Looking forward to the future of journalism

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for July 23, 2017

Gilbert Flores shot by Bexar County deputies

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Decision to ‘end this’ after 12-minute standoff left Gilbert Flores dead | San Antonio Express-News

After a 12-minute confrontation with a belligerent, knife-wielding man who said he wanted to die, two Bexar County sheriff’s deputies turned to each other and agreed on “ending this,” according to their sworn civil depositions obtained by the San Antonio Express-News. But the deputies decided to open fire moments after the man, Gilbert Flores, raised his arms in apparent surrender. Read more …

How to find and analyze tax records of charities: The IRS 990 form explained

Texas Highway Patrol Museum

The Texas Highway Patrol Museum was a weird place. It used to sit on a busy street corner near downtown San Antonio. Yet whenever I drove by, I hardly ever saw anyone inside. More than once I wondered, what’s the deal? I found the answers in the IRS Form 990 — the publicly available tax … Read more

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for July 9, 2017

Lost Immigrants

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Lack of sharing, limited resources impede identification of migrant remains | San Antonio Express-News

“Funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, reporter Aaron Nelsen and photographer Julysa Sosa traveled more than 3,000 miles for three weeks chronicling a caravan of Central American mothers and other family members on a heart-wrenching journey: trying to find out what happened to their loved ones, who disappeared while making the dangerous trek to the United States. But many are denied even the bitter closure of burial because lack of shared DNA databases, international conflicts and shifting immigration policies are preventing the identification of an untold number of remains.” Story by Aaron Nelsen Read more

A handy tool for journalists: Stabilize your shaky smartphone videos with Google’s photo app

Screen Grab of Google Video

Google quietly unveiled a new video stabilization feature in its Google Photos app a few months ago and it’s amazing. I discovered the usefulness of this feature when I edited video clips of our epic annual family road trip to Colorado. In between time-lapse videos of the drive, I added highlights of the main stops … Read more

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for June 25, 2017

Ticket to the Top

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Ticket to the Top | San Antonio Express-News

“How tiny St. Anthony Catholic High School got involved in a questionable recruiting pipeline that included the University of the Incarnate Word, a talent scout and a booster to land star Nigerian basketball player Charles Bassey, one of the top big men in the country.” Read more …

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for June 18, 2017

Apartments owned by David Starr

Low-income landlord David Starr gets tax breaks despite allegations of poor living conditions | San Antonio Express-News

“Over the last 25 years, Starr has used property tax breaks, state tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build a real estate empire throughout Texas and in Florida, Illinois, Kansas and other states. Most of his local complexes have been financed through two nonprofits he runs: American Opportunity for Housing and American Agape Foundation. Those nonprofits have a long history of allegations of poor and sometimes dangerous living conditions, according to court filings, complaints filed with the city of San Antonio and interviews with more than a dozen current and former residents. Read more …

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for May 27, 2017

Deadly fire in San Antonio kills firefighter Scott Deem

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Radio traffic: Thick smoke, confusion hampered efforts to rescue missing firefighter Scott Deem | San Antonio Express-News

“Hours after a San Antonio firefighter was killed in a Northwest Side strip mall inferno — the first to die in the line of duty in 20 years — Fire Chief Charles Hood stood by his decision to suspend the search for one of their own, calling it ‘one of the most difficult decisions’ of his life.”‘ Read more …

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for May 16, 2017

Border killing by U.S. marines

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Border killing 20 years ago changed military tactics | San Antonio Express-News

“On an overcast Tuesday afternoon 20 years ago, Esequiel Hernandez, a quiet, gangly teenager who grew up in this dusty border hamlet, set out after school on his regular walk to the Rio Grande with his herd of goats and an old .22 rifle. Heading back, with storm clouds gathering, he was trailed through the brush by four armed and heavily camouflaged Marines.” Read more ….

Interactive map: How the major candidates fared in the 2017 San Antonio mayoral election

Campaign workers at Huebner Elementary in the May 2017 election

After every election, Bexar County officials release voting-precinct data that make for interesting reading for anyone who wants to know how their neighborhood voted or how each candidate fared in different parts of the community. For the 2017 mayoral race in San Antonio, here’s how the results look in an interactive map we made based … Read more

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for May 4, 2017

Problems with surgical tools at BAMC

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Human matter found on surgical tools forces BAMC to close operating rooms | San Antonio Express-News

“Brooke Army Medical Center, the flagship of the Army’s health system and famous for its burn ward that has treated hundreds of war victims, has closed more than half its operating rooms and reduced elective surgeries after it found improper sterilization last month of instruments in 73 cases.” Read more ….