WASHINGTON, D.C.–The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has selected Dr. Sybril Bennett, professor of journalism at Belmont University, as the association’s 2015 Journalism Educator of the Year. The award recognizes the service, commitment and academic guidance of an outstanding journalism teacher, professor or educator who has helped increase the number of Black journalists in newsrooms.
Also an award-winning journalist, Dr. Bennett, affectionately known as, Dr. Syb, started her tenure at Belmont in 2003 as the executive director of the New Century Journalism program and helped to raise more than $200,000 in grant funding. In 2012, she was a finalist for the Virginia Chaney Teaching Award, Belmont’s highest honor recognizing teaching excellence.
“Dr. Syb is a long-time NABJ member who achieved excellence in her career as a broadcast journalist and turned that excellence into helping train the next generation of digital storytellers,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “She was among the vanguard that began spreading the importance of digital journalism back when newsrooms and classrooms were still relying heavily on traditional newsgathering methods. She has taken her unique set of skills and parlayed them into a reputation as one of the early leaders of color in the digital journalism revolution.”
Dr. Syb has given numerous presentations on digital journalism, including a TEDx talk tied to her book, Innovate: Lessons from the Underground Railroad. The book asserts and explains how the Underground Railroad and the Internet are among America’s most effective, innovative and disruptive networks. She is also active on her campus, serving in positions including: the Mobile App Development Committee; the Publishing Faculty Search Committee; and the Journalism Faculty Search Committee.
Dr. Syb was also among the first 1,500 journalists and educators across the country who served as Google Glass Explorers. She incorporated her Google Glasses into her Digital Citizenship class, creating mobile apps for the device.
Dr. Syb earned her Ph.D. in ‘higher education administration’ from Vanderbilt University, her M.Ed. in ‘college student personnel’ from Loyola University of Chicago and her B.A. in ‘broadcast and electronic communication’ from Marquette University. She is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist with professional experience in the traditional and social media fields spanning more than 25 years. She began her career working behind the scenes at ABC in Milwaukee and CBS in Chicago, and is a former general assignment report at the CBS affiliate in Nashville. Bennett’s many accomplishments and honors, include being named recipient of the International Association of Business Communicator’s EXCEL Award, which recognizes individuals who exhibit leadership in fostering excellence in communication.
Dr. Syb teaches courses in ‘social media reporting,’ ‘digital citizenship,’ ‘mass media and society’ and ‘entrepreneurial media.’ Her research focuses on innovation, civility and digital media.
As newsrooms and classrooms continue to change to fit into the new journalism model, Dr. Syb continues to be at the forefront to ensure that journalists of color are trained so that they are prepared to join the revolution. NABJ Congratulates Dr. Syb on this most worthy honor.
She will be honored along with NABJ’s other award winners this summer at NABJ’s Annual Convention and Career Fair in Minneapolis.