It was a cold morning on February 10 when nine members of The Gramblinite staff piled into a van and went on a trip that they would never forget.
The drive was long and grueling, but around 12 hours later they had finally made it to the 13th Annual National HBCU Student News Media Conference held in Columbia, S.C.Let me stop here and say that Columbia is probably one of the coolest places that I have ever visited.
The people are nice. They have very good restaurants and the whole city has a chill atmosphere.
Back to the subject at hand. The National HBCU Student Media Conference is a conference for all HBCU media programs.
Best News Coverage – The Gramblinite
Best Sports Feature – Nasha Smith
Best Design Broadsheet or Tabloid – The Gramblinite
Best Headline Writer – Imani Jackson
Best Opinion Writing-Signed Commentary or Column Writing – Erina Love
Best Sports News or Game Story – Imani Jackson
Best Sports Feature – Karlisha Beauford
Best Editorial/Opinion Sections (tie) – The Gramblinite
Best Individual Page Design – Juston Jackson
Best Opinion Writing-Arts & Entertainment Criticism – Tory Wadlington
Whether it is newspaper, television broadcasting, a Web site or all of the above.
It is a great place to network and interact with HBCU students who share passions.
This was my first time going, but I can guarantee you that it will not be my last.
First of all, it was very exciting to not only see students who love media, but also Black students who love media and are doing well in it. A lot of these students have already completed or are going to complete internships with major news companies such as ABC.
Graduates of some of the schools have moved on to holding jobs with major news companies as well. This conference plays a big role in many of the students’ career lives.
Like most conferences, there were sessions that were held. The first one was on Friday morning, and that particular session was about an internship with a company called Freedom Forum.
The Freedom Forum internship is an eight week paid internship for students interested in mass media. It is in Nashville, Tenn., during the summer and is said to guarantee any student a job in the mass media career upon completion.
A few more sessions were held on Friday, including a resume’ building workshop and a panel of editors-in-chief from different schools.
The Gramblinite’s editor-in-chief Imani Jackson was on the panel. When asked what one of our biggest issues is when it comes to publication of The Gramblinite, Jackson replied, “Well it’s tough due to our small number of staff members… Although everyone is dedicated, it is hard because we are not only Grambling State University’s newspaper, but the city’s newspaper as well.”
Editor-in-chief of The Famuan, Jordan Culver asked how to overcome Student Government Association tension and how to motivate students.
A small staff and passive students were no comparison to what some other schools faced.
Some are being censored by their student government, while others do not have student support.
Saturday morning interviews were held for the Freedom Forum internships, as well as interviews to work with Disney and ABC. Later on that day there was an editor’s round and award ceremony.
I have been to award ceremonies before, but there was something about this one that just had a different feel to it.
To see all of these students come in formal attire and sit around a table in a professional manner was amazing.
The ballroom was beautiful as well. The color scheme was gold and burgundy, with a vintage finish.
The ceremony began with a word from Dr. Valerie White, chair of the Black College Communication Association. Soon after, an inspirational speech from Alicia Barnes, a news anchor at WOLO-TV, ABC Columbia, left us in awe.
Finally, the most important part of this whole conference, the awards.
The Gramblinite took home 10 awards (12 total including personal and university awards).
Some were shocked at the awards they won, some were near tears and others just staring and smiling in disbelief.
After the awards ceremony they had an after party, which oddly enough nobody attended.
Everyone was too excited and ran outside to make phone calls and take pictures with their awards.