Surprise! Surprise!


Grambling State University president pops in on weekly meeting of The Gramblinite to congratulate the staff on a national win, offers encouragement

The Gramblinite‘s weekly staff meeting was preempted when the president showed up.

Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue made a surprise visit to the Washington-Johnson Complex to wish the campus newspaper staff congratulations for winning the Best HBCU Newspaper in the nation recognition from the Black College Communication Association.

“I personally express my appreciation to the Gramblinite staff,” Pogue told a packed newspaper office. “I thank you all for what you do. I’ve never seen so many best this and best that before. Continue to do the excellent job that you are doing.” 

The BCCA named the school newspaper the best among HBCU college newspapers in 2013 during the annual HBCU Excellence in Journalism conference at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. Student newspapers were judged  in 16 categories by professional journalists from across the nation, including reporting, photography, sports, and online reporting.

The Gramblinite won eight other BCCA awards and recognitions, including first place in the best editorial cartoon and best spot news story categories. 

Pogue encouraged the students to continue to present the university in a positive, accurate way, saying as long as they do that The Gramblinite will have “1000 percent support from the university.”

Gramblinite editors and staffers were surprised when the president showed up with several of his executive cabinet members and a student staple – pizza. Five different types of pizza were served with sodas, making Monday afternoon’s newspaper staff meeting even more memorable.

“I felt like it was an honor to finally be recognized and appreciated for what we do,” Kevin Keise, a Gramblinite editor. “There have been a lot of people in the community who doubted us, so to come back with the best overall student newspaper really proved them wrong.” 

“I was absolutely surprised. It really shows that the (university) staff is paying attention to the work that we do as students, and that we are appreciated,” added Tierra Smith, 21, a Gramblinite editor from Houston. “Many times I felt like people did not read the newspaper like they should. We spend a lot of long hours constructing the paper, and to see so many people come and support us today was very encouraging.”

Smith said that show of support “encourages us to keep trying and to keep pushing forward and to continue to make improvements.” 

The Gramblinite staff also won second place in the best headline writer category and third place for best individual page design as well as second place for best design. The newspaper picked up some honorable mentions, too.

Since 2009, when The Gramblinite won Best HBCU newspaper for work done in 2008, the newspaper has not received so much recognition, according to publications director Wanda L. Peters. 

“This is a proud moment for The Gramblinite students who work extremely hard to produce the weekly newspaper, and to Grambling State University,” Peters said.



FIRST PLACE: “Grambling loses Legend,” Diana Sepulveda, Tierra Smith



THIRD PLACE: Diana Sepulveda, “GSU legend retires after 44 years in NFL,”



FIRST PLACE: Nobel Michael, Obamacare (Oct. 3, 2013)