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.
In tiny Albany, Texas, you can’t shop at Walmart or buy a beer, but you can see one of the state’s best and quirkiest art collections.
Little Arthouse on the Prairie In tiny Albany, Texas, you can’t shop at Walmart or buy a beer, but you can see one of the state’s best and quirkiest art col...Read More
Trump promised to help farmers burned by his trade war with China, but the state’s most powerful producers have received aid far exceeding the federal cap.
For some commodity farmers in Texas, Donald Trump must seem a little like a Sour Patch Kid: First he’s sour, then he’s sweet. The president burned agricultu...Read More
As an impressively wet Texas spring turns into summer, mosquitoes are coming to a neighborhood near you. Cities aim to eradicate the pesky insects, but at what cost?
Mosquitoes suck. And with all the rain that’s inundated Texas this year — many parts of the state have blown past their average rainfall amounts — mosquit...Read More
A countywide public defender's office would've saved Victoria County $1.3 million in its first two years alone. So why did the new DA kill the proposal?
Earlier this year, it seemed as if poor people charged with crimes in a handful of Gulf Coast communities would finally have a fighting chance in court. In Apri...Read More
Nearly 500,000 Texans Live in Communities with Contaminated Groundwater. Lawmakers Aren’t Doing Much About It.
Despite growing national concern about the health effects of “forever chemicals,” the state’s Congressional delegation has barely made a peep.
Even if they don’t kill you, they’ll definitely outlast you. Texans living near seven military sites discovered last year that their groundwater is heavily ...Read More
Rural East Texas has some of the highest suicide rates in the state. But the safety net for people who need help is being stretched thin, and some Texans are falling through.
Rural East Texas has some of the highest suicide rates in the state. But the safety net for people who need help is being stretched thin, and some Texans are fa...Read More
Ready, Set, File: Transparency Bills Passed by Legislature Could Open the Door to Once-Public Records
The measures would sew up the so-called Boeing loopholes, which the government has used thousands of times to keep taxpayer-funded deals private.
UPDATE: The effort to close the “dead suspect” loophole, which Texas law enforcement agencies have used to keep secret the circumstances surrounding...Read More
Experts have long debated the efficacy of capturing and storing carbon underground to reduce emissions. Now, in North Texas, oil and gas companies are getting in on the game.
– by Sammy Feldblum May 15, 2019 The Farnsworth Unit Oil Field is a small oil patch in North Texas’s Anadarko Basin, just south of where the skinny Okla...Read More
Sulfur dioxide levels in the vast West Texas region may be hitting dangerous levels. Meanwhile, the state is hardly bothering to monitor the pollutant.
In the Permian Basin of West Texas, there’s something in the air. For the oil and gas industry, it must be the smell of money — lots of it. But for the peop...Read More