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 …

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 …

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 August 8, 2017

Coal mining in South Texas

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

In Trump era, coal plant south of San Antonio off chopping block | San Antonio Express-News

From the air, the San Miguel coal mining operation 50 miles south of San Antonio looks like a scene from the industrial revolution. One of the five worst polluters in Texas, it produces lignite, the lowest grade of coal. But the San Miguel plant might be saved from extinction under the Trump administration. Read more …

Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for August 2, 2017

The Abortion Divide

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

The aftermath of HB2 is not just seen in closed clinics. It’s seen most vividly in the lives of women like Peña and Soto, whose voices often go missing in the noisy battle over abortion, which remains one of the most contentious issues of modern times. 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 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 …