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The Playlist: National News Engagement Day

In honor of National News Engagement Day, which was this week, we turned our playlist over to the students of former Tribune Fellow Jake Batsell's digital journalism class at Southern Methodist University. First up? Aloe Blacc's "I Need a Dollar."

In honor of National News Engagement Day, which was this week, we turned our playlist over to the students of former Tribune Fellow Jake Batsell's digital journalism class at Southern Methodist University.

The easiest way to enjoy the playlist is to download Spotify, a free program. But even without it, you can still follow along. Here are the students' choices for this week, as explained by Jake:

We begin the playlist mindful of this week's reports that Attorney General Greg Abbott's campaign fundraising figures are crushing donations collected by his opponent, Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis. Aloe Blacc, channeling the Davis campaign, sings "I Need a Dollar," and there is little doubt that Davis could use a few bucks to keep up in this race.

Continuing with the money theme, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is withholding $75 million in matching money while it determines whether private hospitals that covered indigent care did so within appropriate parameters that qualified for federal matching dollars. As hospitals wait for their funds, students thought an appropriate song would be “I Want All My Money Back” by Lonnie Brooks.

The U.S. Supreme Court's action to effectively lift same-sex marriage bans in five states inspired a number of musical matches from the SMU students, starting with Macklemore's "Same Love." Hours after the court's decision became public, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz called for amending the U.S. Constitution to preserve traditional marriage — a stance that, for some students, brought to mind "When Your Mind's Made Up" by the movie/musical duo Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, while other students found Hozier's "Take Me to Church" to be more apropos.

As a private institution, SMU is not subject to the state's fixed-rate tuition plan for public universities, but what college student can't relate to the idea of escalating education costs? Students selected an array of debt-inspired jingles, including the Destiny's Child classic "Bills, Bills, Bills" and the newer "Money On My Mind" by Sam Smith.

A trio of tunes prompted by Dallas' tumultuous week surrounding the first-ever U.S. Ebola case rounds out this week's playlist. Gov. Rick Perry called on the federal government to step up screening for anyone traveling from areas beset with Ebola. During these screenings, perhaps the feds can cue up Arctic Monkeys' "If You Were There, Beware."

Meanwhile, local officials continued to monitor the conditions of 50 North Texas residents, summoning the "I'll be watching you" spirit of "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. And the students wrapped up their playlist with Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” a reminder to stay positive in the midst of worry about a potential Ebola outbreak.

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