Texas Travesty

Alison Stoos and Chris Gilman

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

The technological-biological singularity. Terraforming Mars. Hip-hop hologram concerts. Steak dinners the size of a pill. Pill dinners the size of a steak. 3-D printed children. Cars that can fly. Airplanes that can’t. A coup de grâce to the heart of print media.

What do these all have in common? They are the future, and it’s vital that each of Texas Student Media’s entities knows that they are coming fast (especially the last one).

My tenure serving as the Texas Travesty Editor-in-Chief is coming to an end, and after a year of making a concerted effort to bring back the Travesty’s prominence on campus, I feel confident saying we owe much of our success to our online initiatives, and that the future of TSM will rely on how effective its entities can be digitally.

To make college students pay attention to any student-generated media, you need to be brief, relevant, free of charge, and make the content as easy as possible to access. Doing this online is by far the most efficient way of hitting these, and the most cost-effective way of making each TSM entity the best it can be. 

Fortunately for the Travesty, humor happens to be the greasiest grease there is to get the social media wheels rolling on a year-round basis. The unprecedented growth we’ve seen this year was made possible by transforming our social media pages into constant streams of our articles, one-liners, listicles, event promotions, Bill Powers pictures, Longhorns of the Week, etc. In less time than it typically takes for a child to develop in the womb, we were able to outdo almost every other college humor publication in terms of page numbers and user engagement. Suck it, Harvard Lampoon. Suck it. 

Our RotMan 2015 campaign’s videos and social media presence (including Tinder and Grindr) were the biggest factors in winning 59 percent of the vote. By the end of the campaign, RotMan was the subject of something like 12 out of 15 of the top YikYak posts every day. In this day and age, if your digital presence is strong and likable enough you won’t even need to leave your home to win an election.

The Daily Texan, TSTV, Cactus, and KVRX have each had a fantastic year as well, and are home to some of the most talented and creative people at UT. A common complaint I hear across the board is that each entity is missing is a proper, versatile website that can hold a candle to the content TSM publishes. The current Travesty website is like Dale Earnhardt Jr. racing the Indy 500 in a 1991 Honda Odyssey, or Vin Diesel chasing a bad guy in a 1991 Honda Odyssey, or Gordon Ramsay cooking a beef wellington in a 1991 Honda Odyssey. We all deserve better, and I’m glad it’s become a priority for TSM to look into remedying. 

But we can’t wait for new websites. We have the resources to engage the student body readily available to us. If we don’t all get creative with the many free platforms that the majority of UT students are already using (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), we’re going to fall behind, and fast.

I love holding and smelling and gently caressing physical copies of the Travesty in my boy hands. There will always be an irreplaceable charm to owning your work as a tangible object that you can throw at someone looking at you the wrong way. It’s a beautiful thing, and we’re lucky to be able to do it. I hope TSM finds a way to continue printing into the distant future until all colleges become obsolete after the singularity. But there’s no guarantee, and every year inches closer to the possibility of being totally print-less.

We have to be honest here. On an industry level, print media has been dead. The Travesty is an extended open casket funeral. Have you ever seen Weekend at Bernie’s? We are doing to print media what Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman did to the titular Bernie’s deceased corpse, and while the Texas Travesty is having a great time doing so, we have to utilize every digital resource we have before rigor mortis sets in.

Gilman is a radio-television-film senior from Scotch Plains, New Jersey. He is the current editor-in-chief of the Texas Travesty.

Student Government Executive Alliance candidates

Student Government Executive Alliance candidates Braydon Jones, second from left, and Kimia Dargahi, far left, will compete against fellow candidates and Texas Travesty editors Xavier Rotnofsky, second from right, and Rohit Mandalapu, far right, in a runoff election next week as neither alliance received over 50 percent of the vote.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith and Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

After a University-wide Student Government election in which no executive alliance ticket captured over 50 percent of the vote, candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi will enter a runoff election against Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu.

The Jones-Dargahi alliance received 46.34 percent of the student vote, and Rotnofsky-Mandalapu received 26.9 percent. The other two executive alliances on the ballot, David Maly and Steven Svatek and Baylor Morrison and Matthew Normyle, received a combined total of 26.74 percent. 

Student Government presidential candidates Xavier Rotnofsky and Braydon Jones walk into the election room, hand-in-hand. Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

“We’re not as nervous anymore,” Rotnofsky, associate editor at humor publication Texas Travesty, said. “Surprised, for sure. … I’m pretty sure this has been the most successful [Texas Travesty] campaign ever. Travesty alumns have reached out to us and said they loved the campaign. That’s been the best reward.”

The Texas Travesty, a humor publication, enters a team in SG elections each year. 

Jones, who has described himself as the candidate with the most Student Government experience, said he is optimistic about his team’s odds for the runoff election.

“Our numbers looked great the first time,” Jones said. “We’re going to do exactly what we’ve been doing.”

Nicholas Molina, Election Supervisory Board chair, said it was difficult to predict the results of the Executive Alliance race in advance. 

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a surprise,” Molina said. “[Both teams have] been campaigning so well.”

According to Molina, 9,108 votes were cast in the election, an increase of 14 percent in voter turnout over last spring.

Arjun Mocherla, an agent on Jones and Dargahi’s campaign, said the run-off will allow more time to get student input for their platform. 

“Obviously, we’d love to win [the election] straight out, but Xavier and Rohit are hilarious guys,” Mocherla said. “This is a great opportunity to continue to meet students on campus and see what students need.”  

Texas Travesty editor-in-chief Chris Gilman said he attributes Rotnofsky and Mandalapu’s success to reaching out to smaller and more diverse groups of students.

“I think they’re taking all the right moves,” Gilman said. “They’re talking to all the right people … and taking it day-by-day.”

Maly-Svatek received 1,161 votes, and Morrison-Normyle received 1,009. Morrison-Normyle said Sunday they were going to withdraw from the race, but, according to Molina, the duo never officially removed themselves from the ballot.

“I’ve heard two people say they were confused about why Baylor and Matthew were still on the ballot … that those thousand would have turned the election,” Molina said. “The correct answer for that, is that even though Baylor [Morrison] and Matthew [Normyle] expressed to [The Daily Texan] that they were dropping out, they never officially dropped out.”

Jones said Morrison-Normyle being on the ticket may have impacted the results.

“With Baylor and Matthew withdrawing and still being on the ballot, some people may have gotten confused and messed up the numbers,” Jones said.

Morrison said he does not think having his and Normyle’s name on the ballot affected the outcome of the election and said that he was pleased with the results.

“I don’t think it affected the vote,” Morrison said. “It’s the happiest I’ve ever been for fourth place.”

Maly congratulated the runoff teams and said he enjoyed campaigning for the election. 

“It was an interesting race and a good learning experience,” Maly said.

Jones-Dargahi and Rotnofsky-Mandalapu will be allowed to spend an additional $150 each on campaigning. The two teams will compete in the runoff election March 11–12. 

For a full list of election results, check out our infographic: