Christopher Connelly | KERA News

Christopher Connelly

One Crisis Away Reporter

Christopher Connelly is KERA's One Crisis Away Reporter, exploring life on the financial edge. Based in Fort Worth, he also covers stories of general interest in Tarrant County, specializing in politics and criminal justice. His reporting is regularly picked up by national shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace.

Chris led KERA’s coverage of the 2018 midterm elections, filing frequently for national outlets. He’s also covered criminal justice policy in the Texas Legislature and at the local level, from the election of Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot to the way prosecutors navigate shifting marijuana policy and address wrongful convictions.

Breaking news is a big part of any reporter’s job, and Chris has been an essential part of the station’s coverage of major stories, such as the killings of Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth and Botham Jean in Dallas by police officers. Beyond the daily updates to major news stories, Chris focuses on ways to address deeper issues that stand out in the major national stories, like whether a cop is really ever off duty in the eyes of the law.

The Public Media Journalists Association awarded Chris two national honors in 2019 for his reporting – in the Use of Sound and Breaking News categories – and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters gave his story about a sexual misconduct scandal in the Southern Baptist Convention a Best General Assignment award.

Last year, the Headliners Foundation of Texas named Christopher the best radio reporter in the state for providing “calm, comprehensive journalism” and “unbiased reporting on controversial issues.” The Texas AP Broadcasters awarded best serious feature to his audio postcard from tiny Moran, Texas, where bump stocks like the one used by the Las Vegas shooter were created and manufactured.

In 2017, a story about a reclusive state Board of Education candidate in East Texas who’d called then-President Obama a gay prostitute earned him a Lone Star Award from the Houston Press Club, and his coverage of policing after five Dallas officers were gunned down on July 7, 2016 was key to KERA winning “overall excellence” honors in the regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Before moving to Texas, Chris was state legislative reporter for WYPR in Baltimore and spent a year training at NPR as a Joan B. Kroc Fellow. He earned a bachelor’s degree in gender studies from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a master’s degree in journalism at the University of California-Berkeley. His thesis was a radio documentary about heroin addicts getting sober in Zanzibar.

Ways to Connect

Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Since 1992, Ed Kraus has been a Fort Worth cop. In May, he was named interim police chief. Last month, he was given the job permanently. 

Justin Terveen / For KERA

More than one million people have moved to North Texas since 2010, making it the fastest growing of the large metropolitan areas in the U.S. 

Kim Neal, center, has been named Fort Worth's first police monitor.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth has named its first police monitor. Kim Neal, who is currently executive director for the Citizens Complaint Authority in Cincinnati, will take the job. 

Stephen Willeford, center, who confronted and exchanged gunfire with the Sutherland Springs church shooter in 2017, joins church and community members gathered outside West Freeway Church of Christ for a candlelight vigil Monday night.
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via / Associated Press

The congregation of West Freeway Church of Christ gathered in the sanctuary Monday night – the first time since a gunman opened fire during a service Sunday morning, killing two church members. Outside, dozens gathered at a candlelight vigil.

Aaron Dean
Tarrant County Jail via Associated Press

The white former Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman in her home in October was indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury Friday. 

Fort Worth City Council
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth has been the only big city in Texas with no payday lending regulations. Tuesday, the City Council put some limits on the industry, though no one seemed particularly thrilled with the result. 

Like a lot of cities, Fort Worth has been working to recruit and hire a more diverse police force. 

Five candidates for Police Monitor job at forum in Fort Worth November 20.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Five experts on police reform and accountability pitched themselves to residents at a forum and reception in Fort Worth this week.

Christina Brooks answered questions at the October forum for Fort Worth's diversity and inclusion director candidates.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The city of Fort Worth has named its first Diversity and Inclusion Director. Christina Brooks was previously the first diversity and inclusion officer and LGBTQ liaison for the city of South Bend, Ind.

Brooks was one of six finalists brought in to interview and answer questions at a community forum last month.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth's City Manager David Cooke has named an outside panel of experts to review the Fort Worth Police Department's policies and practices. Now, it's up to the city council to approve hiring the eight police reform specialists.

Fort Worth's diversity and inclusion officer candidates
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The City of Fort Worth is looking to hire a Diversity and Inclusion Director, and it moved one step forward in the process this week. Six finalists got a chance to pitch themselves to residents Monday, and the forum exposed tensions and mistrust that the winning candidate will face.

Atatiana Jefferson, the 28-year-old woman shot to death by a police officer in her own home, was remembered on Thursday by family and friends as a loving aunt who overcame difficult circumstances to become the first in her family to graduate from college and had her eyes set on becoming a doctor one day.

Atatiana Jefferson's funeral
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A few hundred mourners gathered at Concord Church in Dallas Thursday to mark the life and death of Atatiana Jefferson. It was a funeral focused on the life that she lived, and a call to action for systemic change.

Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The case against the former Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a woman in her home is now in the hands of the Tarrant County District Attorney. District Attorney Sharen Wilson says her office will prosecute ex-cop Aaron Dean to the fullest extent of the law in the killing of Atatiana Jefferson.

Steven Martin via flickr

Community activists in Fort Worth have issued a list of demands to the city’s leadership in the wake of Atatiana Jefferson’s killing in her home by a Fort Worth police officer. City officials responded Friday by saying some of the demands aren’t possible and others aren’t practical, but on some others, they're open to a conversation.

Associated Press

When James Smith called a non-emergency number early Saturday morning, he was worried. He wanted to make sure his neighbor, Atatiana Jefferson, was OK.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Community members gathered in Fort Worth Sunday night to protest the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson by a Fort Worth police officer. A white officer fatally shot Jefferson, a black woman, in her home early Saturday morning.

Shutterstock

The uneasy relationship between Dallas’ police force and some of its residents was on display this week, and a talk Thursday at the Dallas Holocaust Museum sought to make sense of recent events.  

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Medical school is draining. It’s a mix of sleepless nights spent studying, a lot of student debt, massive pressure to succeed, and learning to treat difficult patients over long hours at the hospital. This recipe for mastering medicine been used to train generations of physicians, but it appears to bake in a problem: Over the course of their studies, medical students tend to become less empathetic over the course of their training.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Fort Worth City Council approved a nearly $1.8 billion dollar budget last night for the next fiscal year.

The fast-growing city of nearly 900,000 earmarked cash to open two new libraries, a new fire station, a new animal shelter and new parks. New police officers, firefighters and code enforcement agents will be hired.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Nearly $1.8 billion. That’s what Fort Worth’s city leaders say it’ll cost to take care of the fast-growing city’s needs over the next fiscal year.

The Fort Worth City Council will vote Tuesday on the proposed budget, which includes a cut to the city property tax rate, increased fees for city services, more transportation and infrastructure funding and a new office for police oversight.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

It was the kind of tragedy that could have destroyed a church. But nearly 20 years after a man opened fire in Fort Worth's Wedgwood Baptist Church, killing seven and wounding seven more before he turned his gun on himself, the congregation is stronger than ever.

The Plano Senior High Wildcats played the Eastwood High Troopers in Frisco Thursday night, but it was anything but a normal game. It was a night filled with symbolic acts of unity.

Shutterstock

Just days after Texas was rocked by a second mass shooting in a month, Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate talked gun policy at a forum in Frisco. It’s the first forum of the election season in the contest to pick the person who will challenge Republican Sen. John Cornyn next year.

Shutterstock

Earlier this summer, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson did something unusual for an elected prosecutor. She dropped the charges in 234 cases all at once.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A massive relocation project is underway in Fort Worth. The city's housing authority is in the process of moving the more than 700 residents of the Cavile Place apartments — a 65-year-old housing project in the neighborhood of Stop Six.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth's anti-discrimination board Monday night passed a resolution calling for one of its members, Mike Steele, to be removed. Steele has drawn broad criticism for inflammatory social media posts that target immigrants, Muslims, LGBT people and the political left.

Wild0ne via creative commons

This week, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office dismissed about 235 misdemeanor marijuana possession cases. It was an unusual move, and a response to changes in state law earlier this month.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Red light cameras have been going dark across Texas this month. State lawmakers passed legislation to ban the automated cameras, which snap a picture of vehicle license plates when vehicles enter intersections after the traffic light turns red. The red light system then automatically mails a $75 ticket.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Tarrant County will continue a controversial federal program that taps local sheriff’s deputies to help enforce federal immigration laws.

Pages