Forrest Wilder

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is the editor of the Observer. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

By Forrest Wilder:

June 2016 feature
Best of 2016

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘Company Town’

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

Border

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘I Have a Name/Yo Tengo Nombre’

‘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

Donald Trump
Best of 2016

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘The GOP is Gaslighting America’

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

Benito Alonzo, inmate at the Polunsky Unit
Best of 2016

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘No Place for Old Men’

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

new migrants illustration
Best of 2016

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘The New Migrants’

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

Guardianship cover illustration
Best of 2016

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.

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

July 2016 issue culture
Best of 2016

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘Isn’t It Iconic?’

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

Border

Introducing ‘I Have a Name/Yo Tengo Nombre’

‘I Have a Name’ is an online visual database to help identify migrants who died crossing the Texas-Mexico border.

Today, the Texas Observer is launching a project a year in the making. “I Have a Name/Yo Tengo Nombre” is an unusual undertaking for the Observer: Most of the time our job is simply to tell stories, expose injustice and … Read More

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