UNCP’s student newspaper again rated one of best in the U.S.

By Staff Reports
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) again has awarded The Pine Needle, UNC Pembroke’s student newspaper, first place in their annual newspaper competition.

The 2009 ASPA award also had rated The Pine Needle first in the nation. UNCP’s student newspaper rated one of best in the U.S.

The Pine Needle competed with colleges and universities with enrollments of more than 2,500.

This fall, The Pine Needle will enter its 63rd year of publication. The newspaper is published every two weeks and has an online edition at www.uncp.edu/pineneedle. In the past four years, the newspaper has added color and a separate sports section and many pages and now runs 20-28 pages per issue. Typically,  a staff of some 40 students work on the newspaper.

For the first time this summer, The Pine Needle has an official summer edition. Eight students are working under Editor Kayloni Wyatt, a senior from Fayetteville. The summer staff includes web editors Shawn McCain and Chang Lin, photo editor Tony Lewis, sports editor Matt Smith, and staff writers Janna Blue, Leon Preston, Grant Merritt and Marlo Fulmore.

The summer edition features news and sports updates and music reviews on the web at www.uncp.edu/pineneedle

Dr. Judy Curtis, associate professor of Mass Communication, has been the faculty adviser for eight years.

“It's very gratifying that the paper, the students and the University continue to receive this national recognition," Dr. Curtis said.

The student newspaper also won top honors in the 2010 North Carolina College Media Association (NCMA) competition among North Carolina colleges and universities with more than 6,000 students. It was the first year for the contest and UNCP competed with the state’s largest universities, including NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Pine Needle’s website won Best of Show Online News Site. The print edition earned honorable mention awards for news writing and design.

Web editor Shawn McCain is a senior computer science major from Laurinburg, N.C. Assistant Web editor Chang Lin is a junior computer science major, also from Laurinburg.

McCain’s newest developments for The Pine Needle website are iPad and iPhone apps, which are available from Apple's iTunes store.

"We're one of the first newspapers in the country to have an iPad app," Dr. Curtis said. "Everyone is quite proud of Shawn for his Internet skills."

Previously, McCain had developed an RSS feed, which gives anyone the ability to download the latest issue's top stories to their smart phones.

The website also offers podcasts, video news packages, a Facebook page and a Twitter stream.