HBCU Buzz

GSU Junior Miniya Shabazz Becomes New Member of the ESPN Family

Miniya Shabazz has been quite involved as a GSU student journalist, she’s worked as an editor of her campus newspaper ,with the university’s media bureau and local publication, and she’s just warming up!

The opportunities she’s had has prepared her to get positions she’s never imagined. After, completing the application to be selected as an Undefeated Rhoden Fellow, she played the waiting game, unsure if she’d be chosen, but on March 8, when she did,  she didn’t believe it!

“I was filled with excitement and disbelief to be selected…because of the well-known and reputable brand of ESPN,” said Shabazz. “I knew instantly that when I got this opportunity that it would be beneficial to my career because of the nuance of gaining experience with writing and reporting on a national level.”

Will, GSU’s director of communications, sees the potential and dedication that Shabazz has for journalism and suggested her for this program.

“She is committed to her craft, dedicated to being one of the best and because she signs up to get assignments done rather than sign in to get credit,” he said.  Sutton says Shabazz is an up-and-coming journalist who will blossom with the ESPN experience.

Shabazz, Grambling students and Will Sutton attend the 2016 NABJ National Convention.

As a fellow, the Maryland native joins along with five other college journalists ESPN’s multiplatform initiative for sports, race and culture. The journalism program focuses on identifying and training aspiring African American journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It is a two-year program open to outstanding undergraduate students at HBCUs.

Other college journalists selected include: Kyla Wright, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia; Paul A. Holston, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; C. Isaiah Smalls II, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; Simone Benson, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, and Donovan Dooley, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Shabazz explained how thrilled she is to be working with other young journalists from various HBCU institutions and looks forward to the great content they will produce together.

The new fellows will also be mentored by the “man” himself, William C. Rhoden, an award-winning sports columnist who recently retired from The New York Times then joined The Undefeated as a columnist, editor-at-large and director of the fellowship program.

“I am very eager to learn as much as I can, to apply it to my own craft, from the award-winning Bill Rhoden and other affiliates because of their years of experience in the journalism business,” said Shabazz. “Now that I have begun to work at The Undefeated I have already started to serve as a liaison from my university to The Undefeated through podcasting and writing stories.”

Rhoden was encouraged to develop the initiative by ESPN president John Skipper and has worked closely with Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, to make the Fellows a reality.

“We are excited to welcome our first class of Rhoden Fellows,” said Merida. It is vital that we develop new voices for our profession, and to continue to diversify sports journalism. We know how much talent sometimes overshadowed resides on HBCU campuses. We are proud to get this program started.”

The importance of landing an internship or fellowship during college has been key for students who hope to gain  hands on professional experience and become a strong candidate for the job they would like after college.

This has been seen true for many HBCU graduates, but specifically for students who attend GSU in the communications and related fields. GSU has media greats such as Charles Blow, who did his first internship at The Shreveport Times and is now a well-known columnists for the New York Times, Denise Young- Smith, who interned at a company called Light and Motion and is now the VP of Apple’s Worldwide Human Resources. More recent graduates include Andrea Beasley, who interned at Reuters and is a former associate producer of MSNBC and Ninfa Saavedra, who interned at Cape Cod Times, and now works as an Assignment Desk Editor at KHOU-TV.

Shabazz, Grambling student and professors meet journalist, Roland Martin.

This shows that the opportunity Shabazz has at hand  is destine to lead her is the right direction and provide her with great future professional opportunities. During the fellowship, Shabazz will report, write and record for The Undefeated. The program includes regular conference calls discussing story ideas, reporting, writing, producing podcasts and advising with Rhoden.

The fellows will report news stories from their universities and cover the varied facets of HBCU life, serving as on-campus correspondents for The Undefeated’s HBCU vertical. They will produce daily, weekly and monthly multimedia content, as well as serve as on-site beat writers covering sports teams – college or professional – in their respective markets. During the summer, students will work 40-hour weeks at ESPN for 10 weeks, gaining a first-hand education and experience in sports journalism.

The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

We congratulate Miniya Shabazz! Shabazz is also a proud student member of the National Association of Black Journalists and an active member of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

E'Vonne Gipson