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Volume 68, Issue 60, Monday, November 18, 2002


Sarelli to become DC's top editor

Cougar News Staff

The Spring 2003 editor in chief for The Daily Cougar was elected at Friday's Student Publications Committee meeting.

Cara Sarelli, the current chief copy editor and a sophomore theatre major, will helm the newspaper next semester.

Sarelli, running for the first time, beat news writer Ashley Clark, a junior communication major running for the second time, with an 8-1 vote.

"I'm excited about next semester," Sarelli said. Her goals include increasing communication among the staff and hiring more freshmen so the paper can have strong leadership in the future, she said.

Sophomore theater major Cara Sarelli is interviewed by members of the Student Publications Committee on Friday. Sarelli, The Daily Cougar's chief copy editor, was elected Spring 2003 editor in chief.
Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Sarelli has worked for The Daily Cougar for two years. She started as a copy editor, and then began writing for the Opinion and Entertainment sections also. In Fall 2001 and Spring 2002, she was the Opinion editor and a copy editor.

The committee interviewed both candidates before voting. During each questioning period, Student Government Association President Dawona Miller, who serves as an ex-officio member of the committee, brought up the events of the last editor election.

In the Spring 2002, more than 30 members of The Daily Cougar staff signed a petition saying they would resign from the newspaper if then-managing editor Keenan Singleton was not elected. The petition was to protest the SPC for breaking its bylaws and reopening the election after the due date for applications had passed. Singleton was the only candidate who had turned in an application by the due date.

Two other staff members, including Clark, applied after the race was reopened. After a contentious SPC meeting, Singleton won.

Miller praised Clark for running again, calling her "a whole new person."

When questioning Sarelli, Miller asked what she would do if she were elected and the whole staff resigned in protest.

"I wouldn't run if I didn't have the confidence of the staff," Sarelli said. When pressed, she said she couldn't see the whole staff resigning because she was elected, but that if they "spontaneously quit," she would work to recruit a new staff.

Clark, who has written for The Daily Cougar since Summer 2001, stressed her love of journalism, and listed her experience at various high school and community newspapers. She also noted that she founded a chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists at UH. She has never worked as a section editor at the Cougar or any other daily paper, however.

She said that, if elected, she would work with writers to get all sides of the story, and would make sure the News section would focus on hard news.

When questioned by Daily Cougar representative Geronimo Rodriguez, she said she had been assigned a few stories that didn't "pan out," but that she was always sure to notify her section editor when problems arose. However, she was sent a letter of reprimand earlier in the semester for not turning in stories and not notifying her editors.

Sarelli stressed her experience at the Cougar and how much she has enjoyed working for the newspaper.

Miller asked her why she hadn't taken any journalism classes if she aspired to be the editor in chief. Sarelli said had been focusing on required core courses. 

She also said she felt her experience compensated for that, but said she would be willing to take some in the spring.

She said she feels her biggest challenge will be getting through the first few weeks of the semester, when new staff members get used to how things run.

In other SPC business, the meeting was the first for two newly added members. Tommy Miller, the managing editor of the Houston Chronicle, and Richard Connelly, a news writer for the Houston Press, will serve as the committee's representatives from the professional media.

The committee also heard updates from the Houstonian yearbook, the Cougar, the production department and the advertising department. No problems were reported. The last SPC meeting for the semester will be 1 p.m. Dec. 12. The location for the meeting has yet to be announced.

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