Note pads, ink pens, laptops and cameras are just some of the items that flooded Nashville, Tenn., earlier this month for the Black College Communication Association conference.
From Feb. 7-10, student journalists were allowed to come together from 10 Historically Black College or Universities to attend the 15th Annual National HBCU Student News Media Conference, where students attended sessions, received resume and newspaper critiques, and were mentored by some of the best media professionals.
“The instruction is top-notch, and we appreciate the professionals helping our students,” said Dr. Valerie White, BCCA chair, who is director of the journalism and graduate program at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Fla.
At the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute on the campus of Vanderbilt University, students were exposed to seminars that focused on obtaining their first job or internship; the use of social media in journalism; good writing and reporting; photography; and the importance on why African Americans are needed in journalism.
At the end of the three-day media extravaganza, university newspapers were treated with an awards banquet that recognized schools for outstanding media coverage.
The Gramblinite tied for fourth place with five awards:
ν First Place: Best News Coverage, for the paper’s continuous reporting on the presidential campaign and election.
ν First Place: Best Sports News or Game Story, for Tierra Smith’s “No contract, yes lawsuit” story, about coach Doug Williams’ lack of contract.
ν Second Place: Best Sports Feature Story, for Smith’s story about the football team finding a soccer player to use as kicker. “Promising debut for unlikely Tiger” was the title of the story.
ν Second Place: Individual Page Design, for Evan Peters for his “retro” front page of the Sept. 27 Founder’s Week issue.
ν Third Place: Best Design – Broadsheet, awarded to the newspaper staff under Peters’ guidance as design editor.
The Southern Digest at Southern University and Agriculture Mechanical College in Baton Rouge took top honors at the conference, winning Best Student Newspaper, plus four first-place awards and three second-place honors.
Even with the turnout of this year’s conference, it was noted that the attendance decreased from the 2012 conference as seven schools did not return this year.
“I think it went very well,” White said. “Our numbers were low this year, but we hope budgets are revised so they can come [next year].”