Looking forward to the future of journalism

Mexico in Crisis: Q&A with John MacCormack

MacCormack

Known as “Johnny Mac” in the newsroom, John MacCormack is a talented, colorful reporter. He likes telling a good yarn, both in person and on the front pages of the San Antonio Express-News. One time I heard him on the phone telling a source: “What are you going to give me so I don’t write the usual blather?”

His trademark wit was on display when he gave this speech explaining how he figured out that missing atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair was not dining on bonbons in New Zealand, as police theorized, but had actually been brutally murdered.

Last year, MacCormack and Express-News Photographer Jerry Lara spent months documenting the toll of violence from the Mexican drug war, and how life on the Texas border has dramatically changed for the worse. The result was a compelling series of articles and photos called Mexico in Crisis. MacCormack won an award for his work this month from the Inter American Press Association.

Given MacCormack’s gift of gab and skill at reporting, I thought it’d be entertaining and educational to do a Q&A with him, and learn how he and Jerry worked on the stories.

I was right.

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Exposing the gun buyers for Mexican drug cartels

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Gunrunners’ land of plenty

Express-News Reporter Todd Bensman wrote an outstanding article in Sunday’s paper about Mexican drug cartels buying assault weapons in Texas to battle rivals and Mexican police. Bensman’s story showed how cartels hire people with clean criminal histories to buy firearms at Texas gun shows and gun shops. Bensman traced the path of several guns found … Read more