Looking forward to the future of journalism

Internal memos: Fiesta Texas struggled to control the Rattler’s ‘excessive speeds’

After 20 years, a fearsome monster called the Rattler is closing down at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It’s a good time to reflect on the park’s flagship roller coaster — and how it suffered from excessive speeds when it opened in 1992. These internal memos and letters were uncovered in lawsuits filed against Fiesta Texas … Read more

Constitution of the Mexican Mafia: Democracy, respect and no bets worth more than ice cream

Constitution of the Mexican Mafia in Texas by John Tedesco Express-News Reporter Guillermo Contreras is covering a federal trial involving the Mexican Mafia, and he wrote about a fascinating court exhibit: The constitution of the Mexican Mafia in Texas. This document was posted on mySA.com today, and it’s all about setting a strong social structure … Read more

San Antonio police officer accused of digging up personal data of women while on duty

Earlier this month, Express-News reporter Brian Chasnoff learned the San Antonio Police Department was investigating one of its own, officer Gabriel Villarreal, after a woman complained about the officer’s behavior. The woman worked at the Art of Shaving boutique at the Shops at La Cantera. She met Villarreal and his family and sold him $400 … Read more

Texas Rangers: Cain brothers conspired to defraud Rackspace, city of Windcrest

Business writers Patrick Danner and Jason Buch wrote a story today that revealed new details about an investigation of brothers Ronnie and Gary Cain, who had played a key role in helping Rackspace Hosting Inc. set up its headquarters at the old Windsor Park Mall in Windcrest, outside San Antonio: The former city manager of … Read more

A document state of mind: How records and data lead to good journalism

Here’s a well-articulated explanation of why it’s important for journalists to seek out documents and data. Read more about public documents: How to research a property’s history using Bexar County’s free records search Brant Houston is the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois, and the former executive director of Investigative Reporters … Read more

The troubled history of the Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

This archived story was posted online for our recent investigation of the thrill ride industry, and it links to internal documents at Fiesta Texas. The documents reveal how park officials were still working out the kinks of the flagship wooden rollercoaster, the Rattler, after the park’s grand opening in 1992. They tracked hundreds of injuries … Read more

Is your apartment building safe? How to check Code Enforcement Records

A fire that engulfed the San Pedro Apartments on Tuesday was probably caused by an overloaded electrical outlet. But tenants complained the old building wasn’t well maintained, which raised questions about any past Code Compliance violations issued by city inspectors. San Antonio’s Code Compliance Department has a Web site where you can plug in the … Read more