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Sunday, December 10, 2023


After The Cougar’s first year, we’re not getting comfortable

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Outgoing editor in chief Cara Smith. | Kelly Schafler/The Cougar

This year has kept my head spinning. It’s incredible what this paper has accomplished.

Thanks to a stellar team under Channler Hill’s administration and the paper’s nearly century-long history of passionate reporting, my administration had a solid foundation laid out for us by former Daily Cougar staffers. The transition from daily to weekly print was going to happen, whether we liked it or not.

Fortunately, I’ve really grown to like it.

I’m a die-hard lover of print publications — you’ll have to pry my piles of subscription magazines and, obviously, The Cougar from my cold, dead hands. I refuse to cancel them, pay less money and get the same amount of content online.

But as a student, having a daily print deadline looming over you is a unique obstacle to cross every night, one that makes it harder to finish that in-depth investigative piece or even find time to breathe.

As student journalists, we need that time to breathe, and we need to be able to write those stories that keep us up at night. We needed the time to focus more on web and engaging with you on social media. We also needed the extra hours it took to plan and produce The Cougar’s first-ever Sex Edition. And Coogs Choose, the readers’ choice issue that celebrated the best of Houston, wouldn’t have been possible last year. In that sense alone, the shift to weekly print has been a huge blessing.

But let’s not just look inward. This year has been unprecendented one for UH, and it’s been a humbling beast to cover. I know that next year, though, you’re going to be in for even more of a treat. Glissette’s administration is young and fiery — two qualities that make for a passionate newsroom. I know they’ve got big ideas for you next year. Like all journalists, their biggest goal is to serve you.

In more ways than one, The Cougar is just getting started.

-Cara Smith, outgoing editor in chief

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Incoming editor in chief Glissette Santana. | Kelly Schafler/The Cougar

Before I transferred to UH, I had a plan for my time at The Cougar. I was going to be a staff writer for a year, then move up to an editing position my junior year. It was only after that – after two full years of paying my dues and working my way up – that I would run for editor in chief.

That plan went down the drain when I accepted the position of assistant news editor two months after writing my first article.

Even then, I knew The Cougar was important, both to myself and the University. And in short, the goal of The Cougar is simple: to serve the students of this great University.

On the outside, the newspaper will stay the same next year. We will still serve as a print weekly, digital daily paper. We will continue to emphasize web stories and social media as our primary medium of communicating with readers. We will strive to keep producing content that tells the stories of UH students.

On the inside, The Cougar will be run a bit differently. We have a new editorial board that is bringing a wealth of knowledge to the newsroom. Social media will be utilized even more to increase interaction with readers and to ensure that you are informed with all the latest news in an accurate, consistent way.

Throughout the past nine months I’ve been at The Cougar, we’ve gone through a lot of changes, but one thing has remained constant: the hard work, long hours and dedication that our whole staff puts into every print issue and article that goes on the website.

I’m incredibly excited to be serving as editor in chief, and I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things that this new editorial board will accomplish. And I hope that you’ll be riding right alongside us.

-Glissette Santana, incoming editor in chief

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