Where do I begin?
Upon my arrival at Alabama State University in 2017, I had no intentions of working for the campus newspaper because I didn’t work for my high school’s newspaper. However, after being awarded work study within the first two months of my freshman year, I found myself in the Office of Student Life, where I met the former Editor-in-Chief David L. King, Jr. and current General Manager Kenneth Dean.
Prior to meeting them, I assumed my job description would be synonymous to that of a secretary. I assumed that I would copy and scan important documents. Honestly, looking back on that idea, I feel like I was living in the prehistoric era. Almost everything is digital, so I don’t understand why I thought I would be doing copious amounts of copying and scanning. So, when David asked me to submit a writing sample and later emailed me that I would be working for the university paper, I was essentially in shock. And from that day forward, I was employed by The Hornet Tribune.
First starting out, I struggled with university news because I didn’t want to be sociable and interact with my peers. In the midst of overwhelming homesickness, I wanted to remain in my own bubble and rather not have to attend events every week where I had to obtain quotes from my peers. Thinking back on it, getting the quotes was probably the only hindrance I had from being an acceptable reporter. However, I excelled when it came to columns. I was deemed the “feminist columnist,” because I predominantly wrote about the struggles of women in all intersectionalities. And it wasn’t until my sophomore year that I began writing university news.
My sophomore year is where I began to see the importance of being a reporter. I recognized the significance of being an unbiased yet informative entity advocating on behalf of the study body. We are what is known as the fourth branch of government. At this university, we are essentially the eyes and ears of the campus; we are often exposed to and witness things the average student would not. And it is our job to not only exercise our First Amendment right but to write and report nothing short of the facts.
As of this month, I have been adjusting to my new role as the Managing Editor for Operations and Staffing for the paper. With me taking on more administrative duties, I don’t write as much as I used to, but I still recognize the importance of being a journalist and how being a journalist has shaped me into the person I am today.
Being on this staff has taught me the power of my voice and what it could do not only for myself but also what it could do for others. On a broader spectrum, journalists are the respective voice and advocate for the underrepresented people in this country.
Within my tenure on The Hornet Tribune, I’ve been a reporter, columnist, and now an editor. I think the reason I’ve stayed and allowed my position to evolve over the past two years is because I think the campus paper is prevalent to much-needed change on our campus; we aim to shed light on the students’ truths through university news and hornet expressions, we aim to express our own truths in our editorials, and we also aim to evoke necessary change.
I’ve always had a passion for writing, but I was more so used to creative writing where I produced poetry and short stories. I never took myself for a news writer until I was granted the opportunity here. However, I’m a firm believer that if you remain open-minded in certain instances, you will experience and manifest parts of yourself that you weren’t even aware existed.
As cliche as it sounds, I like to think working on The Hornet Tribune was fate in my case. It was unexpected, and it lit a fire up under me that I didn’t even know I had. I’ve built sustainable relationships with the rest of the staff, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t step out of my shell. I’ve grown so much from when I first started up until now both personally and professionally. I remember being the soft-spoken columnist who would shy away from any and all forms of responsibility, and now, I take the initiative in things I wouldn’t have a year ago; I’m a leader by choice.
And I’m a force to be reckoned with.