Looking forward to the future of journalism

Texas watchdog journalism roundup: The impact of Tropical Storm Harvey

Texas National Guard responds to Tropical Storm Harvey

A fresh batch of must-read investigative stories that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable across Texas:

Fifty-one inches: Terror, heartbreak and heroism as five souls brave the worst storm in U.S. history | Houston Chronicle

A gripping narrative that focuses on the plight of five people caught in the path of Tropical Storm Harvey. Read more …

Texas watchdog journalism roundup: Floods, hazing and an unemployed mayor

Flooding in Texas

With Hurricane Harvey bearing down on Texas and forecasters warning the storm could dump 20 inches of rain in some counties, it’s a good time to revisit news stories about the monster floods that keep striking Texas. Read more …

Chasing the ambulance chasers

We’ve all heard of ambulance-chasing lawyers who prey on vulnerable accident victims to get their business. But how exactly do these lawyers get around anti-barratry laws? Who’s doing it? And who gets hurt? Investigative reporter John MacCormack wrote an intriguing story that dives into the shady world of ambulance chasing. He names names and explains … Read more

Another fight at the Alamo: The Daughters of the Republic of Texas are feuding

Express-News Reporter Scott Huddleston has written a story that reveals how some caretakers of the Alamo are splitting from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the nonprofit organization that oversees the historic mission in San Antonio: Tensions within the group running the Alamo have fueled an unprecedented schism, casting uncertainty on the future of … Read more

Message from Holden’s Mom: Thanks

I just got off the phone with Tammy Haby, who I interviewed for this story about the safety record of Kiddie Park. Haby’s son, Holden, had his teeth knocked out in a roller coaster accident at the old park. “Thank you for bringing this all to light and sharing it with everybody,” Tammy said. “We … Read more

Sick puppies, a missing body and other gripping stories

It seemed like every section of today’s paper had a story that grabbed me and surprised me and told me something about the world I didn’t know before. Brian Chasnoff wrote about unregulated dog breeders selling sick puppies to unsuspecting buyers. Ariel Barkhurst checked the background of a funeral home administrator who was accused of … Read more

Award-winning story shows how homeowners lose disputes with builders

Not that I’m biased or anything, but my girlfriend Jennifer Hiller won two awards for a story she wrote about the Texas Residential Construction Commission, a state agency ostensibly created to help homeowners resolve disputes with homebuilders. In reality, the agency was often powerless to help consumers and it’s going to be dissolved. Jennifer spent … Read more

A tragic death, a stolen urn, and how the media helped

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video. It had been a long time since I last heard from John Putnam. I met him in person once when we attended a court hearing at an old, eerily quiet courthouse in Llano, Texas, but we’ve had countless conversations by phone. And when the phone rang at my desk … Read more

Local officials try closing loophole in San Antonio’s tree ordinance

Last week, state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, and Mayor Phil Hardberger announced an effort to fix a city ordinance that was meant to protect San Antonio’s diminishing tree canopy from urban sprawl. A loophole in the ordinance allows real estate developers to bulldoze trees for ranching and farming. For those who want to learn … Read more

A primer on Michael Fontana, a nurse accused of killing three patients

Last week military reporter Scott Huddleston and I covered the story of Capt. Michael Fontana, a nurse who has been charged by the Air Force of killing three patients at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio. This is Military City, USA, and there’s lots of interest in the case and concern about it. Here … Read more