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.

In  2018, 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

MIKE STONE / REUTERS

Democrats are flocking to San Antonio to kick off the state party convention today. In Dallas, Donald Trump supporters – and protestors – will rally at 7 o’clock tonight at Gilley’s in the Cedars area just south of Downtown. Before that, Trump will hit up GOP donors for campaign cash.

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This story is part of A Nation Engaged, a collaborative project between NPR and its member stations. This week's question: "Does my vote matter?

As politicians, pundits and reporters talk about how voters are making their decisions, the issues that motivate them, which candidates excite them. But what about those people who might be staying home in November?

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The electric car company Tesla is novel in many ways. It’s a new company trying to sell a new vision of the automobile, and it sells its cars in a different way: directly to consumers, not through a dealership. But in Texas, state law prohibits car companies from selling cars directly. Customers have to go through an independent dealership instead. For three years, Tesla has been trying without success to change that by lobbying Austin. Now it's lobbying party activists.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Childhood obesity rates may be improving in some cities, but the stats are still staggering. According to one recent survey, a third of American children are overweight. One elementary school in Fort Worth has made wellness a priority, and it’s a strategy that’s starting to pay off.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The State Board of Education candidate who gained national headlines for her controversial Facebook comments lost her Republican runoff Tuesday.

SHELBY KNOWLES / TEXAS TRIBUNE

Voters will head to the Tuesday polls to settle runoff elections from the March primaries. There are a few local seats up for grabs.

Gus Contreras / KERA News

The City of Arlington announced this afternoon its plan to build a new Texas Rangers ball park. The new venue would have a retractable roof and air conditioning and cost about a billion dollars.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Four years ago Joe Hernandez was told he had cataracts and his vision would get worse. It did.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Many Texas Republicans have a testy relationship with the federal government these days, a fact that was on full display this weekend at the GOP convention in Dallas.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Texas Republicans wrapped up their state convention in Dallas this weekend with a highly-anticipated speech from Sen. Ted Cruz.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The school bathroom wars blew up Friday at the Texas Republican convention in Dallas. 

Christopher Connelly/KERA

The Texas Republican Convention gets into full swing Thursday at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas. The event is one of the largest political gatherings in the country. 

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick went to Fort Worth Tuesday to call for the resignation of school district Superintendent Kent Scribner. Fort Worth ISD recently passed a series of guidelines intended to help transgender students – including allowing them to have access to bathrooms based on their gender identity.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

The Dallas County Commissioner’s Court approved a resolution Tuesday calling for higher state air quality standards for North Texas.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

The Rockwall City Council last night rejected the mayor’s controversial proposal that would have regulated bathroom use.

Bob Booth / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A federal trial is underway in Fort Worth related to the 2013 killing of a former cartel lawyer who was gunned down in Southlake. 

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Cataracts, the clouding of eye lenses, are the leading cause of curable blindness worldwide. They’re incredibly treatable, but for people who have lost their ability to see clearly, not being able to get the surgery can mean a life with no livelihood.

Courtesy of SEE International

Dr. Helena Ndume is sometimes called a miracle doctor. That’s because she’s returned the gift of sight to more than 30,000 people in her home country of Namibia, in southwestern Africa, by treating cataracts. She’s in Fort Worth this week, where she’ll train local doctors to do surgeries overseas.

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The American Lung Association released the results of its 17th annual State of the Air report on Wednesday. It’s a report card on the nation’s air quality, ranking metro areas based on ozone and particle pollution. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA

According to legend -- and a Texas historical marker -- early in the morning on April 17, 1897, something strange happened in the small town of Aurora, about 30 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

Max Faulkner / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Ethan Couch, the "affluenza teen" who got probation for killing four people and injuring nine while driving drunk in 2013, is going to spend nearly two more years in jail. That’s what a Tarrant County judge ordered Wednesday in Couch’s first appearance in an adult court, two days after his 19th birthday. The hearing marked a new chapter in Couch’s case.

Courtesty of Trinity Habitat for Humanity

If you’ve been in downtown Fort Worth over the past week, you may have noticed something a bit unusual: A brand-new home under construction in Sundance Square.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

The Fort Worth City Council voted late Tuesday to create a historic district around the core of the city’s iconic Stockyards district. In a historic district, developers that want to build or expand must have their plans reviewed by the city to make sure they are compatible with the neighborhood. The decision came after about three hours of public comments, including from preservationists who were hoping for much larger boundaries.

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Texas public school students across the state started taking the STAAR test today. The state of the state’s public schools has long been a contentious topic – from standardized testing to school finance.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

President Obama’s time in the White House, at this point, is measured in months, but according to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, Obama is using every tool in the executive toolbox to being seen as a lame duck.

truthout.org via flickr

A race for a seat on the State Board of Education representing Northeast Texas is getting an unusual amount of attention.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Campaigns for the Texas Board of Education seldom make news, especially in the 31 rural and small-town counties east of Dallas that make up District 9. Republican candidate Mary Lou Bruner has changed that.

glynlowe via flickr

Fort Worth’s Zoning Commission voted Wednesday to support a historic overlay district that would add protections to the oldest buildings in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The vote isn’t binding – it’s ultimately up to the City Council – but the designation could have a big impact on how the Stockyards are redeveloped.

dydavis via flickr

Fort Worth’s Zoning Commission will weigh in on how much of the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards should be included in a historic overlay district on Wednesday. At the crux of the debate is which and how many of the buildings should have added protections because they’re important to the city’s history. 

Texas House of Representatives

When it comes to just about every state legislative race in Texas, the March 1 primary is effectively the election. There are deep red Republican districts and deep blue battles in Democratic districts. There are just a handful of purple districts with competitive general election races come fall.

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