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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Opinion

The Daily Cougar welcomes new editor in chief


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Current editor and chief Channler Hill (left) stands with incoming editor in chief Cara Smith. Smith will be overseeing the change that Hill helped bring in: a transition from a daily print publication to an online-based Cougar. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

Departing: Editor in chief Channler K. Hill leaves behind a legacy of hard work and determination as she looks forward to her graduation

It was this time last year that I sat trembling on one of the couches outside the Houston Room in the University Center, waiting to find out if I would be elected as the next editor in chief of The Daily Cougar. I can’t recall a moment in my life when I’ve been more nervous. I didn’t have the most support behind me — not everyone thought I was ready — but somehow God knew I was, and he blessed me with an amazing opportunity.

I lost my balance and shed a few tears when I heard them say my name. It’s a moment I’ll never forget, and it’s been an opportunity I’ll cherish forever. Not everyone gets to be a leader of an organization they love, but I did.

I worked my way up The Daily Cougar ladder starting off in the Cougar’s advertising department, and I transitioned to a staff writer, copy editor, interim life and arts editor, assistant managing editor, assistant news editor, the editor of two Daily Cougar special sections — Holiday Gift Guide and Grad Guide — and Transitions Magazine editor in chief, all before earning the corner office. I never knew I could grow this much as a person and within my craft.

When I first met the director of the Center for Student Media, Matt Dulin, he asked me what my dreams were, and I told him I wanted to be the publisher of The New York Times someday. He didn’t doubt my capabilities for a second; he admired my passion, and now, I do, too.

I hope you believe in yourself and challenge yourself to achieve the things that many will view as impossible. In doing so, you too will be able to look back and smile. Because now, having tackled such a profound opportunity, I must turn the reins over to your new editor in chief, Cara Smith.

Cara is not as good as me — she’s better. She has a vision for this paper as it transitions into a weekly paper. I have the utmost confidence in her. She will continue the efforts I have made, with monthly Philip Guthrie Hoffman tables and attending Cougar Carnival. She will lead the next Student Government Association debate and continue to enhance The Cougar’s online presence.

Cara will incorporate a new spectrum of ideas that will return this publication to the pedestal it deserves, a widely read publication on and off campus. It has been my joy to serve as your editor in chief and 2013 UH Homecoming queen. Thank you.

Incoming: New Editor in Chief Cara Smith approaches the desk with a fresh mind and big plans for the future of The Cougar

For nearly 90 years, The Daily Cougar has been just that — a daily paper. We were born in the year preceding the Great Depression, a time of great uncertainty and great tribulations, and we’ve been able to stick around for so long because of one unwavering, unflinching goal: to serve the students of UH.

Despite the many changes that are facing The Cougar, one thing that will not be changing is the paper’s fundamental purpose. As your new Editor in Chief, I speak for all who have contributed to The Daily Cougar when I say that we exist for you, the students of this University, and we will continue to be of service to you in the ways you deserve.

It’s an immense honor to be able to introduce myself as The Daily Cougar’s new editor in chief, and it’s even more of an honor to follow in the footsteps of Channler Hill, who has epitomized the role of the leader of a journalistic organization.

Channler’s passion for journalism and commitment to serving the student body has shown in the Cougar’s growth this semester, and the policies and practices that she implemented will undoubtedly continue to help this publication improve.

Next fall, you’ll notice that more is changing about us than our print edition schedule. As the nature of today’s media changes, so must those who provide that media. Most of us, myself included, almost always turn to Twitter and social media in times of crisis for breaking news updates.

The Cougar, as it will be called in the fall, will be overhauling its approach to social media and digital media. You’ll be able to turn to us as your main source of breaking news for the University, as well as to our weekly print edition for in-depth analysis and breakdowns of the things that affect you as UH students most.

Serving this University and creating quality, top-notch journalism for Cougars has become my top priority as a leader of the school I’m so proud to call home. Having started at the Cougar this past fall, my roles as senior staff opinion columnist, news writer and album and concert reviewer for Life and Arts have given me a passion for this publication that will serve as the driving force for the trials to come next year.

I’m extremely humbled by the opportunity to lead this publication into uncharted waters, and I sincerely hope you’ll come along for the ride.

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