Media coverage of Texas, from inside out

The ceiling of the Texas Capitol dome. Photo by Leila Saidane/Civics U


What is the local press saying about the election in Texas?

The Austin American-Statesman is ramping up for day-of election coverage by explaining everything that has happened in local politics thus far. Specifically, the newspaper published an article revealing which Texas candidates have already been declared “elected.” In a similar fashion to their reporting last month, the Statesman is continuing to cover the major policy issues in the final days of the election. The Statesman’s coverage of the first officer fired over the Uvalde school shooting brings up the highly debated topic of gun control, and forces readers to consider their opinions on the policy issue as they head to the polls. 

The Texas Tribune is in its prime during election season, hitting all the necessities in its extensive coverage. The election turnout tracker stands out, with its daily updates of the who, what, and where of each Texas race, focusing on mail-in and early voting as it is happening. Beyond the easily accessible voter guide and turnout tracker, the Tribune is pushing its coverage of voting trends and topics voters should think about as they vote. The Tribune is  revealing the demographic trends of the mail-in ballots that are being rejected, and highlighting the election fundraising developments in the highly polarizing gubernatorial race.

Dallas Morning News recently reported on the turnout trends in key North Texas counties compared with the record turnout of the 2018 election. The North Texas specifics continue in the media outlet’s coverage of candidates and policy issues. The Dallas Morning News reported on the candidates in north Texas who, feeling secure in their elections, are reaching out to candidates in more contentious races to help them out through fundraising and getting out the vote. 

Texas Monthly continues to focus on policy and has now published several op-eds and articles regarding the shifting demographics of the Texas electorate and predictions of what will happen after Tuesday. Ben Rowan researched and published an in-depth investigative article about which side of the aisle the part of the electorate that hasn’t registered to vote falls on. Michael Hardy looked at similar data to analyze individual races, specifically focusing on the race between Alexandra del Moral Mealer and Lina Hidalgo for Harris County judge. The magazine is also continuingits coverage of the ever-evolving abortion debate within Texas, bringing up the issue in relation to the dawning election. 

What is the national press saying about the election in Texas?

n looking at Texas, The New York Times has published several articles regarding big issues concerning voters in the region, as well as the influx of voter fraud controversy being stirred up throughout the state. Articles revealing both county-specific measures being taken as well as state-wide action have been published. The newspaper specifically published an opinion piece on Oct. 21 essentially predicting what may happen as an outcome of the election, revealing how the Republican Party has been focusing on the local elections throughout South Texas. 

The Washington Post has a similar reporting style to the Times when it comes to covering the lead-up to the midterms throughout Texas. It is reporting on the ongoing evolution of the election conspiracy theorists who have been jailed prior to the election, providing insight for citizens in Texas and throughout the entire country. Beyond citizen activity surrounding the election, the Post is commenting on Governor Abbott’s run, expanding on how his actions as a GOP governor have fallen to the wayside when compared to the party’s even more right-winged counterparts. 

Axios is a useful tool for citizens looking to cast their ballots. One specific feature of the news site that stands out is its map of issues that matter to Americans in this election. It allows the reader to choose a hot-button issue and look at the data in each state regarding how important that issue is to their voters. Axios’ local look at Austin features both coverage of policy issues plaguing the electorate. It recently published the news that concerns for safety are prompting Austin schools to close on Election Day, citing the increase in school shootings and risk of gun violence. The news organization also published a ranking of voting access throughout the states, and it highlighted how Texas is falling further and further down that list.

Within their extensive coverage of the election the Wall Street Journal is publishing various articles covering the voter turnout around the country, as well as focusing on the demographic of voters within Texas. WSJ revealed the polling trends that Hispanic voters in Texas have generally been leaning Republican over the past few years, and the trend is expected to continue. Going off of this, the journal revealed in another article that the GOP’s current slate of candidates is its most diverse ever, using examples of candidates throughout Texas. In addition to specific state coverage, the Wall Street Journal is updating its live coverage of the midterms hourly.


What are the statewide news organizations reporting about the midterm elections?

This is the Texas Tribune’s bread and butter: coverage of public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. In addition to an extensive voter guide specifically tailored to election details within Texas, the organization features the large issues in the masthead of the newssite. It lists “Uvalde Shooting” and “Abortion Laws” right beside the link to the voter guide and additional information on the 2022 election.

The Tribune recently hosted The Texas Tribune Festival right here in Austin, hosting over 350 speakers. The festival spanned over three days and consisted of Texas Tribune staff interviewing and conducting panel discussions and Q and As with anyone who is anyone in Texas politics. Some of the highlights that shed light on the upcoming election were the Roe v. Wade Panel moderated by Ana Marie Cox, an interview with Senator Ted Cruz about the polarizing migrant bussing policies, and a one-on-one with Anthony Fauci on the United States’ dealings with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Austin American-Statesman focuses much of its reporting on the major policy issues throughout the state leading up to the election. Specifically regarding gun legislation, transgender rights and first amendment questions, these topics are widely considered to be at the center of the gubernatorial race in Texas. The Statesman is covering O’Rourke vs. Abbott very closely, featuring the changes in polling front and center. In addition to the feature-style reporting on policy issues, the Statesman provides a platform for Politifact Texas, fact-checking all claims by political figures regarding the state. 

Tailored more specifically to North Texas, Dallas Morning News has created its own November 2022 General Election Voter Guide. Beyond providing their readers with useful information on election logistics, many recent articles have focused on polling evidence regarding the hot topics of this election, including what Texans think about the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the separation between Abbott and O’Rourke. In a split from other state-wide news organizations, Dallas Morning News is also extensively reporting on other races besides the widely-publicized gubernatorial race.

Even though Texas Monthly is usually  associated with arts, entertainment and travel news within Texas, this statewide magazine is providing the electorate with unique reporting on the upcoming election. With much of the reporting coming in the form of asking and answering complicated questions, the magazine is claiming to provide “analysis, takes, and updates on the 2022 Texas elections and their most colorful characters.” Similarly to The Dallas Morning News, Texas Monthly is going beyond just covering Abbott vs. O’Rourke, highlighting the lesser-known candidates and races that could result in significant turning points throughout the state.

What is the national press saying about Texas?

The New York Times, as one of the most widely circulated news organizations in the world, does extensive coverage of every national election. When reporting specifically on the Texas, it has focused much of its reporting on covering news within state politics as opposed to previewing the upcoming election. Issues of migrant busing and gun legislation have been at the center of recent articles. That being said, the news organization still checks into the highly contentious races, and therefore is publicizing news about Texas’ gubernatorial race

The Washington Post, which considers itself a national publication as well as the last word on national political coverage, is providing thorough and extensive guides for the national election. It features the highly controversial issues at the center of many races, such as the recent news surrounding transgender rights in Texas. Additionally, throughout The Post’s midterm guides, the news site emphasizes the importance of the races shaping the 2024 presidential election, specifically highlighting how the winner of Texas’ governorship will reverberate throughout the country.

Axios  dives into the local issues surrounding this election, specifically within its Axios Austin section. It goes beyond sharing the central topics by highlighting citizens’ opinions and putting the electorate at the center of the election. Axios makes an effort to poll local citizens on each major issue, such as its thoughts on migrant bussing, and explains in the description of each report what makes it newsworthy. With the headings of Driving the News and Why It Matters, the online news organization is making it easy for the electorate to educate themselves leading up to the election. 

Wall Street Journal, the financial-centric news site,  puts issues and policy front and center in regards to the midterm elections, talking less about candidates than many other national news organizations. In its reporting on Texas, the Wall Street Journal is focusing on the what instead of the who, such as the recent social-media regulation law being upheld and what back-to-school looks like in Uvalde. The newspaper’s section on national politics, titled The Capitol Journal, continues its normal reporting around election time, continuing to comment on policy and legislation instead of the races. 

USA Today is formatting its election coverage in a “what to watch” structure, with a newsletter guide and various articles published about important races throughout the country. There has been little coverage on specific Texas races, but like other news sites, USA Today has recently been reporting on the big issues in the Texas elections. Beyond the issues of gun rights and immigration, USA Today also features opinion pieces about Texas that do not share the views of the organization, such as the issue of LGBTQ safety in the state.

What are the midterms?

The midterm elections are the general elections held halfway through a presidential term. Every seat in the United States House of Representatives is up for grabs, as well as 35 United States Senate seats and the government seat in 36 states. News sites around the world are saying the 2022 midterm elections could be “the most consequential in years, possibly defying political history and resetting modern political norms” (CBS News). 

When are the midterms?

Election day is Nov 8, 2022. In Texas, the last day to register to vote is Oct 11, and the Mail Ballot Application deadline is Oct 28. Early voting begins Oct 24 and ends Nov 4. 

Who is affected by the midterms?

You! Me! The American People! Voting is one of the most important fundamental rights afforded to citizens in the United States constitution. Exercising this right is your civic duty, and allows you to have a say in who makes the decisions that directly affect you. Hot button issues like abortion rights, climate change and health care are at the center of this election, so casting your vote is your way of letting your opinion be heard. 

Who is running in the midterms in Texas?

The Texas governorship is up for election! Democratic Nominee Beto O’Rourke is running against the Incumbent Greg Abbott (R).

There are no Texas senate seats in this election.

After the most recent US census, there are 38 Texas seats in the House of Representatives, meaning there are 38 races! They are divided up by congressional districts. Austin is a part of the 10th district. In our district, Incumbent Michael McCaul (R) is up against Linda Nuno (D) and Bill Kelsey (L).

Texas has 150 state representative districts and 31 state senate districts. All of these seats are up for election, 151 with incumbents rerunning and 30 open. Austin’s Travis County falls into the state representative districts of 46-51 and the state senate districts of 14, 21, 24 and 25. 

These are the nominees running in each of these districts:

State House of Representatives:

District 46: Incumbent Sheryl Cole (D), Samuel Strasser (R), Thomas Kost (L)

District 47: Incumbent Vikki Goodwin (D), Robert McCarthy IV (R)

District 48: Incumbent Donna Howard (D), Daniel Jerome McCarthy (L)

District 49: Incumbent Gina Hinojosa (D), Katherine Griffin (R), David Roberson (L)

District 50: James Talarico (D), Victor Johnson (R), Ted Brown (L)

District 51: Maria Luisa “LuLu” Flores (R), Robert Reynolds (D)

State Senate

District 14: Sarah Eckhardt (D), Steven E. Haskett (L)

District 21: Judith Zaffirini (D), Julie Dahlberg (R), Arthur DiBianca (L)

District 24: Kathy Jones-Hospod (D), Peter P. Flores (R)

District 25: Donna Campbell (R), Robert Walsh (D)

Lily F. Kane, a junior Journalism and Media major, will updating this newsletter throughout the semester.

Civics U Media/Expert List 

By Logan Dubel

Finding trustworthy and reliable sources to discuss elections and voting can present a daunting task. When covering Texas elections and voting laws, it is paramount to consult with veteran political journalists and educated experts to ensure that your reporting is accurate. Check out the list below for a few of the top experts in the Lone Star State. 

Voting Expert Inside Government 

  • Sam Taylor, Assistant Secretary of State for Communications  (512-463-6116)

Political Experts/Theorists 

  • Dr. Cal Jillson, Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist
  • Dr. Mark Jones, Political Science Fellow, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University,
  • Dr. Ann Bowman, Profesor, Bush School of Government & Public Service, Texas A&M University,

Political Journalists 

  • John Engel, Political Reporter, KXAN Austin,

Logan Dubel is a freshman Journalism and Media major at the University of Texas at Austin.

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