April 16, 2014

Grambling State Newspaper Wins ‘Best Newspaper,’ Other Awards

The Gramblinite wins in seven categories of The Society of Professional Journalists Region 12 college newspaper contest

Gramblinite senior editor, Tierra Smith, winner of 3 SJP awards.
Gramblinite senior editor, Tierra Smith,
winner of 3 SJP awards.

GRAMBLING, La. – Grambling State University’s campus newspaper, The Gramblinite, received seven first place awards, including first place for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper.

It is the second best newspaper award in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 12 Mark of Excellence Awards contest and follows a best newspaper award by the Black College Communications Association earlier this year. The SPJ awards were presented at a weekend conference in Arkansas.

“The variety of awards The Gramblinite won — hard news, feature stories, sports writing, editorial cartooning, and sports and feature photography — illustrates that the well-rounded curriculum the (mass communication) department offers is benefiting our students,” said Wanda Peters, the newspaper’s advisor. “The staff puts in some grueling hours, and it’s wonderful to have their hard work recognized…. I am so proud of them.”

One Gramblinite senior editor, Tierra Smith, won three first place awards. She won the small newspaper category for breaking news reporting for a story entitled “Moving Forward,” a piece about the early fall departure of GSU’s head football coach, Doug Williams, and the football team’s efforts to move forward with the season.

In the general news reporting category for small newspapers, Smith won for a story headlined “Cracking Down,” a story about the city of Grambling’s ordinance prohibiting sagging pants and its possible effects on Grambling State University students.

Smith’s third first place win was in the sports writing category for a story entitled “GSU hit with ‘completely unacceptable’ fine,” a story about the university’s reactions to the penalties from Jackson State University and Southwestern Athletic Conference after GSU’s football team skipped a JSU homecoming game.

Smith, 21, of Houston, is a junior mass communication major with a concentration in sports journalism.

Former gramblinite editor-in-chief, Justin Madden, won an award for 'The life and times of Charles Fenton.'
Former gramblinite editor-in-chief, Justin Madden,
won an award for ‘The life and times of Charles Fenton.

Grambling State University 2013 graduate Justin Madden, 23, the former editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, won first place in the small newspaper feature writing category for “The life and times of Charles Fenton,” a piece about the struggles of a white man attempting to help black students integrate an all-white school in northern Louisiana in the 1960s.

“Winning these awards shows that we take pride in our work,” said Madden, who wrote the story while editor of The Gramblinite. Madden, a breaking news reporter with McClatchy’s Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, added, “We do the research necessary to find good stories and write about individuals and topics that hold historical merit, (telling) the story of our university and the people.”

Tyrie Goodman, 22, a senior photographer from Houston, won first place in sports photography for a photo of GSU running back Jeremy Runner. Nobel Michael, 20, a junior cartoonist from Lancaster, Calif., won first place in Editorial Cartooning. Goodman and Michael are mass communication majors with concentrations in broadcasting.

“To hear about these awards bring me so much joy,” said Madden, talking about his former campus newspaper colleagues. “They have allowed themselves to grow as journalists and are able to compete against others. I expect the campus newspaper to continue their winning tradition, especially when writing stories that matter.”
The Region 12 SPJ spring conference was held in Fayetteville, Ark. last weekend (Friday, April 11- Sunday, April 13). The first place winners will move on to the national Mark of Excellence competition with category winners from all SPJ regions. National winners will be notified in late spring and will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism 2014 conference in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 4 to 6.

SPJ is divided into regions of the United States. The Gramblinite competed in SPJ’s Region 12, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.


Wanda Peters, the newspaper’s advisor, is proud of the achievements of the students and the newspaper.
Wanda Peters, the newspaper’s advisor, is proud of the achievements of the students and the newspaper.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton




April 14, 2014

GSU Cherishes Senior Student from Lafayette

Grambling State University president, student affairs vice president urge GSU students, family, friends to cooperate with Lafayette police investigating the unexpected death of Alexandria Shelton

University urges support in the investigation and rememberance of senior criminal justice major Alexandria Shelton.
University urges support in the investigation
and rememberance of senior criminal justice major
Alexandria Shelton.

GRAMBLING, La. — The Grambling State University community is in shock by the death of a senior criminal justice major, a 3.5 GPA student who enjoyed life, shared close family and friendship ties and was scheduled to graduate at a May 9 commencement.

“We’ve just been in shock since we first heard early Sunday that the body of a young woman found in a Lafayette city park was likely one of our own,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue. “We immediately reached out to the family and we’ve been cooperating with Lafayette police. We know how important the first 24 to 48 hours of a police investigation can be.

“Now we encourage our students, faculty, staff and others to contact Lafayette city police, or our own campus police, if they think they have even a small bit of information that might be helpful,” added Pogue. “We need to assist police with this investigation and bring closure to this situation for the sake of Alex’s family and close friends.”

Shelton was on campus and in class Friday.  Lafayette police received a missing person report late Saturday after some of Shelton’s friends did not hear from her as they expected to see her at an 8:30 p.m. goodbye party for a mutual friend. A short while later, police found Shelton’s body in a drainage ditch near a Girard Park pond, not far from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus. Lafayette confirmed Shelton’s identity with her parents on Sunday as the investigation continued. Her parents told police she attends Grambling State University. Anyone with information that might be helpful with the investigation is asked to call Lafayette Police Department at 337-291-8200 or call GSU police at 318-274-2222.

Shelton had a 3.54 cumulative GPA and was a member of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College at Grambling State University. Pogue said GSU Provost Connie Walton is completing the necessary paperwork to seek approval of awarding Shelton’s degree posthumously. In addition, Stacey Duhon, vice president for student affairs and interim vice president for institutional advancement, is working with the Foster-Johnson Counseling Center to make sure grief counselors are available. Interested students can call the Foster-Johnson Counseling Center at 318-274-3277 to talk with someone.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton




April 11, 2014

Northern Louisiana Universities Team to Gain Legislative Support

Presidents from Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech and the University of Louisiana at Monroe joined other ULS institution presidents to sell the value of higher education “up north”

Legislators shake hands with President Pogue and other university presidents as they visit the capitol to gain support.
Legislators shake hands with President Pogue and other
university presidents as they visit the capitol to gain support.

By Grambling State University Media Bureau

GRAMBLING, La., BATON ROUGE – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue was one of several university presidents at a morning jazz breakfast hosted by the University of Louisiana System at the state capitol courtyard Monday, quietly garnering quite a bit of attention. As a three-man New Orleans jazz band played, Pogue and other executives mingled, and dozens of participants sought out Pogue to wish him well.

Pogue announced Friday that he is retiring from his role as GSU president on June 30, so this was the first chance for a number of his ULS and legislative colleagues, fans and supporters had to personally shake his hand, tell him what a good job he’s done and wish he and wife Dorothy Pogue well as they return to their Delaware home.

When asked about the attention, Pogue chose to focus on the purpose of the day. “Quite honestly, this is a perfect day for the UL system. It was a perfect day for all nine of the campuses, and a perfect day for Grambling,” said Pogue, who started working at GSU as a consultant in fall 2009. “We had an opportunity to say thank you to the legislators, and we did it together. And it was an opportunity to inform those who may not understand what we do every day, preparing these young men and women for future work in the state of Louisiana, in the nation and in the world.”

ULS President Sandra Woodley decided months ago that the system’s nine universities needed a special day at the state capitol to showcase what the system, and each individual institution, means to the state of Louisiana. Working with her staff, they pulled together Thursday’s special event, including a show-and-tell of tables and university representatives in the capitol rotunda.

The state capitol sees “days” of all kinds from time to time featuring schools, systems, universities and all types of associations and organizations. Capitol information desk volunteer Ruth Gillen said they see one nearly every day when the legislators are in session, and it’s always good for attention when exhibitors bring food. Each university featured special guests. GSU featured Y.W. Reddy, who leads some of the university’s most important STEM programs, including….This day was different because the ULS president had her Baton Rouge staff and each of the nine ULS universities had a president or a provost and a host of university leaders and representatives mingling with a host of Louisiana’s state representatives and senators.

There was candy, cookies and mints as well as Cajun bacon from McNeese State University and some state-famous GSU popcorn, pulling people over to the tables throughout the morning. Some lucky rotunda visitors walked away with a coffee mug, a mouse pad or even homemade soap.

Each university featured special guests. GSU featured Yenumula Reddy, Program Coordinator of a $1.8 million U.S. Air Force grant research program in Grambling State’s computer science department.

“This is a fantastic day for us to get out and give our message to our legislators and our people in the Baton Rouge community (about) what great things are going on at Louisiana Tech,” said Louisiana Tech President Leslie Guice, taking a moment from Tech table visitors who sought a chance to chat with him. “We want them to know that we are committed to developing this state, as a great economic engine for jobs and economic growth for the future prosperity of our citizens.”

The University of Louisiana at Monroe chose to feature its pharmacy school, which graduates about 80 percent of the state’s pharmacists, and its strong online program, including 27 online degree programs. ULM President Nick J. Bruno said it was more than a show-and-tell. “It allows us to share the expertise we have and …it’s an opportunity to show off what we have in north Louisiana,” he said in between visiting exhibits and talking with constituents. “It gives our institutions a chance to show off and be better exposed statewide…so they get a better picture of what we’re doing up in north Louisiana.”

GSU Presents exhibits at ULS special event at the state capitol.
GSU Presents exhibits at ULS special event at the state capitol.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton




April 9, 2014

Three GSU Students Win Houston Advertising Scholarships

The mass communication majors, all from the Houston area, receive $2,000 scholarships from the Advertising Education Foundation of Houston, making Grambling State University proud

E'Vonne Gipson, Ninfa Saavedra and Tierra Smith have won scholarships from the Advertising Education Foundation of Houston.
E’Vonne Gipson, Ninfa Saavedra and Tierra Smith have won scholarships
from the Advertising Education Foundation of Houston.

Grambling State University Media Bureau

GRAMBLING, LA. — Three Grambling State University students have won scholarships from the Advertising Education Foundation of Houston (AEF- Houston).

E’Vonne Gipson, Ninfa Saavedra and Tierra Smith – all junior mass communication majors — were chosen from a pool of over 80 applicants. Only 20 students were selected to receive $2,000 scholarships, making it the second consecutive year for Gramblinites to be among the scholarship awardees.

“Grambling did really well again this year; the quality level of Grambling’s participation in the past three years has improved demonstrably,” said Rich Klein, chairman of the AEFH. The students competed with students from universities in the four-state area including Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The GSU student scholarship winners will be recognized during a special AEFH benefit luncheon with 17 other student scholarship winners, family members and professors on Friday (April 11) at The Junior League of Houston. The Houston foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores, juniors and seniors pursuing undergraduate or post graduate degrees in advertising, communications, interactive marketing, journalism, radio/TV, commercial art, public relations or related fields.

Edward Welch, the GSU mass communication department head, is happy that Grambling State is producing qualified students. “It validates that students can achieve things if they apply their skills,” said Welch. All three work with the Grambling State University Media Bureau.

Tierra Smith, 21, sports editor of The Gramblinite concentrating in Sports Journalism, found out about the scholarship opportunities from last year’s recipients, 2013 Grambling alumni Erina Love and Justin Madden. “When this scholarship came around again this semester, I was excited because I knew people who won it and I knew it was a strong possibility I could win, too,” said Smith. She is a recipient of the Gilbreath Communications Education Fund scholarship.  A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Smith moved to Houston with her family and attended Alief Hastings High School. “I am extremely thankful for the many doors moving to the city has opened for me,” she said.

Born and raised in the Houston area, Ninfa Saavedra, 20, who works with campus radio station 91.5 KGRM, received the foundation’s KTRK Television Scholarship. “Winning this scholarship means a lot to me and my family; it has given me a lot of confidence in myself and skills,” said Saavedra, who is from Houston suburb Katy, Texas. As an alumni of Hightower High School in Missouri City, she is excited about the scholarship.

E’Vonne Gipson, 21, who has a public relations concentration and also majors in criminal justice, received the Houston Media Classic Education Scholarship. Born in Ruston, La., but reared in Missouri City, Texas, Gipson participated in the Creative Writing Club at Elkins High School where she discovered she really enjoyed writing. “I would like to be an individual who is one day able to share the knowledge I’ve learned, and also be able to give back so that other hard working students are able to receive scholarship opportunities,” she said.

Audrey Gilbreath, president and chief executive officer of Gilbreath Communications, sponsors the foundation’s Gilbreath Communications Education Fund scholarship. A 1979 Grambling State University alumna, she sees the need for more HBCU students to get help as they consider advertising and marketing careers. An Arizona native who has been a foundation member for 10 years, she said “it’s important in the communications field that we encourage our students to participate.”

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton




GSU Police Arrest Students on Drug Charges

Grambling State University President Pogue, police say no one is exempt from investigations, arrests and/or charges as the university continues to provide a safe, secure campus focused on academics

GRAMBLING, La. — An ongoing investigation by the Grambling State University Police Department has resulted in the arrests of two GSU students.  Warrants for two non-student suspects have been issued. The investigation resulted in the seizure of several pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $12,000.  In addition to the seizure of the narcotics, the GSU police department seized a semi-automatic handgun and drug paraphernalia.

“This has been a strictly internal campus investigation by our university police department, and while we don’t like what the investigation has yielded we want our students, faculty and staff to realize that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue. “We are responsible for what we, and our associates, do – or, at a minimum, we’re responsible for reporting suspicious activity.” The president said campus police have requested the assistance of local law enforcement agencies as the investigation continues.

According to police Lt. Ruby Jones, Donavon Taylor, 20, a freshman from Lancaster, Texas, and Trevonne Mingo, 18, a freshman from Bogalusa, La., have been arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute and criminal conspiracy.  Taylor was also charged with possession of a firearm in a firearm-free zone and possession of drug paraphernalia. They have been booked into Lincoln Parish Detention Center where they are awaiting bond.

Earlier today (Tuesday, April 8), a police department investigator visited Douglas Hall Room 145 as a part of the ongoing investigation started on March 24. After knocking, the investigator found dorm room resident Taylor and visitor Mingo.  There was a smell of burnt marijuana, prompting the investigator to seek room search consent. Taylor provided consent and a search yielded a substantial amount of marijuana, packaged and ready for sale.  In addition to the marijuana, officers confiscated a .45 caliber semi-auto handgun, and a large amount of cash.

On Monday (April 7), the GSU police department obtained a warrant for the arrest of Demario James Jackson, 22, of Arcadia, La., for home invasion, criminal conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is being pursued by law enforcement officials, and his total bond is $70,000. In addition, Daryl Shaw, age unknown, of Gibsland, La., has a warrant for his arrest.

Jones said this week’s arrests and warrants are the result of an ongoing investigation. According to the GSU police department, a series of events unfolded from mid March through today. There was a March 17 incident involving several GSU students and non-students, resulting in an aggravated battery committed on Mingo. An investigation determined that the incident resulted from an argument. Then, on March 24, there was a home invasion at 145 Douglas Hall on the campus, involving five or six young men. A 16-year-old juvenile was arrested and charged with home invasion, criminal conspiracy, and misrepresentation at booking.

“We anticipate additional arrests as the investigation continues,” said Jones. “No one is exempt from an investigation on campus if they are in violation of the law. We welcome all information and tips, anonymous or otherwise. Students and others can talk with any campus official, not just the police.”

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton




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