HBCU Spotlight
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A monthly newsletter that explores issues facing historically Black colleges and universities and follows the work of our HBCU Student Journalism Network. By Naomi Harris.

Training with other student journalists

Last week, we brought our six fellows to D.C. for two days of training with fellow student journalists — a workshop we hosted in partnership with The Chronicle of Higher Education. This was an exciting moment, as one of our core goals in creating the HBCU Student Journalism Network was to give fellows lots of hands-on training and networking opportunities.

Getting to spend time with the rest of her cohort helped fellow Rosegalie Cineus feel less isolated. “We were able to talk about our experiences and share advice. In a way, it became a tangible and real-life community, instead of just seeing the other fellows through a screen,” she told me.

During the workshop, Chronicle reporters presented on topics including interviewing a college president, navigating roadblocks, and covering college athletes. We led a session on stories for students to try out at their campus newspapers.

Fellow Tatyanna McCray said the sessions helped her come up with strategies for keeping up with sources and showed her that “we all experience similar roadblocks but are more than capable of finding a way to work through it.”

It was a great two days, and we were glad to spend time with our fellows in-person! We hope to create similar opportunities for future fellows.

Fellows Tamilore Oshikanlu and Kendal Manns listen during the training.

Asking the experts

Our fellows have been conducting Q+A interviews with experts on a range of HBCU topics.

  • Tamilore Oshikanlu spotlighted a spurt of presidential turnover at HBCUs around the country by interviewing the University of Idaho’s Sydney J. Freeman.
  • Tatyanna McCray interviewed a Morgan State University professor about the decades-long underfunding of HBCUs.
  • Rosegalie Cineus highlighted the role HBCUs play in preparing graduates for successful careers, in a conversation with Auburn University professor and HBCU alumnus Travis Smith.

HBCUs are our steam engines — producing and equipping Black people with confidence, empowering Black students and providing them with inspiration to go out and be change agents in the world.

Travis Smith

A visit from the vice president

Rosegalie Cineus interviewing Vice President Kamala Harris last month. (Photo: Pedro Dudley, Jr. / N.C. A&T Register)

When Vice President Kamala Harris visited N.C. A&T last month, fellow Rosegalie Cineus — who’s EIC of the campus newspaper — got to interview her. Harris was visiting campus as part of a month-long college tour.

Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986. Rosegalie asked Harris how attending an HBCU shaped her:

“It’s a very special thing” to be in a space that reminds you “you can do and be anything, and that there will be a place and a community that supports your ambition and your aspirations,” Harris said.

“And part of why I’m here at A&T is to also hopefully remind the students who are currently here, that that’s where it’s going to end up,” Harris said. “It’s going to end up that you will years later, understand how special this moment was.”

Meet the newest member of our team

Next month, we are excited to welcome Kayleigh Skinner as our managing editor for race and equity coverage. She’ll work primarily with our local reporters, helping seed thoughtful coverage around the country. And, she’ll be a point person in our work with HBCU students. You’ll hear from her more here in future editions.

We’ve worked with Kayleigh since 2021 — she was previously the managing editor at Mississippi Today, one of our early partner newsrooms. Kayleigh’s spent much of her career covering education and politics, including at Mississippi Today, The Hechinger Report, and Chalkbeat Tennessee.

Interested in becoming a fellow?

Applications are open for our next set of fellows. Fellows will start in January. Apply here.

Thanks for reading!

Reach out to us at hbcu@opencampusmedia.org.