At 41, The Dateline Reminds UHD Why It Exists
By Edward Saenz, The Dateline
Journalism exists to inform the public about important events, issues, and ideas while providing a platform for diverse voices and perspectives. These ideas hold true even for college journalism.
College newspapers like The Dateline serve as a medium for community discussion, traditional journalism, and a place for those interested in the journalism field to develop and expand their skills. Just like traditional newspapers, these student-run newspapers report news, publish opinions of students and faculty, and may run advertisements catering to the student body or local community.
Newspapers play a crucial role in democracy by holding those in power accountable, providing citizens with the information they need to make informed decisions, and fostering an informed and engaged community, even when it’s a college newspaper. The Dateline exists for these reasons.
The goal of The Dateline is to provide a platform for student voices and foster a sense of community. College newspapers provide a platform for students to express their opinions, share their experiences, and report on campus events, student clubs and organizations, and highlight the achievements of students, faculty, and staff.
“The point of The Dateline is to have students give voice to what matters to them and what they think about things, regardless of what administrators might think,” Dr. Paul Fortunato, Associate Professor of English said. “The University has its own venues to voice its views, through the (UHD) website and news items, but The Dateline is the voice of the students.”
A key aspect of all college papers is to serve as a training ground for future journalists by providing an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience, which can help them to develop the skills they need to pursue careers in the field.
Despite not having a journalism department of any kind, The Dateline has succeeded in publishing 70 volumes since 1982. Hundreds of students, with varying degrees of writing skill, have published work under the paper.
The current and former editors and student leaders of The Dateline go above and beyond to learn about proper journalism and teach it to the students who are willing to learn.
Alexander Collins, a Digital Sports Producer for Dallas News, said that he wished he had a college newspaper that was free to join and work with for the “wealth of experience it would have offered outside the classroom.”
“College newspapers provide an irreplaceable role of having that independent viewpoint that is governed directly students,” Fortunato said. “They should also work to try to represent a wide variety of viewpoints, and The Dateline seems to do a great job with that.”
A crucial factor that UHD students and faculty might overlook is that, along with highlighting the school, The Dateline promotes transparency and accountability by reporting on the actions and decisions of college administrators, organizations, students, and other officials. We do not “hate” anyone or any club. We are not “out to get you” nor are we here to biasedly promote your organization.
“A student-run newspaper is supposed to hold an unbiased mirror and magnifying glass in front of the people who make up a university,” Indira Zaldivar, Editor of The Dateline, said. “School newspapers serve the readers by informing on the latest decisions, events, and changes by provoking thought and change through compassionate storytelling that is centered on the human experience.”
In the Summer of 2022, Student Activities hosted their annual One Main Event recognizing student organizations exceling and doing positive things for the college. The Dateline was awarded the “Rising Star Award” for outstanding work over the past year.
The Dateline will continue to do the excellent job it has done over the past several years. We will continue to observe and report on everything we see, the good and the bad. If there are any problems we see with the school or things that need to be addressed, we will do it, because that’s why we exist.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.