By: Jasmine Saunders
I want to first and foremost thank Dr. Marcia Taylor, the former advisor of the paper for believing in me when she handed me my first AP Style Book two years ago when I started at The Hornet. I think she saw an enthusiastic journalist who wanted to make a difference. I also want to thank Mr. Carlos Holmes, the Director of News Services for Delaware State University. I know it’s strange to befriend someone whose job is to be the liaison between the press and the university, but he has really been a great mentor. I learned so much from him and he has always been a huge support for me. He really took me under his wing ever since I first shadowed him for a feature I was working on in my first year. Thank you both for the guidance over the years.
It has been an amazing experience to write for The Hornet Newspaper for three stressful, time-consuming, and crazy years, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. The Hornet is my life; I’ve put so much of myself into it. Through this paper, I have experienced so much of what this campus has to offer, and I have grown to really love this school. I’ve also had the utmost pleasure of being the editor for this publication for a year and a half. I now understand the difference between being a writer and being an editor in a newsroom. There are a lot of things to consider as an editor that don’t have to be as a writer. To be honest, I missed the freedom of being a writer. I believe that is where I can most make an impact. I had come to understand that from watching the Netflix series “Marvel’s Daredevil” interestingly enough. The character Ben Ulrich is a journalist who has resisted either retiring or being promoted to editor because he felt that being a writer was where he belonged; it was ingrained in him, and I feel the same way. Being on the ground amongst the community is where I belong. Even during my tenure as editor, I couldn’t stop writing. It’s too much a part of me.
One of the things I had to consider as an editor was ensuring that we had content. This is a student-run publication, meaning that students come first. That means we can’t have everyone available all the time to cover certain events and news. We have grade point averages to protect and social lives to experience. It’s been an up-hill battle to make sure that The Hornet has the reporters she needs to keep our legacy going. We aren’t there yet, but I am confident that with the incoming editor Janae Faison, we will get to where we need to be. However, one constant obstacle we’ve faced was people’s strange phobia for writing. I don’t know how many people I’ve spoken to at organization fairs, classroom presentations, or just randomly on campus who have expressed their reluctance. When I hear someone make that argument when asked to write for The Hornet, I have to ask, why?
I don’t think people realize how much power we hold as the voice for the students of Delaware State University. I’d like to reference the cliché saying, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” I first realized that power when I first became editor. I was sitting in an event for class about Native American heritage and DSU’s relation to that heritage (DSU is housed on former Native American land and there are still active tribes not too far away from campus). Once it came down to the questions segment, there was a patron who stood up and directed herself to the former dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Marshall Stephenson who was also in attendance. She spoke about the lack of a festival of sort to celebrate DSU’s Native American heritage. She spoke about an unfulfilled promise made by the then-dean five years prior to have such a celebration. When I turned around to look at him, he saw me and he immediately gestured for the mic to make a statement. I later realized that he recognized me and knew that I represented the paper. He was caught in a PR dilemma and sought to save face because I, as a member of the press was in attendance. I didn’t think that we were even really on the map being as we were still coming back from a hiatus, but after that occurrence, I realized we matter.
Of course, another moment that I realized how visible we were was the infamous housing story from the fall of 2016. One of our reporters broke the story, and it garnered the university some unwanted attention from outside media sources that were citing the article. Then there were some members of administration who wanted the story to be taken down. It was an interesting learning experience on balanced reporting, but still, people were buzzing! We had comments on the article from concerned people who wanted to know what was going on about students who were directed to the Super 8 motel. It wasn’t our best moment and it could have been handled better, I admit. But the fact is, we hold power and we matter. How can anyone not want to be a part of something that has the power to tell the stories that we want to tell and need to be told?
So, I urge students of all majors to please contribute to The Hornet. Anything that is of interest to you is of interest to this paper. After all, we don’t speak for you; we just amplify your voices. Remember, there would be no Delaware State University without the students, so we matter. I keep stressing this point because it’s true. Never, ever forget that.
Farewell and keep reading,