Alumni time and support helps

The Gramblinite is a chaos haven. But, it works and so do we. With the national unemployment rate at 9.2 percent, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, thriving Gramblinites deserve to be highlighted.

This is especially true of the mass communication field, where downsizing has become commonplace and to many, expected.

In true Grambling State University and HBCU fashion, many success stories reach back to their alma maters to provide up-and-comers with assistance for their futures.

Alumna and night editor Emeri O’Brien recently visited the mass communication department.

“Your byline is your business card,” O’Brien said.

This was a point that she reiterated in a departmental meeting with other alumni and consistently during her time with students.

O’Brien not only offered a rousing speech to mass communication students, but also brought heavily edited newspapers to the weekly news meeting.

Something about her bringing a stack of old newspapers to the meeting with marks on students’ stories and real-time, tough love critiques reminded us of not only the humility necessary to proceed in this field, but also of the accountability we must accept as Gramblinites.

We answer to more than just teachers, parents, lenders and friends. Our alumni are involved in what we do.

They care. They expect for us to build upon rich legacies of people with sound work ethics and limitless potential.

While student involvement and improvement remain concerns for the staff and community, a little time with us contributes more than many know.

“Her visit was very helpful,” Gramblinite staffer Kevin Keise said.

“She enlightened us on the journalistic world and how fierce the competition is.

“Her success shows that the professors here actually know what they are talking about and we really should listen.”

The Gramblinite staff is familiar with constructive and deconstructive critiques of our work.

However, we also acknowledge the need for ideological and expectation expansion.

It’s not always student apathy that prevents growth at the university newspaper. We need more feedback from and contact with our alumni.

It is understood that Grambling State University is an internationally viable institution of higher learning, but it often falls victim to more pathology than possibility.

People in the community frequently espouse more reasons about why improvements are not being made than make attempts to reverse the trends.

Some students are too proud to allow seasoned journalists or teachers to offer insight about ways to add depth to their work.

O’Brien was not the first to return with help for students, but she is a memorable one because of how accessible she made herself during her visit.

That accessibility didn’t stop when she stepped off of a plane and returned to Seattle.

She continues to offer feedback on social media platforms.

With regard to her critiques of the paper and our work on it, her advice included acknowledgment of the skills that we exemplified, of our awards and a reminder that historically the paper received accolades.

But, she also told us where lessons in effective media communication could be reviewed.

She reminded us to be as impartial as possible, to write actively, to engage our audience and to avoid sensational stories and graphics.

From a current editor-in-chief to a former one, thank you.