Reporting Texas
News and features from UT-Austin's School of Journalism
Reporting Texas Archives
Feb 06, 2023

Following Ice Storm, Arborists Say Focus on Better Tree Placement, Care

Better tree placement and care could lessen damage from ice storms, experts say.

Jan 31, 2023

Chinese American march in Austin, calls for withdraw of bills

“Stop racism! Stop fascism! Stop Chinese hate! Stop Asian hate!” protesters yelled, shouted and chanted. Almost 300 people speaking English and Chinese from Austin, Houston, College Station and from across the state gathered in front of the State Capital Sunday.  “We are angry and disappointed at a series of bills, such as SB147 and SB552, […]

Jan 29, 2023

Six Months Post-Roe, Activists at Texas Rally for Life Vow to Continue Fight

Several attendees at the Texas Rally for Life said that the end of Roe v. Wade has further entrenched an increasingly hostile fight over the abortion issue. 

Jan 25, 2023

Advocates Press for Anti-Trafficking Legislation at Capitol Rally 

Chanting “stop trafficking now” and holding signs, dozens of people gathered inside the state Capitol on Jan. 24 for an anti-human trafficking advocacy day.

As rain poured outside the Capitol, many of the attendees said they want legislators to prioritize several bills, including House Bill 350, by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), which targets the use of so-called white-label ATMs that can be used to hide financial transaction associated with human trafficking; House Bill 444, also by Thompson, which would allow local governments to collect fees in court actions brought against illicit massage parlors; and House Bill 279, by Rep. Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond), which would allow prosecutors to try traffickers who have victimized “disabled individuals.”

Texas only trails California in the number of people trafficked, according to a 2021 report from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Jan 18, 2023

UT Bans TikTok Due to Security Concerns, But Some Professors Wary

Some UT professors said they understand the concern over TikTok but voiced anxiety about the ban affecting their ability to study and teach.

Jan 16, 2023

At Austin MLK March, Activists Implore Crowd to Continue Fight for Racial Justice

Hundreds of community members, activists, students and several state politicians marched from the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. statue on the University of Texas at Austin campus through the state Capitol grounds to historically Black Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin Monday.

Many of the attendees of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march said they were there not only to honor King’s legacy, but also because there is much work left to be done when it comes to ending racial injustice.

Dec 23, 2022

Broken Spoke Is Counting on a City Hall Two-Step to Protect Its Future

The Broken Spoke faces a critical turning point this spring, as the Austin City Council considers designating the lot surrounding the Texas dance hall as a historic zone, a declaration that would protect the 58-year-old venue from real estate development along South Lamar Boulevard.
In November, the council initiated a proclamation naming the Broken Spoke a historical landmark. But that largely ceremonial proclamation, brought by Council Member Ann Kitchen, in itself does not ensure long-term preservation of the dance hall and restaurant. So, Kitchen initiated the city’s historic zoning process that would make it more difficult for the landowner to develop the Broken Spoke site.
“She didn’t want it to go the way of so many other historic landmarks unofficially named in town,” said the author of a 2017 book on the dance hall. “She wanted it to be here for future generations. So she started the process.”

Dec 11, 2022

Alex Jones in Her Courtroom Is the Least Interesting Thing About Judge Maya Guerra Gamble

The world came to know Maya Guerra Gamble last summer as the no-nonsense judge presiding over the Texas defamation trial of Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars media company.
“It seems absurd to instruct you, again, that you must tell the truth while you testify,” the Travis County district court judge lectured Jones at one point. “But here I am. You must tell the truth while you testify. This is not your show. You need to slow down and not take what you see as opportunities to further the message you’re wanting to further.”
Speaking directly is a trademark of Gamble’s personality. “I’ve always been a pretty direct person. … And in both directions. I have never enjoyed false praise. I would rather hear the truth. Whatever it is,” Gamble said.

Dec 11, 2022

How Asian Texans Are Working to Improve Their Community’s Political Engagement, Representation

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in Texas, increasing by 68% to 1.6 million people in the past decade, according to the 2020 Census. But Asians remain underrepresented in the Texas Legislature and other state offices. 

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.

Dec 05, 2022

‘I Can’t Let You Down’: How Mexican Truckers Are Easing U.S. Driver Shortage While Helping Their Families Back Home

For Juan Martinez and his truck, a trip usually lasts from Monday to Saturday, starting in Mexico and going north into the United States before returning home. He is one of thousands of truck drivers from Mexico, taking jobs to haul freight across the border under a 1991 commercial trucking agreement between the United States and Mexico.
The opportunity of a higher salary is driving more Mexicans with a B1 visitor visa to a profession that is constantly struggling with a worker shortage.
But the industry still needs 78,000 drivers, “The price of everything we buy is going to go up,” said a manager for trucking company, “because it’s going to cost more to move it, because we have less drivers that want to move it.”

Dec 05, 2022

Reporting Texas TV – December 1, 2022

Journalism students from Moody College at the University of Texas produced their sixth and final newscast of the semester on Dec. 1, 2022. This week student journalists report on a recent surge in respiratory viruses, a campus program that offers affordable fresh produce, and a UT program to provide free food and professional clothing to […]

Dec 01, 2022

Reporting Texas Newsletter Dec. 1, 2022

Download the Dec. 1 Edition of the Reporting Texas Newsletter

Dec 01, 2022

Earlier Than Expected Spike in Respiratory Viruses

AUSTIN, Texas – COVID-19 cases may have slowed but many in the U.S. are now dealing with other respiratory illnesses. The University of Texas at Austin’s University Health Services staff is seeing an increase in students coming in with respiratory illnesses earlier than expected. UHS executive director and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Terrance Hines said […]

Dec 01, 2022

Reporting Texas Newsletter Nov. 17, 2022

Download the Nov. 17 Edition of the Reporting Texas Newsletter

Dec 01, 2022

UT Outpost Accepting Donations and Volunteers For The Holiday

AUSTIN, Texas – UT Outpost has a plan to help students in need stay well stocked for the holidays. In preparation for an anticipated increase in demand, the center has brought in some extra help. UT Outpost is a free food pantry and career closet located on campus at 2609 University Ave. Operating under the […]

Dec 01, 2022

UT Farm Stand Provides Accessible and Affordable Fresh Produce to Students

AUSTIN, Texas — Dozens of students lined up on Speedway on a chilly Wednesday morning to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and other groceries at the UT Farm Stand. The Farm Stand is a student-run program with the aim to provide students with healthy, high-quality food at low prices. Soaring food costs have made fresh produce […]

Dec 01, 2022

Into the Tunnels: Austin’s Electronic Dance Underground

The scene looked like the Cavern in Liverpool, England, reminiscent of the early days of the Beatles. The space was dark and dank. Candles flickered, while party lights illuminated the work of graffiti taggers.

Amidst it all HONEY — the performing name of Eric Wieser — worked his turntable and manipulated his electronic mixes to drive his audience into a jubilant dance in Austin’s underground.

“I have to remind myself that the goal isn’t necessarily to be the king of the underground or the king of odd, cool, obscure kinds of parties,” Weiser said. “I make sure that I’m enjoying it in the time that it’s happening.”

Underground parties are private, smaller events that are held in secret locations for a limited audience. They consist of multiple live DJs playing electronic dance music that is much heavier than the mainstream tunes that are mixed at bars. These raves are usually an inclusive, diverse environment held at warehouses, run down homes or in this case tunnels. Wieser started After Hours, a set of tunnel events, after noticing a lack of uniqueness in the party scene in Austin.

Nov 28, 2022

Reporting Texas TV – November 17, 2022

Journalism students from Moody College at the University of Texas produced their fifth newscast of the semester on November 17, 2022. This week student journalists report on ESPN College Gameday’s second trip to Austin this season, changes in student seating and ticketing for basketball games as the Longhorns tip off the Moody Center’s inaugural season, […]