The Hornet Tribune captures five awards at SEJC’s Best of the South competition


Ronald Martin, Micah Sanders, Camille Zanders, Khalil Stewart and Lateef Oloko

Staff Report, The Hornet Tribune

Student journalists representing 29 colleges and universities assembled with anticipation as the 34th annual Southeast Journalism Conference’s (SEJC) Best of the South Awards were announced virtually on Friday, March 25.

Staff members from The Hornet Tribune earned five awards, the most the staff has received from the Best of the South competition since joining the Southeast Journalism Conference in 1998.

The individual winners are:

  • Khalil Stewart                                 First Place                            Best Special Event Reporter/Editor
  • Camille Zanders                             Fourth Place tie                   Best Feature Writer
  • Ronald Martin                                First Place                            Best Artist/Illustrator
  • Lateef Oloko                                    First Place tie                      Best Newspaper Layout Designer
  • The Hornet Tribune                      Fourth Place                        Best Newspaper Website

Ronald Martin, a freshman art major was totally surprised at the announcement.

“I had no idea I was in the competition, but I’m extremely happy that I managed to get first place in a regional competition,” he said. “I love being around everyone and just being in a productive environment. I also get to do what I love and have exposure as well the experience in return.

Khalil Stewart, a sophomore communications major from Birmingham, Alabama said the award was unexpected, “but it raises my bar to be a better writer.”

Micah Sanders, The Hornet Tribune’s editor-in-chief, said he is proud to work alongside these dedicated student journalists.

“Just seeing four of my staff members being placed as the best of the best in the Southeast for journalism is amazing. The fact that we are an HBCU, which is usually known to have fewer resources and we are placing ahead of larger universities like the University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee speaks volumes,” he said. “I am super proud of Khalil, Camille, Lateef, and Ronald for always putting 110% into their work ethic, and it truly paid off. To those who did not win an award, including myself, let it be known that awards don’t define a person but just add a sparkle to an already accomplished resume.

He continues.

“This is just the beginning, we still have two more competitions to enter, so I hope that we continue to showcase our immaculate talent to the world and let everyone know why we are ‘The Oldest Black College Newspaper,’ and as editor-in-chief, I will continue to make this ‘Experience Amazing,'” he said.

Kenneth A. Dean, J.D., the general manager for The Hornet Tribune, said the newspaper submits entries for as many categories as they can every year.

“It is important for our students to participate in competitions like this one.  It also gives them an idea of who they will be working with once they leave Alabama State University and since this a regional organization, the chances of them working with someone who is a member is very high,” he said. “Also, it is important for students to know how they actually stack up in this ever-changing industry and since these entries are judged by professionals in the industry and some faculty members, it gives them a true sense of where they stand in terms of the quality of their work.”

Dean believes that the variety of the awards earned each year reflects the kind of well-rounded journalists that The Hornet Tribune seeks to produce and it also allows students who are not writers to show off other skills that our staff possesses.

The awards ceremony was hosted by Lipscomb University associate professor of communication and journalism Jimmy McCollum, the adviser for Lumination, as well as Belmont University’s Dorren Robinson.