Johnathan Watkins PR Major

7-11 Murder of Larnell Bruce


August 10th 2016 marked the day that 19 year old Larnell Bruce died from a brutal murder at a local 7-11 in Gresham Oregon. Bruce was allegedly run over outside the store by 38 year old Russell Courtier alongside his girlfriend Colleen Hunt. According to Portland Mercury, Bruce was outside the store with his friends trying to charge his phone when the couple approached the teens. After being approached, Bruce and Courtier got into a huge argument that led to a physical altercation in which Hunt was encouraging. During the fist fight Courtier smashed the teen’s face in the store window. Bruce pulled out a knife for self defense and protection; he soon ran from the scene. Courtier and Hunt would then hop in their jeep and pursue Bruce intentionally trying to chase him down. They missed Bruce the first attempt however during the second attempt they struck Bruce in the middle of the road with their vehicle. Here’s yet another story of how an African American teen is killed by not just one but two white people one of which is a part of a white supremacy gang European Kindred according to People Magazine. Prison records also showed that Courtier had a past of fighting African Americans among other violent crimes.


Over the past month, television media has been silent, print media has been the main source covering this hate crime which brings us to the question; where is the media? So far big time publications and local publications have been covering this story. The Portland mercury gave one of the most detailed reports about the incident; this report gave all the details such as the type of car the couple used, background information about Bruce and crime information about the couple, and court dates. Shockingly not one story was released by America’s number 1 news source CNN; interesting how a huge matter of a story this is and it wasn’t aired on any other news sources besides local stations in the area of the incident. Facebook and Twitter have been the second leading source of getting this story out. Over the past few weeks the story has gone viral however it just hasn’t been reaching the main sources of media. In a way, its as if people want to make this story fade away or brush it off as if it’s not important. NY Daily News did a short summary of the issue after the fact basically reinstating what in fact happened, no full detail. An interesting part of this report was how the author found out about the story. He said” Text messages, direct messages on Twitter, emails, they were coming in from all over.” basically proving that the issue was more so trending on social media than anything. One report given by the Huffington Post under played the issue saying it was a basic hit and run accident when it in fact this was murder. Police reports even show that the suspects were stopped on sight and didn’t flee.


In a plethora of ways this incident reflects the black lives matter cases that occurred this summer involving Alton Sterling and Philando Castile where two African American males were gunned down by white police officers. Although it involved police and not regular people, its still an issue in the media where black lives were taken to racist violence. The only difference is the media coverage had a huge impact. It was being showcased everywhere, it was breaking news on multiple news sites. The funeral service of Alton Sterling was even aired in order to publicize the issue of black lives matter. BBC even did a story after the death of Sterling and Castile saying two black men have been shot dead by police in the US this week, the latest in a line of similar incidents, many of which have led to protests. Interesting how this seems to be a more severe matter, but when a black teen gets ran over intentionally, no protest or anything happens. The case involving Bruce also reminds me of the incident involving Jordan Davis. A black teen shot and killed by a regular pedestrian for playing his music too loud. Or the case with Kendrick Johnson, a black teen killed then rolled up in a gym mat to cover up the death. The only thing similar is how the media played a role; there was minor coverage and after that the story was tossed to the side just like Bruce’s story.


I personally feel that the killing of Bruce was unjust and another file to add to the black lives matter movement. The suspects deserve the punishment granted; according to the inquisitor Courtier admitted to getting into an altercation while then intentionally chasing and striking Bruce therefore all the charges given to the couple are due. I also feel that Hunt deserves the same punishment because she encouraged it and did not attempt to stop anything. Unfortunately the media picks and chooses what it wants to display and announce. In this case media chose to keep this story quiet even though it involved the killing of a black teen by white supremacy which has been a pressing matter in society for years. Our people just can’t seem to get the attention that we deserve, will it ever change?


Featured post

Carter V


There may be a Yellow and a Red to go along with Miss Blue Ivy Carter; that’s right Pop icon Beyoncé is expecting not one but two kids as she revealed to the world her baby bump Wednesday February 1st.  That afternoon Knowles announced on her Instagram page a scandalous photo of herself baring it all announcing how happy herself and husband Jay-Z were about the news. Knowles said “we have been blessed two times over”. “We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two” says Knowles. After the announcement the media went frantic with mixed emotions. It has been nearly 5 years since the power couple blessed the world with Blue Ivy and now all of America waits in excitement.  Many of Knowles’ fans wonder if the new editions could possibly be the next Donny and Marie, Bebe and CeCe, or even Beyoncé and Solange.  After Stunning fans and all of America, Knowles then proceeded to flood her website with pregnancy photos leaving the Beyhive gagging for more. The pop star posed in the most memorable photo wearing a bra and panty set, sheer vail all in a faded floral background. In some photos Knowles posed nude and others showed Blue Ivy kissing her mother’s bump. All social media outlets would then go in a frantic spell.


After the Huge announcement, social media skyrocketed. According to the New York times The announcement broke the Instagram record for the most liked post, and 500,000 tweets were unleashed in 45 minutes. Critics and fans blew up the different outlets expressing their opinions of the matter. Actress Laverne cox tweeted immediately as well as DJ Khalid, Ne-Yo, and Ryan Seacrest all congratulating the singer on the news. Other corporations even jumped in on the twitter rave. World renown fast food restaurants Popeye’s and Denny’s chimed in.” She has TWO biscuits in the oven? We’ve got a lifetime membership to Popeye’s for both of them” said the restaurant. While half the media was praising the singer on her news, other reporters and critiques tried to turn the news into a political statement. Knowles’ major announcement interrupted the new President’s dominated news cycle. According to NY Daily News, fans turned the announcement into a distraction regarding Trump’s cabinet. The tweets were referencing how Trump’s cabinet is consumed of only two African Americans. Bruno Major tweeted “There are more black people inside Beyoncé right now than in Donald Trump’s entire cabinet”.  Funny how a pregnancy announcement makes breaking news.


On the other side of things, some celebrities became jealous or put under the radar after Knowles’ big reveal. Days prior, Singer Pharrell and his wife announced the birth of their newborn triplets. News sites were all excited to report on the matter until Knowles came forward with the news. Pharrell was no longer relevant. Also R&B singer Ciara along with NFL superstar Russell Wilson were making headlines about their pregnancy reveal, but once again Knowles’ news swept all media sites making the couple quickly die down in the media. The last time the media made a big deal out of a pregnancy reveal was when Pop legend Janet Jackson announced being pregnant last year at the age of 50.  According to inquisitr Jackson’s pregnancy was a crisis exposed. Although these celebrities got coverage on their news. Knowles is the only one to headline main news stories, news sites, and break records on social media. She is also the only celebrity to announce a pregnancy in which it overpowers the current president’s stance in the media. The entire situation is still trending unlike other news stories.


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As I close I think that it is great for Beyoncé and Jay-Z to be bringing in two more Carters. I feel like it was a smart move to wait until Blue Ivy grew up some before adding new editions. I also feel that it was smart for Knowles to make new albums and dominate her world tour before having to slow down. It is amazing to see how one person could dominate the news and make the POTUS become irrelevant. It is also ironic how one year later after Knowles’ political related performance at the super bowl, she’s still being brought up as a political statement. It makes me wonder, should Beyoncé be the next to run for president with all that is going on now, what’s to lose? After this situation I feel that it just shows how iconic and how big of an impact Beyoncé is to society. To have this many mixed opinions to break records in less than 24 hours is rare. I personally can’t wait to see the debut of the Carter twins because I feel that the media will attack the issue once again. I guess rapper Lil Wayne saw this coming since he named his newest album Carter V.



Mass Media Hot Topics


The year 2016 brought a lot of dramatic situations in the music industry. Between a plethoras of comebacks from artist who haven’t been seen since the 90s to different media situations affecting singers and vocalists 2016 has been an impactful year for all genres. In the video we discuss our personal top three music situations that occurred this year.  We chose an incident that involved two sisters having top of the chart debuting albums and how the media played a role in their success. We also talked about how the media played a racial impact on one sister in particularly. The second case involved a major comeback from an artist who has been under the radar talking about making an album for the longest bust never did so until now. We informed our audience on the media’s reactions prior to releasing the music and afterwards. Lastly we talked about a scandalous incident going on in the life of a popular soul singer who has been on the scene for a while now. We ended our video paying homage to other artists who came back for performances or albums this year.


There are a lot of ways in which the media plays in health topics especially when it comes to diseases that affect African American and Homosexual communities.  Numerous commercials and news reports flood the television when it comes to certain cancers, common illnesses, and nationwide illness such as Ebola however; when it comes to diseases such as HIV and Sickle Cell the media gets quiet.  Nearly two million individuals are impacted by sickle cell disease and nearly 1.2 million people are infected with HIV. Both illnesses are known to affect both the African American community and the LGBT community but they get no media action.

There are certain times in the year where the media jumps on the health issues. In October and December you’ll see more advertisements regarding free testing for HIV and encouraging ads to get tested.   Those months are considered HIV awareness months so the media will chose to focus on tactics for preventing it and testimonials that will make people want to get tested. Mostly LGBT stations such as Logo broadcast such advertisements but other main sources leave it alone.  Sickle Cell however is barely advertised in the media, and if it is it’s advertised along with St. Joseph as it is an organization that treats sick children with caners or other diseases such as sickle cell.  With this being a sickness that only impacts African Americans, news sources and other types of media won’t really talk about it which is nothing new. Anything that may affect black people is never really shown in the media. That goes for anything that affects the LGBT community; both communities are looked down upon and never get the media attention like other races and communities do.



Next time you’re due for a phone upgrade, you might want to think first before you get a Samsung, because here lately a plethora of Samsung phones have been causing heat in the technology world, literally. The Samsung note 7 and galaxy edge have been suspiciously catching on fire causing great danger for Samsung users. Large batches of these phones have been mysteriously catching on fire while charging and sometimes while in the pockets of customers.  One man is now in a wheelchair ever since his galaxy edge exploded in his jean pocket. The explosion cause major burns and leg deformation.  Others have nearly burned themselves while charging the phones.  After thirty five reported incidents, Samsung had to put a recall out on those specified phones that caused damage.  Nearly 1 million of the almost 2.5 million manufactured products were collected. Ever since the incidents were reported, it is said that the amount of explosions and burns have quadrupled.


Samsung and the PR team made cautious reviews to help better they’re customers.  First they quickly reached out to government agencies and all mobile providers. They rushed to stop sales immediately and they chose to send out replacements to show their customers that Samsung cares.  Although the gesture was nice, reports came back to Samsung saying that the replacement phones were catching on fire as well.  The PR team rushed on the issue again. This time they tried making efforts to refund customers and the main goal was to protect the image of Samsung while keeping all customer concerns intact.


A similar situation would be when grocery stores across the US put a recall out for ground chuck and certain types of red meat due to mad cow disease.  Another similar situation that involves Samsung directly is when they had to put a recall on their top load washing machines.  34 of these machines were reported giving impact injuries. The main differences are it’s a washer machine instead of a phone, and also so far there haven’t been any life threatening injuries. The washers also don’t seem to be causing any types of burns. Samsung is still pursuing the issues


In my opinion Samsung did the appropriate thing in order to keep the company’s name and image clean. I feel that the ones who actually built the phones could have done a better job and taken more time to make sure the product was buy-able.  The PR  team treated its customers with respect and I like how they gave them options so that they would remain Samsung costumers. I feel that they could have done more like provide a cash award especially for those who were burned and had injuries.


Vote Trump Causes a Burn!


On Tuesday November 1st Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church of Greenville Mississippi was purposely set on fire by Donald Trump supporters. With just one week before the critical election, supporters marked the church with “vote trump” alongside the brick walls.  According to the Washington Post and Greenville police, no one was in the building while on fire and there were no deaths or injuries. Police are investigating this as a hate crime due to the fact that it was a historically black church. Trump’s team are denying any involvement with the incident and Gov. Phil Bryant who is also a trump supporter has tried to make it seem like anyone could have done the crime in order to get the attention off of Trump as a whole.  Reporters say that the fire squad was beckoned around 9 o’clock and the congregation will have to rebuild. Investigators say that there is a person of interest as far as a suspect but there have not been any arrests and no names have been revealed. This is a major issue and has been marked as a racial symbol due to racial history and the anticipation of the current election taking place on next Tuesday.


The media has played a significant role in this case and at times certain types of media have come across as sketchy or as if someone is covering up something. Tuesday afternoon CBS did a news story on the incident that gave more details. From this, the audience learned that there were no signs of explosive devices being used.  Social media immediately jumped on the issue especially on twitter.   Political figures and news specialist have been weighing in; CNN started by displaying pictures of the crime scene. Others have been going back and forth saying that it was an act of domestic terrorism, or a form of voting intimidation. Trumps campaign team has been involved in the media as well; they have been at the head of major news sources with condemning statements. They want to make sure those viewers that saw the incident on the news wouldn’t be turned away from voting for Trump. They also did this in a way to clear any rumors that Trump knew about the attack or endorsed the attack on the church. According to the Washington Post the Governor supports trump and is speaking to the media as well.


One can relate this case to a similar incident that occurred decades ago. In September of 1963, Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Diane Wesley lost their lives in racially targeted church bombing in Birmingham Alabama.  This event happened just a month after the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King marking it as a pivotal event in Black History. In comparison, both events involved the burning or bombing of a historically black church. Although no one was hurt during the recent incident, the lives of Africans Americans were impacted. Also both incidents happened in a pivotal time in America. In 1963, African Americans were fighting for civil rights and protesting for equality. It was a time where black people were hated upon and didn’t have respect as a race. Ironically, in 2016 something similar happens at a time in America where our lives are in jeopardy of going back to the way it was in the 60s. One thing that is different is the media back then was one sided. It was only seen as a major issue to black people, whites didn’t care which affected the way the issue was reported upon and displayed to the public. The current incident still doesn’t have a suspect where as the incident in 1963 captured the suspect and he is still in jail.


Personally I am not surprised of the recent events in Mississippi, racism still lives. I am also not surprised of the incident because Donald Trump’s supporters tend to follow his every word and they do things that they think would please him. It is a known fact that Trump isn’t fond of minorities especially blacks, Muslims, and Hispanics. There have been other incidents such as fights done by Trump supporters. I feel that these events are simply petty; Trump claims he can make America great again, yet he can’t even control his own supporters. I feel that something like this was bound to happen especially since Election Day is approaching very soon.


Disney Revamps!

During the summer of 2016, Disney released the new rendition of the 1967 film Jungle Book.  Unlike the original animated and cartoon version, the 2016 film gave a realistic aspect using props and effects that looked like real animals. Just weeks ago Disney released an announcement with the upcoming 2017 debut of the remake of Disney classics The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast; this time, no cartoons, real actors, effects that look like real animals and live action.  Disney wants to give their audience a chance to relive classics made in previous decades and give them a more realistic aspect.  Disney’s advertising and public relations team is trying to reach not only kids but make their product relatable for those who grew up on these classic films.  They are trying to find ways to increase sales and make old classics new again and trending.


The public relations team chose films to remake based on sales that happened back when the originals were made.  They also decided to choose films that could be remade in a way that looks realistic and could be presented in IMAX and 3D. The team also wanted to incorporate actors that you would typically see in a modern day film so when the advertisements were made, people would plan to come. The PR team did not want to choose films that weren’t relatable such as Mary Poppins, Lady and the Tramp, or Robin Hood because not a lot of the audience would be familiar. Since they were originally made in decade’s way older. Disney plans also plans to remake other 90s classics and early 2000 remakes. The PR team decided to do polls in order to see which films people would like to see reinvented in the future. Their goal is to make their brand not only kid friendly but people perfect.


In comparison, Disney did a remake to 101 Dalmatians in 1996. Instead of doing an animation Disney used actors such as Glen Close and Hugh Laurie to make sales go skyrocket.  Disney also remade Cinderella twice. One with the help of Roger and Hammerstein in the form of a musical starring Brandy, Whoopi Goldberg and Whitney Houston and then in 2015 it was remade again starring Lily James and Richard Madden. One can also compare the remake of Alice in wonderland with Johnny Depp.  In contrast Disney remade the 1961 film Parent Trap. This film was not animated and it wasn’t really familiar to the audience when it was created however; the choice to use actress Lindsey Lohan made people want to watch. It was a risk because the original Parent Trap was not a big hit in the 60s.  Lastly other films were turned into sequels to revamp the original concept. Examples of this were seen in the Toy Story 2 and 3, 102 Dalmatians, and Mulan 2.  Other examples of non animated films include Santa clause 2 and 3.


In my opinion I feel that Disney is doing great trying to reach more than just a child based audience. By saying that, the different graphics used in the remakes   are very realistic and I often wonder if it is too much for children. In the future I think Disney should poll all of the US so that we can put in our input. I think it would be nice to see the Aristocats or Winnie the Pooh remade just to see what else Disney has to offer. Lastly I feel that the PR team chose a wonderful movie to remake by doing the Lion King because it’s probably one of the best animated films from my childhood.


Georgia Peach Gone Bad


In 2008 Bravo network debuted the airing of reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta showcasing the lives of women either in the entertainment business or married to media moguls and athletes. Starting in November, the show will be starting season 9; however moving forward is bringing some concerns to Bravo as a network. Bravo is a network that airs shows to a multitude of audiences with different age ranges and they also want appropriate content to air. When cast mate Porsha Williams started a physical altercation on a reunion show, it caused a major controversy with Bravo. Williams had been in disagreement with other cast mate former Miss USA winner, Kenya Moore for nearly two seasons straight. During the season 6 reunion show Williams was fed up with Moore’s comments and pulled Moore’s hair starting a fight on television. It was such a huge deal that charges were made and Williams had a bond of $2,000. That would be the last fight to be started by Williams, from season 6 to now, Williams has been in 2 additional fights on the show. Bravo had a huge decision to make because with this happening, it came across that the network promoted violence which wasn’t the case.


Bravo and its public relations team had to come up with solutions that ultimately cleared the image of Bravo. They first started by figuring out what to do with Porsha Williams; it was debated whether or not to keep her as a cast member or make a deal with VH1’s hit show Love and Hip Hop to do a possible trade.  Bravo also needed to make sure that if they got rid of Williams, then they needed to find someone who could come in and replace the slot so ratings would remain high. Bravo brought in two ladies; Singer and actress Demetria McKinney, and Media Mogul Claudia Jordan.


Instead of getting rid of Williams completely, Bravo’s public relations team advised that she remain on the show, however only as a reoccurring character not full time. This way the show kept an old cast member and gained two more members for season 7. For season 8, Bravo’s team decided to get rid of McKinney and Jordan as well as make Williams a full time cast member again to see what would happen. Bravo thought the issue was resolved however the 2 additional fights occurred which made the public relations team has to come up with another solution. They decided to bring in Actress Kim Fields but felt that Fields wasn’t the best pick for the cast. Now, season 9 is ready to air, and bravo had to decide what to do so that the network isn’t seen as one that promotes violence. The team is basically trying to bring in cast members to replace Williams for good so that the show can continue with a good image. The next move on behalf of the team was to bring in wife of R&B singer RL, Lena Chenier. Bravo plans to see how audiences react as well as how ratings will do.


This whole incident is similar to another show aired on Bravo entitle Married to Medicine. Cast member Quad Webb-Lunsford was attacked by Lisa Nicole Cloud. Bravo had to sit and decide whether to keep the show or cut certain cast members. Another television issue similar to Williams vs. Moore is how Oxygen’s hit show The Bad Girls Club reacts to violence on air. The show is forced to “replace” a cast member if she gets in a fight or causes violence. Oxygen wants to entertain and have boundaries.

In my opinion I feel that Bravo is making the right decision, there are teens who watch the show and you defiantly don’t want to promote violence. They need to know that there are circumstances to certain actions. Bravo just needs to pick more relevant cast members if they want the ratings to reflect the nice image it produces. The decision to punish those who cause violence makes the company look good as a whole. I would just suggest that when picking cast, try to pick people who genuinely are strangers so drama can’t form so easily. Moral of the story is you basically have to do whatever it takes to keep your image clean.

When Clowns Attack

Since late August, different NC cities and surrounding areas have been terrorized and bothered by Clowns; yes that’s right clowns. First seen as a joke gone wrong; now has become a major issue which has brought fear unto children and parents. Suspects are dressing up in full clown attire and sneaking in the woods during the night time intentionally trying to snatch up or frighten children and teens. Since the late summer there have been nearly half a dozen reports of clown sighting tying to 3 major NC Cities of Greenville, Winston Salem and Greensboro. Three clown incidents that have struck the media include the following; a group of clowns who appeared at a school bus stop and chased the children in the woods.  Another incident; Last Sunday in Winston Salem a man dressed as a clown was spotted luring children in the woods for treats. Lastly an innocent man spotted a clown in Greensboro and pursued to chase the clown with a machete in order to stop the clown terror. Authorities are currently in awe; whenever receiving a call about the issue they are in disbelieve. Authorities and other journalists are now wondering if this is a series of pranks to promote Stephen King’s hit movie IT or what.


The media and the different police in the areas have been playing a joint effort in this whole clown situation. In most of these cases, when the police arrive the clowns are nowhere to be seen which makes them suspicious. The news teams basically follow the police’s instinct; if they feel it isn’t an issue then the news backs off.  In the more life threatening cases the media has flooded everyone with alerts to be on the lookout and be aware of your surroundings. News teams in Macon Georgia did an article and showcase after the reported incident of kids being chased at the bus stop. Police and the media tied the case to another incident that took place in Georgia in which Duplin citizens spotted three clowns just sitting in the middle of Georgia State University parking lot. A major pattern in these cases is if it doesn’t really cause concern with the police then the media will back off. If the incidents involve harming others especially kids, then stories are made and broadcasted on television. Local NC news teams have not been reacting like the citizens would like; they feel like the issue isn’t being taken seriously. News teams and police are however making a huge deal if a clown is reported to be seen but it was only done as a joke. A few people have in fact been arrested and later showcased on the news if he or she falsely reported a clown incident.


Other situations that can compare include the incident that happened in LaGrange Georgia, in which a group of clowns were reported hiding in a van in the woods trying to talk to kids. This same issue led to the investigation of threats being made to abduct kids from the local middle school.  The main objective in all of the cases seems to be targeting kids.  Another incident very similar involves the man in Fleetwood South Carolina who was seen looking in various apartments; he was soon arrested. In all of the cases the media has played the same role, they follow the police’s instincts. They only broadcast what the police feel needs to be shared. Also the media has not repeated any stories, once it airs they don’t revisit any of the situations; again this goes back to the clowns running at the scene once cops arrive.


In my opinion I don’t think its right to target innocent children. Everyone knows that children are vulnerable and it only takes a little to lure kids; their attention springs on excitement and they love treats. I believe that the police and the media aren’t really taking this issue serious enough. Although no kids have been physically hurt, no one has the right to attack kids, it’s just not right. In my opinion there should be more police patrolling the parks and neighborhoods, they should also stop portraying the issue as a joke. I also feel that parents should set curfews for their kids to eliminate victims for clowns to prey on. It would also help if parents or some type of guardian was at the bus stops waiting on the kids so that clowns can’t just appear and chase them into the woods. It’s more of a group effort to stop these situations from occurring. If parents, police and the media work together, these clowns might go away; they’ll realize that these jokes aren’t funny; they are cruel to the innocent people who live in these various cities. Who would have thought that in 2016, we would be bothered by terrorizing clowns?


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