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During this course, I hope that you will become more aware of the current political events going on in Texas and establish a better base of knowledge for understanding the politics of Texas. This assignment requires you to write two (2) brief (two-page double-spaced of text) reaction papers to a particular current event dealing with Texas politics and government. You are free to choose any current event that interests you personally, just with the requirement that it must be clearly related to Texas government. You should find these current event articles through any reputable news source that you choose. If you have a concern or question on whether a particular article satisfies this requirement as a valid source, please feel free to ask. A few reputable news sources that you can consider (but certainly not the only ones) are:

  • The Texas Observer (
  • The Texas Tribune (
  • The Houston Chronicle (
  • Texas Monthly (
  • New York Times (
  • Huffington Post – Texas Politics (
  • National News organizations (CNN, NBC, CBS, Fox) also regularly cover Texas political news

The paper will require more than simply re-describing the article, I want you to critically think about the information in the article and discuss the importance or significance it has for Texas government and politics. You are certainly allowed, in fact encouraged, to provide active voice, and include your own personal perspective on the current event, but I will require you to incorporate information that we have covered in this class into your reaction paper, where applicable. This is not intended to be a two-page political rant about a current event.

Grading Rubric

You will need to do three major things in these papers. The first part of the paper will be a brief summary of the current event in your own words. Overreliance on direct quotes from the article, or keeping the bulk of the original article with only minor revisions by yourself will result in deduction. The second part of the paper will be your reaction, this can be a critique of the piece or event, or the significance of the event, simply your perspective on such. This is intended to be your thoughts, thus please use first person. The third component of your papers will be relating the current event to course material in some manner (i.e. where does this article fit into the course material – textbook chapter, discussion, film, etc.). Each of these are required in both papers. Please refer to the separate rubric document on D2L for more details.


The format for the paper can be any writing style that you are familiar with (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.), however there are a few things that I will require. Papers will be written double-spaced in 12-pt Times New Roman font with 1” margins on all sides. Please note that these may not be the default settings on your word processor, but you will still be expected to change the formatting to these conditions. I will warn you, do not try to adjust these to make your paper longer, as it is quite obvious when the margins and font sizes are not correct. Also, papers do not need to have a massive header that takes up half a page, this does not count toward the length of the paper, so don’t try. Your name at the top will do just fine. My advice to mitigate this issue, is to write your paper without any kind of header or works cited information first to guarantee it meets the length requirement, then afterwards add the header and works cited.

Also, you will need to attach or provide a working link to the original article with your paper. You can put the link in your paper as a works cited, or post the link into the comments box on the submission page. If you do not include a working URL link, a 10pt penalty will be assessed.

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