Hop and R&B radio stations represent the majority of today's Urban America and receive the highest coverage.

"Many of the students in the University do not like the jazz and gospel music that is always playing," Lang said. "When students hear that their favorite genres of music are not in circulation, they immediately become disinterested."

Mr. Lang understands the student's concerns, and still believes the radio station has a lot to offer, even without the music of their choice. There is a disconnect between WHOV and the number of students at the university encouraged to explore creative opportunities, but limit themselves by not advancing toward the most obvious media outlet. The average Hampton student would be made to work around music they do not enjoy. By avoiding WHOV, they avoid this dilemma and the potential for career elevation.

"I don't really know what goes on in the radio station. It sucks that we have a radio station on this campus and it's not being used to its full capacity," Mingoes said There is no promotion for the station by the teachers, or the school. A class that involved students going to the radio station and practicing their recording was cancelled at the end of the 2017 school year. Students would need to do their own research if they were interested in the station. Inside of the Scripps building there aren't any fliers promoting the WHOV radio station, any of the opportunities, or any of the events they are involved in.

WHOV played an active part in the university's high school day. Although broadcast occurs throughout the Hampton Roads and Norfolk areas, the message for media benefits does not reach students.

Operations and Program Director of WHOV Radio Kevin "Moose" Anderson said, "For those who commit to the station it provides you with some skills that you can take out into the professional world and succeed." Students who enter through the halls of WHOV leave with a firm professional mindset, not only that but also, "We can provide you with the skills to hold your own, and a broadcast facility or any kind of media situation."

Students who become connected to the station are given the resources to branch off into every radio station affiliated with WHOV. The Station Manager, Mr. Lang, and the Program Director, Mr. Anderson, give students the broadcasting skills to carry with them into a professional radio setting.

For Scripps students seeking jobs in radio, stations will be more welcoming to the ones who are extra prepared when they walk in. Students gain experience in speaking professionally, production, recording, and submitting scripted newscasts, weekly and on a deadline. The media industry is difficult to navigate, and the more a person knows how to do, the more valuable they are in the industry.

Many hours of sweat and button pushing as a producer is sometimes rewarded with placement at another station or media center. Treating the station as a hidden gem that only a few students are aware exists, Jabari Resper, has succeeded early in discovering the potential of WHOV. "Its helping me learn how to run a station and learn everything that goes on behind the scenes that people don't normally see." Resper said

"As far as securing internships. Mr. Lang and I can place students in certain positions, but it's not for everybody." Anderson said, Anderson helps students get jobs when he believes the student has met enough of the station standards, and can encounter the constantly changing world of communications with the highest possible understanding.

Mr. Anderson and Mr. Lang have built connections, resulting from years of being in the broadcast industry. When asked by a capable student, who has procured many working hours, these two are willing to extend a hand in procuring an internship opportunity for students. A recommendation from either of these men will carry weight in an interview or radio job. The doors open for students working at the station. They have the chance to intern for other stations in D.C., Virginia, New York, Atlanta, and many other states in the country.

"If you're going to get an internship at a broadcast facility you need to take some experience with you." Anderson said "One thing I do a lot is I help broadcast the games that we have on campus from the press box to the station and then out to the people." Resper said Not wasting any time on his approach into the industry, Resper does many jobs around the station.

"I help make the newscasts that come on at 5:55(pm) every day and I help to work on spots and commercials that need to be made." He said By working hard and putting in the effort within an already established and well-promoted radio station, his vision for the future becomes clearer.

Student workers have many broadcasting opportunities while apart of WHOV. While there, students learn to operate nearly every behind the scenes aspect of a radio station. During the business week, students are allowed to shadow the live talk shows held at the station. Regularly scheduled newscasts are broadcasted to the Hampton Roads and Norfolk areas. Lastly, students have full access to the production boards.

For Jabari Resper, The WHOV Radio Station is not his end goal, but only a temporary platform he chooses to use in order to further his media aspirations. "You kids from the 90's don't know. This is WHOV, you can do it all here son!" Anderson said.

Hampton College Basketball Players want to get paid

By Harrington Gardiner

During last month's March madness tournament, student athletes entertained millions of students who were amazed by incredible athleticism. The students brought national recognition to Villanova and Michigan and brought considerable proceeds pouring into multiple television networks. What fans often don't realize is that the players aren't getting paid. No matter how big the school here at Hampton University the student athletes strongly believe that they should be getting paid. They argue that the sacrifices on and off the court, the financial need, and the money they bring into the university is enough for them to get paid.

This year's Hampton basketball team did not reach the NCAA March madness tournament and were unable to highlight their talents, but players were not shy of sharing their opinion on compensation.

"These players certainly deserve it for their hard work," said Hampton men's basketball coach Edward Maynor Jr.

School's get a profit and generate revenue every single year off the hard work of athletes but the ones who are putting in the work and scoring the points don't receive a dime. Though most college athletes are on full scholarship, they still have the daily responsibilities of regular college students. Sophomore guard Jermaine Marrow said that college athletes should get paid not only for what they do on the court but, what they do off the court because it takes away from their free time.

"I think it's important for us as players because we have so many duties off the court and sometimes basketball can prevent us from that. It's more than just playing games we have to recover and study, which takes away from our free time," Marrow said.

Hampton collegiate players discuss the responsibilities along with having practice, film study, and games every week. For them it's an uphill battle and compensation is a concern especially with the amount of revenue universities generate.

It's especially challenging for students here at Hampton that come from inadequate financial backgrounds and can't afford certain things. Student athletes put blood, sweat, and tears to work hard for the university's pride and recognition, and they feel it should be fair for college athletes to get paid rather than just being work horses for nonprofit.

Kalin Fisher who is a junior guard talked about the possibility of compensation and the passion that comes with playing college basketball. "It's tough balancing everything and hopefully there will be a solution in the future but as of right now, it's our passion to play and some of us are playing here for free as opposed to paying to attend school," Fisher said.

Coaches around the country that play for collegiate basketball schools get paid exceptional amounts of money and depending on the schools play, they get recognized and that brings in more money for the school.

Hampton Men's head basketball coach Edward Maynor, Jr. discussed the efforts of coaches and players. Maynor believes that players should get paid and share the proceeds equally.

HU celebrates Founder for setting and executing the standard of excellence on Founding Day.

Taylor Harris JAC 210 Story 2

HAMPTON, Va. -- On an outdoor stage, a half of a dozen doves sat in a closed wooden crate on Easter Sunday. The doves were not visible, but the audience knew they were somewhere near. First, two doves flew out of the crate, then the rest flew out in different directions, white against the blue sky. The audience watched until they disappeared, and soon after gave a standing ovation. This ceremony was fitting for the occasion of Easter Sunday.

Hampton University President Dr. William Harvey made a memorable tribute to Hampton University's founder General Samuel Chapman Armstrong on Founding Day. The Easter Sunday service commemorated Armstrong for setting the standard of excellence 150 years ago by opening the doors of Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute on April 1, 1868, which stands today as Hampton University.

This celebration took place at Hampton University's historic Ogden Hall and concluded with a dove release ceremony which was a symbol of adoration for Dr. William R. Harvey's 40 years of leadership and the celebration of 150 years of Hampton University's existence.

"Without the resurrection of Jesus celebrated each Easter Sunday, Hampton University would not be what it is today. Armstrong needed the strength he drew from Jesus' resurrection to persevere and follow his vision to found the school. Dr. Harvey would not have survived the challenges he faced as president for 40 years and overcome the obstacles in his and the university's way without the power of the resurrection," said Dr. Michael Battle during his speech.

Dr. Harvey invited Dr. Battle to be the ceremony's distinguished guest speaker. Dr. Battle is the provost and executive vice president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served as Hampton University's former chaplain for 20 years. Dr. Battle made a tribute to General Armstrong in his sermon that tied together the three events that happened on this important day.

Dr. Harvey expressed the gratitude he has for Gen. Armstrong for giving African Americans an opportunity to get an education. His vision was to train selected African American youth to go out and teach and lead their people by being an example to the African American community. Armstrong wanted to build skilled and educated individuals, but he also made it clear that he wanted to build character.

"There were two things he wanted people associated with his institution to possess which are strong academics and good character. Of the two, General Armstrong thought character was more important. These things were not only important in 1868, but in 2018 they may be even more important.

I want Hampton University faculty staff, students and alumni to emulate General Armstrong's wishes and demonstrate honesty, integrity, responsible behavior and trust in their personal and professional lives," Dr. Harvey said.

Students enjoyed the program because they got a better understanding of the founder and why Hampton University stresses the two principles of strong academics and good character.

"I enjoyed learning about General Armstrong on a personal level," said Hampton University student Megan Napier. "Now, I have a great understanding of why this university stresses the importance of providing great academics and building students' characters."

Student leaders expressed gratitude towards President William R. Harvey for continuing founder General Samuel Armstrong's legacy.

"President Harvey has done a wonderful job of carrying the torch and continuing to exemplify the standard of excellence that General Armstrong set on April 1st, 1868," said Student Government Association President Martha Baye. "Jared Bourke, Student Government Association vice president, and I wanted to release doves on behalf of SGA to represent 40 years of outstanding service and the commitment to always give back and return home."

Junior Day attracts basketball recruits

By Dejane' James

HAMPTON, VA- Hampton women's basketball hosted its fourth annual "Junior Day" event Sept. 23 and 24, to recruit high school athletes. Seventy people attended, including 30 student-athletes from more than 15 different cities.

Hampton University's athletic budget does not allow coaching staff to do home visits with recruits, but coaches found a way to turn that negative into a positive.

"Not being able to do home visits started to become a disadvantage, so I created "Junior Day," said Timothy Valentine, associate head coach. "This makes up for the home visit recruiting that we cannot afford to do."

Many recruits traveled from the West coast and Midwest. It took those who did over a day just to get to Hampton, Va.

Tori Davis, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, traveled with his family from Phoenix, Arizona for a firsthand HBCU experience.

"I did not know what an HBCU was up until a few months ago," Davis said. "I feel that people my age need to experience and know about them, so that's why I came."

The recruits saw a day in a college athlete life firsthand.

"I like how we were able to watch the team practice and tour their locker room," said Ja' Niah Henson, a 16-year-old high school junior from Baltimore, Maryland. "It was cool to hang with the players without the coaches and my parents."

Adria Strothers has more appreciation for "Junior Day" now that she experienced it as a player instead of a recruit.

"Junior Day" convinced her to come to Hampton, she said.

"Junior Day played a big part in my commitment to Hampton," said Strothers. "It made me fall in love with the school and want to spend the next three years here."

Recruits and families said they enjoyed the event.

"Recruits are already looking forward to coming down for next year's event," said Jermaine Brown, assistant coach. "One recruit even told her mother she wants to go to school here."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Opening Convocation speaker advises students to 'listen and learn'

HAMPTON, VA – Graduating seniors waited for their final Convocation Sunday at Hampton University. The weather, clear and sunny, seemed as bright as their futures.

When the school marshals finally gave the signal they marched in single file to Ogden Hall, the intimate auditorium that held so many memories.

There Hampton alumnus, healthcare pharmaceutical strategist and co-founder of #HamptonNation, Calvin L. Butts Jr. delivered his keynote address. Butts shared three points with students.

Hard work is never enough. Never settle and be comfortable. Always keep working, Butts said.

Butts has studied university president William R. Harvey's business tactics and advice, which has helped shape Butts to become the leader he is today. Butts was inducted last year to Hampton University's inaugural Alumni Forty Under 40 because of his continuous hard work and determination.

"The person next to you is working hard too. You must be creative and show the world that you are different," he told the students.

Although Butts urged students to work harder than the people around them, he also believes networking is just as important.

"Partnership can be valuable if you choose the right people, but you guys don't have to worry about that here at Hampton," Butts said.

Butts said he relied on those relationships in order to succeed after graduation. One of his many successful LLC's is profitable because he partnered with a former classmate who he viewed as friendly competition.

Butts chose to attend Hampton University because of the people he could meet here. He was convinced to attend after he saw his name on an envelope pasted on the window of the Administration building. When he opened it, he saw that he had been accepted and knew immediately he would accept.

Some seniors in the audience were inspired by Mr. Butts' success.

"One day I will own a real estate agency and hopefully deliver the keynote address at a opening convocation ceremony like Mr. Butts did earlier on today, " said senior finance major Gerald Campbell.

Finally, Butts urged students to listen and learn.

"Listen to your peers like you have to listen to your wife when she is speaking," Butts said. "If you find something you are good at, keep trying to be your best at it."

Some students took Butts' advice to heart.

"Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success," said graduate student Brandon Meekins.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

From the 757 to the NFL and back again

Story and Photo by Butch Maier

There are those who floor it on their way out of town.

No looking back. Not even a split-second glimpse at the rearview mirror.

Then there are those who could not look themselves in the mirror if they turned their backs on the places where they grew up.

"From the 757 to the NFL," a July 13 panel at Hampton University's Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, might as well have been called "From the 757 to the NFL and back to the 757."

Three prominent pro football names from the Hampton Roads area code – Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks – returned to share stories and words of wisdom for area high school football players. Pictured here: From left, Aaron Brooks, Mike Tomlin and Mike Vick.

NFL writer Jason Reid of The Undefeated, an ESPN-run website, moderated the 90-minute-long, live-streamed event at the Scripps Howard Auditorium.

Tomlin was born in Hampton and attended Denbigh High in Newport News. Vick and Brooks are cousins from Newport News. Vick starred at Warwick High after Brooks made his mark at Ferguson High.

The three have not lost sight of their origins.

"It's as simple as paying it forward for me," Tomlin said. "I love this place. I'll always come back here. It's an awesome feeling to see that 757 guy."

He pointed to dozens of teens in high school jerseys and added, "I can't wait to see you guys."

The impact of football on Tomlin's life can't be understated.

"It was a vehicle for me and I'm sure for all of us to get out, get educated, do productive things and stay off the streets," he said.

Brooks faced similar circumstances. He seeks to offer hope and encouragement to others.

"There were strong challenges, but we prevailed," he said, mentioning his early housing struggles.

Vick will be inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in September. It seems astonishing now, but when he left the 757 for Blacksburg, it took time for him to adjust to the college game.

"I really didn't know if I could play college football for four or five months," said Vick, who finished third in the Heisman voting as a redshirt freshman in 1999 and sixth during an injury-marred sophomore season. "There were times early in my career when I wanted to pack up and come home."

Brooks, who starred at the University of Virginia, had no such learning curve upon his arrival in Charlottesville.

"The competition I experienced in the 757?" Brooks said. "I felt like I owned the campus."

He went on to own the distinction of being the quarterback who led the Saints to their first playoff victory, defeating the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in 2000.

There is one distinction Brooks could do without.

Reid asked the panel if society would ever stop viewing quarterbacks who happen to be African American – such as Vick and Brooks – as "black quarterbacks" and view them simply as "quarterbacks."

"I would hope so, but until that day comes, I think it's going to be difficult for white America to accept us," Brooks said. "We don't run around saying we are a 'black quarterback.' ... It's just a stigma that's been placed on us that has been very hard to shake."

As a Pro Bowl QB, Vick had no difficulty shaking defenders early in his career.

What advice did he have for those looking to follow in his footsteps on the field?

"At the end of the day, you just have to chase greatness," Vick said. "Either you want it or you don't.

"Everything's not going to be perfect. Everything's not going to go your way." For Vick, who served 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation, setbacks on the field also were educational.

"Through the losses, I found out how much I truly loved the game," he said. Vick was NFL Comeback Player of the Year with the Eagles and was thankful Tomlin brought him to Pittsburgh for the final season of his career.

That was several years after the coach tried to persuade Brooks to join the Steelers.

Tomlin told him, "You'll be with a great family."

Brooks, who had children by this point, responded, "I know, but I've got my own family."

Still, Tomlin had to ask.

"I'm unashamed about my affinity for guys from the area," the coach said. "Just knowing where they are from, what they are about. There's a hardening, just being from this place."

There also are hard times for NFL coaches. Even ones with stellar records. Such as the time last season when three-time All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown live-streamed Tomlin's locker room speech on social media.

Reid mentioned how that's not an easy situation.

"It's not," Tomlin said. "But I'm not gonna trade him."

Laughter filled the Scripps Howard Auditorium.

Reid also brought up how Tomlin has been called just a "rah-rah" head coach – even after a Super Bowl title and a second conference championship.

Unfair criticism?

"It is, but not unexpected," Tomlin said. "We're compensated to be judged – even unfairly." Tomlin added that "it's tougher on my mom than it is me. I've had to convince her not to call in and represent me on talk shows."

Hampton University President William Harvey kiddingly asked Tomlin why he didn't follow in his father's footsteps at Hampton – opting instead to star as a receiver at William & Mary.

That still didn't keep Dr. Harvey and the university from presenting Tomlin with a framed honorary HU jersey to match ones given to Vick and Brooks.

How's that for a welcome-home gift?

Hampton U. film fest focuses on African-American identity

By Destin McMurray

On Thursday, Hampton University will hold its first annual Film Festival from April 6-7. The School of Liberal Arts is the host.

The inaugural festival was launched last year. During this week's festival there will be film screenings and panel discussions that focus on the complexities of African-American identity.

Two well-known Hampton University alumni from within the film industry are to be reunited during this festival. Robi Reed, an Emmy award-winning casting director/producer/vice president, president of talent and casting and original programming at BET, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communication and theater. Ruth Carter is an Emmy-award winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated costume designer who also graduated from Hampton. Her most recent work will debut in Marvel studio's "Black Panther" movie.

"I'm both excited and inspired by this year's film festival," said Trayonna Hendricks, a senior journalism major from Chesapeake, Virginia. "With our theme being 'From Hampton to Hollywood' I can't help but see myself in the guests and panelists."

At 10 a.m. the film festival opened with a screening of "Tanna."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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