Looking forward to the future of journalism

Texas watchdog journalism roundup: Arson, the Red Cross and Trump’s wall

Chief Charles Hood Press Conference

The latest investigative stories in Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable:

Investigators: Gym owner started deadly blaze that killed firefighter Scott Deem | The San Antonio Express-News

Local officials have released few details about a deadly blaze that killed San Antonio firefighter Scott Deem. But an arrest affidavit obtained by the Express-News reveals that arson suspect Emond Javor Johnson was plagued by financial problems and confessed to starting the fire to get out of a monthly $2,500 lease at the Spartan Gym. Authorities arrested Johnson Wednesday. Read more …

Web tools and apps to track weather emergencies in Texas

Storm clouds at Woodlawn Lake in San Antonio, Texas

Texas weather can be wild and dangerous, as Hurricane Harvey is showing us this week, so here are some techniques that have helped me track the impact of storms, floods and other natural disasters in San Antonio and other parts of the state: Weather forecasts and warnings The National Weather Service provides so much useful … Read more

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for August 16, 2017

San Antonio cancels ShotSpotter gunshot detection system

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

San Antonio police cut pricey gunshot detection system | San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio police officers have made only four arrests and confiscated seven weapons that can be attributed to an expensive, highly touted gunshot detection system called ShotSpotter. That’s $136,500 per arrest. Read more …

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for July 23, 2017

Gilbert Flores shot by Bexar County deputies

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Decision to ‘end this’ after 12-minute standoff left Gilbert Flores dead | San Antonio Express-News

After a 12-minute confrontation with a belligerent, knife-wielding man who said he wanted to die, two Bexar County sheriff’s deputies turned to each other and agreed on “ending this,” according to their sworn civil depositions obtained by the San Antonio Express-News. But the deputies decided to open fire moments after the man, Gilbert Flores, raised his arms in apparent surrender. Read more …

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for July 9, 2017

Lost Immigrants

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts and held officials accountable.

Lack of sharing, limited resources impede identification of migrant remains | San Antonio Express-News

“Funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, reporter Aaron Nelsen and photographer Julysa Sosa traveled more than 3,000 miles for three weeks chronicling a caravan of Central American mothers and other family members on a heart-wrenching journey: trying to find out what happened to their loved ones, who disappeared while making the dangerous trek to the United States. But many are denied even the bitter closure of burial because lack of shared DNA databases, international conflicts and shifting immigration policies are preventing the identification of an untold number of remains.” Story by Aaron Nelsen Read more

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 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