When body cam footage proves brutality; incredible work on water in Las Vegas; more yearbook stories

March 8, 2019

We all know that love, true love, is what brings us together. Or is it mawwiage? Great journalism is my true love, and this week proved an embarrassment of riches as I stormed the castle looking for great investigations and features. The list? As you wish.

File under “How they did it”: To investigate a family’s claims that they were brutalized by DeSoto, Texas, police, Miles Moffeit and Elvia Limón at The Dallas Morning News “obtained the officers’ body camera footage through Texas’ open records law and compared it to a dashcam video released last year.”

This screenshot from the Las Vegas Review-Journal's eight-part series on southern Nevada's relationship to the Colorado River shows how drought has effected what used to be a popular swimming spot.

Henry Brean of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has an incredible, interactive eight-part series on southern Nevada’s relationship with the Colorado River. Start here.

Ashley Collins of the Naples (Florida) Daily News pulled off a sweet and sensitive look at a mom’s surprise pregnancy at 50.

The Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald’s Phillip Ericksen found a great source and localized the USA Today network’s audit of college yearbooks. (Pro tip: If you haven’t already, get to your local the library and go through the yearbooks of the schools in your coverage area.) He offered this great lead: “Jewel Lockridge’s grandfather could not be black at Baylor University. He could only be gray.”

Avery G. Wilks of The State in South Carolina proved his knack for detail when he brought readers this rescue operation from start to finish. Always get the eaglet’s name?

From its Texas Legislature 2019 series, The Texas Tribune drills down to the human cost with this profile of a “criminal” by Alex Samuels.

It’s a banner week in Texas journalism. This week, the Houston Chronicle launched its year-long investigation “Broken Trust,” a two-part investigation in the Texas Permanent School Fund, “created 165 years ago … (which) stands today at $44 billion. But when the numbers are adjusted for inflation, it is sending less money to schools than it did decades ago.” Susan Carroll and David Hunn explain how they did it.

Brad Schmidt of The Oregonian managed to briefly get ahold of a resident who made national news this week by surviving on Taco Bell hot sauce packets while snowbound in his car with his dog.

Cody Dulaney of The State in South Carolina brings us this shocker, best told by its headline: ‘The devil you know.’ SC residents are selling family members into the sex trade. Also in The State is a lovely account by Charles Duncan of the random act of kindness that led to the sale of a $1.5 billion-winning lotto ticket. (Yes, that’s three stories from The State this week!)

Daniel Walmer of the Lebanon (Pennsylvania) Daily News has this heartbreaking investigation into the lax licensing for Pennsylvania truckers, which can have deadly results.

Adam Ferrise of cleveland.com has this exclusive: U.S. Marshals in Cleveland gave a decade’s worth of glowing reviews at ‘inhumane’ Cuyahoga County Jail where eight inmates died.

The Buffalo News’ Sean Kirst took a religious holiday and made it personal with this account of a family whose 5-year-old is battling cancer.

Bree Burkitt and Agnel Philip of The Arizona Republic crunched homicide numbers in Maricopa County to determine “who is being killed and where.” They found a really fatal square mile.

In Sacramento this week, the news was dominated by the aftermath of the police shooting of a man who turned out to be unarmed. The Bee has been all over the story, and Sam Stanton offered a take on what the officers claimed happened that night. The accounts were among the “775 pages of police reports, dispatch records and photographs released by the Sacramento Police Department” after the state attorney general announced that no charged would be filed against the officers involved.

Have a story that you think deserves attention? Send candy and/or suggestions to me at ballen@poynter.org or on Twitter@barbara_allen_