Vernon A. Williams

Vernon Williams is Distinguished Alumni at The Media School of Indiana University

Contributed By: Debra Powers

His first scoop was the Jackson 5 signing with Motown in his junior year at Roosevelt

The Indiana University Media School recently honored Vernon A. Williams and other alumni who have become leaders in media after majoring in journalism, radio and television, telecommunications, film, and related fields. Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from IU and a master’s in Commu. nications from Purdue University.

As a news analyst and commentator for the Chicago/Gary Crusader Newspaper, Williams keeps the public updated about current events and noteworthy information.

Growing up in Gary, Indiana, he wrote his first play in the fourth grade, which was performed in class. In middle school, he started a weekly hand-printed newsletter. As a high school freshman, he submitted a radio program to a local radio station. The radio station was very impressed and hired him at once. Williams started a teen news column for Gary Info Newspaper in his junior year; where his biggest “scoop” was being first to report the Jackson Five signing with Motown Records.

Those youthful experiences inspired a career in broadcast and print media, as well as education that spanned more than 55 years. Among his most memorable interviews were Lena Horne, Dick Gregory, Colin Powell, Phylicia Rashad and Jesse Jackson.

In 2001, Williams moved to Indianapolis to become marketing supervisor for Indianapolis Public Schools Career-Technical Education. After IPS, he became vice-president of communications for Indiana Black Expo. His role with Indiana Black Expo was multifaceted. As vice-president, he developed marketing and communication strategies, wrote speeches, and organized press conferences. His current position is IUPUI Communication and Community Engagement Strategist.

In his acceptance speech, he described how the lack of diversity in the media field has been a longstanding issue for minorities. Williams recounted personal struggles to overcome barriers. He emphasized that the number of black journalists has grown over the years. Family and friends including TV journalist, fellow awardee Renee Ferguson congratulated him with accolades following his speech.

Currently, he is president of the Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists and is on the Board of Directors for Heartland Films. Williams also is a former president of IU’s Neal-Marshall Alumni Club. He has written four books, the latest being, “God Said Tell You”. He has written and produced 11 plays – the most recent, “A Noise in the Attic” will premiere in November.

Vernon Williams, center, with wife Joyce, at left are joined by his friends at The Media School ceremony

Story Posted:11/02/2022

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