Spring Break in Texas is here! What will you be doing?

By: Ruben Garcia | @kingrubencito


Spring Break for (mostly) all Texas colleges and universities is here! All college students around the state are ecstatic for all the celebrations that will occur this week. A popular destination spot is South by South West (SXSW), a popular festival in Austin, that includes musical showcases, films, and conferences to showcase the newest technology and media. Another well known destination is the infamous South Padre Island where most college students go to party all day and all night. These are the top two destinations for students in the state of Texas that don’t go out of the country.

Panama City Beach was a top tourist destination of Spring Breakers but unfortunately the city decided to prohibit drinking on the beach due to the rise in sexual assaults, shootings, drug and gun charges, and arrests. The economy for the month of March declined severely and students rushed to the neighboring state in Alabama to have fun for Spring Break at Gulf Shores. Days after the Spring Break season started, Gulf Shores also followed Panama City Beach with the prohibitions and banned Spring Break fun thus leaving South Padre as the last famous Spring Break destination left in the United States.


Pictured above is a concert setup stage at South By Southwest. SXSW is known for being a week long festival that includes random  pop-up shows at different bars around the city, new technology premieres, and business conferences to unveil the newest advances in social media. The 2017 lineup was released months ago and includes daily shows and pop-up locations for various artists and many types of genres. Parks, clubs, and bars are transformed into concert stages for up-and-coming and famous artists. Many pop-up and secret shows are released through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to the public hours before the show as a teaser. These are two popular options for Texas college students to have this Spring Break. Whatever you decide to do, remember to have fun, stay safe, and hydrated!


South By Southwest, Austin, Texas. SXSW 2017 Schedule. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Jsharp@al.com, John Sharp |. “Gulf Shores to spring breakers: No booze allowed on our beaches.” AL.com. N.p., 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.






Facebook Live in the midst of conflict

By Matt Payne


As I sat on a bleacher mid-assignment Saturday during congressman Michael Burgess’ first town hall meeting at Marcus High School since President Donald Trump’s election, my arms and fingers ached from holding my phone up for a Facebook Live stream to the Denton Record-Chronicle audience.

I remember several instances when Burgess would address me and fellow reporters a part of other media outlets, saying, “You know, I wish we could’ve gotten FOX News to show up, but we got these guys instead.”

Before me was a firsthand experience of the current political climate intermingled with the media.

This is a phenomenon that has swept the nation since Trump began spewing his hateful rhetoric a part of his campaign. It’s trickled down to other legislators like Burgess who’ve seized onto the trend of making buffoons and liars of reporters just trying to meet a deadline.

Yet, mediums like Facebook Live require composure and mindfulness from journalists more than ever. As The Media Online suggests, live feeds are a new and developing facet of journalism, one that projects citizen journalism into the limelight. Now, arguably more than ever, reporters find themselves having to cling onto the seemingly dwindling First Amendment right of free speech before brazen insults celebrated by several hive mind diplomats.

This isn’t my first time Facebook Living. However, it was my first time Facebook Living for one of my assignments as an intern for the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Something so fundamentally simple as typing, then tapping a button to go on air turned into a turbid, contested action quickly. Yet, at the same time, I felt invigorated to be one of the soldiers in journalism facing actual, tangible hate toward the industry I’ve chosen to invest in.

Featured image: A headshot of congressman Michael Burgess

I Still Hate the Electoral College

Almost two weeks after the US Presidential Election, and people are still angry about the outcome, including me.  In a post right before the election, I talked about the 2000 Presidential Election and how the Electoral College was unfair.  Much like what happened to Al Gore in 2000, Hillary Clinton was not elected president, even though she won the popular vote of the nation. Donald Trump was elected only because he won over 270 Electoral College votes. 

There has been a lot of talk from people who are happy that Trump won that are calling out people who aren’t.  Some are saying that the only reason people are upset is that their candidate didn’t win, not the Electoral College. This is definitely true for some people, but not all. The fact is that the Electoral College is unfair to the candidates and the American public. If I vote for someone, I want my vote to stand by itself, and count towards the big picture in the outcome.

The Electoral College stifles the vote of the public. Clinton received over 1.5 million votes more than Trump did, but not the right amount of Electors. It doesn’t make sense that a candidate with the highest amount of votes, could not get elected.  

The amount of electoral votes that a state has is equal to the number of people in Congress that the state has. The minimum being three, representing two people in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives. There are people from each party who are elected to vote in the Electoral College. They are usually very involved and are trusted to vote with the party they associate with.  The party of the candidate that wins more votes in the state gets to be the electors for that campaign.  This means that since Trump won the state of Texas, the only electors who get to vote in December are the ones appointed by the Republican Party.

North Dakota has a population of 756,927 people and has three electors.  This means that each vote represents 252,309 people. Texas’ population is nearly 27.5 million people and has 38 votes in the Electoral College. Each of those votes represents almost 723,000 people, which is almost as much as the whole state of North Dakota. If I vote in Texas, my vote could only be potentially 1/723,000 of one of the votes, but in North Dakota it could be 1/252,000.  The votes of people in smaller states are mathematically more reliable and accurate. Over 3.8 million people in Texas, and over 64 million in the whole country voted for Clinton, but because the majority of states with a higher, more influential population voted leaned towards her opponent, she lost.

When it was created, the Electoral College made some sense.  It was difficult to count all of the votes and get that information spread, but it was much easier for individual states to count them and send representatives. Now we have amazing technology and easy communication, so the system is impractical and makes our votes not count as much.  I don’t want my vote to be discounted because more people in my state voted a different way, regardless of my party affiliation.

By Bethany LaChance

Texas is now a swing state

By Lauren Vincent



Picture retrieved from



As if the 2016 presidential election wasn’t already crazy enough, now the traditionally conservative southern state has the possibility of rooting for the liberal party.  Texas has been known for being a Republican state. In fact, Texas has not voted for the Democratic party since 1980. With the state being second in power with 38 electoral vote next to California who has 55, it’s safe to say we have a large impact on who wins the election. To elaborate on how much Texas effects the election, think about how Minnesota, Michigan, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Utah all together equal 38 electoral votes.

Now that the polls are showing Texas to be a swing state this could change everything. If the state swings towards the democratic party this will be the first time the Millennial generation will see our state vote differently. Millennials in the south have been trying to make a difference in the rooted believes of the conservative state and now their hard work might be paying off.

In the past, events such voter ID laws that actually violated Voting Rights Act, and constant gerrymandering throughout the years has kept Texas a red state. But this year, there are new rules forcing the state to draw district lines based on population and allow every person to vote.

Now that early voting has stated in the lone star state, people are going out and exercising their right. In fact, the turn out from early voting has broken records in our state. In the past, second day of early voting has had consistent numbers with the first day; but this year second day early voting skyrocketed.

So the big question is, will Texas turn blue?  I guess we won’t exactly know until November 8th But as of now it is a big possibility.


Social Media at the Tower

I think we can all agree that social media is taking over our lives and so quickly. Every day we see more companies and businesses having a greater presence on social media platforms such as twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I am currently an intern in the Marketing and PR department of Reunion Tower in Dallas, and it amazes me at what a huge part of that is social media. It takes a special strategy to effectively execute this, you have to always keep the brand personality in mind, and know when it is appropriate to use it. My bosses are so good at automatically knowing when to use the ‘voice of the ball’ and I am also quickly learning.
There are many interesting techniques I have learned while on the job, a lot which come from the ‘behind the scenes’ side. As users we become accustomed to the user friendly format, and getting to see the fun data such as engagements and insights is so much cooler in my opinion. (I know what you are thinking, how cool can it be?) Getting to see all the effect your posts make, and the number of engagements you receive shows you what is working and what you should do differently. I have got to closely work with The Richards Group, since we are a client of theirs, and they have taught me step by step how to retrieve this information and it is fascinating, and super simple.
As the intern a duty of mine is to gather all this information from three of our platforms and transfer data to an excel so we can get a visual of our social media growth. At the company we offer season specials so it is great to see which ones are most effective and what interests our followers. I think it important to have some knowledge of this fast growing trend, and this course is going to be so beneficial for that.

Thank you Ahmed Mohamed

By: Marleine Calderon

So it’s Sunday night and I thought I would take some time to do a thank you note.

This week, I wanted to thank Ahmed Mohamed.

As we all heard Monday, he was arrested and accused of bringing a bomb to school. Even though, that “bomb” was actually a homemade clock.

Click here to see the Dallas Morning News story.

There’s no doubt that Islamophobia was a factor in the accusation and the arrest. Ahmed interrogated by five different officers, searched, and denied contact to his parents is a bit excessive for a freshman just trying to impress his teachers. I wouldn’t be able to imagine what he went through, but I would be traumatized.

His story went viral and social media went crazy that #IStandWithAhmed began to trend on Twitter. So I just wanted to say thank you Ahmed, you got people talking. People continue to be judged by the color of their skin, by their gender, by their religion, etc. and a small story from Irving, Texas made headlines.

Check out this graph from Twitter data.

People like you are the ones who are going to bring change to the world. When you think that nobody’s there to support you, you turn around and find a crowd of supporters, like President Obama or Mark Zuckerberg.

Your future seems bright.

So thank you for inspiring others to keep their head up, pursue their dreams and to keep going.

Thank you for not allowing this incident to get in the way of your dreams.

Thank you for giving people something to talk about because racial-profiling can happen to anyone.

I don’t think you ever expected this to happen, especially as a freshman in high school. But that goes to show that anyone, no matter how old one is, can make a difference in the world.

I hope you get to visit the White House and your dream school, meet with Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team, as well as, the Twitter team and some scientists.

Keep building things!

And maybe we’ll see you on the Tonight Show next to Jimmy Fallon!

Ahmed Mohamed and the Wild Fire that is Social Media

Emily McCormick


As most of you know, Ahmed Mohamed, a 14 year old boy in Texas was detained earlier this week by the police for having what they called a “hoax bomb” at school. In actuality, the bright student had engineered a rather impressive clock. Although this was a traumatizing and unnecessary situation that Ahmed had to go through, it presented and will likely continue to present opportunities that may not have been possible otherwise. It wasn’t long before social media caught wind of the incident and politicians and celebrities were reaching out to Ahmed on several social media outlets. The University of North Texas even offered Ahmed a scholarship and tour of their TAMS program.

This is a prime example of how prevalent social media is in our day and age. In minutes an organizations reputation can be destroyed. Due to the intensity of support Ahmed received, his school, his teachers, and his local law enforcement will be scrutinized. Social media can quickly become a fatal weapon in situations such as Ahmed’s. However, it can also become a tool that any good social media professional would utilize immediately. For example, the Universities public relations department made an ingenious move in offering Ahmed a scholarship. They used this opportunity to jump into the national spot light that Ahmed is receiving through a positive and generous act. Sure, they may be spending a thousand or so on a new student but they are making a huge profit in media coverage as well as prospective students. Who wouldn’t want to go to the school that Ahmed Mohamed goes to?

This article is a reminder that all public relations students and professionals need. As a student wanting to succeed in the world of public relations, I need to be actively aware of what is being talked about and how to quickly and appropriately act in order to benefit my organization. Social media can quickly become a weapon, but if you are aware and can act quickly you can take advantage of situations and maybe even turn  negative incidents into a positive ones like Ahmed’s.

I am hopeful that Ahmed will accept the opportunity to study at the University of North Texas not only because it will add a new bright mind to the school but because it will certainly amplify the Universities desired perception.