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. View an interactive story map here.
The humble bivalves may not look like much, but they act as crucial natural filters across the state's waterways—and they're severely threatened by climate change.
Where the Sabine River becomes shin-deep about 20 minutes north of Tyler, three biologists dismount midstream from a narrow metal boat. Lance Williams, a profes...Read More
Chillicothe Hospital closed its doors on July 22. Its closure reverberated through the community in both expected and surprising ways.
This story is part of “Critical Condition,” a series investigating Texas’ rural health care crisis. Read Part 1 here. Inside a tiny frontier hospital at t...Read More
A 200-page report produced by the Sixth Amendment Center exhaustively shows how the long arm of the law gives poor people in Amarillo the short end of the stick.
An incendiary new report on the constitutional right to counsel, produced by a nonpartisan watchdog group and obtained by the Observer, uncovers a deeply troubl...Read More
Rural health care is in crisis around the country, but Texas is suffering the most. At least 20 small-town hospitals have closed since 2013.
a Texas Observer Special Investigation Critical Condition Rural health care is in crisis around the country, but Texas is suffering the most. At least 20 small-...Read More
Rule No. 1 of averting pipeline routes: Always bring a high-powered, politically connected oil and gas executive to the negotiating table.
A month after news surfaced that a pipeline proposed by a Texas-based petroleum juggernaut would run across the Edwards Aquifer, the primary source of water for...Read More
The Martin Lake coal plant in East Texas is the biggest sulfur dioxide polluter in the nation. And unlike other regional super-polluters, this one is still chugging along.
From above, the Creature takes the shape of a spider: Its eyes are smokestacks, its legs spindly railways stretching from the semicircle of clearcut pines into ...Read More