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The Hilltop


The Campus Editor’s Reflection

The Hilltop’s campus editor reflects on his three years with the publication.

JD Jean-Jacques has worked with The Hilltop for three academic years. (JD Jean-Jacques headshot)

What an incredible three years it’s been at The Hilltop. In my time here, I have been the DMV editor, campus editor and columns editor. For each story and byline, I felt incredible honor and fulfillment. This experience has been a rollercoaster; Never in my life have I worked so hard for such a long time. Being a Hilltop editor has indeed been challenging, but it will have been the one thing that best prepared me for a career.

Writing stories defined my Howard experience by the time my first transcript was published. In my Hilltop career, I have written or edited more than 240 articles, which have collectively amassed thousands of interactions on social media and more than half a million views online. I have worked directly with more than 70 Hilltoppers over the years. I have interviewed Howard faculty members, students, D.C. officials, police officers, Pentagon leaders, Howard staff, the past two university presidents and more. 

What a privilege it has been to be in a position where everything that happens to our campus matters, where every conversation has relevance. This is a position that gives you an opportunity to learn and tell stories about every kind of person on our campus. 

It has been a privilege, too, to work with the campus and columns teams: Natalie Betts, Sariah Adams, Jordan Foster, Eliana Lewis, Camiryn Stepteau, Esther Bamigboye, Joy Young, Caya Craig, Ananya Hota, Brandon Peterson, Daniel Young, Marcellus Williams and Shreeya Gautam. 

Thank you all for working with me this year. I know I asked for tight deadlines and stringent reporting, but we’ve made a difference at Howard because of our commitment to good journalism. No one can take that away from us. 

The differences our teams made were often borne from surprise occurrences. My mind still races every time we are notified of a major announcement, an on-campus protest, or a student robbed at gunpoint. Pursuing stories and making sure we present them accurately has been one of the most thrilling challenges in my time at Howard. My commitment has allowed me to be awarded the Percy Newbie Award for outstanding journalism and dedication to The Hilltop. I was also recently named a White House Correspondents’ Association scholar and met amazing journalism professionals at the WHCA dinner.

I’ve skipped classes for stories, pulled all-nighters, worked over holiday breaks and spent countless full weekends in service to this news publication. I have never regretted prioritizing The Hilltop, nor will I ever outgrow the satisfaction of delivering for our readers. I have seen three years of the positive impact we’ve had on this community, and nothing excites me more than the prospect of amplifying our good work as editor-in-chief.

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Copy edited by Jalyn Lovelady

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