Gracie Awards Submission for Crisis Coverage: El Paso
On the morning of Saturday, August 3, 2019, a man who’d driven 600 miles from a Dallas suburb to the Texas/Mexico border pulled out an AK47 and began firing at a Walmart in El Paso. What resulted was the nation’s worst death toll from a mass shooting in 2019 – and the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history. Twenty-two people lost their lives. Another two dozen were injured.
Almost as soon as the shooting died down, public media journalists from Marfa started the three hour drive through West Texas towards El Paso. The Texas Newsroom’s single El Paso-based reporter Mallory Falk canceled a vacation in New Mexico, turned her car around and headed home. News leaders in Dallas, including senior editor Rachel Osier Lindley, hustled reporter Stella Chavez onto a plane. Later in the week, El Paso natives Norma Martinez and Lauren Terrazas traveled from San Antonio to report on the community they called home. Of the eight reporters who covered the shooting during a two-week period, five were women.
The tragedy in El Paso came just as the public radio stations of Texas joined forces in a new journalism collaboration called The Texas Newsroom. KERA in North Texas, KUT in Austin, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio and Houston Public Media joined with NPR and smaller stations across Texas to create a statewide partnership designed to be a model for future regional collaborations across the country. This horrific event forged that alliance.
Together, The Texas Newsroom contributed at least 47 newscast spots, 29 digital stories and 15 features that aired or published locally and statewide.
In this 15-minute audio mix produced for the Gracie Awards, you will hear a selection of six stories from The Texas Newsroom’s extensive coverage:
(0:00 to 0:55) An excerpt from NPR newscast on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 at 9 p.m. EST/7 p.m. MST. The breaking news report from Texas Public Radio’s Lauren Terrazas includes the most up-to-date information from local law enforcement and FBI about the incident.
(0:56 to 1:29) Statewide newscaster Becky Fogel reports on the latest legal charges against the captured gunman, which include capital murder and domestic terrorism.
(1:30 to 2:19) A newscast update read by Texas Public Radio’s Norma Martinez highlights key developments about the suspect, including his mother’s calls of concern to police about her son’s ownership of a “high powered weapon.”
(2:20 to 2:53) TPR's Camille Phillips reports on the death toll increasing from 20 to 22.
(2:54 to 6:40) A feature from KERA’s Mallory Falk, following mother Erika Contreras and her daughter Genesis’ personal experiences after surviving the attack and how the trauma of a mass shooting still looms as students return to school.
(6:41 to 11:46) A feature from KERA’s Mallory Falk chronicling El Paso’s community memorial for the victims, with response from state, local and international officials.
(11:47 to 15:00) A feature from KERA’s Mallory Falk about how hundreds of strangers came to mourn with a widower’s wife at her funeral. This story was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
An excerpt from NPR newscast on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. The breaking news report from Texas Public Radio’s Lauren Terrazas includes the latest information from local law enforcement and FBI about the incident.
(0:56 to 1:20) A newscast update read by Texas Public Radio’s Norma Martinez highlights key developments about the suspect and his potential motivations.
(1:21 to 5:32) A feature from KERA’s Mallory Falk, following the community’s reaction to President Donald Trump’s visit to El Paso in response to the shooting.
(5:33 to 6:42) A piece from KERA’s Stella Chavez about a family’s fight against gun violence and how tragedy brought them to a silent march and rally in El Paso.
(6:43 to 11:46) A feature from KERA’s Mallory Falk chronicling El Paso’s community memorial for the victims, including participating from officials on both sides of the border.
(11:45 to 14:58) A feature from KERA’s Mallory Falk centering on a victim’s funeral and how the public showed their support.
For an extended list of stories by women journalists during The Texas Newsroom's coverage of the El Paso shooting, click here.
To view a letter of support from NPR's Bruce Auster, click here.