Alabama State University’s student-operated newspaper The Hornet Tribune is moving to new heights. The newspaper has been not only the voice of the student body, but also a significant resource for keeping the student body informed on things such as campus activities, events, forums, and updated policies and procedures. Even amid this global pandemic, The Hornet Tribune’s Editor-in-Chief Nefsa’Hyatt Brown and General Manager Kenneth Dean are taking on new challenges and continuing to build for the future.
“As of right now, our plans are to increase the size of the staff to at least 50 staff members, increase the readership, drive more people to the website, and develop other divisions of the newspaper that we have not been able to incorporate in the past,” Brown said, sharing her vision for this academic year. “Also, we have been working diligently to increase the quality of our work by implementing a new training program that each staff member must complete before working with us.”
Brown and Dean share a mutual vision for the staff’s growth and the overall improvement of the staff’s work. In addition to this, they are implementing some new divisions: Media Advertising, Communications and Public Affairs, Standards and Ethics, and Digital and Interactive.
“We are also adding four new managing editors to the staff to assist the editor-in-chief. Our advertising division will be much more pronounced this year as they will be contacting vendors in the Metro Montgomery area and securing advertisements like the other college newspapers in the state,” Dean said. “I would also like to see us add a weekly podcast to the website. There are so many current events and social issues going on today in the world, and a podcast is a great way for the staff to communicate these occurrences to the student body while allowing them to understand how those issues affect students.”
While having a print version of the newspaper is still an important aspect of The Hornet Tribune, the staff is becoming more active in e-news. COVID-19 has not stopped the production of The Hornet Tribune because the staff is increasing its coverage using more video and broadcast journalism on its website.
“We have the printed version, the e-edition, and the online version. With the three of these, we are really able to be more expansive, not only with our coverage but with our audiences. There are many alumni who love to read The Hornet Tribune, so they have something to choose from,” Dean said, indicating some of the new key features on the website.
According to the general manager, the current number of staff members working on The Hornet Tribune is currently 37, with the exception of 10 more students in the process of completing their training, and he hopes to gain more in the future.
“We would like to increase the size of the staff to approximately 60 students, especially the editorial operations division, where the ideal number is 25 reporters/writers and seven editors,” Dean said. “We would also like to see The Hornet Tribune become the “go-to” for campus news, entertainment, and serious topics of concern.”
As the staff continues to grow, two of The Hornet Tribune staff’s top priorities are staff maintenance and retention. Brown and Dean have made sure that each staff member has gone through the proper training to join the staff. They hope to upgrade their training by preparing staff members for their respective divisions: Editorial, Standards and Ethics, Media Advertising, Presentation and Design, Digital and Interactive Media Division, Public Affairs, and Visual and Multimedia.
“As many of the new staff members are underclassmen, I want to ensure that we are able to retain each of them and offer them the opportunity to grow as student journalists,” Brown said. “I believe we are on a great start in terms of ensuring that the staff this year is trained better than ever before and that they have room to grow through the establishment of the new divisions.”