It has been more than a month since The FAMUAN marched into Baltimore for the 10th Annual HBCU Newspaper Conference looking to take home some of the most coveted awards in the world of black college journalism.
From the moment we arrived at the conference center, our focus was on the main competing newspaper looking to garner the very same accolades that we were.
As usual we knew The Southern Digest would be a formidable opponent. And the Tennessee State Meter has been one of the more celebrated publications for a few years.
But the newspaper that ignited the embers of our competitive fire was The Hilltop of Howard University.
Maybe it was the historic rivalry between the two institutions that facilitated the contest.
Or perhaps it was the smug air of excellence shouldered by both newspaper staffs.
Whatever it was, it was mildly intense, and more importantly it was fun.
When The Hilltop began to publish daily, it set a pace that we at The FAMUAN have been chasing ever since.
With one declaration they were crowned the most frequently published black college newspaper, leaving us a close second.
But now, to the shame of black college journalism and ire of the very newspaper that competes so fervently with The Hilltop, the publication has been shut down.
Now things on the landscape of HBCU journalism isn’t quite right.
The Hilltop has been a steady presence for too long. Now that it has been silenced by the administration, the reverberation can be felt across each and every HBCU.
The truth of the matter is that The FAMUAN could have easily been in the same situation just a year ago.
Facing similar circumstances (missing money and no way to recuperate) and a frustrated staff, The FAMUAN was saved by a huge financial overhaul and the grace of God.
When I met The Hilltop’s Editor In Chief, Drew Costley, at the conference there were two things I noticed right away.
First I understood that he and his staff had experienced similar trials that we had. Secondly, I recognized that he had handled those situations quite well.
Drew, if this editorial manages to cross your desk, understand that above all we support The Hilltop and what your newspaper stands for.
It was Zora Neale Hurston who helped start the newspaper, but it’s the students who have helped build it into what it is today.
Next year we will likely be a familar scene. The FAMUAN staff will walk in the conference with the same attitude and our eyes on the same competition.
Editors will feign colloquial greetings until the final night when awards are given and the competition boils over.
It’s only right The Hilltop be there, upholding its responsibilities to keep us on our toes.
Akeem Anderson is a junior newspaper journalism student from Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.