Reporting Texas
News and features from UT-Austin's School of Journalism
Reporting Texas Archives
Jun 12, 2024

Lost in Transition: Rainey Street and a Failure of Historic Preservation

Anita Quintanilla sobbed as her sister drove her back to the airport in 1984. The memories of childhood and adolescence on Rainey Street — the visits to the air-conditioned bookmobile in the dead of summer, and blissful moments running around the spacious yard, raking pyramids of crunchy fallen leaves and climbing cottonwood trees — would […]

Mar 31, 2024

Leaders Focus on Legislative Challenges During César Chávez Day Celebration

Chanting “sí se puede” and holding small Mexican flags, several dozen people marched through East Austin on Saturday to celebrate the legacy of Mexican-American labor leader César Chávez and to highlight present-day challenges for Latino civil rights. 
“To me, honoring that and not forgetting that struggle is so important,” said PODER director and march organizer Susana Almanza, “especially for the next generation that never got to meet César Chávez.”

Nov 26, 2023

Art From the Streets Takes a Creative Approach in Addressing Mental Distress 

This year’s show of works by homeless artists came as Art From the Streets achieved two milestones that signify new beginnings for the 32-year-old organization — settling into a permanent home that it moved into in 2021 and an expansion of its mental health programs. 

Nov 15, 2023

Amid the Roar of Motorcycles, Veterans Find Comfort and Community

Soaked by pouring rain, a group of Harley Davidson riders’ fire up their engines and begin their journey to Heroes Memorial Park in Kyle. Undeterred by the adverse weather, this group of military veterans takes pride in their shared passion and cherishes the brotherhood they’ve developed.
 “As veterans, we always look forward to events like this,” said Allen Deaver, an Air Force veteran. 
The bikers and psychologists say rides like this can provide an invaluable community for veterans to connect with others with shared experiences.
 “I think veterans need to be around other veterans,” said Deaver,

Oct 03, 2023

Slideshow: Mermaids Float Through Downtown San Marcos

Mermaids and other seafaring people and creatures descended upon San Marcos to celebrate the annual Mermaid Capital of Texas Festival on Sept. 23.
The festival celebrates the history of the Aquarena Springs Aquamaids, women who dressed as mermaids and performed underwater acts when the Aquarena Springs amusement park operated in San Marcos more than two decades ago.
The festival also celebrates the San Marcos River, which runs through the city, and promotes the conservation of the river.

Dec 07, 2022

Construction Funding, New School Board Bring Changes, Optimism to Austin Public Schools

Travis High School was built in 1953, making it the oldest high school in South Austin, and a broken heating system is hardly the first issue to arise in the aging facilities. The school will soon get a major renovation to fix much more than the heating. The Austin Independent School District is set to receive $252 million to construct a modern facility completely replacing the old Travis High. 
The renovation of Travis High is part of $2.44 billion in bonds that Austin voters approved in November, when they also elected five former teachers to the district’s board of trustees. With the district facing stagnant state funding, a teacher shortage and decreased enrollment, AISD leaders see the election results as setting a new course for Austin public schools. 
“The community said they are willing to pay to improve our schools, but simultaneously they said they want new leadership on the board to guide this money,” said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, the labor union for Austin school employees.

Dec 06, 2022

From the Military to the Kitchen, These Veterans Are Choosing a Career That Brings Out Their Passion for Food

The smell of spices and chicken had people lining up at an Austin food festival to get Shirley Newell’s Dominican food. The U.S. Army veteran was rapidly taking orders, flipping her marinated chicken and packing food to-go. “Food is my comfort, my passion and how I express myself,” Newell said. “When I was in the military is when I actually started cooking.”
Now, cooking is her livelihood. She started Phatty Boy food truck nine years after she left the Army as an automated logistics specialist. For some Texas veterans, opening food-service businesses feels like a natural step after their military career.

Apr 29, 2022

Restoration of Slave Quarters Will Help Austin More Fully Tell Its History, Experts Say

Restoration of the only slave quarters still intact in Austin can lead to an “expanded narrative” of the city’s past that aids in understanding and racial equity, historic preservation experts said Saturday at the Neill-Cochran House Museum. 

“We tell these stories, we preserve these sites, because if the sites aren’t there, you can easily say that never happened,” said Joe McGill, founder of the South Carolina-based Slave Dwelling Project. “It’s necessary for those slave dwellings to stay, because it tells the whole story. We want to know about all this.”

A 12-month restoration of the slave quarters behind the Neill-Cochran House at 2310 San Gabriel St. in the West Campus neighborhood is set to begin this month. The project, called “Reckoning with the Past: Telling the Untold Story of Race in Austin,” will include new interpretive programming for visitors and prompted Saturday’s panel discussion at the museum.

Apr 13, 2022

Gender Gap Among STEM Faculty at UT Proves Difficult to Eradicate

At UT-Austin, women make up 45% of the total faculty, but a much smaller percentage in STEM majors. The departments of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, electrical and computer engineering, geosciences, mechanical engineering and physics all have less than 20% female faculty.

Dec 07, 2021

Dia de los Muertos Provides Opportunity to Celebrate, Educate

The scenery is a burst of color. Lines of patterned flags blow in the wind and paper marigolds decorate altars and hair. Performers walk around covered in face paint, dressed in traditional Mexican dresses or Aztec costumes. The sound of mariachi, drums and shell embellished ankle cuffs fills the area. Attendees of the Dia de […]

Nov 24, 2021

Small Towns Around Austin Struggle with Big-City Housing Costs

Driving into Taylor, the vibe is rural but not the usual trope of a dying, small town. The city has seen a gradual increase in its population in the past 10 years, and with that has come a renaissance of sorts. Now comes news that Taylor will soon be home to a $17 billion Samsung microchip making plant, which is also expected to bring a lot of newcomers. Residents of Taylor and other once-rural towns around Austin are already feeling the effects of the city’s growth. With skyrocketing of housing prices during the pandemic, smaller communities are grappling with big-city issues like affordability and gentrification. 

Nov 17, 2021

Austin Muralists Explore ‘Works of Consequence’

From the “I Love You So Much” script on the side of Jo’s Coffee on Congress Avenue to the “Greetings from Austin” postcard mural on South First Street, Austin’s most recognizable murals have become spots for newcomers and locals to photograph and post on their Instagram feeds. Throughout the past year, local Austin artists have […]