Arts and Living Editor
When Javonti Thomas enrolled at Northwestern State University, he originally signed up to be an English Education major.
“I never really thought about communications until I was at orientation, I wasn’t an actual communications major. I actually changed the day of my freshman orientation,” Thomas said. “I met one of the communications professors at the time, and they told me to do radio, and I was like, radio? I never thought about radio, I just like to write.”
Thomas’ introduction into radio with KNWD his freshman year encouraged him to explore the breadth of what the Department of New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts had to offer, including broadcast media, which would later become his career.
Along with KNWD, Thomas was also a part of NSU-TV, the Potpourri yearbook, the Current Sauce, the Student Government Association and the African American Caucus.
Thomas also worked with publications outside of NSU prior to graduating.
“My junior year, I actually started working at KSLA News 12 in Shreveport, so I was working and writing for a television station, a top 100 market, while I was still going to NSU,” Thomas said. “I did write for the Natchitoches Parish Journal as well as the Natchitoches Metro Leader.”
Prior to his graduation in 2018, Thomas established an award for students involved in the Department of New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts.
“I actually graduated college debt-free, so I kind of didn’t realize how special that was to actually go to college, and not have to pay anything once you graduate, in addition to all of your bills,” Thomas said. “So, when I thought about that, and how lucky that I was to do that, I really wanted to actually take the load off of another student.”
Dr. Paula Furr, retired head of the Department of New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts and professor emeritus, was the Student Media Coordinator during Thomas’ time as a student.
“What an honor that is, for the department and for the university, to have a young alum who is recognizing, in a tangible way, what he received from the university and those who helped him, and then to be able to give back,” Dr. Furr said. “But particularly, for a young person, first starting off in a career, he could use that money however he wanted to, but I think it just shows you the kind of person Javonti is. He’s just a good, decent, hard-working person.”
During his time at KSLA Thomas worked as a producer and did a lot of writing for the anchors. Since then, Thomas has begun a career at KALB-TV in Alexandria where he is now in front of the camera, which has proven to be a learning curve for him.
“That’s one thing I’ve learned from the broadcast experience, is that no one expects perfection from you. They kind of just want you to be yourself, and to be real,” Thomas said.
“That’s part of a life lesson that I’m learning every single day, is that I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be Javonti,” Thomas said.
Due to the location of KALB-TV, Thomas reports a lot of stories about Natchitoches, which keeps him connected to where he came from. Thomas noted this ability to continue his connection with Natchitoches is one of the reasons he loves working at KALB-TV.
“I enjoy it, because that’s the community that kind of built me as an adult. I think Natchitoches definitely formed me to be the person that I am today,” Thomas said.