A Fond Look Back as the UH Daily Cougar Goes Weekly and Digital

Categories: The Media

From there, I covered several national political campaigns, including the outsider conservative Pat Buchanan. On a trip to his local headquarters, one dedicated campaign worker gave me what I still consider to be one of the best quotes I've ever heard: "If I started to vote Democrat, Jesus would pull my finger away from the button."

Once Buchanan was out of the race, my coverage shifted to the Democrats and one William Jefferson Clinton. I wrote a number of stories about his campaign and even the final story of his victory, but the highlight was my media pass to Clinton's campaign rally in downtown Houston. Little did I know that one of the Houston Chronicle reporters who was also on the scene would call my editor at the Cougar and ask him why he let Ted Nugent cover Clinton's visit. My hair was a tad longer in those days.

Of course, not every story was glamorous or even all that interesting. Department grants, professor profiles, the occasional sports story, concert and record reviews (yes, I said "records") fell into my lap.

I even got the opportunity to photograph the pre-show press conference from the Black Crowes, who returned to Houston for a free concert after overzealous security had brought an abrupt end to their last show in the city. I gawked at singer Chris Robinson who was dressed in a top hat with face paint that made him look like a corpse as he admonished reporters for daring to question the band's motives. It was high drama before what is still one of the best live concerts I've ever seen and my initiation into the world of music journalism.

The Cougar may not exactly be the place where I honed my writing chops (that came years later) or even the place where they were born (I owe that to my father), but it certainly was my writing incubator. Despite having been (and still) student run, I had fantastic editors and a wonderful group of faculty advisors whom I count among the best teachers of my life.

As it goes forward as a weekly and digital publication, the Cougar continues to crank out the college journalism of today and the student journalists of tomorrow, and I am proud to count myself among them.

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It was a great place to spend most of my college years, first in the early '80s when nary a Apple was to be found- I was a Journalism major who spent his afternoons learning the craft and writing various stories, then nights working in the back shop grabbing strips of news copy, running them through a hot wax roller and carefully aligning it on big boards, using my trusty X-Acto knife to cut edited words from the ends of the story when there were more thoughts than room to print them. I left school on a whim but then came back in the late 80s to finish my degree, and the Cougar was still my safe place for an overnight job, except now wax news strips were replaced by small Macintoshes and Quark Express. It's a little sad for an old-schooler like myself to see the Daily going away, but I'm sure the Cougar and the J-school will go on as strong as ever.


I'm glad they are at least keeping the "Cougar" title.  In my day at UH there was a push to change the name completely.  Because some of the reporters felt it was embarrassing to go to (significant) press conferences representing "The Daily Cougar."

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