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The Hilltop
The Hilltop logo.JPG
The Hilltop 2009-01-20.jpg
The newspaper on January 20, 2009, on the first inauguration of Barack Obama
TypeCollegiate Newspaper
FormatPrint/Online Publication
Owner(s)Howard University
FoundedJanuary 22, 1924
HeadquartersHoward University

The Hilltop is the student newspaper of Howard University,[1][2][3] a historically black college located in Washington, D.C. Co-founded in 1924 by Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston and Louis Eugene King, The Hilltop is the first and only daily newspaper at a historically black college or university (HBCU) in the United States.[4]

Inner workings

The newspaper is a color tabloid with a print circulation of 7,000.[5] Student activities fees collected from the student body partially support the newspaper, however, the bulk of the paper's operating budget comes from advertising revenue. The Hilltop boasts a full paid staff which consists of majors ranging from print journalism to biology.

The editor in chief is responsible for the daily operations of running the paper and overseeing the staff. The editor in chief is responsive to "The Hilltop Policy Board", which consists of the editor in chief, Business Manager, elected student body leaders and several administrators (including the Dean of the School of Communications and the Journalism Department Chair) – each holding one equal vote. The board meets several times a year, most importantly to vote on an operating budget and student activities fee allotment for the newspaper and to select the successors to the editor in chief and Business Manager. The board has no jurisdiction to censor the newspaper in any way.

The Business Manager is responsible for overseeing the financial operations of the newspaper and reports to the editor in chief. However, like the editor in chief, The Business Manager is elected by and can only be dismissed by The Hilltop Policy Board.

The rest of the staff is hired and may be dismissed by the editor in chief.


The Hilltop was co-founded by acclaimed author and Howard alumna Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston never actually wrote for the newspaper, but provided guidance for student journalists.

The first issue of The Hilltop was published January 22, 1924. The front page of the first issue covered a timeless and sensitive Howard issue: registration follies. The paper was brief, chronicling events that took place the semester before, and touching on a few upcoming campus events.

By 1929, the newspaper was published bi-monthly. A year later, in 1930, The Hilltop became a weekly newspaper and remained so for 71 years.

Within that time, the paper progressed steadily as a forum for African-American writers to hone their journalistic skills.

Much of early 20th century media relentlessly portrayed Black Americans in a negative light. Although The Hilltop was not a professional paper, stories were often published to combat those stereotypes and to instill pride in Howard students.

The Hilltop remained on the forefront of social issues ranging from the need for a campus bookstore to the Vietnam War.

During the second semester of the 1990–1991 school year, under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Kevin Chappell, The Hilltop began publishing twice a week, although it would return to once a week the following school year. In 2002, the paper added a second section and introduced The Hilltop online. In 2005, The Hilltop becomes the first HBCU newspaper to be published daily.


This timeline is not fully inclusive


  1. ^ Grablick, Colleen (October 15, 2019). "Howard's Student Newspaper Is The Latest Local College Outlet Facing Financial Crisis". DCist. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  2. ^ "The Student Press Law Center is concerned about censorship at Howard University's The Hilltop". Student Press Law Center. November 3, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  3. ^ Taylor, Angeline J. (April 1, 2008). "Economy strikes campus newspapers". Tallahassee Democrat. p. 4. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  4. ^ "Following Footsteps: Zora Neale Hurston - Campus". November 24, 2007. Archived from the original on November 24, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  5. ^ "About Us". The Hilltop Online. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  6. ^ FitzGerald, Drew (March 6, 2009). "College newspapers face weak ad revenue". USA Today. Retrieved March 7, 2009.