My Work

Texas Tribune and Reveal

How minor offenses feed overcrowding at Houston’s youth jail, February 2018: Across Texas, kids are getting into less trouble with the law even though the state’s population is exploding. So why is Harris County’s juvenile detention center bursting at the seams?

Coverage of Tropical Storm Harvey, September 2017 – present: How local and national officials ignored warnings from scientists, public policy officials, and members of the public by allowing thousands of homes to be built inside dry reservoirs; by brushing aside concerns about vulnerable flood control infrastructure; and by encouraging new growth in areas known to be flood-prone. (Listen to the radio version of the piece on Houston’s dry reservoirs here.)

UT System oil money is a gusher for its administration — and a trickle for students, August 2017: How the world’s richest public university system spends its massive endowment. Hint: It’s not on financial aid. (Listen to the radio version of the piece here.)

Sold Out, February 2017: How hollow rhetoric and a broken child welfare system feed Texas’ sex-trafficking underworld. (Listen to the accompanying radio show here.)

Boomtown, Flood Town, December 2016 (in collaboration with ProPublica): Houston isn’t just unprepared for a hurricane; it’s not even ready for torrential rain. Here’s why, and here’s what public officials are (or aren’t) doing about it. Winner of the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold award.

Bordering on Insecurity, July 2016: What the grisly discovery of a headless body in South Texas tells us about corruption in the U.S. Border Patrol. (Listen to the accompanying radio show here.) We also created an interactive database of federal border officials who have been accused of “mission-compromising” corruption. This package is part of our “Bordering on Insecurity series,” which won a national Edward R. Murrow award for continuing coverage.

The Price of Admission, April 2016: Two high-achieving young Texans, Genesis and Grayson, go to public high schools just ten miles away from each other. One school’s population is overwhelmingly Hispanic; the other’s is overwhelmingly white. A Texas law is supposed to help put Genesis and Grayson on equal footing. Does it work? (Listen to the accompanying radio show at this link.) Winner of an Online News Association award.

Hell and High Water, March 2016 (in collaboration with ProPublica): One day, a massive hurricane will hit Houston and cripple the entire country. This is the story of what will happen and why we aren’t ready for it. (Listen to the accompanying radio show here.) Winner of a Peabody award, a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting, and the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. Also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and a National Magazine Award.

Not a Drop to Drink, October 2015: Two years after e. coli bacteria was found in the drinking water of thousands of residents on the Texas-Mexico border, little has changed. (A follow-up investigation to our Undrinkable series.)

“Cop Watchers” Police the Police, May 2015: Most of the high-profile cases of alleged police abuse today are caught on tape by people who happen to be walking by. But there’s also an organized movement of “cop watchers” who consider it their jobs to police the police. In places like Texas, tensions are growing and police are pushing back. (Also in the Texas Tribune here.)

Texas Tribune

Undrinkable, March 2015: Many on the Texas-Mexico border still live without clean, safe drinking water. We visit four communities who’ve suffered from this problem and explore why U.S. residents still live in third-world conditions. First place winner of the Online News Association’s explanatory reporting award for small markets.

Texas Leading Challenge to Smog Standards, June 26, 2015: Documents show that Texas is paying consultants usually employed by industry to fight back on claims that lower ozone levels will improve public health. Air quality scientists say that’s bogus.

Beneath the Surface: Texans are increasingly looking underground to quench the growing state’s thirst, but thorny, contradictory policies and fierce local politics may prevent them from using it for decades to come. A five-part series.

PRI’s “The World”

The Texas Miracle and Climate Change, Dec. 3, 2014: The ‘Texas Miracle’ is fueling huge economic growth — and the climate change that may end it. A three-part series.

National Public Radio

Despite Efforts, the Rio Grande is One Dirty Border, Oct. 22, 2013: Millions of gallons of raw sewage spill into the Rio Grande every year, which means dirtier tap water for one Texas community. The best way to see this in action is to take a kayak ride down the river and use your noise. (Also in the Texas Tribune here.)

Growing University Highlights Connecticut’s Water Woes, Feb. 8, 2013: Water problems aren’t confined to the South and Southwestern United States. (Also in the Connecticut Mirror here.)

Newtown, Conn. Businesses Suffer After Nearby School Shooting: April 18, 2013: The business community in Newtown suffered after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. How they persevered.

Superstorm Sandy Victims Resettle, Thanks to Small Town’s Special Efforts, Jan. 11, 2013: With the help of some local Connecticut officials, a nearby mega-church, and a New York-based foundation, more than a dozen New York City families who lost everything now have a new place to call home. (Also in the Connecticut Mirror here).

Newtown Shooting Prompts ‘Bee’ Special Edition, Dec. 21, 2012: Journalists at Newtown’s weekly newspaper, the Newtown Bee, faced an extraordinary professional and personal challenge in the aftermath of the tragic school shooting. (Also in the Connecticut Mirror here.)

Connecticut Mirror/Connecticut Public Radio

Striving for innovation, spending millions, Stamford leaders ignored major problems, Feb. 4, 2013: Problems with Stamford’s sewer treatment plant have cost taxpayers and the environment dearly. (First in a two-part series. Also on Connecticut Public Radio here.) Part of a series of stories that won a Society of Environmental Journalists first-prize award for outstanding beat reporting in 2013.

Connecticut’s changing suburbs, July 5, 2012: A crisis in affordable housing, a struggling economy and rising gas prices are creating a slow-but-steady shift in some of Connecticut’s wealthiest areas: its small-town suburbs. (Also on Connecticut Public Radio here.)

Closing the achievement gap, online, May 17, 2012: With no money to hire more teachers, schools are resorting to computer programs to let failing students lost credits. But they’re not always getting the same level of education. (First in a two-part series. Also on Connecticut Public Radio here.

New Haven Independent

Slumlords Stiff Banks — And Rake In Section 8 Bucks, Nov. 2, 2011: Local landlords buy up cheap properties, drain them of equity, and bring in government funds — often at the expense of their tenants. Featured in ProPublica’s “MuckReads,” and in Watchdog New England’s “New England’s Best Investigative Reporting,” compiled by Northeastern University.

 

 

 

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