Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hornet Tribune’s history is as diverse and entertaining as the university’s. Founded in 1879 by the university’s second president, William Burns Paterson, The Hornet Tribune began as the Journal Reporter. It is the first recorded effort by Black students at the Lincoln Normal School of Marion to publish a newspaper and the first recorded effort by Black students to publish a newspaper at a HBCU.

After the establishment of the Journal Reporter, the name was changed to the Normal Reporter sometime between 1882 and 1887. In 1889, legislative acts reestablished the school in Montgomery, Alabama and renamed it the State Normal School for Colored Students. Once there, Paterson resumed the publishing of the Normal Reporter intermittingly on the second floor of Tullibody Hall. Sometime between 1889 and 1922, the newspaper’s name changed again to the State Normal School Record, however, in 1923, Professor Harper Councill Trenholm, Ph.D., renamed it the State Normal Courier and began printing the medium on a monthly basis. Under managing editor John Hewlett, the State Normal Courier produced a 44-page semi-centennial souvenir edition on Feb. 23. The newspaper was managed and maintained by State Normal students under the “superior counsel” of Trenholm who served as acting president during the year 1924 and who was named president in 1925.

Since the year 1925, the State Normal Courier has gone through a series of name changes. The next major name change came in 1950, when the name changed from the State Normal Courier to The Hornet. Name changes since then have varied. In 1951, it was called the Alabama State College Hornet and Freshmore but 11 years later, in 1962, the name changed to its present name, The Hornet Tribune. Aside from the newspaper’s numerous name changes, the frequency of publication also shifted. The publication moved from one edition per month to two editions per month under the leadership of several university faculty.

Since 1989, the leadership of The Hornet Tribune was placed under Kenneth A. Dean, J.D. Since that time, The Hornet Tribune has become a weekly publication. However, journalism, along with the rest of the world, has changed. Alabama State University students are now more apt to find information about the goings-on of campus from social media than The Hornet Tribune. Gone are the days when “The Tribune” was the main source of information for everyone. Television is even suffering as we transition into the new online world. More and more, the traditions of the past are being deconstructed in favor of new, creative and inventive forms of media and information. To keep up with the current trends, The Hornet Tribune published its first online edition of the newspaper in 2001. Since that time, students have begun to transition into the digital age. In an effort to capture those students, the newspaper is prioritizing digital content and social media interaction more and more. As The Hornet Tribune strives to stay relevant in the digital age, the staff prides themselves on one thing: the commitment to getting the story right.

In another 100 years, the printed copy of The Hornet Tribune may become a relic of the past as we move, rapidly, into the digital age. It has already been recommended by some administrators that The Hornet Tribune drop the printed edition and go strictly with an online edition each week, however, most university newspapers have been able to retain both the printed copy and online versions.

As we move forward into the third decade of this millenium, the university may one day decide that a student-operated newspaper is not worth the time or money. That is why it is imperative that The Hornet Tribune staff become financially independent so that their voices will always be heard. The future of journalism is a mystery, but it would appear that people will always be hungry for the news. In the meantime, The Hornet Tribune will continue its reputation for quality journalism. Glaring factual errors, despite how common they may be in our “fake news” era, have no place in The Hornet Tribune. While the past 142 years readily reflects this, it only takes one story to destroy any sort of trust the student body has in The Hornet Tribune. Even something so simple as a typo creates the appearance of sloppiness and apathy, despite the hundreds of papers released in prior years. The future is never found in the past and the next great edition of The Hornet Tribune will not be found in the archives.

 

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