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

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Across Texas, insurgent Republicans who rode Tea Party anger to Austin are now facing challenges themselves. That’s the dynamic in Tarrant County, where state Rep. Jonathan Stickland and challenger Scott Fisher are racing toward Tuesday's primary.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson is seeking his fifth and, he says, final term. 

Christopher Connelly/KERA

A Texas judge says the case of Ethan Couch, a teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck, will be moved to adult court.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

State Rep. Charlie Geren is in the middle one of the toughest primary fights in Texas. Entrepreneur Bo French is challenging the 15-year House veteran in a district that stretches from Fort Worth to the northwest corner of Tarrant County. It’s a battle over the future direction of the statehouse that offers voters in House District 99 the choice between experienced deal maker, or replace him with a fresh face promising a more conservative agenda.

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As Texans start heading to the polls for early voting Tuesday, they’ll get to name their choice for their party’s presidential nominee. Some of them will also be choosing sides in fierce battles over seats in the state legislature, races where millions of dollars are being spent to convince Republicans in North Texas how to vote.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

The Denton County Republican Party held its biggest fundraiser of the year on Ronald Reagan’s birthday and it was a show of force. About 1,000 Republicans in formal wear crowded into a cavernous banquet hall Saturday to hear from elected leaders.

Christian Boschult/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Thousands of residents in far North Fort Worth are being told to boil their water today because of possible contamination. Restaurants are closed, schools have shut down water fountains and the city is handing out bottled water.

The city started handing out water early this morning – first from small tanker trucks and then in packages of bottled water. 

Christopher Connelly/KERA

This week, the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth launched an annual training exercise. It’s designed to make sure the joint reserve base is ready to respond to security threats. The opening day began with a staged attack.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Edward "Rusty" Rose, a prominent Dallas businessman and former co-owner of the Texas Rangers, has died.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A grand jury may have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing, but Governor Greg Abbott says that’s not stopping the state from looking into the group.

Irving has been in the national spotlight in recent months, especially after a Muslim teen was arrested and suspended for bringing a homemade clock to school. But during her annual State of the City address Tuesday night, Mayor Beth Van Duyne steered clear of controversy. Instead, she highlighted several economic development efforts.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Growing up in Indiana, Phil Crone loved having a bedroom in the basement.

“It was dark. It was cold. I didn’t know the difference noon and 6 a.m.,” he said. “It was wonderful.”

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Folks right in the path of the Christmas weekend tornadoes couldn’t do much to save their houses. For those who avoid a direct hit, building codes are supposed to protect homes from serious damage.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio made his first public campaign appearance in North Texas Wednesday.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio made his first public campaign appearance in North Texas yesterday. The state is an uphill battle for the Florida Senator, one he’ll have to fight against a Texas senator and other candidates with Texas ties. But his aim was not at the crowded field of Republicans he has to beat to win his party’s nomination in the coming months. Instead, he aimed his fire at the Democratic front runner. He does not care for Hillary Clinton.

Recess at Eagle Mountain Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas, looks much like recess anyplace else. Some kids run and squeal, others swing, while a half-dozen of their peers are bunched up on the slide.

Journey Orebaugh, a 6-year-old in an off-white princess dress, is playing family.

"You just get a bunch of people and just act like who you want to be," she says. Journey likes to play the mom.

BIRCHMENCOLONIZER / Reddit

On the night when 12 tornadoes raced across North Texas, it was up to first responders – police, firefighters, paramedics – to get folks out of harm’s way. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Before Ethan Couch and his mother fled to Mexico, they held a going-away party. Then they hopped in a pick-up truck and drove to the border.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

2015 was a good year for Matthew Newman. The Dallas entrepreneur decided to give back today by hosting a catered lunch for the residents of Tent City, a sprawling homeless encampment under the I-45 freeway in downtown Dallas.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

There’s a new start up in Fort Worth that wants you to skip the gas station and let them bring the fuel to you, courtesy of a smartphone app. 

DOUALY XAYKAOTHAO / KERA NEWS

A federal judge ruled recently that Texas’ long-term foster care system is “broken.” In North Texas, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit has been working out the kinks in a model that could redesign the entire system, giving more flexibility to local organizations to address the problems outlined in the judge’s opinion.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Turns out recess is so much more than just monkey bars and freeze tag. In American public schools, though, recess has been on the decline – edged out to make more room in the day for testing and academics.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Two days after a landmark international deal on climate change, the city of Denton is debating its push toward more renewable energy in the first two official public hearings on the Renewable Denton plan.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

A signature piece of public art was dedicated Thursday at the center of Fort Worth’s ambitious Trinity River redevelopment project just north of downtown.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

For most of us, the word “auction” conjures up images of antiques or fine art or even foreclosed houses. Ritchie Bros. in Lake Worth offers a very different kind of auction – one on the scale of massive earth-moving equipment.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is escalating his effort to stop Syrian refugees from being resettled in the state. Just before Thanksgiving, his health secretary threatened to sue resettlement agencies that refuse to comply with his order.

Brandi Korte via flickr

The holiday shopping season kicks into high gear Friday (and, in the case of a few stores, Thursday night). When you start talking shopping strategies, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly how differently we all approach the task. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk unveiled a program that’s close to her heart on Monday. The new Reformative Justice Unit is aimed at keeping people with mental illnesses and young first-time offenders out of prison. Hawk says jailing young offenders can starts them down a path that leads to more crime.

Courtesy of the Fort Worth Opera

Race and policing was one point of discussion at a sweeping conversation in Fort Worth about the legacy of the civil rights movement in the decades after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. he conversation came just days before the Sunday anniversary of the assassination. It was part of a series of discussions the Fort Worth Opera is sponsoring as it prepares to premiere a new opera called “JFK." It follows Kennedy’s last hours in Fort Worth and Dallas. 

Gregory Hauenstein via Flickr Creative Commons

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in Dallas on Tuesday. The former secretary of state spent the morning fundraising. Then she revved up hundreds of loyalists packed into a gym at Mountain View College in Oak Cliff.

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