Neil Hopp retires from student publications after nearly 50 years in journalism

Director of Student Media and Publications Neil Hopp is retiring after nearly 50 years in journalism.

Hopp's journalism career began in 1963 when he started working for Central Michigan Life as a student. After working in five different states and for five different papers following graduation, he returned to Central Michigan University in 2001 to work with student publications.

He will end his time at CMU sometime in 2013.

"I will continue working into the spring semester until my replacement is named," Hopp said. "There will be a transition period so that the new director is fully acclimated to all the duties associated with the position.

Hopp said he is proud of his time at CM Life, particularly overseeing the transition of the student newspaper into a digital multimedia platform. He transitioned the photo department from film to digital, advanced social media efforts and directed the launch of CM Life's mobile news delivery platforms.

"I'm most proud of all the CM Life grads who distinguished themselves first as student journalists, and then as professional journalists," he said. "CMU should take great pride in a long record of achievement by its student newspaper. It has a stellar state and national reputation."

Advertising Manager Julie Bushart, a Redford junior, said the shift toward multimedia has been important for sales.

“(Hopp is) open to learning about our new ideas and new media,” she said.

CM Life garnered state and national recognition while Hopp was director, as the newspaper was named a national Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Finalist nine times, won the Pacemaker six times and was named the best Division 1 collegiate newspaper in Michigan nine times.

On top of serving as director of student publications, Hopp has managed the annual Journalism Hall of Fame event since 2003 and served as president of the Michigan Collegiate Press Association from 2005 to 2007.

Most of all, Hopp said he is proud of the graduates who have come through the CM Life office.

“We continue to place 100 percent of our main CM Life graduates,” he said.

Managing Editor Aaron McMann said Hopp can be intimidating at first and students might think he’s the “grumpy old man” in the newsroom, but he was able to get to know Hopp better during his time as editor-in-chief over the summer.

In terms of real-life experience, McMann said he has learned more from Hopp than in his journalism classes. Students benefit from having their work critiqued by someone who has had real journalism experience, McMann said.

“He’s a harsh critic, which is something that student journalists need,” the Redford senior said.

McMann said Hopp is very organized, and he is sure the transition will go smoothly. He said there will be big expectations for whoever is chosen as the new director.

“They are going to have big shoes to fill, that’s for sure,” he said.

Provost Gary Shapiro will appoint a search committee soon, starting a process likely to take two or three months.

There will be a transition period once the new director is appointed, then Hopp's retirement will take effect in 2013.

Hopp said that although he is retiring, journalism will always remain a part of his life, whether he is directly involved or not.

“I’m always going to be a news person no matter what," Hopp said.


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