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

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Circa 1992, I'm the second dork from the left.
In the early '90s while I was attending the University of Houston, I practically lived in and around the communications department on the far east side of campus. Behind a nondescript metal door in a downstairs corner of the brick two-story building was a large, tile-floored, windowless room that housed The Daily Cougar, the campus student-run newspaper. In an era when so many college papers were turning to faculty to run them, often neutering their coverage of the college in the process, the Cougar was an anomaly, full of students, many well beyond typical college age -- fairly typical for this commuter school where Houstonians got (and continue to get) a second chance at higher education -- who lived for digging up dirt and did some remarkably good journalism.

In those days, there was a relatively small staff of editors and writers mixed in with journalism majors who were required to write as part of their classes, which is how I got started. I'll never forget standing in front of Debbie Housel, now an assistant district attorney in Nashville, then a tough, no bullshit editor who wasn't all that interested in dealing with the likes of me, a goofy-looking, long-haired kid who was sent to her by his professor.

She was terrifying, brutally honest and a hell of an editor. It was my first taste of what felt like honest-to-God journalism, the stuff I romanticized when I watched All the President's Men.

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KPRC Rob Arnold Tweets Spam-Worthy Image of "Baby Killer"

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Click for larger image.
KPRC's Robert Arnold has always had a flair for the dramatic. One of my favorite images from local news was that of Arnold standing nearly waist deep in water during Tropical Storm Allison imploring all those watching to, for the love of God, not go in the water. Back in 2002, he made the pages of this publication for discovering -- shocker -- that escort services might be fronts for prostitution by calling them up on the phone. It made for awesome television drama as local news often does.

Arnold has also been covering the case of Genene Jones, the nurse convicted of murdering a baby under her care and suspected of killing numerous others in central Texas in the early '80s. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison in 1985 but was scheduled for mandatory release in 2017 due to overcrowding.

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Houstonia Posts (Then Disappears) City Map Showing Where "Aspiring Mexicans" and "Pretentious White People" Live

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Photo from judgmentalmaps.com

If you think you know where "aspiring Mexicans," "black people who like trains" and "pretentious white people" live in Houston, then Houstonia Magazine had the right map for you.

The magazine posted a "Judgmental Map of Houston" on its Facebook account today before quickly taking it down.

We called Houstonia to make sure that the screenshot of the post, sent to us by a reader, wasn't Photoshopped. Katharine Shilcutt, Houstonia's features editor, head social media person and former Houston Press food critic, confirmed that the screenshot was accurate.

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Monkey Slap Everyone Is Talking About (And We Don't Know Why)

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Great Day Houston/ Facebook.com
The monkey slap even your grandmother knows about.
It's the monkey slap heard around the world.

A local bit of breakfast-show ephemera went viral and it practically passed right under our noses. Deborah Duncan, Great Day Houston host, was assaulted by a monkey. And it wasn't like you'd think; it was more of a primate love tap. But still, it's been entertaining the world for nearly a week.

When we saw the monkey slap video that all the interwebs seem to be talking about (seriously, we like to cannibalize in this media business, and literally every outlet has shared this piece of "news"), we thought of two things: violence against infotainment show hosts and the black market in diaper-trained little monkeys. We don't support either one.



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Crotch Shot Gives Routine Houston Break-In Story Some Legs (UPDATE)

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Photo by Eyesogreen
It was far from this bad, but essentially this is how channel 2 reported the story.
UPDATE 4/24:As you can see below, the video we found on Buzzfeed.com was pulled. The powers that be have declared war on this news clip. It's slowly being yanked from YouTube, and its home news website. If you're too curious, we're sure you can Google the details and come up with something.

UPDATE: It looks like some time late Wednesday afternoon someone pulled the plug on KPRC's camel toe video. We're a little surprised a news organization would just disappear a video like that, and we thought maybe the anti-camel toe lobby sent them a cease and desist. But since we know the Internet is a lot smarter than you think we headed over to Buzzfeed.com where someone had already helped preserve this moment of local news history.

Original post:
In some ways it's a bit of a surprise that a routine burglary story from Monday continues to be the most-watched video on KPRC-TV's website.

If not for the spectacle of that female fashion faux pas known at the camel toe, the video (you can watch it below) would have hit the bottom of the list by Tuesday morning.


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Peek Inside Telemundo's Houston Offices and Their Play for TV News

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Photo by bluepoint951
Telemundo dares you not to learn Spanish.
Who isn't familiar with Telemundo? As the second largest Spanish language network, Telemundo has a huge following in Houston. There are over a million Hispanic people living in Harris County alone.

As part of my Spanish for Global Professions class at the University of Houston I was able to take a tour of their local headquarters. I was looking forward to learning how the station is keeping up with competition and the make-up of their audience in Houston.

Just like any other news station Telemundo had to reinvent themselves and introduce new programming to be able to keep up with a changing media landscape, and most importantly attract viewers. But what surprised me the most is how news stations work together sometimes.


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Houston Chronicle Deals With Sperm Jokes When 29-25.com, Girl Dick Come Back to Haunt

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It's a good thing we have Google's cache feature to keep these guys honest.

The Houston Chronicle had to come clean this week and quickly try to erase the last bits of its defunct 29-25.com website after media site jimromenesko.com got a hold of a post on chron.com.

The Chronicle reportedly took down a review of a book about sperm-flavored desserts posted four years ago after it was resurfaced this week by the media website.

The original post went into sticky details on the tome:

Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants." Which is a coy way of saying "Available at a dick near you, baby!"

Just because something is "commonly available" doesn't mean that I'm going to want to mix it into Aunt Lisa's chicken and dumpling recipe; lots of things are "commonly available": motor oil, toothpaste, pencil shavings ... and none of those require ten to thirty minutes of "harvest time" per batch.

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Oh No! Houstoric Project has been cloned! And an Edit Must Be Made

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Photo by Abrahán Garza

After receiving a few messages from friends over the weekend congratulating me on "my print piece," I had to remind them that I worked for the Houston Press and that we don't have a weekend print edition. Confused, I had to find out what they were messaging me about.

(I also mentioned my latest blog wouldn't be up until Monday morning.)

It was an honest mistake. After all, I've been doing it in Houston for a few years now.

Although the effort is appreciated, it needs to be noted that the above image (taken this morning) was actually originally taken at 812 Main Street, not on Travis Street near Rusk. I felt it was my duty to mention it since the Houstoric Project is so dear to me.

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Check Out the Houston Press's New Digs at 2603 La Branch

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All photos by Abrahán Garza
No more dealing with parking meters when picking up your free prizes.
There are always snags when you move. Moving bins, broken items, misplaced belongings, miscellaneous computer power cords, mishandled packages, no coffee machine. Heck, you might even forget to forward the mail. The Houston Press made its move into its new building (2603 La Branch at McGowen) over the weekend and is almost settled in. Most of the moving bins have been emptied and all the wrinkles are being ironed out.

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The Houston Press Moves to New Digs, From Downtown to Midtown

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Photos by Abrahán Garza
Our home for the past 15 years and how it looked even before that

The Houston Press is moving offices this weekend. We've been located at 1621 Milam Suite #100 for the past 15 years and a lot has certainly changed. Moving from the Galleria area off of the West Loop to Downtown was a pretty big deal in 1998. Downtown Houston was just beginning its rebirth, long before the light rail, before Midtown was considered Midtown and when Metro buses still operated up and down Main Street.

Built in 1927, the Houston Press building was originally the home of Shelor Motor Company and later Gillman Pontiac in the 1960s. The historic building itself hasn't changed much. Its signature 50 x 240 foot mural that wraps around two sides of the building was painted by artist Suzanne Sellers in 1994. The trompe l'oeil mural can be seen from Milam, Leeland and Travis Streets.


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Built with distinction

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