Looking forward to the future of journalism

How Mexican cartels launder drug money in San Antonio (Hint: Check the North Side)

Express-News reporter Guillermo Contreras wrote a story detailing a federal investigation of two Mexican brothers: Mauricio and Alejandro Sánchez Garza. Federal officials allege the brothers laundered drug money in San Antonio for Mexican cartels.

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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Express-News reporters win national honors

Reporters Todd Bensman and Guillermo Contreras, my colleagues on the special projects team at the San Antonio Express-News, won an award from the National Press Club for their series of stories about gunrunning to Mexico called Texas’ Deadliest Export. According to the press club: “Reporters Todd Bensman and Guillermo Contreras of the San Antonio Express-News … Read more

U.S. denying sanctuary to Mexicans fleeing drug war

Investigative reporter Todd Bensman has been writing about Mexican immigrants who are fleeing the drug war but are denied political asylum in the United States. For his first story, he interviewed a Mexican lawyer who said he was brutally tortured by a drug cartel. Today’s article tells the story of a family from Jaurez: In … Read more

Exposing the gun buyers for Mexican drug cartels

Day 2 of “Texas’ Deadliest Export” is out. The series shows how easy it is for Mexican drug cartels to buy guns in Texas. Sunday’s story by Reporter Guillermo Contreras focuses on the straw buyers — the people with clean criminal histories who buy guns that wind up being used in cop killings and gun … Read more

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