Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » Why wouldn't we want both UHV and Victoria College to thrive?


If you work at an newspaper for any length of time, you'll encounter those who think you're favoring one thing over another.

In the days before school consolidation, the Advocate faced criticism from Victoria High and Stroman High supporters. We also have wrestled at times with balancing coverage of DeTar vs. Citizens hospitals.

The hot topic of late, though, is Victoria College vs. the University of Houston-Victoria. A polite gentleman called me Tuesday to say that day's edition showed how the Advocate was doing a disservice to Victoria College. He's felt for quite a while that the Advocate is favoring UHV, he said. A recent letter writer expressed a similar sentiment.

On Tuesday, we published four stories about Victoria College. The top story on B1 was about the college board raising the tax rate. Alongside it, but with a smaller headline, was a story about the college receiving a $2.8 million grant. Inside were stories about the college being recognized for the high performance of its transfer students and about the college receiving a $150,000 grant for nuclear scholarships.

The caller, whose wife is a college administrator, said we should have emphasized the $2.8 million grant or the transfer recognition over the tax rate. I tried to explain that readers generally care more about taxes than just about anything else the government does.

The caller said he knew our publisher, John Roberts, and all he and his family have done for the community. I agreed and added the Advocate certainly wants both Victoria College and UHV to be successful and to give good coverage of both institutions. They're not in competition to us.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've noted before that my wife works as communications manager at UHV. Also, one of our owners, Catherine McHaney, has served on the Victoria College board of trustees for almost 30 years. We try to keep these conflicts separate from the day-to-day decisions about news coverage.

As a family-owned newspaper, the Victoria Advocate is fully vested in the success of the community. Sometimes that involvement can create awkward situations. The best we can do in those cases is to be open to discuss what we're doing and why.

Just wait until next year when Victoria West and East high schools open. Perhaps I should send one of my children to each school.