UNC Pembroke students usually have to wait until they return to campus after summer vacation to find out the news they missed.
Now, wherever they spend the summer, they can keep up-to-date with happenings on campus and in Pembroke with a click of a mouse.
For the first time, UNCP’s campus newspaper, The Pine Needle, has an updated summer edition on its Web site. Inspired by the vision of the 2005-06 Editor Scott Ammons, six students are volunteering their time this summer to report the news to keep the campus and community informed.
"The last thing I wanted as incoming editor," Ammons said, "was for The Pine Needle’s Web site to have a story posted on the last day of spring classes and then for that story to remain there, stagnant, until classes begin again in August. There’s just too much news happening that needs to be covered."
“I believe The Pine Needle is a great asset to students and the University, and we want to take it to the next level,” Ammons said. “The summer edition is a good bridge into the new year.”
Visitors to the summer edition at www.uncp.edu/pineneedle/ will find another first – interactive Web video. A story about UNCP professor Dr. Lee Phillips’ geology class field trip to the Southwest this summer is illustrated with still photos and a video movie.
"Putting video on the Web site was a dream of last year's managing editor Brian Beck," Ammons said. "I’m very happy we can say, as of July 1, that we have video on our Web site. We plan to use interactive Web video as often as possible to illustrate stories in the coming fall semester."
Pine Needle faculty advisor and assistant professor in the Mass Communications Department, Dr. Judy Curtis said the students are experiencing the latest development in the journalism field.
"Journalists call it convergence – combining written text with digital video, still photos and audio clips to create stories on a news Web site," Dr. Curtis says. "That’s the hottest topic discussed among journalism professors across the country."
"That’s what these students are doing. Blending the most up-to-date techniques from print and electronic media to create something new. We are on the cutting edge of what any university is doing," she said. "Convergence presents new career opportunities for students."
In addition to the video, other stories in The Pine Needle summer edition include progress on the new football team, the appointment of Dr. Jesse Peters as dean of the University Honors College, the search for a new provost, Lumbee Homecoming, students volunteering at Odum House, accolades for our top athletes and the Distinguished Speaker’s Series upcoming season, among others.
In recent years, The Pine Needle added muscle to its campus coverage, going online, extra pages of news, color photography and editorial cartoons. Ammons said respect for UNCP’s student newspaper is rising.
“Last year, we had an opportunity to give input to the national media on the (American) Indian mascot and other issues, and I believe we reached a new level of respect,” Ammons said. “We have a talented and dedicated staff that will accept nothing less than excellence.”