Activities & Organizations News

Center for Student Media, The Cougar prove upward trends to SFAC


Interim director of Center for Student Media, Keith Kowalka, stressed that revenue drop is an industry-wide trend and doesn’t just affect student publications. | Justin Cross/ The Cougar

The Center for Student Media and The Cougar presented the Student Fees Advisory Committee with their requests for fiscal year 2018 Monday.

CSM, a department within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services that encompasses CoogTV, Coog Radio and The Cougar, requested a one-time allocation of $11,029 for FY 2017 that would go toward new cameras and lighting equipment for Spring 2017.

CSM Interim Director Keith Kowalka began the center’s presentation by thanking the committee for previously approving $8,088 in funds for merit increases for FY 2017.

The first half of the presentation focused on progress and updates for CSM in the last academic year. Kowalka mentioned an increase in the number of students involved in Coog Radio and CoogTV, an increase in The Cougar’s accuracy and different partnerships that CSM has developed with the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication.

During the presentation, SFAC members voiced concern about a decrease in advertising sales that CSM experienced across all student media organizations except CoogTV. Kowalka said drops in advertising revenue is an issue affecting all media corporations and not just student media.

CSM Advertising Manager Callista Brown said the center is trying to reevaluate how they connect with students.

“We’ve done huge growth in our social media platform, and now we are looking for ways to partner with businesses,” Brown said.

In the adjoining presentation, The Cougar made three one-time requests for FY 2018 for continuing Cooglife parties, a new web editor position and funds to travel to national conferences. Altogether, the requests totaled $14,249.

Editor-in-chief Trey Strange began by outlining the paper’s initiatives. He also addressed changes in print media that have led to the paper’s redirecting its efforts online where content is posted daily.

“We can’t reschedule breaking news,” Strange said. “Even if there’s a hurricane and campus closes, we’re still bringing UH the fresh news it deserves.”

Strange said this level of dedication led to The Cougar winning a Pacemaker Award, the highest award given to student media organizations, for the first time for the 2015-16 print newspaper.

In order to continue pushing itself in a digital direction, The Cougar requested a one-time request of $4,055 for a web editor which would allow for a greater dialogue between The Cougar and students through social media outlets.

The position would also organize and manage the process of posting stories online and re-envision the website in a way that best suites the changing needs of students.

The $2,615 conference travel request would enable three members of The Cougar editorial board to travel to the Associate Collegiate Press and College Media Association National Convention, where Pacemaker Award winners are announced.

Strange said that this year The Cougar and Cooglife were winners and finalists for the award and that the same would likely happen next year.

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