Pamela Elliott was the new sheriff in town. But instead of law and order, she brought chaos.
Editor’s Note: Rural America is too often forgotten or ignored by the media. Journalists and major media outlets are in the big cities. Reporters usually come from urban backgrounds. Small-town newspapers are, I regret to inform, often reluctant to rock … Read More
How big business turned a Gulf Coast beach town into an industrial zone.
Editor’s Note: Many environmental stories rely on familiar tropes, the scrappy locals standing up to the big, bad polluter. The unlikely bedfellows of environmentalists and, say, ranchers. The technical, scientific debate about how harmful a pollutant is to human health. … Read More
‘I Have a Name’ is an online visual database to help identify migrants who died crossing the Texas-Mexico border.
Editor’s Note: This is not a story per se. It’s a labor of love that took Multimedia Editor Jen Reel a year to complete. It’s also a blend of journalism and activism that was both challenging and rewarding. I Have … Read More
Today's GOP leaders aren't playing politics as usual. They're using abusive tactics to manipulate the public.
Editor’s Note: Open a browser tab for this fiery analysis of one of President-elect Donald Trump’s most odious rhetorical habits — we’re going to need it over the next four years. Former Digital Editor Andrea Grimes shows how, no, we’re … Read More
Texas prisons are filling up with the old and the ill — at enormous expense.
No Place for Old Men By Dick J. Reavis Published February 15 The state of Texas operates 109 prisons holding about 148,000 inmates. Some 27,000 of them are, like Alonzo, over the age of 50. They account for about 18 percent of … Read More
In the harsh post-2008 economy, builders like my father live on the road.
Illustration by Rebekka Dunlap Editor’s Note: Sarah Smarsh plays Studs Turkel to her father, a country carpenter from Kansas whose native intelligence and skills have been devalued by the market. Sarah writes insightfully and touchingly about the rural working class … Read More
Texas counties have stripped thousands of elderly and disabled citizens of their rights — and then forgotten about them.
The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘Who Guards the Guardians?’ Texas counties have stripped thousands of elderly and disabled citizens of their rights — and then forgotten about them. Editor’s Note: This is a Texas Observer classic — a … Read More
The price tag on a new public sculpture in San Antonio renews a 20-year debate over whether a city program creates art — or just controversy.
Editor’s Note: Robyn Ross’ story on “Liquid Crystal,” a San Antonio art installation that has been called both a bold, progressive sculpture and a “$1 million cheese grater,” goes beyond the immediate controversy to ask hard questions about what public … Read More
An attorney pieces together a life cut short.
Editor’s Note: It’s hard to find new ways to write about the death penalty. And in these polarized times, most readers already have their minds made up. One thing I appreciated about this first-person piece by Houston attorney Burke Butler … Read More