J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication
Dr. Sybril M. Brown, Comm ’90
Sybril is an Emmy Award-winning multimedia journalist, educator, author, international speaker and presenter with an interesting take on the internet. She’s written a book that compares today’s most innovative network with another from the early- to mid-19th century: the Underground Railroad.
“The comparisons are too obvious to ignore,” says Sybril, a tenured professor of journalism at Nashville’s Belmont University with 25 years of experience in traditional and social media. “Both platforms serve as avenues for expression of freedom, justice and equality.”
Sybril — “Dr. Syb” to her students — began her career working behind the scenes at major television network affiliates in Milwaukee and Chicago, then moved to a station in Nashville as a reporter, filling in when needed as a news anchor and talk show host. Along the way, she earned a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in higher education administration.
Belmont tapped her to help establish its New Century Journalism program in 2003, and she raised more than $200,000 in grant funding. She teaches courses in social media reporting, digital citizenship, mass media and entrepreneurial media, with a research focus on innovation, civility, and digital and social media.
Sybril’s many accomplishments and honors include two Emmys, and awards from the International Association of Business Communicators and the National Association of Black Journalists, which recognized her in 2014 as a Region III Achiever in elevating her industry, career and community, and named her Journalism Educator of the Year in 2015.
She has traveled to Dublin to present at the Web Summit, a premier global conference for the technology industry, and has spoken at TEDxNashville.
She calls her time at Marquette “a consistent positive memory.” She was a resident adviser, president of the Black Student Association, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and worked at the student newspaper and radio station. She also worked closely with Student Affairs to improve campus and community relations, which she says was “extremely influential” in her decision to earn advanced degrees in education.
Fun fact: Sybril says her favorite Marquette memory is winning the National Baptist Convention choir competition her senior year: “We were definitely David in a Goliath situation.”