Otis Sanford: His Point of View

Every time you read or listen the news in Memphis, you see an article or a commentary from Otis Sanford. That’s if viewers watch WREG-TV or read the Commercial Appeal.

Every commentary Sanford has done ends with this statement “and that’s my point of view”. He is known through the Mid South as a journalist, author and commentator. He has written on many issues in Memphis. He also has ties to Memphis politics with his book he published recently from Boss Crump to King Willie.  The book talks about the racial divide of Memphis politics and issues. From the days of E.H. Crump and his influence on Memphis mayors ,to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, to the former first African American mayor in the city William Herrington.

Sanford began writing in grade school. His love for reading the news and his journalism class in high school launched his career. In college he was a copy boy at the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He ran errands for the reporters and editors. Then he went to the Clarion Ledger for two years as a reporter. In 1977 he got his first job as a general assignment reporter for the Commercial Appeal.

From there he had many jobs including in Pittsburgh and Detroit. When he came back to Memphis, he was considered a top candidate for editor of the Commercial Appeal. He did not get the position, however he remained at the paper as the open editorial columnist. In 2011, he started the Otis Sanford commentaries at WREG-TV in Memphis. He commented on several issues including political, economical, national and other issues affecting the Memphis community.

Sanford is currently a editorial columnist at the Commercial Appeal, a commentator at WREG-TV Memphis and serves as a Hardin Chair of Excellence professor of journalism at the University of Memphis. He also appears on WREG’s Informed Sources.

University of Memphis Hosts its Graduate Majors Fair


The University of Memphis hosted its Graduate School Majors fair on March 21. This was for college seniors or incoming graduate students that haven’t attended the university.

The fair had more than a few hundred students, prospective and current, attended.  The fair had 6 colleges and each college had several different majors and concentrations.

Colin Chapell a professor at the University College said his department offers several concentrations and a choose your own major path.

“The University College offers two degree programs,” he said. “We offer the Masters of Professional Studies program which has three specific areas. Plus we have the Liberal Studies program which you can choose the courses you pick for your degree.”

Mary Kyle, the coordinator of the Graduate School Fair said it is important for students to realize a bachelors degree is not enough in some career areas.

Kyle also said that students that want to specialize in their area of choice needs to build their writing skills as well.

She said that the most popular graduate majors were Education, Business, and Science degrees. The most preferred degree was the MBA according to Kyle.

Other majors that were represented included Accounting, Engineering, Film Studies, Journalism, and Architecture.

The graduate school fair lasted from 12-2pm.


Local Panelists Discuss the Black Panther Movie



A discussion was held at the Clayborn Temple in Memphis yesterday about a certain box office hit. Four Memphis activists answered questions, responded to comments, and debated about the meaning of the Marvel movie Black Panther.

The panelists were King Dre–a Memphis music artist, Tonya Meeks–a local author, Sam O’Bryant–a Senior Equity Director for SchoolSeed Foundation, and Miska Clay Bibbs of the Shelby County School Board. The hosts of the event was Jamie McGriff–a former reporter for WATN-TV and P.A. Bomani–a marketing manager for Easy Moving Services in Memphis.

The Black Panther movie discussion included the origins of the movie in the comic. Bomani said the comic characters were biased because the original comic book came out in the 1940’s. This was the time during racism and how Caucasian male comic book writers viewed other races. Bomani said the character in the movie Jabari of the Jabari tribe was known as ApeMan in the original comic. He also said the main character T’Challa was not the original Black Panther until later in the century.

Many people asked about the relations between the characters in Black Panther and the African Americans struggles in the real world. Bibbs said this is the first lead superhero that was African American that kids can look up too. She also said the movie empowered African Americans because the war cries and the chant Wakanda Forever.

McGriff said the female warriors were amazingly skilled. She said those warriors and the “vibranium” weapons were impactful in the movie.

Dre said his favorite character in the movie was Erik Killmonger. He did not see Killmonger as the villain but a guy that wanted to help the world using Wakanda’s resources.  He said that T’Challa or Killmonger could have changed the world. Dre also almost gave a spoiler when he said Killmonger did not die in the movie.

The discussion ended with the panelists talking about how to empower the Memphis community. As much as 80 people showed up to this event at the Clayborn Temple.

Wendi C. Thomas Discusses MLK 50 during MABJ Meeting

Wendi C. Thomas a former writer at the Memphis Commercial Appeal discussed her work on MLK 50 on March 3. This was during the monthly MABJ meeting held at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis.  Thomas touched on many topics including her MLK 50 publications for the Civil Rights Museum. She said the museum did not had editorial control over the project. Thomas’ vision of the project showed how Memphis progressed long after the civil rights movement.
Thomas said Memphis has a high poverty rate,  high crime rate, limited access to education, and limited to no access to healthy food. She said there is still work to be done in the area. Thomas also said minority children have limited and unequal access to education. According to a study she conducted she said children are poor because of their parents’ poverty.
Thomas also discussed her journey as a Neiman Harvard University Fellow. She was a fellow three years ago and researched many topics including issues in Memphis, issues in government, and issues in media.
Thomas said during her time at the Memphis Commercial Appeal, she would get unusual story requests from her editor. She said some people at the Appeal would get her to write stories that were in the interest of a mainstream audience. Thomas also said she had earn trust with her sources. She said she could find the best source for a story before anyone could get to them.
Her speech ended with some advice to the young journalists. Thomas said you have to look out for your coworkers and sources. She said young journalists should be aware of what is going on with your newsroom leadership.
The MABJ President Montee Lopez discussed some events happening within the NABJ region. He announced that the Region III NABJ conference would be in Atlanta from April 6-8, 2018. Other announcements included the MABJ Mixer, and the “TRAP Yoga” retreat coming in a few weeks. Vice President Jeremy Pierre also announced a MABJ Producer Bootcamp for the college students coming this summer. There is no set date for the bootcamp.