Pine Needle wins 5th consecutive national award


For the fifth consecutive year, The Pine Needle, UNC Pembroke’s student newspaper, has won first place in the 2012-13 American Scholastic Press Association national contest.  

The Pine Needle

In addition, the newspaper earned a “special merit” designation for “publications with special and outstanding design and content” – an honor that is considered a notch higher than first place.

The Pine Needle also earned the “non-school related outstanding story” award for Samantha Langley’s news report titled “Soldier’s Funeral Site of Protest.” Langley covered a protest at a military funeral in Raeford, N.C., by the Westboro Baptist Church.

This marks the fifth year the paper has won first place awards in the competition that attracts approximately 2,500 college and university newspapers.

“Five years of awards has a nice ring to it,” said Dr. Judy Curtis, the newspaper’s faculty advisor. “I’m so proud of the students who put their hearts into working on the paper.”

In addition to this national recognition, the newspaper consistently wins awards in the regional North Carolina College Media Association competition.

This year the newspaper published 316 pages, Dr. Curtis said. Allyson Betot, who graduated in December, was the editor in the fall semester, and Kelly Mayo, who is graduating in May, was the editor in the spring semester. Both have been hired into full-time positions with newspapers in North Carolina.

Ashley Cole, the current managing editor, was named editor for 2013-14 by the Student Publications Board in April. She will begin work as editor of the online summer edition in May.

The student newspaper publishes its print edition 14 times a year during the fall and spring semesters and has a year-round website that also contains podcasts and videos.

“Students have a hands-on opportunity to practice all the skills needed by today’s news media professionals,” said Dr. Curtis, who teaches journalism in the Mass Communication Department. “The Pine Needle is a learning laboratory that prepares students to perform immediately at a high professional level once they graduate.

“The students decide on the content, write and edit all the stories, take the photos, write the headlines and design the pages,” she continued. “They also sell and design the advertising and handle circulation.”

Langley, who won the outstanding news story award, is a sophomore from Supply, N.C., in Brunswick County. She is a mass communication major majoring in both journalism and public relations.

Langley’s story may be viewed at: soldierfuneralsite.html