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UNCP’s student newspaper wins another national award

August 3, 2010

For the second consecutive year, the American Scholastic Press Association awarded The Pine Needle, UNC Pembroke’s student newspaper, first place in its annual competition.

The 2009 ASPA award also rated the newspaperamong the very best in the nation. The Pine Needle competed against colleges and universities with enrollments of more than 2,500 students.

This fall the student newspaper will enter its 63rd year of publication. It is published every two weeks and has an online edition at

In the past four years the newspaper has added color, a separate sports section and additional pages. It now prints 20 to 28 pages per issue with a staff of about 40 students.

For the first time, The Pine Needle has an official summer edition, which features news and sports updates and music reviews. Eight students are working under Editor Kayloni Wyatt, a senior from Fayetteville, N.C. The summer staff includes: Shawn McCain and Chang Lin, Web editors; Tony Lewis, photo editor; Matt Smith, sports editor; and staff writers Janna Blue, Leon Preston, Grant Merritt and Marlo Fulmore.

Dr. Judy Curtis, a 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,” Curtis said.

The student newspaper also won top honors in the 2010 North Carolina College Media Association 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., and Assistant Web Editor Chang Lin is a junior computer science major, also from Laurinburg.

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

“We’re one of the first newspapers in the country to have an iPad app,” 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 his or her smart phone.

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