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 …

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 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 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 ….

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for April 22, 2017

Deadly church bus crash kills 13 near Garner State Park

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

Pot found in truck that hit church bus near Leakey, DPS says | San Antonio Express-News

“Jack D. Young had taken prescription pills and was in possession of marijuana when he crashed his pickup into a church bus March 29 on U.S. 83, killing 13 people, according to court records released Tuesday that also bolstered reports that he was texting while driving.” Story by Zeke MacCormack. Read more …

Meet the real reporter in the new Netflix movie ‘The Most Hated Woman in America’

Adam Scott plays a reporter based on John MacCormack in Netflix movie

“The Most Hated Woman in America” is a new Netflix movie about Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an outspoken atheist who mysteriously went missing in Austin in 1995 — along with $600,000. No one knew what happened to her. And it’s likely no one ever would if it hadn’t been for a series of investigative articles written … Read more

Adrift: Hot-air balloon pilots face little scrutiny from FAA despite higher crash rates

Kubicek balloon flown by Skip Nichols

After a deadly balloon crash killed 16 people near Lockhart last summer, my boss, projects editor David Sheppard, asked me to look into the safety record of the hot-air balloon industry and find out how someone like Alfred “Skip” Nichols could be allowed to pilot balloons with a string of DWI convictions on his record. … Read more

How to transcribe with Trint: An interview with CEO Jeff Kofman

Trint

Buried in my desk drawer is a scratched-up relic — a mini-cassette recorder that I used all the time as a young reporter to transcribe interviews. Now it looks like a discovery at an archaeological dig compared to my high-tech smart phone, which lets me record interviews for hours and share files instantly. But even … Read more

If you think newspapers are lame, here are big stories in San Antonio you missed in 2016

Express-News headquarters in San Antonio

The next time someone tells you newspapers are irrelevant, tell them to read this blog post. I get it. Newsrooms are shrinking, subscription are going up, and it feels like there’s not enough time in the day to read some dusty old newspaper — even if it comes in a slick digital version. But that … Read more