A Closer Look into The A&T Register


Elaijah Gibbs-Jones and Akilah Kafele

The N.C. A&T Administration and the future relies on how accurately the student-run newspaper, The A&T Register, reports the stories of the campus.

N.C. A&T has records of many historical events which would not be as valuable to the campus without the record-keeping that is The A&T Register.

This article highlights the timeline of the student body newspaper. With the inclusion of prominent figures, special editions and important coverage, this article will explain why the students, faculty and administration should value this news outlet.

The Past: History Lesson

Founded as The A&M Register in the 1893-1894 academic school year, the campus newspaper of N.C. A&T has been a media source for students, faculty, staff and administration for more than 120 years.

From the covering of Ronald McNair and the A&T Four to SGA discussion forums on narcotics and natural human intercourse, this publication has provided a variety of news to its campus community.

See a timeline of The A&T Register here.

Since 2007, Emily Harris has served as the adviser for the campus newspaper. Harris is also a lecturer in the department of journalism and mass communication. She has built many relationships with students who have worked for the publication.

“What has kept me here for 12 years has been the student engagement and excitement that I see in my student staff when they get to do stories and learn new things,” said Harris.

Harris highlights two major covered events that have occurred not only on campus but throughout the nation. These include the two MEAC Celebration Bowl championship games and the Black Lives Matter march held in 2016.

“The A&T Register has been able to maintain its prominence as a news source because of the staff. The students that are involved are passionate about informing the greater student body of our campus about what is happening and what pertains to students,” said Harris.

In the early 2000s, The A&T Register is remembered as being the main media source for N.C. A&T campus community. Tiffany Jones, the current director of University Media Relations, became the first paid staff writer for the paper in 2001, and recalls attending weekly contributors meetings and editing sessions that would lead to a published newspaper each Wednesday.

“For whatever reason folks would look forward to it. Whether it was 20 questions, or it would be those stories, for example, the first time when we decided not to go to division one football and I remember that because it was a pretty big story,” said Jones.

“It all depended on what was happening on campus. It was the information source for students on this campus.”

Along with being an information source, being a part of The A&T Register enables students to gain more experience and skills necessary for success in multiple avenues such as multimedia, mass media or public relations.

“I learned a lot about telling a story and making sure that I’m accurate. I had to be the editor that could catch things that most people miss, or I had to be the person that could come in and write something quickly before deadlines,” said Jones.

As the A&T Register evolves with the digital age, there is still the potential for it to continue for it to hold its place as the one source that students can go to for information.

The Present: The Transition

The campus publication has currently been undervalued, unrepresented and unappreciated, according to perspectives of its staff. The A&T Register has covered natural disasters, campus election scandals, local election candidates, and incarceration of black celebrities.  

Alexis Wray is a junior journalism and mass communication student and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of The A&T Register for the 2018-2019 academic year. Wray has made it a point to change the perception this campus has towards the newspaper.

“When we were just a print newspaper, it was harder to engage with them [audience] and even figure out if they knew what The A&T Register was,” said Wray.

“Now that we are more prominent with our social media posts I think people can relate more to the stories we are telling, and they get an opportunity to comment on what we’re making, see it firsthand and share it.”

The mission of accurately reporting stories of N.C. A&T still reigns true; the only difference is the implementation and planning by the “Big Three” leaders: Wray, Zila Sanchez and Brittany Van Pelt.

The Future: Where it is going

In this society, paper is becoming less of a necessity. Newspaper print circulation has decreased by 21 percent, according to www.journalism.org.

Just as many other newspapers have fallen victim to circumstances such as this, The A&T Register is in a transition of publishing content digitally. Instead of printing weekly, the publication will only print twice per semester. The publication now posts a majority of its content on its website along with creating alternative social media posts.

All students are encouraged to participate in the opportunities provided by The A&T Register. The publication has five sections and within these sections, there is a team of editors, multimedia journalists, photographers, reporters, videographers, graphic designers and public relation representatives.

“The similarities are you still have to know how to write a lead, your grammar has to be correct, your punctuation must be correct and you have to be credible and ethical. The difference is we have to do it quicker,” said Harris.

If historical events are not recorded, then society is bound to repeat those events. Allow The A&T Register to be a resource for maintaining records of history.

The publication is present for the biggest moments. Examples include student leaders combatting local food deserts and the multitude of student businesses. In all reality, there are negatives that arise on the campus. Therefore, the publication reports on those too, whether it is a letter of demands to the Chancellor, a sports team loss or lack of mental health policies.

Since 1893 The A&T Register has covered it all, but it is up to the campus community to value it.