On Friday, March 21, 2014, Florida A&M University (FAMU) inked a deal with the nation’s only Black-owned cable news network. The newly established Black Television News Channel (BTNC) will be managed and operated from FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC).
With the creation of the BTNC, founding partners Congressman J.C. Watts, Bob Brillante, Frank Watson and Steve Pruitt, plan to fill a void in the news industry. Over the past twenty years, 18 Black-owned and operated television stations have gone out of business. The result? A dearth of content for Black consumers.
Said Congressman Watts, “The world only gets a sliver of who the Black community is today. We look forward to telling that story.” FAMU, an HBCU (historically black college or university), was the ideal choice for the enterprise.
The station’s connection to SJGC will provide authentic industry training and mentorship for its journalism students. The agreement provides career counseling, internships and job placement as well.
Said SJGC Dean Dr. Ann W. Kimbrough, “We are excited about this visionary opportunity that connects our mission with that of the black television news channel’s goals. This is not a singular opportunity. We see it as a multidisciplinary opportunity for our students, alumni and faculty.”
The contract, which includes a partnership with Sony, provides $10 million to the university over 11 years, including renovations and equipment upgrades to house the new enterprise.