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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the editor: We need you

Justin Cross/The Cougar

Newspapers. Who reads those anymore?

Turns out a lot of people still do, but often, they’re not reading a piece of paper. Only 15 percent of people have never read news on a laptop or smartphone before, according to the Pew Research Center.

TV news still holds the most viewers: 80 percent of people prefer to watch the news, not read it.

So where does that leave The Cougar, an organization many would call legacy media? First, we scaled back from printing daily to weekly. Then, we cut one fourth of our paper out — the Life and Arts section — and started publishing a magazine, Cooglife. All this to serve our readers, University of Houston students, who more and more look to their news feed, not the newsstand, to stay informed, including myself.

This year, we’re hoping to do “digital daily” even better, and part of that includes more engaging social media.

Look for us on Twitter with an account, rolling out in time for our first game against UTSA, dedicated solely to UH sports. The Cougar’s sports editors will have exclusive player interviews and updates from all fields and courts, not just the big three.

You’ll see Instagram Stories highlighting our latest features with in-house photography. And on Facebook, we’re going live — like on this Saturday, we’re interviewing Beto O’Rourke, an up-and-comer who’s hoping to unseat Ted Cruz next year.

Plus, we’re getting a new website soon, too. One that’s beautiful and functional on mobile devices (we know; it’s a problem).

So all this, and yet, we’re still making our weekly print editions. Why cling to a dying art?

The Cougar’s website and social media are your go-to for daily news and takes on the University and beyond. Breaking news, quickly developments and coverage of campus events are our bread and butter here.

But our print issues are home to stories about students, faculty, staff, alumni, administration, and yes, our neighborhood. This is where we humanize the big issues that affect our city, state, nation and world. Issues like:

White supremacy. How does it affect our campus?

Immigration. Will UH stand up and protect students by becoming a sanctuary campus?

Gentrification. How does our presence in the Third Ward affect its residents?

And our standard issues on campus: parking, dining, rising cost of attendance, campus crowding, and that fountain that can’t seem to stay filled.

These are stories that deserve better than a clickbait-y headline and a social media push. They deserve a more permanent treatment, one that sits on your coffee table and lingers for a few days, making you think.

In this Back to School issue, we cover undocumented students seeking comfort and advice, a couple who run twin small businesses in the Third Ward, sexual assault reforms on our campus, and more.

We’re here to serve you, not just symbolically, but literally: a portion of your Student Fees pays for our printed pages each week.

Get your money’s worth. Read our stories and give us feedback — who do we need to talk to? What’s missing from our pages? And what do you wish we would cut?  We can’t do our jobs without your help. This newspaper is a mirror to the student body, showing us what we can’t see on our own.

My door (Room 234, Center for Student Media, Student Center North) and inbox are always open.

[email protected]


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