Brown leaves The Hornet Tribune staff with a legacy of commitment


Nefsa’Hyatt Brown, a native of Mobile, Ala. and a senior political science major served as the editor-in-chief of The Hornet Tribune for two years. After graduation next week, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in public policy and a law degree in her quest to become a United States diplomat.

Christian Starkey, Staff Reporter

The Hornet Tribune staff will say “so long” to its editor-in-chief, Nefsa’Hyatt Brown, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science on Nov. 20.

Brown, a reliable, hardworking Hornet from Baker Hgh School in Mobile, Alabama, began working with The Hornet Tribune during her freshman year in 2017, starting as a staff writer and working her way up to one of the top spots on the staff.  While at Baker High School, her editor-in-chief, Abrianna Wright, served as great motivation for her and the person who ignited her passion for writing.

Brown first took the job of editor-in-chief in 2018 during her sophomore year. She remembers the staff being much smaller then.  Believing that there would not be a lot of things for her to worry about other than her own work and checking on a few writers and editors, she accepted the job as editor-in-chief.  However, things turned out to be a bit different than what she expected.

“Expectations were that the job would be relatively easy; not too different from what I was already doing,” Brown said.

She admitted that her youth made it hard for her to take control and hold people accountable initially.  Her first year as editor-in-chief was definitely some of her hardest times for her at The Hornet Tribune. Then as she gained more experience and improved her leadership skills, she was able to handle the pressure much better and steer her team in her own desired direction.

Some of her best memories include a time where she and two other writers spent hours in the newsroom working and forming a bond as well as the first time she completed a newspaper as editor-in-chief.

“The feeling that you get when you know you’ve put your heart and time into something is amazing,” said Brown.

She also remembers a trip to Tennessee for a Southeast Journalism Conference and credits that trip as the first time she was really introduced to the world of journalism.

”We had a blast! I got the chance to connect to the journalism profession and to connect with these people that I have grown to feel like they are my family,” Brown said.

As far as her toughest memories, she recalls multiple new members leaving during her first year as editor and just adjusting to her new position. She also said that her first Magic City Classic experience was hectic and that she had a hard time getting into the events that they had to cover. The festivities resulted in little sleep and little time to waste.

“We could barely get into events that we needed to cover,” Brown said.  “I’m arguing with people about who I am. People were being mean to me. We are writing and editing all night. It was just tough.”

Despite the adversities that she and the staff faced, Brown said she has watched The Hornet Tribune blossom, make significant improvements, and she has grown right along with it.  She evolved from a writer into a leader that pays close attention to detail in order to make necessary improvements.

“I believe as editor-in-chief, I have successfully helped create a solid foundation for The Hornet Tribune to grow as a 21st-century media outlet,” Brown said.  “When I arrived at The Hornet Tribune, many of our practices and policies were outdated and needed to be reformed. During my tenure as editor-in-chief, I was not only successful in pointing this out but I also worked with the newspaper’s leadership and staff to find compromises between what we wanted and what we needed. Furthermore, The Hornet Tribune has successfully expanded to an online platform as well as increased in staff size.  As editor-in-chief, I believe I have solidified the relevancy of The Hornet Tribune as not only a forced to be reckoned with on the campus but as an organization that is perfect for both social and professional development.

One person that witnessed her growth was fellow staff member, Christine Shelton.  She and Brown have worked side-by-side since their freshman year.

“I admired her willingness to take on the responsibility of being the editor only one year in,” Shelton said. “I know without a doubt that she’s going to go out into the world and be that same amazing leader.”

Mason Smith, the current sports and intramurals editor feels similar to Shelton.

“During my tenure with The Hornet Tribune, Nef has done more for the paper than almost anyone who’s served on staff,” Brown said.  “She’s taken everything that was thrown at her and handled with intelligence and grace. In short, The Hornet Tribune would not be what it is today without Nefsa’Hyatt.”

Brown does a great job of keeping an open line of communication with people and being transparent and honest. She looks at these traits as important when dealing with university administrators and trying to build new relationships.

“Take it day by day. Manage your time to a tee,” said Brown when asked what her advice would be for the next editor.  “There are good times and bad times. Appreciate the good and prepare for the bad.”

After graduation, Brown plans to take a year off from school before continuing her education in both a graduate and law school program. She wants to reflect on herself and weigh her options among the confusion of COVID-19. She plans to pursue a career in public policy or diplomacy in efforts of being of service and help to the public.