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HBCU Excellence: Awarded Student Journalist, Editor Jasper Smith Says Howard University Journalism Students Readying Iconic Hilltop for 100-year Anniversary in 2024

Jasper Smith Hilltop

WASHINGTON- Jasper Smith, returning editor-in-chief of The Hilltop, said she feels a great sense of responsibility as a Howard journalist. Leading the nation’s oldest Black collegiate newspaper gives her the opportunity to work with an amazing staff of student journalists.

“This year, we are in the process of launching The Hilltop's first newsletter, debuted our new business column, and have implemented new search engine optimization strategies to grow our readership more than 180% compared to this time last year,” said Smith.

Smith is a senior journalism major and sociology minor from Phoenix, Arizona. She is in her second term as The Hilltop’s editor-in-chief, an HBCU Student Network Journalism Fellow, a Summer digital media intern at The Arizona Republic, and a Fall intern at the Washington Post. Recently, Smith was honored with The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2023 Scholarship for Diversity in Media.

She said winning this scholarship allows her to focus more on journalism, leading the paper, and getting closer to obtaining her degree without the burden of financial hardship and tuition costs.

“Not only am I even more excited for my future, but I am greatly motivated to finish my last year at Howard University as strong as ever,” Jasper said.

Recipients of The Chronicles’ Diversity in Media are awarded a $10,000 grant and entry to The Chronicle's fall 2023 Workshop Program for Aspiring Journalists. It is presented to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a career in journalism.

According to The Hilltop, “The Hilltop’s first issue was published on January 22, 1924. Hurston and King’s vision laid the foundation for what would be the beginning of The Hilltop’s remarkable journey.”

As editor-in-chief of The Hilltop, Smith says she is excited about the future of The Hilltop and sees its legacy only expanding.  She says the student journalists at the publication are seeking to expand into the digital space and improve news coverage, just as the storied campus institution approaches its centennial next year.

Plans are still underway as The Hilltop brainstorms ways to celebrate.


About Howard University 

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.