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Creating a Piece of Howard University’s History

by Black Issues


Creating a Piece of Howard University’s History

Finding a staff that is interested in working on a yearbook poses big problems, according Kenneth Dean, student media coordinator of Alabama State’s newspaper, The Hornet Tribune, and yearbook, The Hornet Dean.
“There is not this passion to work on them.  [Students will] do it, but it’s not a passion,” he says. “When I was coming along, working on the yearbook was an extracurricular activity. Now in the last 10 years, it’s built into the curriculum and students are actually doing it for a grade. So you get people who are working on a yearbook and they don’t particularly want to but they are to get the grade.”
Fortunately for Howard, that is not the case with senior Dana Williams, the first woman to be editor of the Bison yearbook for two consecutive years.
“When Dana Williams became editor, it was at a point when no one wanted to work on the yearbook,” recalls Suggs. “Then she began recruiting younger students and giving them more and more responsibility. Her creativity and innovation — we’re doing something with plexiglass this year, you know — well those sort of things have created even more interest in the book.”
“I’m the most organized person in the world,” Williams says, “and we have a great staff. We flow like a well-oiled machine.”
A self-described yearbook nerd, Williams was the editor-in-chief of her high school yearbook. She has been to yearbook camps and has won several yearbook design awards. She came to Howard to study broadcast journalism and did a lot of freelance graphics work on campus. She was also a staff writer for the student newspaper, The Hilltop, when she was approached to take over the yearbook staff.
“I see a yearbook as a piece of history for a student,” she says. “I’m lucky because I get to create a piece of Howard history.”
As for the plexiglass cover that will grace this year’s cover: “I wanted to do that since high school and everybody told me, ‘Too expensive, too expensive.’ Well, this year we got the money for [the plexiglass cover] in our budget, so I said, ‘Let’s do it!’
“My goal is to make each yearbook better than the last and I want to top myself this year,” says Williams, who would someday like to own a beauty magazine for Black women.  “I had to [use techniques and information] that came before me and I have to do what I can to make sure that the next person’s yearbook is better and the job is easier.”
Her fondness for Howard’s yearbook goes back a long way: “Both my parents went to Howard and I have yearbooks in my parent’s house from ’87 to the present.”    



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