Student Publication Committee appoints Daily Cougar editor for spring semester

The Student Publication Committee on Thursday unanimously appointed print journalism junior Jack Wehman as editor in chief of the Daily Cougar for Spring 2011.

Wehman previously served as a staff writer and copy editor for the Daily Cougar, and currently serves as the paper’s copy chief.

Wehman, who ran unopposed, hopes to improve newsline writing, reaching out to student writers and editors, and improving the Daily Cougar’s staff retention.

“I’ve always been involved in journalism at some level, and I really wanted to bring my skills to the Daily Cougar,” he said. “ I’m glad that now I have the chance to do just that.”

Wehman is also an intern at the Houston Press, and previously served as an intern with the Houston Chronicle.

Wehman plans to hold several workshops and seminars for writers, editors, copy editors and photographers to improve the quality of the newspaper.

He added that he wants to see editors to begin planning not only for the next day, but thinking about content and events they need to cover in the coming weeks or months.

Daily Cougar editors were pleased with the committee’s decision.

“Jack has shown that he can do it all and that is what you need in this business, you need versatility,” sports editor John Brannen said.

“He will be open to new suggestions and ideas, and he gives people the opportunity to grow and make the mistakes that they need to make and improve on them.”

Before the meeting began, SPC chair Patricia Estrada addressed the committee.

Estrada informed the members of an issue brought up by the president of Student Government Association Prince Wilson to Vice President of Student Affairs Elwyn Lee.

Estrada said there were concerns with her election to chair of the committee because of her position as editor in chief of the Houstonian yearbook.

In an Oct. 29 meeting with Lee and Associate Vice President for Student Services David Small, Estrada said she had offered to step down as chair of the committee to prevent any conflicts for Student Publications during the Student Fee Advisory committee hearings that began Nov. 2.

Estrada felt, however, that the committee should decide whether she should step down or not, as it was the committee that had elected her.

Several members of SPC voiced their discontent with SGA for taking this issue to Lee, stating this was an issue for the committee.

SGA senator and SPC committee member Reyes Ramirez said that Estrada could not be chair because she was an ex-officio member of the committee, and ex-officio members cannot vote. The SPC chair and vice-chair can vote, but only in case of a tie.

SPC bylaws, however, do not state that an ex-officio member cannot be elected chair or vice chair of the committee.

Members voted to keep Estrada as chair of the committee and elected a subcommittee that will convene before the next committee meeting to revise the bylaws.

The subcommittee will be composed of Ramirez, Estrada and communication professor David McHam.

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