‘The Gramblinite’ wins best HBCU newspaper


The Gramblinite, Grambling State University’s student newspaper, won best overall student newspaper and took home seven other awards at the 16th Annual National HBCU Student News Media Conference, held in Houston and at Prairie View A&M University. 

“We faced much adversity last semester, and to overcome that and still produce a paper every week speaks volumes about our staff,” said Kevin Keise, a Gramblinite editor. “And to win the overall Best Student Newspaper is a great accomplishment and a great way to go out,” said the prospective graduating senior from Houston.

The conference was two-and-a half days of informational workshops with an array of speakers and presenters, and topped off with an awards banquet that featured Stephen A. Smith as guest speaker. 

From Feb 6-8, students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities joined together to listen to, be mentored by and network with media professionals. 

The conference finale was the awards banquet where Smith, renowned sports journalist and columnist for, went into detail about what drives him.

“I aspired to make a difference and become a prominent voice within the African American community that resonated in a such a fashion that you had no choice but to listen to what I said,” Smith said.  

Smith also talked about his passion for communication. 

“If you have no message or mission, why communicate? If you have no goal or aspirations, why bother talking?”

The culmination of the evening was the presentation of the Excellence in Journalism Awards. The Gramblinite‘s awards were:

First Place: Best Student Newspaper

First Place: Best Spot News Story for Tierra Smith and Diana Sepulveda’s “Grambling loses legend” story, about coach Doug Williams being fired.

First Place: Best Editorial Cartoon awarded to Nobel Michael for an entry he titled “Obama Care”

Second Place: Best Design-Broadsheet or Tabloid, awarded to the newspaper staff

Second Place: Best Headline Writer awarded to Evan Peters

Third Place: Best Sports News or Game Story awarded to Diana Sepulveda, for a story about the retirement plans of GSU and NFL great Charlie Joiner

Third Place: Best Individual Page Design awarded to Evan Peters

Honorable Mention: Best Overall Sports Coverage, awarded to the newspaper staff.

During the conference, students attended various seminars, including photojournalism workshops, multimedia and mobile journalism, putting your journalism skills to work in Hollywood, and entrepreneurialism in the mass media. 

“My favorite session was on multimedia and mobile journalism,” said Tierra Smith, a junior mass communication major from Houston. “I aspire to take my journalism to the streets, and they taught me which applications would be useful.”

 “This year’s conference is an exciting, yet challenging, time for the mass media industry and journalism education,” said Lewis Smith, conference coordinator and one of the founding members of the Black College Communication Association, which sponsors the awards. 

“May the 2014 National HBCU Student News Media Conference build upon successes of past conferences by enriching the minds of student journalist,” Smith said.