Tag Archives: Campus media

Same Sex Marriage Opponents Struggle to Convince Nation, here’s why

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Photo by Brianna Kight

The following is a mock-up I did for the Opinion section of the University Star on the struggle for same sex marriage opponents both in realms of religion and law, discussion is more than welcome in the comment section:

When approaching the subject of gay marriage, citizens should evaluate the constitution and what they believe the age-old document’s role is in conjunction with their lives and the lives of their fellow Americans.

Homosexuality, as most of us know, has been as present in history for as long as conflict has been in politics. Virtually every culture known to man has some evidence of early homosexual depiction, and in some ancient instances (Greeks specifically) homosexuality was a normal part of everyday life.

Since then, things have changed. The world has become more civilized. With the rise of mass media and information, no excuse should suffice that allows for the restriction of rights from your fellow Americans. No arguments of faith, and definitely no arguments of law.

Many conservatives argue that the primary role of the constitution is to limit the national government from encroaching on the rights of the states, and this argument is true within the outlining of the 10th amendment.

However, other constitutional procedures and standards must be revisited and prioritized.

For example, the full faith and credit clause – outlined in Article 4 Section 1 of the constitution – calls for the mandatory duty of states within the United States to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”

The significance of this law will stand out to any transfer student who’s come to Texas State, because without it, States would have the right to decline their birth certificate, identification, and other legal documents regardless of their importance or value to the student’s life. Without this, Texas would be able to deny anyone else in the U.S. recognition as a citizen. (or maybe even a person, which would have been an issue during the 19th century undoubtedly)

For LGBT couples, marriage licenses are denied and go unrecognized by the states who choose not to recognize gay marriage, and as a result- partners can be denied hospital visitation rights for their spouse, expect misallocation of their estates after they die, and possibilities of having their children taken away due to the difference in State laws for adoption practices.

These actions are a true and frank example of how those who deny recognition of same-sex marriage highlight what is written in their holy books (which for the current time, cannot be proven) more than the text of the law the they swear to uphold.

For those who can’t support same sex marriage for holy reasons answer the following: Do you ultimately know the entrapment of God’s will? How do you know this? God is supposedly an all-mighty and powerful being so how could you, a human not of divinity, know God’s will? Man and women only being capable of creating children? Not anymore, adoption and artificial insemination actually helps same sex marriage couples create children together, and ultimately provide the parenting which has been scientifically proven to show no abnormal average of issues arising from the “non-traditional” households. All holy books were written by men hundreds and thousands of years ago, which brings me to my next question, how do you know God hasn’t changed his, her, or its mind since then? If you find an answer for any of these and they sound legitimate, find me on campus and I promise I’ll lend you an ear.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

The ‘State’ of Media at Texas State University

Texas State University is a great choice for mass communication majors who are interested in pursuing an education and future occupation in the any aspects of media. Between the campus media outlets such as the radio station KTSW,  newspaper The University Star, and weekly newscast Bobcat Update, students can be expected to leave Texas State with tons of experience upon reaching graduation. However, if students want a hard-hitting experience, they may want to reconsider working for campus media.

An interesting notion about Texas State University that I mistakenly gathered in my first year upon applying at The University Star was that it had achieved a degree of notoriety for being a rugged and enthusiastic outlet for students who wish to walk a thin line between challenging the establishment and countering traditional media coverage. I can recall my first time entering The Star’s HQ and noticing a yellow old-fashioned and laminated newspaper clipping of an old story involving a brigade of students engaging in night-time streaking across campus.

Much to my chagrin, the experience of being at The University Star as a videographer my freshman year didn’t turn out to be as inspiring as I had imagined. I quickly learned that the image I had of the newspaper didn’t necessarily match up with the realities of the work environment that I was led into. Our management direction was skewed, and assignments either always fell through or were so banal that there was almost no reason to cover them at all. Still, I remained committed to pursuing the most hard-hitting pieces and ideas that I could find.

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There was an unfortunate ‘formality’ of almost always getting shut down on story ideas. Whenever SXSW in March of 2014 was going on, it featured Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange, and I thought I had hit a no-brainer for a story idea or at least a coverage piece, but I was told that since it was in Austin (which is about 25 minutes away), it wasn’t relevant enough for the paper to pick up- despite the fact that the broader story of government overreach and invasion of privacy was happening not only in Austin- but the entire country (and as we know now, the entire world).

Another time there was a student* who was accused by the city police of creating a bomb hoax. As I read the piece in The University Star, I couldn’t help but think, “How did the police justify an attempt of a bomb hoax when they were the ones who investigated his vehicle against his will?” Probable cause was evident, seeing as how he was initially smoking on campus, and fled arrest from officers (smoking on campus is a violation of university policy) but a “hoax” implies a sort of intentional cause to create panic- which was only created by the police department enlisting the Austin bomb squad to blow up packages that were “incapable” of being recognized as explosive or not.

*The suspect was first reported as a student, later reports confirmed that he was not a student of the university

Obviously as I had read this piece, I was stunned with more questions than answers and suggested to my superiors that we should do a follow-up piece on the suspect and the police department’s view of how the event unfolded. Initially, I was told that I’d be given the suspect’s lawyer information and that although cooperation from the police department wasn’t likely, I had the support of The Star to go out and pursue the leads.

Time went on. I checked my inbox, nothing. I found myself asking different editors of the paper for the same piece of information over and over again, sometimes being told that it had already been sent (which obviously wasn’t true) and other times being told “yeah sure, I’ll do it”.

I continued pressing my supervisor on the matter – lightly of course-  because as passionate as I am about journalism I still very much believe that I have to earn my stripes as a reporter. My main concern was getting this story shot and so long as that was done, I’d consider being a minor annoyance a small step in a long path towards victory. I asked for the contact information a third week in a row, believing that I still had supervisor support when his tone seemed to take a different note this time around.

“The thing is, it would require getting law enforcement involved…”

Long story short, I was told that it would be too much of a hassle to get police cooperation on the story, and that I could pursue the story on my own time, but not as The University Star’s reporter. I never followed up on the story solo because after 3+ weeks of asking for something so minor as a number and being met with dragged feet, I knew I wasn’t going to get it. I found the whole incident ironic considering that The Star’s lower tagline reads “Defending the First Amendment since 1911 | The independent student newspaper of Texas State University” That same line that had once ensnared my attention and loyalty before now stared back at me awkwardly. If you’re too nervous about police cooperation or retaliation then you’re not really defending the first amendment, at least not confidently .

The paper, as I’ve known it since my year-and-a-half of being here, seems to typically play it safe when it comes to covering local issues, the most controversial thing I had heard of being reported by The Star was an incident that questioned a city council member’s ethics when he, Carter Morris, met with a developer while approval for their project was still being deliberated by city council. Morris was the planning and zoning Vice Chair at the time.

Although the campus media aren’t necessarily the hell-raisers that I typically like to consume, I still hold their motives as an outlet for students to polish themselves in high regard. Certainly there is creativity and insight in all areas of the campus media (especially in KTSW ,their program diversity and professionalism is astounding for a student publication) and while they focus on polishing craft more than breaking media barriers, it at least ensures that students will be professionally prepared to cover news for future publications.

Hopefully by the time they get out of college, they’ll be done playing it safe.