Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Worthy of Recognition

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Worthy of Recognition

Article excerpt



North Carolina Central University's student newspaper, the Campus Echo, was once an underappreciated extracurricular activity. Now it is a thriving publication, relishing in the journalistic praise generally bestowed upon HBCU newspapers such as Howard University's The Hilltop or Tuskegee University's (Campus Digest^) which are ranked first and fifth respectively on the Princeton Review's list of great college newspapers.

This year Campus Echo has performed exceptionally well in national competitions, winning seven awards from the Black College Communication Association, including first place for "Best Student Newspaper" (published non-weekly) and "Best News Coverage." The American Scholastic Press Association awarded the print edition "First Place with Special Merit," an honor reserved for a special few. In addition, the Society of Professional Journalists named the online version the nation's "Best All-Around Online Student Newspaper," beating out North Idaho College's The Sentinel Online and The Ohio State University's The Lantern Online.

"The fact that we are winning these awards speaks volumes to the quality of our program. What the newspaper has been able to accomplish is remarkable. We don't have a journalism school, yet we are winning awards in competitions against institutions that have established journalism programs," says Sharon Saunders, director of public affairs for NCCU.

What's the secret behind the newspaper's success? University officials say the answer lies no further than faculty adviser Dr. Bruce dePyssler, assistant professor in the department of English and mass communication.

"Dr. dePyssler, an intensely hardworking man, performed well above anybody's expectations considering the limited resources he had to work with," says Dr. Louise Maynor, chairwoman of the department of English and mass communication.

When dePyssler became the faculty adviser in 1999, he found only the vestiges of a university newspaper. There were two working computers, no cameras and only three or four students that were really involved.

"Students didn't have a workable file storage system for Campus Echo documents, layout and images. …

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