Q&A With UHD Student Emily Conrad
Dateline Editor Shares Her Story
By Sheryl E. Taylor
The official newspaper of the University of Houston-Downtown, known as Dateline, has served responsible journalism to its Gator constituents for more than 30 years. Since May 2019, Emily Conrad has helmed Dateline as its editor. The 36-year-old Alief native is a self-described "obsessive reader" who always has a book or three on hand. Before becoming a UHD Gator, she completed her GED and attended Houston Community College earning an associate of art degree. This fall, she will graduate from UHD with a bachelor’s in technical communications.
UHD News recently chatted with Dateline Editor Emily Conrad.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It changed from time to time, but I always wanted to work with words. For a while, I wanted to be a librarian until I realized I probably couldn’t read all day. Then, I wanted to work for the Houston Chronicle. I was really sad when they tore down the Downtown building. I also thought being a book editor, which would be an amazing job.
There are several reasons I picked UHD. It was a family school. My stepmother graduated from UHD in the late 70s and my sister was in the middle of an education degree at the College of Public Service when I made the decision to come here. UHD was extremely close to my neighborhood and my kids’ school. However, the main reason was that UHD is the only school in Houston that actually offered a degree in what I wanted to do ... technical writing.
You implemented new changes to the look and feel of the publication, why?
I changed the layout and masthead to a more traditional format. I like traditional newspapers. I grew up reading the Houston Chronicle and The Houston Post. Every morning on the way to school, my mother would get a paper and I’d read the whole thing. It was a habit I kept up for years.
What do you deem is the purpose of Dateline to the UHD community?
Dateline gives students a voice. It’s completely student-run and any student can come write for us, whether it’s for just one issue or several.
Favorite UHD class?
It’s impossible to choose just one. There have been so many. I took Early Church History which was really fun and the History of Spain (taught in Spanish, no less) was super interesting. Perhaps Studies in English Grammar that was tailored for people who love grammar.
Do you have a favorite motto/mantra/quote or word? If so, what?
Well, I don’t know about a favorite, but one that I think about often is in the St. Francis Prayer … “It is better to understand than to be understood,” which is a good reminder for me to listen.
Favorite genre of writing?
Detective novels. I like Agatha Christie and Carl Hiaasen.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, I don’t know. I suppose I’d like to be a better writer.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Curiosity. I like hearing people’s stories and learning new things.
Who are your real-life heroes?
I really admire my family. Most of them work with people who need help. My grandma Olivia volunteered tirelessly for years. Her obituary mentioned over 35,000 hours of volunteer service. My sister Rebecca feeds the homeless a few times a week with Food Not Bombs. My other sister Amanda helps out just about anyone who needs clothes, food or toys. My mother has been an activist my entire life. I admire people who take action on their beliefs and I am lucky to know so many folks that do that.
Favorite Marvel or DC character?
Hands down it’s Spider-Man. I’ve adored him since I was young.
What is your most treasured possession?
It’s hard to think of one. I love my books.
Career aspirations/dream job?
I have not figured that out yet. I enjoy writing, editing and any job that involves those things would make me happy.
Most memorable experience at UHD?
When UHD's President Dr. Muñoz said that a recent Dateline was the best one he has seen since coming to UHD.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second-largest university in Houston—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 more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 60,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).
For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.