Freelance Journalist

penny_dickerson_caro_article-small_26761Contact: pennydickersonwrites@gmail.com

Penny Dickerson is an independent journalist with a passion for cool people, extraordinary places, and good sushi.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) and an Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA).


Temple UniversityLesley LogoPassionate about words and writing, Penny has augmented her freelance writing life by working as an adjunct English professor at  Florida State College Jacksonville, as a teaching courses in English composition and Humanities courses including Writing for Non-Fiction, Introduction to Literature, & Film and Literature.

Media contributions include: Orlando Arts Magazine, Jacksonville Arts & Business Magazine (ARBUS), EBONY.com, New America Media, Mosaic Literary Magazine, Florida Times-Union, Florida Courier, Philadelphia Stories, and others..

As a fundraiser, Penny served as Assistant Area Director of Development for the United Negro College Fund’s $1 million Orlando team and is  former Marketing Director for urban shopping center Gateway Towne Center – the gig she insists taught her everything she knows about resilience. Her prior fashion background include serving as both a Department Manager at both Edison Brothers 5-7-9 and Steinmart in addition to an Assistant Men’s Buyer.fortune cookie

Born Merdis Lavonda Robinson in El Paso, Texas, she was given the nickname Penny by her mother, but friends close to the helm refer to her simply as “P.”  Continue Reading »

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Penny Dickerson Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

John Jay LogoThe Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation



Florida Courier writer gets Guggenheim Fellowship



Florida Courier writer Penny Dickerson was selected as one of 20 U.S. journalists from print, online and broadcast outlets to receive an H.F. Guggenheim reporting fellowship organized by the New York City-based John Jay Center on Media, Crime and Justice housed at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.

Penny Dickerson Freelance Journalist & Adjunct ProfessorOver the next year, the Florida Courier will publish a series of stories titled, “Race, Justice, Community: Can We All Get Along?” written by Dickerson, a veteran journalist based in Jacksonville.

Dickerson is the third Florida Courier writer to receive a journalism fellowship. Senior Editor Jenise Griffin Morgan was awarded a 2013-2014 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism. Publisher Charles W. Cherry II is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow.

Diverse experience
Dickerson, a longtime contributor to the Florida Courier, has been a freelance reporter since 2001, advancing from local to more regional and national affiliates. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Lesley University.

Her literary approach to news produces engaging narratives across a broad spectrum. However, underrepresented populations are the cornerstone of her pursuits. Continue Reading »

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“An eye for the city” Doug Eng

Click link to read Florida Times-Union article


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ENZIAN Theatre & Florida Film Festival 2015


If by chance you have not caught wind of or visited first hand one of Florida’s finest establishments, allow me to introduce you. “The Enzian Theatre,” indulges adults via cinematic cool, an on-site-upscale “Eden Bar” and gourmet food that makes popcorn seem soooooo yesterday, read my feature on the 30th Anniversary of ENZIAN and the 2015 Florida Film Festival just published in the March/April 2015 issue of Orlando Arts Magazine.

 Click link to read Penny Dickerson’s feature.

OAM M-A 15 Feature-FFF

Continue Reading »

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Angela Robinson “Jacksonville’s OWN Star!”

Arbus NovDec 2013 FKudos to Angela Robinson for serving as a master-example of how a girl with a dream can become a woman boasting stardom.  She is a Jacksonville-native and graduate of William M. Raines High School who has journeyed a route to be admired and an apt lesson for all who dare to dream and are confronted with the “fear of failure.” Angela looking beautiful

What knows Angela Robinson of failure? Nothing. Disappointments? Yes, but she has persevered and shares with readers how they, too, can do the same.

Click the Link below to read: Angela Robinson, “Jacksonville’s OWN Star!”


Beyond her natural beauty is an admirable narrative that takes readers from the halls of her high school years to the Broadway stage.  Now, she’s a leading television actress on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network in Tyler Perry’s first scripted drama, “The Haves and The Have Nots.”

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and were not among the 2 million+ viewers from season one who tuned in, Robinson portrays the affluent “Veronica” and will emerge in season two with an “Ice Queen” persona. Hash Tag –  #twodarnhot. Continue Reading »

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Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin: “Agent of Change”




Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin of The Potter’s House International Ministries in Jacksonville continues to serve parishioners and patrons through the church’s thriving mall and academy.



Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin keeps it real. He is the founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House International Ministries and approaches evangelism with a Bible-based, down-to-earth approach.

A people-person who welcomes smart phones in the pulpit to capture baptismal moments, he is an ad-hoc comic with a servant’s heart. Moreover, he is an agent of change focused on economic empowerment – a multimillion-dollar community epicenter is his testament.

Preaching since 26
The Jacksonville-based church is an evangelistic powerhouse and manifestation of McLaughlin’s spiritual vision. An athletic scholar turned college dropout, he has since earned both a master’s and doctorate degree in theology from North Florida Theological Seminary.

He continued his studies at Case Western Reserve University as a Bishop-elect by Donald Hilliard, chief presiding prelate of the Covenant Ecumenical Fellowship and Cathedral Assemblies. Following successful completion from the Joint College of Bishops, he was consecrated into the office of Bishop on March 6, 1999.

At the age of 25, he felt empty. He said God called him to preach at age 26, so he surrendered his life to Christ and has exemplified obedience since.

“God saved me with a glass of Jack Daniels in one hand, and I was smoking a joint held in the other,” confessed McLaughlin during a recent Sunday morning service.

McLaughlin believed the same God who saved an alcoholic, cocaine-snorting sinner like him, could also transform the lives of thousands. Continue Reading »

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King Street Studios featuring Shannon Reeves

It’s taken me a minute to upload my feature on King Street Studios which was featured in the July/August issue of Arbus Magazine – Northeast Florida’s Arts and Business Magazine.

I interviewed Shannon Reeves back in 2009 for the Florida Times-Union when she was still a proprietor in Historic Five Points. Relationship(s) matter, and I strive to develop those that stand the test of time. It was a pleasure to catch up with the eclectic and talented Shannon who is now a bona fide married chick and a mama too.

As always, the women in business, artists in non-traditional settings, and the cultural community (period!) are generally underrepresented by the mainstream press. I don’t specifically declare the latter as my literary mission, but I absolutely embrace it as a passion.

Click the link below to view and read the article via an archived digital copy of  arbus magazine!


Arbus Cover

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Black Men who Motivate: The Power of a dream


Black men who motivate: The power of a dream



150320_metro02Steve Harvey is credited with improving college attendance, career prospects, personal development for more than 8,000 youth who have graduated from his Disney Dreamers Academy (DDA) since its 2007 launch. Partnering with Walt Disney World Theme Park Resorts and Essence magazine has proved to be a winning formula, but a remarkable capstone to celebrate is Harvey’s overwhelming success in motivating youth.Walt Disney World Resort Welcomes Disney Dreamers Academy

While his urban vernacular and candid humor reach more than seven million radio listeners in 60 markets, Harvey willingly closes the gap on numbers when it comes to reiterating the power of a dream. He relies on a little help from his friends.

They include some of the millennium’s most successful Black men who present with honest testimony, an educational approach, and inspiration.2015 Disney Dreamers Academy

Bishop T.D. Jakes
Founder and senior pastor of the Potter’s House of Dallas
Global in stature and faith-based community prominence, Bishop T.D. Jakes is easily a household name. Continue Reading »

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Re-Discovering America: The Kinsey Collection


Click link to read: “Re-Discovering America: The Kinsey Collection


Kinsey Tear SheetOne of my favorite subjects and three of my favorite people are Bernard, Shirley, and Khalil Kinsey: The Kinsey Family.

Not only is their commitment to family and each other admirable, but what a story! A genuine American fairytale of how perseverance, patience, commitment, and keeping your heart in the right place will  lead to bringing your dreams into fruition and making a difference in the world.

The Kinsey Collection is one our “jewels.”

A ground-breaking manifestation of African-American preservation, dedication, responsibility, and historical awe. Any opportunity to uplift the contributions and achievement of culture, specifically one’s own, is to be admired and absolutely penned! But to partner with Walt Disney World Resorts and render it an intellectual exhibit that transcends “museum?”  That’s good stuff. It’s always my pleasure to “pen” The Kinsey Collection whether in an isolated feature or inclusion with my coverage of the Walt Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine.

See my article at EBONY.com following their March 8, 2013 debut at Epcot.



and look for a feature in the “Brush Strokes” section of the May/June 2015 issue of Orlando Arts Magazine. 

Congratulations on your extended Epcot stay through 2018! Continue Reading »


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