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Reminiscing over the last 60 years :
Join us in the birthday celebration

Graphic illustration by Michael Graham

By Abbigail Overfelt
Assistant Web Editor
Heidi O’Conner
Staff Writer

Photo by Amanda Hickey
The Pine Needle in 1969 covered a variety of on campus issues and entertainment. The Editor at the time was Judy Avery.

This semester, The Pine Needle is celebrating its 60th birthday. Over the last 60 years, the publication has evolved with the times. It has consistently grown both in size and technological advancement.

Tracing roots
The original staff of The Pine Needle from 1947 consisted of Editor in Chief Raymond Clark, Sports Editors Thomas Oxendine and Wilton Chavis, Production Editor Harvey Candy, Art Editor Johnnie L. Locklear, Reporters Earlene Jacobs, Typists Ruby L. Oxendine and Vertie Ree Hunt, and Faculty Advisor Dr. George R. Swann.

In 1949, Pembroke State College for Indians was shortened to Pembroke State College and Pembroke State College News was in its third year of publication. The November issue, six pages of copied, type-writer pages mixed with hand drawings, featured quirky front page articles such as:

Miss Sharp Interested in Ghost Pictures
Miss Sharp recently was inquiring about ghost pictures for the Pontiac Society. Dr. Swann, who was interested in helping her, asked all unemployed ghosts to co-operate. (Not a one would appear; they were all waiting to appear at the Halloween party, Thursday night.)

Men Only
Miss Page's respect for the superior intelligence of the male sex has greatly decreased in consequence of her being the only girl in an accounting class at Chapel Hill last summer; she ranked among the highest in the class. Her opinion was that the other students were lazy.

Quiet, Please
The students at PSC should realize, when the bell sounds, that they should not tramp down the halls and talk as if the building were on fire. Many students are studying in the library at this time and the disturbance does not help them. So next time, little less talk and a little less action please! P.S. We wonder how Miss Kanable is able to tolerate it!

Photo by Michael Graham
What is now The Pine Needle was the Pembroke State College News in 1949.

Politically correct?
Headlines for the 1949 issue also lack the political correctness of today. The sports headline for the issue read “P.S.C. Braves scalp E.M.I. in Thriller 13-7.”

In 1953, Pembroke State College approved admission to 40 percent white students (officially desegregated in 1954) and the April’s Pembroke State College News resembled a glossy, printed format with black and white photos. The front page displayed articles on events that took place on campus.

Changing titles
1954 saw the first edition of The Pine Needle, back to four pages of copied typewriter pages with hand drawings. The front page featured the article Barter Theatre to play PSC. "William Shakespeare, the playwright, and Robert Porterfield, founder and managing director of the Barter Theatre of Virginia, are one of the happiest combinations in show business... Admission for the productions will be $1.20 and 60c."

Inside, an article titled, “Panel Discusses Christianity and Race” appeared.

The year 1956 saw the return of the glossy flyer, and 1957 saw the first newsprint paper with black and white photos.

In 1968, an underground paper, The Pine Noodle, emerged as an anti-establishment newsletter on campus. According to Pembroke State University: A Centennial, the students were disenchanted with the student newspaper The Pine Needle because they felt it was too conservative and indecisive.

Photo by Michael Graham
The Pine Needle has been serving the UNCP community for 60 years and has gone through many transformations, including name changes, asthetic make overs and staff changes.

Their statement was that The Pine Noodle existed “as an appeal to students to explode the myth of faculty-administration; to become the controller, not the controlled; an expression of student thought and action; a forum for discussion.”

It was filled with student poetry and opinion, which mostly served as an anti-war forum due to the Vietnam War.

According to the text, “it was one of the best examples of the limited student activism at Pembroke State.”

Continuous evolvement
By 1969, The Pine Needle more closely resembled the paper it is today, with eight pages of newsprint and black and white photos. The September issue carried the title: The Pine Needle Pembroke State University “Newspaper of Pembroke State, a new NC Regional University.”

One of the articles that made the front page announced, “Record 1690 Students Enroll” with a picture of four happy girls unpacking their suitcases and a note from President Jones welcoming students.

In 1987, as the school celebrated its centennial, The Pine Needle celebrated with an American Flag logo on the front page. The March 1987 issue headline declared the building of a campus landmark with “University Center Near Completion.”

The publication’s six pages included classifieds, the article “Study: Good-Looking People do Better in College” and the editorial “Sex, AIDS and The Condom.”

Today’s publication
Today, The Pine Needle, advised by Dr. Judy Curtis, serves students at UNCP, as well as the town of Pembroke and numerous satellite campuses, with a bi-weekly newspaper published during the fall and spring semesters.

The paper is required to do a minimum of eight pages in each issue, but often does 12 or 16.

Learning laboratory
The Pine Needle is divided into the sections of News, Sports, Around the Campus, Around the Town, Opinion and Sports. The sections are written by 32 staff members.

According to The Pine Needle’s website, which began in 2003, “The Pine Needle provides an active journalism learning laboratory for students.”

Adam Fenwick, now the copy editor for The Star in Shelby, N.C., agrees.

“Working on The Pine Needle was a blessing for me. Not only did it help me prepare for working in my chosen profession, but the relationships I got out of it will last a lifetime,” he said.

The Pine Needle serves as a stepping stone for students who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism.

“I enjoyed my position as entertainment editor for The Pine Needle,” says Paul Bright, who worked for The Pine Needle in 1997.
“The Pine Needle is what sprung me to continue my journalism passion. I now write for two major online journalism hubs – Digital Journal and Associated Content. You'll never know where one experience can take you in your life,” Bright continued.

Working pride
For Bright, being Entertainment Editor had many perks.

“It was a thrill to have the opportunity to meet and interview the various entertainers that came to our school such as Pablo Francisco, Bill Bellamy and Carlos Mencia. The best part was working side by side with some of the most daring staff members ever to cross The Pine Needle’s pages," Bright said.

“We had so many controversial yet thought-provoking articles back in the day,” Bright reminisced.

The current editor, Amanda Hickey, is proud of how far The Pine Needle has come.

“When I joined The Pine Needle, it was a pretty good publication. Over the last three and a half years, it’s continued to grow and improve,” Hickey said. “I’m proud of the improvements that have been made, and hope that it continues to grow in the future.”

This year
So far this academic year, The Pine Needle has switched from the tabloid size it was known for to the broadsheet size.

The current staff also put to press the first-ever 20-page edition of The Pine Needle, celebrating both a major achievement for themselves and the first football homecoming in over half a century.

“The best part of working on The Pine Needle is the people you work with. It takes more than one or two people to put together a publication, and working for the university’s newspaper allows journalism students to learn that early in their careers,” Hickey said.

“I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the staff, as a whole, The Pine Needle wouldn’t have evolved as much as it has over the last 60 years,” Hickey continued. “I’m proud to work with and be a part of the staff.”

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke The print edition of The Pine Needle
is published 14 times a year
during the fall and spring semesters.

Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2007
© The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The Pine Needle
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
Phone: 910.521.6204
Fax: 910.522-5795