Category: 2018

“Incredibles 2” breaks box office records over the weekend

“Incredibles 2” breaks box office records over the weekend

Pixar has a unique formula for successful sequels – wait more than a decade between releases.

“The Incredibles 2” broke box office records with its weekend release. The animated feature about a superhero family first introduced in 2004 brought in $183.2 million. That’s $50 million more than “Finding Dory,” which pulled  $135 million, 13 years after the release of “Finding Nemo.”

“There are a lot of different appeals, familiarity, and long history. People like to go to see movies they know what to expect, and they have things they like about the characters.” said professor Richard Allen, a member of the TCU Film-Television-Digital Media department.

Allen thinks the reason people are attracted to this movie is because people think superpowers are fun and enjoy great special effects.

Student A.J. Bixby, who was 5 years old during the original movie said he was elated when he heard a sequel was planned.

“I do plan on seeing the sequel and I’m very excited to see it. I loved the first movie and it was definitely was one of my favorite childhood memories and I’m very excited they finally made a sequel to it,” said Bixby.

When asked what separates the Incredibles from other animated films he said “I feel like they did a good job on the emotional attachment to the families but also the action of superheros.”

Hispanic students share their college experiences at TCU

Hispanic students share their college experiences at TCU

Hispanics students are the largest minority group on TCU’s campus, but that doesn’t mean they have an easy path at a university that is 69 percent white.

Hispanics and other minority students report that their presence at TCU is sometimes questioned and that often assumptions are made about them.

Jon Villalobos, a senior at TCU, said there is a divide between minorities and whites. He said the split also exists in the classroom, because some faculty aren’t prepared to work with diverse students.

“There are racial sensitivity classes, that I’ve recently found out about, a lot of faculty don’t even go to,” he said.

Hispanic students accounted for 13 percent of the undergraduate population in the 2017-18 school year.  African and Asian Americans make up 10% combined.

“Freshman year, it was hard for me to cope with the culture shock,” he said.

Villalobos said his fraternity – Lambda Theta Phi, TCU’s only Latino Greek organization – has helped him navigate the campus. He said his fraternity wants to make the minority community on campus shine.

“ As a fraternity, we got the highest GPA throughout all organizations.” They have accomplished so much but are still trying to “challenge the status quo.”

He said as a Latino high school student, college wasn’t promoted.

“We are presumed not to go to college, to drop out, to have kids early,” he said. “A lot of students don’t believe in the school system, because the school system doesn’t believe in them.”

He said he was, “one of the lucky few to make it out of Desoto (The city he grew up in).”

Villalobos said has seen students stereotyped at TCU and that people have made assumptions about him without asking for information. For instance, he said once when he was doing community service at Kinder Frogs, he felt racially profiled.

He said after he finished three days of service work, a supervisor asked him: “Is this court ordered community service?”

He said he was wearing a TCU shirt and that the two white men in the room weren’t questioned.

He said some minority men have also shared similar experiences. “They are assumed to be athletes just because they’re here,” he said. ”They’re here just to meet a diversity quota.”


President Trump fails to recognize Pride Month for second consecutive year

President Trump fails to recognize Pride Month for second consecutive year

As a candidate Donald Trump held up a Pride flag and vowed to be supportive of LGBT+ rights.

But this is the second consecutive year that President Trump hasn’t recognized Pride month. This coupled with his stance on transgender troops serving in the military has left many LGBT+ supporters questioning the president’s agenda.

Established by President Bill Clinton in 1999, support for gay and lesbian pride month has long been political. Republican President George W. Bush didn’t acknowledge the month during his two terms. But his successor Democrat President Barack Obama renamed it LGBT pride month early in his first term.

Despite his campaign rhetoric, some of Trump’s policies have been seen as a setback for LGBTQ+ rights.

Although it’s been halted by a federal judge, Trump has banned transgender people from serving in the military. His administration also froze a series of LGBT+ friendly policies established during the Obama era. He also signed the “Religious Liberty” executive order which gives business owners the opportunity to object to things that go against their religion despite anti-bias laws. The Department of Education also stopped enforcing Obama-era guidelines allowing students to use bathrooms that aligned with their identities, rather than the sex they were born into.

Nino Testa, the associate director of women and gender studies at TCU said perspectives on Trump vary in the LGBT+ community. He said not everyone in the community is upset Trump didn’t acknowledge pride month.

“There are other people who don’t really care what Donald Trump thinks and are perhaps happy to know he’s not trying to utilize pride, which has so much meaning to so many people, to bolster his own image,” Testa said.

Testa said he doesn’t want Trump to acknowledge pride month. He said he doesn’t agree with Trump’s policies regarding transgender people.

“What concerns me is his perspective on trans people and their exclusion from military services,” Testa said. “He doesn’t have a good track record on trans rights.”

June Bhattarai, a member of the LGBT+ community said that she did not expect Trump to do anything for the community. “Trump not acknowledging pride month only affects the people who pays attention to what he does,” she said.

According  to the White House June is not proclaimed pride month, however states and communities around the world continue to celebrate with various parades and events.

Local pride events include:

  • June 9 -North Texas Gay Pride Festival
  • September 15 -Dallas Pride Festival
  • September 20- Heineken Allen Ross Freedom Parade
Antidepressant Addiction Raises Questions About Necessity of Prescription Care

Antidepressant Addiction Raises Questions About Necessity of Prescription Care

Most Americans with depression prefer psychological treatments over prescription drugs, according to a National Institutes of Health study.

But the use of drugs to treat depression has risen substantially through the years. From 2011-2014 nearly 11 percent of the U.S. population reported using an antidepressant in the past 30 days, according to a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This compares to barely 2 percent between 1988-1994.

Critics of the growing dependence on prescription drugs say some of the blame comes from how insurance companies pay for treatment.

Insurance companies pay psychiatrists 20.1 percent less than primary care doctors, according to the Milliman Research Report in 2015. Additionally, insurance doesn’t always cover certain kinds of mental health treatment.

“When I was working with insurance they limited what I could do,” said Dr. Brian Dixon, a psychiatrist, who has written about the corporate effect on medicine. “They would not pay for therapy.”

Prescribing drugs can be more cost effective for doctors, but it can also result in people becoming dependant on antidepressants.

“There are very few things where medicine is the only option,” said Dixon. “Depression and anxiety are very schema related- it’s very dependent on how you see the world- so medicines won’t always do what you think they’re gonna do.”

Dixon often refers patients to other psychologists, who are cheaper and provide help in the form of psychotherapy or counseling, when medications won’t do the trick. In the face of antidepressant overprescription and addiction, many mental health professionals are emphasizing the viability of non-prescription care.

According to studies at Emory University, people suffering from depression have similar recovery rates with psychotherapy as with antidepressant medication, and those with both treatments recover nearly 100 percent of the time.


“13 reasons why” prompts conversation about suicide

“13 reasons why” prompts conversation about suicide

It took 10 years for sales of the book “13 Reason Why” to reach 3 million; the first episode of the second season of the Netflix program was viewed by 6 million people in three days.

The reach of the program, built around a teen’s suicide, has prompted discussion about whether the show is a positive or negative influence. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the show premiered on the streaming service, critics and fans have debated whether it glamorizes suicide.

Media romanticizing suicide is a horrible thing and “13 Reasons Why” played a tricky part in suicide,” said Ehren Lewis, a senior at Benbrook Middle-High School. “It did show how the main protagonist ended her life, and some say this  helped sensationalize suicide, but “13 Reasons Why” also showed viewers the lasting effect of suicide.”

The teen drama tells the story of Hannah Baker, who committed suicide and left tapes explaining the 13 reasons she chose to die. It is based on the book by Jay Asher, which faced similar criticism. Similar criticism was leveled against movies such as “Heathers” and books such as “I Was Here.”

I think it (suicide) has been romanticized since Shakespeare’s day and before…what happens after someone ends their life to those left behind is not often shown. The repercussions last for generations,” said Sharon Ward, a therapist for Clinical Mental Health Counseling for Adolescents and Adults in Aledo. “Those who are left behind have to struggle, often for years, with the emotions that the person who completed the suicide was unwilling or unable to handle themselves.”

Teens are mixed about the effect of “13 Reasons Why.”

Whenever I first saw “13 Reasons Why,” I thought that if it was shown in the right way with enough warning, it would prove beneficial to our society because of the increase in suicide rate over the years,” Lewis said.

But his classmate, junior Mary Michael said, “When I saw “13 Reasons Why,” I was interested to see how well they were going to portray suicide and other serious issues. At first, I thought they did an okay job, but as I continued to watch, I realized that they did not.”

Indeed, after the first season of “13 Reasons Why” was released several schools sent home letters to parents that suggested the show romanticized suicide.

The show’s producer said in an article that they aim to inspire discussions about tough subjects with teens.

Ward said the media attention is both positive and negative. She said it helps make it easier to discuss difficult issues. But she recognizes the negative effects as well.

“It is being seen more and more as an acceptable solution to problems that are often temporary in nature,” said Ward. “For a teen who feels isolated, the added attention (even if it is after death) can seem attractive.”


Suicide rates rising for younger generations

Suicide rates rising for younger generations

Suicide has been on the rise for young Americans. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that suicide surpassed homicide to become the second-leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24.

According to the CDC study, about 5,723 suicides occur each year in that age group. The number one cause of death is unintentional injuries.  

These graphics illustrate the rise in teen suicide.

To respond to several suicides in schools across the district in 2009, Fort Worth ISD has implemented programs like Lifelines, a mandatory suicide prevention curriculum for faculty, staff, parents and students. In addition to Lifelines, schools have counselors and intervention specialists on their campuses available to students at all times.

“We are encouraging our teachers to pay attention … because kids need somebody to talk to,” said Cynthia Bethany, Fort Worth Independent School District Crisis and Prevention Specialist.

In Fort Worth ISD, if a student says something that would indicate think they were contemplating suicide, they would then take a risk assessment — a series of questions meant to determine how likely someone is to commit suicide. Even a lower-risk student would still be entered into a program meant to ensure safety and support, including a conversation with their parents.

Other resources include a mobile-crisis outreach team that would send a trained professional to provide care, a national suicide prevention hotline, and Friends for Life, which is part of the Campus Crime Stoppers program.

Several students said awareness of the rise in suicide has increased in recent years.

“It could be the varsity cheerleader or the star quarterback,” Burleson High School student Madison Hein said. “It could be anyone so you have to make sure you’re watching out for everybody.”

TCU welcomes refugees despite political climate

TCU welcomes refugees despite political climate

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week that victims of gang or domestic violence no longer qualify for asylum in the United States. It’s a change meant to address the nation’s increasing backlog of asylum applications.

Sessions said the government is hiring 100 immigration judges to handle the backlog. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are 311,000 pending asylum cases as of Jan. 21, 2018. About 3 million refugees have resettled in the U.S. since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which created the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program and the current national standard for the screening and admission of refugees into the country.

But the increase in refugees, who wish to be considered for asylum, has created a raging political debate about how to best deal with them — even on TCU’s campus.

“Refugees have become a flashpoint for political conservative,” said John Singleton, TCU’s director of international services. “People are confusing what a refugee is.”

That confusion, Singleton said, is often because people don’t know much about the circumstances that bring refugees to the country. They are often fleeing difficult lives in their home country — often based on a fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion — and then are placed in camps which aren’t much better, Singleton said.

“A refugee starts with a really difficult life,” he said. “Refugee camps are not summer camps, they are not boarding schools. They are horrific.”

For those refugees who’ve managed to gain admission to TCU, Singleton said, they’ve already proven that they are high achievers.

“This means that these kids are functioning at a crazy high level. They are the best of the best,” he said.

But Singleton would like to see if TCU could do more for those students.

“TCU doesn’t have resources for refugees,” Singleton said. “And I am going to be working on that.”


Discrepancies apparent in coverage of Men’s and Women’s College Basketball

Discrepancies apparent in coverage of Men’s and Women’s College Basketball

There is not nearly as much coverage of women’s college basketball as there is of men’s college basketball, a recent study has found.

ThinkProgress, the online news website that conducted the study, tracked all of ESPN’s shows during the week of March 27 – April 2, 2017 and discovered 27 of the 57 shows it monitored that week did not mention women’s college basketball even once.

This graphic illustrates the coverage discrepancies

The publisher of the study said NCAA and ESPN were the focus because they are the leading promoters of women’s college basketball and are heavily invested in the sport — the NCAA runs the tournament and ESPN holds the broadcast rights to the women’s tournament..

“We thought we would look at those two because it might not show the starkest numbers,” said Lindsay Gibbs, a ThinkProgress writer and author of the study.

“I’m sure we could find other outlets where there is zero coverage of women but we wanted to look at (those) two to see, even when outlets have incentives to really be promoting this … that there is still a discrepancy,” she said.

According to ThinkProgress, including CBS Sports in the study would likely have shown an even greater discrepancy in coverage. CBS Sports own the broadcast rights to the men’s college basketball tournament and is the producer of the “official March Madness app.”

Compounding the problem is that CBS Sports does not have any rights to the women’s basketball tournament.

“There’s coverage on it, but it’s not as much,” said Jordan Moore, a senior on TCU women’s basketball team, referring to media coverage of her sport. “There is such a big difference.”





Hall of Famer Williams reflects on career at TCU

Hall of Famer Williams reflects on career at TCU

Charean Williams has done what no other female sports reporter has ever done.

Williams recently became the first woman to receive the Dick McCann award and will also be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 3.

To commemorate the honor, newly retired Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten called Williams “a pro’s pro” in a tweet.

Williams reflected on her career during a recent conversation with TCU students. “I have known since second grade that is what I wanted to do,” she said.

Williams recently started working at digital site ProFootballTalk after 23 years covering the NFL, 17 at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and six with the Orlando Sentinel. A native of Beaumont and a 1986 graduate of Texas A&M, Williams also previously worked at the Orange (Texas) Leader and the Bryan-College Station (Texas) Eagle.

“If you have the desire, the heart, and the work-ethic you can do and be what you want to be,” Williams said.

Williams credits her grandmother for her success.

“Every Sunday we would talk about the games and dissect it,” she said. “She got me inspired me more than anyone else.”

Her history-making career has also come with challenges, including players who have tried to make her uncomfortable with their nudity while conducting interviews. “They do it to test you, to see how you are going to handle it,” Williams said.  

She also remembered a time where she requested an interview with then-Arkansas quarterback Quinn Grovey. But because she was a woman and wasn’t allowed in the male locker room, Grovey left and she never got her interview.

Her latest challenge came when she was laid off by the Star-Telegram in May 2017. But she quickly bounced back, getting a job with ProFootballTalk.