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Randy Wilson Memorial Fellowship Award

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
13 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on April 01, at 12:00 AM MST
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Randy Wilson Memorial Fellowship Award

 Your gift gives students valuable newsroom experience  

Three students working on a computer

The Randy Wilson Memorial Fellowship Award was established in December 2018 to provide financial support to students interning in the Arizona Daily Sun newsroom and has helped continue Randy Wilson's mentorship legacy. Students attend weekly budget meetings at the AZ Daily Sun to discuss story ideas with editors and are mentored throughout the journalism process. YOUR gift supports journalism students as they gain hands-on experience through an internship at the AZ Daily Sun  

An award that gives students valuable experience  

Prior to Randy Wilson’s death in July 2018, students from Northern Arizona University's journalism program participated in unpaid apprenticeships at the Arizona Daily Sun. This program was vital to launching the journalism careers of countless students who went on to become successful reporters for the Daily Sun and at news organizations across the country. Randy Wilson was tireless in mentoring these students and helping them develop as journalists who understood the value of community newsHowever, the fact that the apprenticeship was unpaid limited the number of students who could participate in the program. YOUR gift will ensure future student journalists have access to the same opportunity regardless of financial insecurities. 

Former Wilson Award recipients agree the opportunity was impactful to their respective careers

Brady Wheeler (Class of 2021):  "The Randy Wilson Internship program played a major role in my development as a journalist and communicator. Having the ability to contribute stories to a daily newspaper as an undergraduate student is uniquely valuable, and an opportunity I would strongly recommend to any student that is interested in news reporting. I can say with confidence the internship positively impacted my career and provided me with a level of professional experience I might not have had otherwise."

"Since I've graduated, I've been hired as a writer for countless other publications and I truly believe this internship made that possible. Currently, I'm a contributor for the Arizona Daily Sun, Flag Live! and Mountain Living Magazine here in Flagstaff, and I can't help but take note that already interning with them while I was completing my degree helped me get my foot in the door. I've also worked for other Arizona and national publications like Arcadia News, Essential Magazines and many more. This internship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students and can immensely help them boost their journalism careers."   Sabrina Proffitt (Class of 2020)

Support student journalists in Randy Wilson's memory 

Anyone interested in learning of Randy Wilson’s impact on the Flagstaff and NAU community only needed to lend an ear and clear some time in their day back in July 2018.

The longtime managing editor of the Arizona Daily Sun, Wilson, 65, was known by many in the community, a fact made more clear by the outpouring of memories shared by Flagstaff residents after his death on July 7, 2018. Wilson first served as city editor after arriving in Flagstaff in summer 1995, and was managing editor when he died of a heart attack in 2018.

Randy Wilson

The Arizona Daily Sun, reporting on a community celebration of Wilson’s life attended by around 200 residents — which included at least 20 current and former Daily Sun reporters, as well as city and county elected officials, nonprofit leaders, dedicated Daily Sun readers and longtime family friends — on July 16, 2018, referred to Wilson as “an editor who had an unwavering commitment to community journalism, civil discourse and rigorous reporting. A man who, as a child, was the ringleader for neighborhood games but always made sure each person got a chance to play. A father and a husband who embraced family traditions and had a tendency to exaggerate when recounting outdoor adventures.”

In its coverage of Wilson’s death in July 2018, the ADS reported that many residents recalled Wilson’s tolerance for letting both sides be heard in any dispute, which was but one example of his “fair-minded approach” to his responsibilities as a journalist.

“Randy was always a gentleman,” said Joy Staveley, a frequent letter writer who often disagreed with Wilson's opinions, the ADS reported in July 2018.

Perhaps no one encapsulated Wilson’s journalistic philosophy better than Larry Hendricks, who wrote about his longtime friend in the July 10, 2018 Daily Sun.

“(Randy) wanted to see the human element in every story — how events, policy and the decisions by elected officials affected people,” Hendricks wrote. “’What’s the story?’ was one of (his) go-to questions to challenge reporters, and we all learned what it meant to be able to adequately fight for a story’s existence among the continuing storylines of this community.

“(Randy) was humble and fiercely private, but he was always present. When it was appropriate to shout, (he) was calm. When an unkind word seemed necessary, (he) responded with kindness and tact.”

The Lumberjack is the student voice of Northern Arizona University and has been since it was founded in 1914.

A student works on an article in the newsroom

A lot has changed since the early 20th century. That first issue of what was then called The Pine was circulated around a small college then known as Northern Arizona Normal School. While students voted in 1946 to rename the weekly publication The Lumberjack, the student-run newspaper is still performing vital functions of recording and informing student life at NAU, as well as Flagstaff and the northern Arizona community.

 Today, The Lumberjack is a 24/7 news operation staffed entirely by students who contribute to all aspects of the publication’s workflow while receiving class credit toward graduation and developing skills that professional media platforms look for in journalists. Students brainstorm stories, plan, report, write, edit, photograph, illustrate and design the weekly publication, while receiving input and guidance from a full-time faculty advisor with decades of professional newsroom experience. The Lumberjack’s website provides a platform for breaking news, updates on previous stories, multimedia projects and digital journalism, while the publication’s student-run social media team is constantly engaging with readers.

The “workshop” environment of The Lumberjack allows students to gain essential hands-on experiential training in an actual newsroom setting. This unique setting allows students to enroll in classes aligned with The Lumberjack early in their NAU careers and begin accruing credit toward graduation. If students want to jump into writing for any of the paper’s sections, or want to contribute as a photographer or an illustrator, those opportunities are open to them as freshmen.

For more information about The Lumberjack, visit or email faculty adviser David Harpster at

Choose a giving level


Cub Reporter

Everyone’s got to start somewhere, just like Jimmy Olsen did at The Daily Planet. Your donation helps pay for one hour of a student journalist’s workweek. Thank you!


Senior Reporter

Whether it’s Lois Lane winning awards while unearthing Clark Kent’s true identity, or Woodward & Bernstein blowing the lid off Watergate, you don’t let small hurdles deter you. Your gift will help a student journalist keep digging on topics they love. Thank you!


Section Editor

A section editor acts as a guiding presence for young journalists by giving them valuable, constructive feedback. Congratulation on helping a student journalist continue to learn from professionals. Thank you!



Whether it’s Ben Bradlee at The Washington Post, or The Daily Planet’s Perry White, EIC’s approve the important stories and make sure the public interest is being served. Your donation makes it possible for student journalists to cover those vital topics. Thank you!



The Washington Post’s Katherine Graham stared down the Department of Justice over the Pentagon Papers and had her reporters’ backs. Your donation covers an entire semester of experiential learning for one student journalist. Thank you!

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