Looking forward to the future of journalism

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 …

Why is state Sen. Carlos Uresti facing charges? This news story had the answers months ago

Patrick Danner story about Carlos Uresti

In a move that probably surprised no one who’s been reading the stellar investigative reporting of San Antonio Express-News business writer Patrick Danner, a federal grand jury issued indictments today against state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, and others in a criminal case that accuses them of bribery and orchestrating a Ponzi scheme. It was … 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 ….

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

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