Alumni News July 30 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 29, 2019) – A spirit of perseverance and a commitment to her craft has led Allana J. Barefield to be named the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) 2019 Student Journalist of the Year.
A spring 2019 Xavier University of Louisiana graduate, Barefield will be honored as NABJ’s Student Journalist of the Year on Aug. 7, 2019, during the Opening Ceremony of NABJ’s Annual Convention & Career Fair. The event will be held at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura, Florida. Convention registration can be purchased here.
Barefield made national news headlines in 2018 when she was selected as one of four students from historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) to receive Beyoncé’s inaugural Homecoming Scholars Award Program. She garnered the scholarship after writing a compelling essay about NABJ’s 2018 Journalist of the Year Jemele Hill. In 2018, Barefield was also selected to participate in The Sports Journalism Institute at The Tampa Bay Times and The New York Times Student Journalism Institute.
Accolades continued to be added to Barefield’s resume in 2018, as the Bostonian also garnered the coveted Rhoden Fellowship at ESPN’s The Undefeated. She also served as the student representative for the NABJ Sports Task Force.
She credits her late father, who passed away at the end of her sophomore year in high school, for encouraging her passion for writing and telling stories. With support from her mother Linda Barefield and her sister Carmen Barefield, she successfully completed her college journey as both a top student and respected journalist.
“NABJ applauds Allana for not only her determination but also her commitment to the field of journalism,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “NABJ looks forward to honoring Allana –a promising young media professional that embodies the go-getter spirit we hope all NABJ students aspire to practice during their college career.”
Throughout her Rhoden Fellowship, Barefield has covered the intersections of black culture, sports and education from a unique perspective. She profiled the only black woman college athletic director in Louisiana and shared how LGBTQ students are finding support at HBCUs in a feature called “Coming Out Day.”
Honoring her father’s roots, Barefield made the journey to New Orleans, his hometown, for college to use her skills and platform to tell the stories of the city’s black community – from New Orleans’ high school marching bands and black Mardi Gras masking traditions to Muhammad Ali’s funeral.
“Allana is a once in a lifetime student, and she arrived at Xavier with fire in her eyes and passion in her soul and never looked back,” said Shearon Roberts, Ph.D., Allana’s professor and advisor in Xavier’s Mass Communication Department. “And while she is talented and can do anything she puts her mind to, she has unbreakable grit and is a born leader. She has only just begun, but I know she will blaze a trail as she writes the next chapter in her career in media.”
Barefield hopes to follow in the footsteps of groundbreaking journalists Gwen Ifill and Jemele Hill. She is a testament to the impact of NABJ. Under the mentorship of Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., she began her journey with the organization as a participant in JSHOP, a professional development workshop for high school students.
She went on to use her passion for journalism and the skills she learned to revive her university’s NABJ chapter and served as its president. She also participated in intensive multimedia training programs during two of NABJ’s college short courses. Barefield also has consistently served as a mentor to other student journalists during NABJ’s past Conventions.
“NABJ became my safe haven in my junior year of high school when my dad passed away. From this organization, I gained lifelong mentors who became my family,” Barefield said. “When I first heard I would be named the NABJ Student Journalist of the Year, I was shocked! It’s a full-circle moment. I am truly humbled to be recognized by NABJ. It shows that hard work pays off and gives me more motivation to keep climbing and mentoring others along the way.”