Rural Reporting Project

 

Texas has the largest rural population of any state — 3.8 million people — yet many journalists treat much of the state as flyover country. The Observer has made reporting on rural Texas a priority with this long-term project. Staff writer Christopher Collins, who has investigated how crop dusting is putting Texans’ health at risk and the connection between destructive Panhandle wildfires and a mismanaged federal land program, is spearheading the effort from West Texas.

 

Ted Cruz Won Because of Rural Texas, but Beto Made Small Gains for Democrats

by | Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 17:46 CST
O’Rourke’s strategy of hitting all 254 counties didn’t win him the race, but it likely gained Democratic ground in small-town Texas, Republicans’ most reliable stronghold.
A wind farm near Amarillo by

Inside the Coordinated Attack on a North Texas Wind Farm

Conservative lawmakers, an oil investor and other activists did all they could to stop a wind project in rural Texas, even as the state has increasingly embraced renewable energy.

Earlier this year, a Canadian energy producer was poised to build two large wind farms in Clay County, a mostly featureless stretch of plains at the Texas-Oklah...Read More

heartland by

Heartland is an Honest, Poetic Meditation on Class in America

Journalist Sarah Smarsh’s book encapsulates what it’s like to grow up in the forgotten farm fields of America, artfully mixing anecdote with political context and societal commentary.

Having fun during a Kansas winter, as Sarah Smarsh writes in her new memoir, Heartland, requires creativity: “Lots of snow, no hills.” In one memora...Read More

sunset commission by

Lawmakers Killed a Plan to Shut Down 87 Driver’s Licenses Offices. That’s Good News for Voters.

The DPS proposed to close “inefficient” driver’s licenses office in mainly rural areas, even though it would have created an extra hurdle for voters to get state-required photo ID.

In a victory for Texas voters on Wednesday, a panel of state lawmakers unanimously killed a proposal to shutter up to 87 “inefficient” Department of Public ...Read More

Top