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‘The Pine Needle’ turns 60!

December 20, 2007

The Pine Needle student newspaper at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke celebrated its 60th anniversary this fall with record-setting accomplishments.

First published in 1947, the paper has grown into a significant, professional-quality medium, according to faculty adviser Dr. Judy Curtis.


Pine Needle Staff

“I’m continually amazed at what our students have been able to accomplish,” Dr. Curtis said. “They seem to outdo each other every year.”

This year, the bi-weekly The Pine Needle scaled new heights by moving up to full broadsheet-sized newspaper. If that weren’t enough, the October 11 issue had two sections and reached a record 20 pages, 10 in full color.

“This was our first Homecoming during a football season in 56 years,” Dr. Curtis explained. “With that spectacular event, as well as all of the other news occurring around campus, there has been a lot to cover in two weeks before Homecoming 2007.”

The Homecoming issue included a special eight-page section and complete sports coverage.

Lots of students work on The Pine Needle each year. For 2007-08, the newspaper has a staff of 34 students.

“The newspaper is an excellent learning laboratory,” Dr. Curtis said.

Senior journalism major Amanda Hickey is the editor and Robert Deckert serves as managing editor and around-the-campus editor.

Other senior staff members include Brad Crawford, sports editor; Hannah Simpson, around-the-town editor; Christian Felkl, news editor; and Maggie Damghani, opinion editor.

Michael Graham is Web editor, and Marquita Brazier is photo editor and electronic news editor.

8pine_needle_graphic.jpg“Our staff this year is really energized,” Hickey said. “Working on The Pine Needle gives us valuable experience in reporting, editing, photography, graphic design, and even advertising sales and circulation.”

Crawford said the paper has come a long way in its 60 years, and it’s a great training ground.

“As a journalism major, it provides me with a lot of experience,” the sports editor said. “There are deadlines, time crunches and more deadlines, and that’s how it is in the real world of journalism.”

Graham, the Web editor, said The Pine Needle is good for his resume.

“It’s about education and future employment at the same time,” he said. “I want to be a Web editor when I graduate, so this is a good to have the opportunity to do it and get it on your resume.”

But the best part of working for The Pine Needle is the people who make it an outstanding newspaper, Hickey said.

“When I joined The Pine Needle, it was a pretty good publication,” she said. “I’m proud of the improvements we have made, and I hope that it continues to grow in the future.”

The paper accepts paid advertising from national brands as well as local businesses. It boasts a circulation of 4,000 on campus and in the town of Pembroke via racks in restaurants, stores and public buildings. In addition, the paper is circulated at the University’s satellite campuses.

“I am so proud of the students. It’s a huge job putting out a 20-page paper,” Dr. Curtis said. “We're always looking for energetic new reporters and photographers.

“Although journalism majors make up most of the staff, the paper is not just journalism students,” Dr. Curtis pointed out. “All majors are welcome.”

The Mass Communications Department offers academic tracks in journalism, public relations and broadcasting. For more information, please call 910.521.6204 or email