Winning five first place awards, including Best Weekly Newspaper, The Gramblinite stole the show at last week’s National HBCU Student News Media Conference & Job Fair in Durham, N.C. The remaining awards presented by the Black College Communication Association were three third-place awards and two honorable mentions.
“The awards won by The Gramblinite are a testament to the great program at Grambling State University,” said Darryl D. Smith, editor in chief. “I can definitely say that not just one person earned these accolades; it was a pure team effort. This makes all of those sleepless nights worthwhile.”
Five of The Gramblinite’s staff attended the conference. The students sat in sessions that taught them about the importance of reporting the news accurately, how to build great resumes and interviewing skills, and some of the newest technology being used in the media world.
Some of the representatives present came from USA Today, The Washington Post, Black College Wire and The New York Times.
Speakers Penelope Muse Abernathy, Demorris Lee and Dan Barkin spoke on the advancing technology in the newsroom.
Barkin opened one of his speeches reminiscing about the usage of typewriters. Then, he talked about the progression of the mechanics that we now use in the newsroom.
The world is evolving; for reporters that means that keeping up with the change or the newspaper industry will fall behind.
The guest speaker at the awards dinner was Reginald Stuart. He works for The McClatchy Company, one of the biggest news providers in the country for online journalism and print.
During his speech, he asked the audience if they thought that newspapers were dying. When a few people responded yes, he answered back with, “We’re not dying, we’re changing.”
News has evolved from word-of-mouth to print to what we know now as mass media. News can be transmitted by a click on a cell phone.
Through the use of cell phones, digital cameras, voice recorders and wireless Internet, getting the latest breaking news has become more competitive.
Stuart touched on the fact that more knowledge is being required of news reporters, such as knowing more than one language.
Reporters have to be more versatile, being able to take pictures, write stories, edit, make videos and report, he said.
“Reginald Stuart gave me a lot of constructive criticism. Networking is the biggest thing here. Once you start learning how to network with people and how to talk with professionals it’s easier to prepare you for interview with people in the future,” commented Linsey Isaacs, a sophomore from Howard University.
By the end of the awards dinner people from every school and major newspaper that attended had stopped by Grambling’s table to congratulate them for a job well done.
Also capturing the award for Best Newspaper, Regular Production (twice a week or more), was Southern University’s The Southern Digest.
Florida A&M University’s The FAMUAN won three first place awards and three honorable mentions. Howard University’s The Hilltop won a total of four awards.
For Jaylen Christie, this was his first time attending a HBCU conference.
“I enjoyed the camaraderie between the HBCU schools,” he said. “I particularly like how each (workshop) section was catered toward each form of media, I liked learning like that. Overall the awards themselves, receiving the accolades was a great experience.