Tribune staff to make vital changes for spring semester

%28L-R%29+Staff+member+Darian+Howell%2C+Juana+Blackwell%2C+LaTeef+Okolo%2C+Aaliyah+Morgan%2C+Kendal+Manns+and+Micah+Sanders+discuss+the+numerous+changes+that+will+be+made+during+the+spring+semester.

PHOTO BY ESAELYNN CAMERON/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

(L-R) Staff member Darian Howell, Juana Blackwell, LaTeef Okolo, Aaliyah Morgan, Kendal Manns and Micah Sanders discuss the numerous changes that will be made during the spring semester.

Takebie Webster, Staff Reporter/Writer

“It is time to make some radical changes before The Hornet Tribune celebrates its 150th anniversary,” noted General Manager Kenneth Dean, J.D.  “Everything is changing, technologically, and this newspaper cannot be the exception.  In fact, it should be the leader since it is the oldest Black college newspaper in the nation.”  

According to Dean, the staff was forced to change its format from a printed version to a digital version during the fall semester, and a number of other changes will be made during the spring semester as Editor-in-chief Micah Sanders and his staff work hard to update the publication qualitatively, quantitatively and technologically.  

The oldest Black college newspaper, founded by Alabama State University President William Burns Paterson in 1879, has been around for 143 years and has published numerous stories about the evolution of the university as well as both major and minor events that have impacted the university over the years.  The newspaper is operated by a student staff that determines the content. 

Sanders has been a member of the staff for a year and a half and is joined by only seven veteran members:  Arnold Bhebhe, Cullen Davis, Kendal Manns, Robert Mukuchura, LaTeef Okolo, Anthoni Wardlaw, and Camille Zanders.  The remainder of his 20-member staff joined during the fall semester. This means that in between publications, Sanders is busy training, recruiting and introducing new journalism concepts to the staff, and according to the Dallas, Texas native, “When it comes to publishing and completing the assigned stories for the week, the task doesn’t come easy.”  

However, the senior broadcast journalism major, who is scheduled to graduate in the spring, is optimistic about the staff’s accomplishments. 

“The Hornet Tribune is coming along great this year!” he said.  “I’m so excited to say that we will have 14 newspapers produced by the end of the fall semester, the most produced in the history of the newspaper in one semester.  I am so proud of not only myself but my general manager, Mr. Dean, and my staff, who works hard every day to push out quality news articles. For our last edition of the 2021 year, we will be paying homage to alumni who have made significant contributions to the university, and I’m excited to release that project once it is finished.”

      The Hornet Tribune is more than just a newspaper to Sanders; he sees it as much more.

“It’s a team effort with everyone working together with different writing skills,” he said. “The Hornet Tribune is not just a newspaper, but it is a well-oiled machine full of passionate, dedicated and loving people, and I could not have done it without my staffers once again. Their resilience and powerful communication skills have allowed me to do my job with ease. Though there’s always room for improvement, I am so proud of how far we’ve come as an organization.” 

Sanders has goals on how he plans to gain more people’s attention to The Hornet Tribune over the next semester. 

“Along with that exciting news, our social media page has reached 300 followers! One of my goals was to reach 500 Instagram followers by the end of the semester. Though I did not reach that goal, I did increase our followers drastically with over a 200% increase, and I have received various compliments on how aesthetically pleasing our page is.  So, I plan to continue cultivating some fun new ideas to constantly increase our followership.” 

Sanders has a plan on how to make the websites easier for students to access our information more. 

“I think we should add “read times” to each of our stories. That way, the audience knows exactly how long it will take to read those articles. Also, I think our media needs to be constantly updated (such as a photo gallery, live updates, etc.) because we’re lacking on that. One last thing, the website needs some readjusting.  During the break, I plan on resolving that issue,” Sanders said.

Dean added to Sanders’ observations.

“While Micah is focused on social media platforms, my focus will be intentionally recruiting a diverse group of students to add to our current staff so that we can put together several podcasts and talk shows,” Dean said.  “We also hope to add an alumni base to our circulations so that we can send our newspaper out to the many alumni that are always requesting a copy.”

       Senior reporter/writer Camille Zanders, a sophomore finance major, believes the staff is experiencing reconstruction.

“This has been a rebuilding semester for The Hornet Tribune,” Zanders said, “as we have added many new team members to the staff.   We are definitely ending the term in a better position than we began. With new faces come new ideas and perspectives, making us more dynamic and innovative than ever. We have big things planned for the spring semester and are very excited to share them with all of Hornet Nation!”

Zanders can envision the team expanding as more people join The Hornet Tribune, which means the spring semester will come with new ideas and more ways to grow as a whole. 

Khalil Stewart, one of the sports reporters/writers who became a member this fall, takes reporting and writing for The Hornet Tribune seriously. 

“The Hornet Tribune is coming together well this year,” Stewart said.  “There are still some great ideas being put together between Micah and Mr. Dean where we are utilizing everyone’s talent and finding out what everybody excels in. As far as the paper is concerned, we have done a good job at keeping up with all events that involve ASU.” Stewart believes that with the help of Dean and Sanders, The Hornet Tribune will be a success because they place people in positions based upon their talents. 

Tammia Jacobs, a communications major who wanted to join the staff last year, but followed through this year, believes the topics covered in The Hornet Tribune are timely and interesting.

“In my opinion, The Hornet Tribune has progressed a lot by adding more staff members, and as a result, the paper production process seems more effective,” Jacobs said.  “I’m also enjoying several of the Lifestyle topics that have been selected to report on, such as Black men and police brutality or the Legacy Museum. As students of an HBCU, these topics are so significant for the student body to be informed about.” She looks at the paper as a cultural style because some of the sections capture what’s happening in the world around, not just on campus. 

       Keion Carter, another reporter/writer, looks at the staff of The Hornet Tribune as family and Dean being a helping hand. 

“I think it’s going great, there is a real sense of camaraderie among the staff,  and I like how Mr. Dean works with the writers showing us how to improve our articles,” Carter said.  “The staff is also pretty cool.” 

       The Hornet Tribune can be found on many platforms, from your student email to social media. All in all, The Hornet Tribune will continue breaking boundaries, providing a voice for the student body, and showcasing immense talent and craftsmanship. 

“And under my leadership, I will ensure visually and grammatically pleasing newspapers that evoke the O’ Mother Dear spirit into our audiences,” Sanders said.  “Don’t forget to check out thehornettribuneonline.com for all your daily needs and check out @hornettribune67_ on Instagram!”