Southern Digest is student voice

The Southern Digest, the student newspaper of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the sentinel voice of “enlightened” student body, according to its website.

“The Southern Digest is produced for the students, faculty, staff and the Southern University community by students of the Southern University system, primarily the Baton Rouge campus,” its website states.

Student media at Southern University also produces the Ego Magazine and Jaguar Yearbook.

In 2013, the Southern Digest received first place, second place and honorable mention honors given in the annual Better Student Newspaper Competition at the 133rd Annual Louisiana Press Association Convention in Baton Rouge, according to the Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College website. The students competed against against collegiate student newspapers across the state of Louisiana. The Southern Digest earned numerous national awards in that same year.

“The honors the students have earned during this year’s award season have been well-earned and truly humbling,” publications assistant Fredrick Batiste said at the time. “The LPA awards are not just icing on the cake, but rather reaffirmation of the hard work and sacrifices our student staff has made covering the Southern University community throughout the year.”

The students competed against 74 publications submitting 3,561 entries.”

After a five-year break, Southern Digest recently relaunched its News Minute newscast available on YouTube and at

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Stories in the Feb. 14, 2019, episode included information on a new dean of students, Freshmore week – a week held each year for student government to show their appreciation for freshman and sophomore students – as well as athletics updates. The Feb. 6, 2019 episode included a 50-year celebration of the university’s gospel choir and the nursing program’s efforts to donate water during a local clean water crisis.

Top stories on for Feb. 21 included a feature on the university quiz bowl’s 2nd place at a national qualifying tournament that earned the team a place in the national competition. A news story covered delayed progress on a news alumni center and residential housing project.

In 2013 student media at Southern University faced a funding challenge when the Student Government Association successfully passed a referendum to take 40 percent of student media’s surplus funds. Editor-in-chief at the time Evan Taylor told the Student Press Law Center that student media officials were given hardly any time to protest the measure. The money was to be redirected to student scholarships, facility upgrades, campus beautification, student transit enhancements and other service initiatives, according to an SPLC article.

Students weren’t aware at the time that the fund existed and began making plans to use the $1.5 million surplus to buy new equipment and office upgrades. The surplus accumulated from student fee dollars that were either unspent or earmarked for assistant director and director salaries that weren’t paid when those positions weren’t filled and due to unspent money. The staff also wanted to use the surplus to make up for a decline in funding due to lower enrollment.

The cost of producing the paper has gone up, Taylor told the SPLC at the time, and the surplus fund would help fill in the gap.

Separate profile

Slug: Spartan Echo is voice of Spartan Community

Teaser: Award-winning Echo provides voice and communication experience

The Spartan Echo has provided a voice for the student body of Norfolk University since 1952.

“The Spartan Echo exists to serve the university’s communication needs and to provide maximum opportunity for educational communication experience in fulfillment of the educational mission of the institution and the full spirit of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” according to its website.

The newspaper, a recognized student organization, is housed in student activities but has a faculty adviser in the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism who completes his or her duties “according to the standards of College Media Association, Inc. (CMA), the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).”

The adviser serves as a mentor or coach but does not exert editorial control. The Echo is further governed by a publications board.

The top story on the Echo’s website for Feb. 21, 2019, is a feature on a TV judge visiting campus.

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Paid editors are chosen by the Student Publications Board. The newspaper relies on a wide variety of volunteer staff members from deputy editors to reporters, content producers, videographers and graphic designers, according to its website. Any student is allowed to apply for a position. Staff performance expectations follow the guidelines of the College Media Association, a national student media organizations for students and advisers. All students involved with the Echo are supposed to follow the standards of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Norfolk State University Student Handbook.

Norfolk State University was founded in 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression, to give the “youth of the region a place where they could express their hopes and aspirations,” according to the University’s website.

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