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The Hilltop


Editor Reflections

DMV Editor JD Jean-Jacques

Photo courtesy of JD Jean-Jacques.

My time as an editor has been fantastic. It has been such a great fulfillment to have spent the year exchanging ideas with and learning from individuals on The Hilltop team, and I’ve had an amazing experience working with passionate writers and editorial board members. Reflecting on my growth as a journalist and editor from September to April, I have learned as much from The Hilltop about journalism and writing practices as I would have learned from an academic class. The students, faculty and professional journalists who have been involved with The Hilltop have given this news publication a semi-professional/educational duplexity that has greatly encouraged me to pursue a working position with next year’s staff, and that has piqued my curiosity in the journalism profession.

 With so many events that have happened on campus this school year, it truly was a special opportunity to share developments with the Howard community, and I have certainly been able to learn much more about the university through writing and editing stories. What I admire about The Hilltop staff the most is perhaps our commitment to improvement and our determination to evolve our news sharing methods, our digital media presence and our story selections so that we can best represent the students of this university. 

As an editor having read and edited stories ranging from student businesses to a Supreme Court nomination, I have been able to learn an incredible amount about the world and about students here on campus. I am very much looking forward to witnessing what this publication will produce next year, and I strongly encourage everyone to consider writing for The Hilltop.

HBCU News Editor Darreonna Davis

Photo courtesy of Darreonna Davis.

If you would have told me as a freshman culture reporter who could barely get published that I would be the HBCU News Editor, I would not have known how to respond to such malarkey. Howard has a way of propelling you into leadership positions you think you’re unprepared for and molding you into someone you never imagined you’d be.

I took this role passionately and excitedly but, in all honesty, blindly back in August. I remember excitedly turning on the Instagram post notifications for almost all HBCUs and HBCU-centric publications so I could be aware of what was going on and have ample stories to share with writers and reporters. I did not consider I was going to have to be authoritative in enforcing deadlines, I would have to work harder to make my stories attractive to writers and reporters because it wasn’t news that was on campus, or how I would have to push those writers and reporter to connect with students and leadership at Universities they had no connection to and how I would get my own bylines because I needed more clips.

However, in true Howard woman fashion, I rose to the occasion. If I had to describe my time serving as the HBCU News Editor for The Hilltop in one word, it’d be developing. The experience has developed my news judgment, my understanding for AP Style, my news, feature and profile writing skills, my verbal communication skills, my organization and planning skills and my overall abilities to lead any group of people.

I’m grateful to have been afforded such a unique opportunity, and I only hope that, as our readers, you enjoyed the work myself and other writers and reporters worked vigorously to put out there in order to highlight our nation’s HBCUs.

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Sports Editor Malik Seay

Photo courtesy of Malik Seay.

Hello, I’m Malik Seay, a junior sports management major from Flint, Michigan. My time working as sports editor during the 2021-2022 school has been quite memorable. Going into my junior year, I knew that I had interest in getting involved in something on campus. As much as I loved playing sports, that road had been sealed off at that point. I did, however, always have an interest in writing, which made an easy connection to sports. Once I earned this position, I was able to get familiar with my Hilltop staff. Shoutout to The Hilltop staff for being patient with me, guiding me and giving me encouragement. Taking this position was a big jump for me. Being in publication for the first time was eye-opening. During my first few weeks, my editor-in-chief had to light a fire in my head to help push me to publish more stories. I appreciated it though because I started to understand the importance of my position. I wanted to take this time to say thank you for reading the sports section this year. With this academic school year marking the first for me as a sports editor, I had big shoes to fill. Last year, Kira Grant did an excellent job of bringing a variety of different sports news to the section. It was my goal to replicate and improve upon this from last year to the best of my ability. Thank you to all of those who have contributed, not just to the sports section but The Hilltop in any way. We, the students, are the life of this news service.

Campus Editor Ileya Williams

Photo courtesy of Ileya Williams.

My time as Campus Editor during the 2021-2022 school year was unforgettable. Taking this job was a big leap for me, being that I had never been part of a publication before. I definitely had a lot of fears, and wasn’t sure what to expect from this position at all. However, these fears were quickly allayed by the support that I received from the rest of the Hilltop staff. I was immediately taken in by those who had already been a part of the Hilltop before, and their assistance made me realize that I had made the right decision. 

That is not to say that this school year at the Hilltop hasn’t been a huge challenge for us all. Much of the staff were experiencing their first year on campus after the pandemic, and it wasn’t easy for us to get back on track. Similarly, the Hilltop was recovering from the pandemic as well, and so we all had to work twice as hard. To be fully transparent, I have always struggled with balancing school and work life, but the family that I made at the Hilltop made the work come easier. Being surrounded by people who were equally passionate about this newspaper made all the difference, and I am truly proud of all of the work that has been done these past two semesters. 

Being able to showcase the unique stories of dozens of Howard students has been extremely fulfilling for me. The best part of this job has been all of the amazingly talented people that I’ve connected with, and who have trusted me to put their passions on paper. Every time that I am able to give someone a voice through this publication, I realize my purpose even more. I built bonds through the Hilltop that I will never let go of, and for that, I am eternally grateful. 

Culture Editor Myia Borland

Photo courtesy of Myia Borland.

My name is Myía Borland and I am a junior journalism major and criminology minor from New Jersey. My first year working for the Hilltop was an unforgettable and historic experience. I joined as the culture editor and I can say I learned a lot from my fellow editors, writers and my own work. This was the first time I worked with others on their writing as well as my first time working for an influential organization. 

Covering culture is something that I grew to love. It challenged me to find creative stories and bring life to the page, and also teach other writers how to do so in their own way. 

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Evolving into an editor from a reporter has been a humbling and fundamental part of my writing career. This semester I learned how to manage my time wiser along while creating deadlines for others to follow. I also had to learn how to lead others in their creative process while still following the universal rules of journalism. 

One of the best moments from this year was covering the Howard Homecoming concert. It was exciting to enjoy the event with my fellow Bison and turn around to write an article about a historic part of Howard culture that everyone was anticipating after losing a year of on-campus events. 

I appreciated learning new skills from reporters, editors and writers in the industry during various writing workshops throughout the school year. All of the guest speakers shared important advice I can follow as I further my career. 

From breaking news in the fall, to covering Howard homecoming events and more, I am grateful for the experiences and amazing writers and reporters I met on this journey. I can’t wait to see what is next for the Hilltop newspaper. It is through reporting and all writing that we can share and remember the moments that matter most. 


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