It was just yesterday when I was bestowed with the title of editor-in-chief of The Hornet Tribune, and then within a flash, my responsibilities and duties of emerging the newspaper into the 21st century were fulfilled.
As I hold this honor with a firm grip and presence, it is now time to firmly let go and transfer my knowledge and skillset to the next editor-in-chief, who I know will continue to prioritize the paper to the next level.
Being in such a leadership position truly exposed me to various personalities, perspectives, work ethics, and disciplines.
I cannot deny that I was initially afraid to take on this new challenge, as I knew the position was not to be taken lightly. And while I value the ethics and origins of journalism and leadership, I was not ready to blend the two at that time. However, I am eternally grateful for taking that leap of faith and believing in myself and my abilities to get the job done. I think deep down inside, I always knew I had what it took to be the editor-in-chief, even as a new staffer with no experience as an arts & entertainment reporter back in 2020.
As I sit here and type my last column for The Hornet Tribune, I can gracefully say that joining The Hornet Tribune was the best collegiate decision I have ever made. Transformational would be one word to describe how this newspaper drastically shaped and molded me into who I am today, but I would also describe this experience as transcendental. With reflection, I am enamored by the Micah walking in and the Micah walking out on May 6.
My passion and drive to write, report and edit have developed tremendously, and it is with the newspaper and the ones attached that I believe solidified my experience to have the qualities and characteristics of a full-fledged journalist under my belt. While I do not see myself as a journalist in the foreseeable future, I do know that I have accumulated several transferable skills and talents that can be used in any pathway of life I choose to venture into. Not only am I able to create groundbreaking and ingenious articles that touch the hearts and minds of many, but I have a detailed understanding and eye for grammar, a vast array of experience in communications, and a knowledgeable conscience on how to remain objective and truthful along with various other benefits.
From May 1, 2021, to now, serving as the editor-in-chief allowed me to appreciate the convergence of becoming a writer and an editor and its importance. The effects of me thoroughly analyzing, critiquing and correcting various style, Associated Press and grammar errors was something that became so natural to me that I frequently found myself forgetting how vital and essential that process is in creating attractive editorial content for our student body, administration and alumni. It was not until our publication received five awards at the Southeast Journalism Conference that I identified the influential presence my editing conjured. While I did not personally win any awards for my contributions in journalism as of yet, I am conscious of my importance and guiding hand when it comes to assisting those staffers who won awards, and I am eternally grateful for that.
And while the road as the “CEO” of the newspaper has not been straight and narrow, those stressful and not-so-positive experiences jump-start my tolerance and resilience to those similar experiences in the future wholeheartedly.
Everyone will not always agree with your opinion and way of thinking, but if it ever comes to a situation where they try to silence you, just know that the First Amendment is right there in your back pocket. It was not until I wrote “Reaffirmation should be the normal, not abnormal” that I understood the weight and importance of that advice. While one side strongly agreed with my statements mentioned in the editorial, another side was insulted, and with that experience came a bitter and invigorating truth about journalism … it is not for the faint of heart.
Although those temporary barricades and problems persist, I cannot deny the various blessings, opportunities and doorways that this position opened up. From interning at Paramount Pictures, going on unforgettable heart-warming bonding trips, to being featured and honored as a graduating senior, these are just some of the benefits of the position.
Now that I have talked about my pathway and journey as the editor-in-chief, I must address my dedicated, hilarious and welcoming staff. Though I may have distanced myself from you all, I truly consider you family and I am eternally grateful to have met you all.
With every word, paragraph, interview, article, editorial, laugh and memory created, you all have remained steadfast and persevered through the thick and thin. Despite the lowest of the lows with disagreements in the office, missing articles and whatever else life threw, you did not allow that to thwart your brightly shining light. You continued to provide a voice for Alabama State University. Each and every one of you has created a lasting impact on The Hornet Tribune, rather that being directly or indirectly, and I look forward to seeing what is in store. Do not ever let anyone discredit or undervalue you or your work ethic. My staffers are truly the hardest working students on campus, and I can say that humbly, with or without the recognition from the administration.
To my mentor, influential figure, general manager and supporter, I want to thank you for seeing that spark in me when no one else did. It is because of you that I can proudly walk away from the university and be prepared for whatever comes my way. Words cannot express my gratitude, appreciation or credit that you deserve. You literally carry this paper on your shoulders, and you deserve all of your flowers now. You are truly the hardest working person I have encountered. Day in and day out, you bring this inviting yet respectful energy and presence to the office that everyone gravitates toward, while wearing several hats, and I hope that one day I will be able to just barely reach that prestige.
It is with great appreciation and gratitude that I say goodbye to The Hornet Tribune … for now. While I make the transition from journalist to full-time worker and adult, I will continue to be an avid supporter and #1 fan of the publication that cultivated and jump-started my present self.
Kendal Manns, my fellow co-worker and friend, the torch is now in your hands. I have no doubt in my mind that you will constitute effectiveness, efficiency, fellowship and an all-around powerful (award-winning) publication weekly. And if need be, I know Tammia and Mr. Dean will be right besides you to put you in check!
2021-22 editor-in-chief signing out!