Looking forward to the future of journalism


Stories and multimedia projects by John Tedesco

Adrift: An investigation of the hot air balloon industry

March 10, 2017

Adrift: An investigation of the hot air balloon industry

When 15 passengers boarded a hot-air balloon last July and put their lives in the hands of pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols, they might have taken for granted that the Federal Aviation Administration had made sure their pilot was drug-free and fit to fly.

They were horribly wrong

Analysis: SAPD officers use force at higher rates against minorities

May 29, 2016

SAPD police use of force data

Signs of a disparity in how Anglo and minority suspects are treated by San Antonio police have existed for nearly 20 years, when SAPD began tracking in 1998 how often officers subdue suspects. Police records show that disparity still exists

Up in Flames: Flares wasting natural gas

August 24, 2014

Up in Flames: Flaring in the Eagle Ford Shale

Oil and gas companies rushing to drill in the Eagle Ford Shale since 2009 have burned and wasted billions of cubic feet of natural gas — enough to meet the needs for an entire year of every San Antonio-area household that relies on the fossil fuel

Little donated cash aids state troopers

Oct. 9, 2011

Texas Highway Patrol Museum

From the outside, the Texas Highway Patrol Museum doesn’t look like a multimillion-dollar telemarketing operation

Cause for alarm

March 11, 2007

Cause for alarm: Fire response times lag in San Antonio

City records show the Fire Department’s mission of protecting lives and property is clashing with San Antonio’s appetite for new land.

In the past six years, firefighters rushed to inner-city blazes far more quickly than to fires in popular outlying areas that attract thousands of new homeowners.

Delays on the city’s edges plague rich and poor alike, from the exclusive enclave of the Dominion to low-income neighborhoods like Sunrise, a struggling community on the far East Side.

San Antonio annexed many of these neighborhoods despite protests by residents, who complained the city would fail to provide swift fire protection.

The city’s own records reveal that most of the time, those fears came true

Fleet but fatally fragile

May 21, 2006

Fleet but fatally fragile

Miss Pretty Promises collapsed near the finish line and struggled to rise on her shattered forelegs.

A pickup rushed to the crippled racehorse. Two men sprang out and shielded the filly from the crowd with a crinkled tarp as the vet went to work.

It was April 28 — opening night for live racing at Retama Park. In the stands, many people had gasped when horse No. 4 with the crisp yellow silks tumbled in front of them on the dirt track.

A covered trailer soon whisked the concealed horse away and onlookers clapped and cheered, as if they were rooting for a football player who was limping bravely off the field.

But Miss Pretty Promises never would run again

Losing Ground

Oct. 16, 2005

Losing Ground

An obscure Texas law written for developers has cost San Antonio millions of dollars, stripped parts of the scenic Hill Country of trees and blocked attempts to protect the region’s water supply

Good idea gone bad?

May 11, 2003

Good idea gone bad
Imagine a government subsidy that cures San Antonio’s poorest neighborhoods.

Thanks to this multimillion-dollar pill, new homes breathe life into dying parts of town. Families move in, proud of their investment.

You might say good things about such a program.

Now imagine how the same subsidy puts buildings on valuable land that would have been developed anyway, and stops local government from collecting $658 million in tax revenue – enough money to build three SBC Centers, and then some.

And imagine one of the city’s top lobbyists taking a cut of the tax pie for himself.

Welcome to San Antonio’s complicated world of tax increment financing — TIF, for short — where each ambitious project comes with a price


Up in Flames

Reliving the Battle of the Alamo

Concealed handgun permits skyrocket in wealthy zip codes

Story map

For 20 years, I’ve traveled across Texas, met interesting people, and shared their stories with readers of the San Antonio Express-News. Click on a point on this interactive map to read more, and feel free to contact me to offer story ideas and feedback.

View Texas Stories in a larger map

Subscribe to John Tedesco’s journalism blog for the latest updates