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William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper

The Beacon

William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper

The Beacon

William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper

The Beacon

William Paterson Society of Professional Journalists won the 2023 National Campus Chapter of the Year

Among the Outstanding Campus Chapters in the country, William Paterson University’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was selected by SPJ officials as the National Campus Chapter of the Year in Las Vegas on Sept, 29. 2023

The William Paterson Society of Professional Journalists won the 2023 Society of Professional Journalists national campus chapter of the year, topping universities like the University of Central Florida and Ohio University, SPJ officials stated in a press release. 


What is William Paterson’s Society of Professional Journalists?


WPSPJ is a chapter of the larger organization Society of Professional Journalists, which strives to advocate and protect journalists. William Paterson’s chapter is advised by Nick Hirshon, who is a journalism professor at WPU. 


Since starting the club, Hirshon guided the club to two national awards since its founding in 2017. Throughout the Fall 2023 semester, WPSPJ went on a variety of newsroom tours, including News 12 New Jersey, CBS, WHYY, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. 


“WPSPJ offers students an opportunity to think about journalism and work with like-minded student journalists on and off campus, beyond the classroom. It’s reminding students that it’s not just about the assignments you complete and going home after class. You want to use your time in college to make connections. Take advantage of the fact that we’re in this major metropolitan area. So there are tons of newsrooms that we can visit,” Hirshon said. 


Many journalism students found many internship and career opportunities through SPJ. 


“It’s kind of made me have a project that I can now claim that I started for future jobs, and it also has helped me get an internship that will keep enhance my work experiences when I actually like graduate from here and start working. So I’m very thankful for that.” President Rochelle Estrada said.


What separated WPSPJ from other campus chapters?


William Paterson Society of Professional Journalists competed for this award with many notable schools much larger than WPU, including the University of Central Florida, Ohio University, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, University of La Verne, and University of Arkansas. This award is a reflection on all of the hard work of the members and how this award puts a smaller school like William Paterson University on the map. 


Before WPSPJ, no other SPJ chapter has created a podcast that gears toward journalism students. In 2022, then Vice-President Rochelle Estrada and Hirshon created a podcast providing career advice and takeaways from the many events they hold on and off campus.  


SPJ mentioned that project, which they believe is the first from a campus chapter, in a recent press release.


“Rochelle had the idea for the podcast. And you know, like I say, we run a lot of events throughout the academic year. And they happen in such quick succession that it’s easy to move past one and kind of forget about it. And just look at the next thing. And what I like about the podcast is that it forces us to reflect, remember these events, document them,” Hirshon said.

Join WPSPJ on Pioneer Life to be a part of this nationally recognized organization.

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