My Ten Favorite Articles That I Wrote in 2014

Last December, I highlighted my ten favorite articles that I wrote in 2013, and I’ve decided to try it again this year.

First, here’s a quick summary of my 2014: I continued writing for the Austin Chronicle, mostly covering local news. I’m still the opinion editor for The Horn and still occasionally contribute to the Dallas Observer and The Dallas Morning News. I’ve kept writing for the Texas Travesty, which was named the “Readers Best Local Non-‘Chronicle’ Publication” by the Austin Chronicle (and during the fall, I was the Travesty‘s Senior Food Critic). At school, I’ve studied and written about a variety of topics, including history, Christianity, and hip-hop. In the spring, I rapped for charity. In November, I started working part-time for Pluckers Wing Bar, handling marketing and donations.

All in all, I wrote over fifty articles this year. Below, in chronological order, are the ten of my articles from 2014 that I’m most proud of:

1. “For popular rapper, an unusual calling card: sobriety” – The Dallas Morning News – February 14:

I grew up reading The Dallas Morning News‘ Points Section every Sunday morning, and those articles definitely helped inspire me to write. So it was a dream come true when my essay about rapper Macklemore and his struggle with addiction was published in the Sunday Points section.

2. “Facebook ‘Threat’ Case Unresolved” – Austin Chronicle – February 28:

While an especially frustrating case to cover, the story of Justin Carter is an important story for me  – and anyone else who values free speech. My reporting on the case was even cited by NPR.

3. “Online Privacy: Technical, Political, or Both?” – Austin Chronicle – March 28:

As a result of whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s leaks, many Americans are becoming more conscious of their online privacy and security. I interviewed multiple experts for the story, including Phil Zimmermann, Elissa Shevinsky, and more.

4. “Stand up to injustice, even if you stand alone — and remember the ‘tank man’” – The Dallas Morning News – June 5:

The Tiananmen Square protester known simply as ‘Tank Man’ has long been a hero of mine, so I was grateful to get to write about his heroism, twenty-five years after the event.

5. “The Texas GOP Stands on a Platform of Ignorance” – Reason – June 28:

Reason is one of my favorite publications, so I was honored to write for them. Earlier this year, the Texas Republican Party’s 2014 platform condemned homosexuality, arguing that being gay “must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.” They even supported reparative therapy, a controversial practice aimed at helping homosexuals embrace their “authentic” heterosexual identity. And I wasn’t too happy about that, so I wrote about it.

6. “The Best Bible Verse-Checks in the History of Rap” – On Faith – July 29:

In 2013, I explored the profane by writing about “The 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time.” This year, I strayed from the profane and focused on the sacred – I wrote about the best Biblical allusions in hip-hop.

7. “A.Dd+ Chronicle Their Nawfside Love on New Nawf EP” – Dallas Observer – August 12:

Just this last week, Dallas hip-hop duo A.Dd+ won three Dallas Observer Music Awards – Best EP, Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act, and Best Live Act. Back in August, I interviewed the duo about their Nawf EP – which pays homage to ‘Nawf Dallas,’ the neighborhood where the duo is from (and where I’m from as well).

8. “Talking Songs with Joe Purdy” – The Horn – September 10:

Joe Purdy is one of my all-time favorite musicians, and I had the privilege of interviewing the singer-songwriter before covering his concert in Austin.

9. “Pluckers is the bomb – ISIS is not” – Texas Travesty – September 23:

If there’s one thing I love, it’s Pluckers Wing Bar. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s war. So I connected the two in one of my (hopefully) humorous articles as the Texas Travesty‘s Senior Food Critic.

10. UFC Fight Night Pounds the Erwin Center” – Austin Chronicle – November 24:

While I’m generally not too big of a sports fan, I do enjoy MMA, and I was lucky enough to cover a UFC event for the Chronicle. And before covering the event itself, I had the chance to interview UFC featherweight Cub Swanson.

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My Ten Favorite Articles That I Wrote in 2013

My writing was first published on July 29, 2011 (“Why are public schools so afraid of religion?” in The Dallas Morning News). Through 2012, I had only published opinion columns and letters to the editor. Fortunately, this year I was able to not only continue writing op-eds, but also write news articles, concert reviews, features, interviews, listicles and even a cover story.

For a quick summary of my writing this year: Early in 2013, I was first hired for The Horn, where I am now the opinion editor, an opinion columnist and reporter. In March, I joined the staff of the Texas Travesty, the student-produced humor publication at The University of Texas at Austin. Between June and August, I interned with the alt-weekly Dallas Observer. In October, I began my internship with the alt-weekly Austin Chronicle, where I’m still working.

Below, in chronological order, I compiled my ten favorite stories that I wrote during 2013:

Put the brakes on texting bans – The Horn – April 18, 2013:
Opinion column arguing that banning texting while driving is a bad idea.

Learning the lessons of rejection – The Austin American-Statesman – May 18, 2013:
Opinion column discussing what I’ve learned by dealing with rejection. (A version of this column also appeared in The Dallas Morning News.)

Mac Miller Talks About Religion, Twitter and His New Album, Which is His Best One Yet” – The Dallas Observer – June 25, 2013:
Interview with rapper Mac Miller.

See the world from a different pew” – The Dallas Morning News – August 2, 2013:
Opinion column advocating the benefits of occasionally attending different churches.

Graffiti artist brings clothing company to Austin – The Horn – August 5, 2013:
News feature about artist and entrepreneur Clif Claycomb and his clothing company The Early Hours.

The 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time (NSFW) – Phoenix New Times – August 21, 2013:
Listicle of the most messed-up songs of all time. (Versions of it also appeared in the Dallas Observer and OC Weekly.)

Stand-up comedy is the most essentially human art form – The Horn – October 3, 2013:
Opinion column arguing that stand-up comedy deserves more respect as art.

Debate: Should Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Legalized?” – Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine – October 17, 2013:
An opinion piece in which I argued that performance-enhancing drugs should be legalized. On the opposing side, Thomas Murray, the president emeritus of the Hastings Center, a non-profit bioethics research institute, argued that PEDs should not be legalized.

‘Don’t Call Me Sir’” – The Austin Chronicle – December 6, 2013:
News article about George “Rattlesnake” Ramsey, a fascinating conspiracy-theorist who hopes to become the governor of Texas and then the president of the United States.

Urban Rail: Which Way to Connect?” – The Austin Chronicle – December 13, 2013:
Cover Story (News Feature) about Austin’s Project Connect, that I co-wrote with Michael King.