Courtesy of: Howard University

The Howard University Hilltop is the nation’s oldest student-led newspaper at a historically Black college. 

As the newspaper celebrates its centennial this year, current and former reporters are reflecting on its impact on student journalism and Black media.

Co-founded by Zora Neale Hurston and Louis Eugene King in 1924, the Hilltop has been the voice for many students covering stories on campus about voting laws, sports, and coverage around Washington, D.C. 

Keith Alexander, editorial adviser, that the Hilltop will be the vehicle for different mediums of newsrooms as it is today as prominent professionals got their start from writing for the Hilltop. 

“Newsrooms around not just the DMV, or around the world have benefitted from young people who got their start at the Hilltop,” he said. “I believe in my heart that no other HBCU media outlet is responsible for the diversity of the nation’s newsrooms more thoroughly than the Hilltop.”

Within Black media, Alexander says the Hilltop has become a special space that shares stories from the Black perspective. 

“The Hilltop is Black media,” he said. “We try to find stories that affect or impact readers who are African Americans from their vantage point, stories that they can relate to that really affects them in their voice.”

Former editor-in-chief Jasper Smith joined the newspaper her sophomore year for the “…chance to practice journalism and opportunity to chronicle the experiences, the challenges that our students, administrators and community face.” 

For political reporter Daryn O’Neal, political reporter, she reflected on the impact that the Hilltop has sparked her passion as a student journalist and taught her professionalism throughout her journey. 

For the future of the Hilltop, O’Neal hopes that the newspaper will continue to make an impact. 

“I envision the Hilltop being something that is so much more than just a pinnacle for Black student journalism or student journalism in general. I think that in journalism as a whole, we’ve already made such an impact with people who came along before me and I feel like we’re going to continue to grow that impact as well.”

The Hilltop will continue to celebrate its centennial by having multiple events throughout the year. 

Editor’s note: Jasper Smith was a former fellow of the HBCU Student Journalism Network.

Kylar Gray is a fellow with the HBCU Student Journalism Network, a project of Open Campus.

Kylar is a senior at Spelman College majoring in English.