Claflin student editor wins award as top S.C. collegiate journalist

Apr 13, 2015
Courtesy The Times and Democrat

Claflin University senior Princess Williams says she learned early on that her life’s goal of becoming a singer was not going to work out, so she decided to focus on talents with writing and speaking.

On Friday, she used one skill to focus on the other as she delivered an address accepting the award as the South Carolina Collegiate Journalist of the Year for colleges and universities with under 5,000 enrollment. Williams was chosen for the honor presented annually by the South Carolina Press Association through its Collegiate Division, which promotes journalism excellence among student publications at South Carolina institutions of higher learning.

Williams told the crowd — which included her mother and other family members, gathered at Bob Jones University in Greenville for the annual Collegiate Division conference — that she considers her role as editor of The Panther, Claflin’s student newspaper, one of the most important of her life.

She detailed the opportunities the position has afforded her, including personal interviews with the likes of celebrities and newsmakers such as Nikki Giovanni, and journalistic experience she believes will be invaluable as a professional.

In honoring Williams, the SCPA judges cited her commitment to the student press, taking the lead in recruiting other volunteer staffers, and taking on the reporting, photography and editing function alone as is often needed.

Williams played the lead role in moving The Panther to its online format by handling administrative functions for the website (claflin.edu/the-panther) and recruiting unique content.

Williams also has gained experience and exposure for her work and The Panther by contributing coverage to The Times and Democrat and TheTandD.com.

The Ridgeland native and mass communications major is also a campus leader. She has balanced the editor’s job and academic responsibilities as an Honors College student with other positions, including being campus leader for the United Negro College Fund. And she has taken public service beyond working to inform, serving as a mentor with Project Life: Positeen Inc. in Orangeburg and a volunteer with Claflin’s AmeriCorp’s Saturday Academy.

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