Eric Aasen | KERA News

Eric Aasen

Managing Editor

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

In 2015, Eric was part of a KERA team that won a national Online Journalism Award. In 2017, KERA earned a station-record eight regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including Overall Excellence. Also in 2017, KERA was nominated for a national Online Journalism Award for the station's coverage of the deadly Dallas police shooting.

Eric joined KERA in 2013 after 11 years as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News. His subjects ranged from the fiery demise of Big Tex (the iconic State Fair of Texas cowboy), to a friendly goose who helped children cross a busy street to school. He’s won numerous awards, including honors from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for his feature writing and breaking news reporting.

A Minnesota native, Eric has wanted to be a journalist since he was in the third grade. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University in Indiana, where he earned a political science degree and served as editor-in-chief of The DePauw student newspaper.

Eric and his wife, who’s also a journalist, have a daughter and son.

Ways to Connect


Some residents of Paris, Texas, have been fighting to secede. They say the Lamar County city owes them water and sewer lines that were promised when their part of town was annexed 14 years ago. But resolution may be at hand in the town about two hours northeast of Dallas, NPR reported earlier this week.

Jerome Weeks / KERA News

Two years ago, hundreds of performers came together to produce the biggest one-night-only collaboration among North Texas artists. They created an AIDS benefit at the Winspear Opera House called "A Gathering." Now they’re working on a second one that takes place on Monday. 

Texas Tribune

A new statewide poll released Wednesday shows Republican Greg Abbott with an eight-point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the Texas governor’s race.

The poll, conducted by the Texas Lyceum, shows Abbott, the Texas Attorney General, leading with 29 percent. Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat, has 21 percent.

But most registered voters don’t know who will get their vote – 50 percent are undecided.

Dallas Independent School District

Every Dallas ISD student will be able to eat breakfast and lunch for free, the district announced Tuesday.

Nearly 90 percent of students in Dallas public schools qualified for free and reduced-priced meals last year, and district officials say about that many could be eligible this year. Processing that many meal applications costs money, so the district is changing the program by offering free breakfast and lunch to all of its students.


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Sasquatch is real? Yes, Sasquatch is real, free meals for all DISD kids, quit your job via a viral video, and more.

American Airlines

The state of Texas has dropped its opposition to the American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he’s reached an agreement that will keep American’s headquarters in North Texas and maintain DFW as a “large hub airport.” American will also maintain daily service to more than 20 airports across Texas, many serving rural parts of the state.


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Big shooting ranges to open in North Richland Hills and Frisco, let the government shutdown begin, America's best bathroom is in Texas, and more:


We couldn’t let the month of September pass without making note of this…

This month marks the 39th anniversary that British comedy made its U.S. debut – and it happened right here at KERA.

American Airlines

American Airlines says it will hire 1,500 pilots over the next five years. That's in addition to recalling all of the airline's pilots who have been furloughed, The Associated Press is reporting.

Irving ISD

Irving ISD students got a surprise in their lunches on Friday – mango.

The Irving ISD Food and Nutritional Services department launched a new campaign that encourages students to try a new fruit or vegetable for free.

informedmindstravel / Flickr

The Prada Marfa building brouhaha continues to simmer.

The artists who created the shack-sized structure have fired back, saying it’s art, not advertising.

williacw / Flickr

If the federal government shuts down, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will shut down, too.

The library, located on the Southern Methodist University campus, has posted a short note on its website. The library says that in the event of a shutdown, it won’t be able to sell tickets, update its website, produce blog items or post Facebook notes.

All National Archives and Records Administration facilities will be closed and all National Archives activities will be canceled.

Dallas ISD trustees will probably hand down a combination of punishments to Superintendent Mike Miles, who was found in an investigation to have violated district policy and his contract, The Dallas Morning News is reporting. Trustees meet this evening. The News reports that a majority of trustees are leaning toward three disciplinary actions -- reprimand, putting him on a performance improvement plan or a forfeiture of a clause in his contract that allows for a one-year extension if he receives a "proficient" performance evaluation.

Wendy Davis campaign / KERA News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Looks like Wendy Davis will run, creationists are helping choose Texas biology textbooks, look at Dallas from high above, and more:

Texas Monthly visited Buc-ee's in New Braunfels, known for its superior bathrooms. “People will hold it so they can go here,” said 21-year-old Texas State University student Scott Sommerlatte, one of the five maintenance “associates” in red shirts and khaki pants who man the restroom 24/7.

Eric Aasen / KERA News

While most of the attention today is on the new Big Tex, his home at Big Tex Circle has received significant upgrades. The State Fair of Texas spent about $600,000 on foundation improvements to support the new guy, as well as on beautification at Big Tex Circle.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Eric Aasen, KERA’s new digital news editor, spent five years covering the State Fair for The Dallas Morning News – and, for the past year, he had exclusive access to Big Tex’s reconstruction. His series of stories about the process started in the Morning News today and will run through the weekend.

Our definitive Big Texpert has rounded up a few key facts about the towering cowboy:

Eric Aasen / KERA News/Dallas Morning News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the rebuilding of Big Tex, Wendy Davis plans to run for Texas governor, Julián Castro doesn't plan to run for vice president, and more.

BJ Austin / KERA News

When it comes to Big Tex, all secrets can now be revealed.

R. Eddy Snell and Karen L. Miller have had to keep a big secret for the past year – perhaps the biggest secret in the state of Texas. The State Fair of Texas hired them and their group, SRO Associates, to create the new Big Tex. 

SRO is a production company near San Antonio. The company has built sets and created entertainment for several theme parks across the country, including SeaWorld, Six Flags and Hershey Park. But SRO got a lot of help from San Antonio-based Texas Scenic Company to build his interior steel structure, as well as program his movements.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Big Tex is back.

Tex, the folksy cowboy who burned down last fall at the State Fair of Texas, was unveiled prematurely Thursday, a day earlier than planned.

He’s brand new from head to toe, showing off a bright white shirt and fancy boots that show off bluebonnets and other classic Texas scenes.

Wendy Davis campaign / KERA News

She’s in.

Texas Sen. Wendy Davis plans to run for governor. That’s according to The Associated Press, citing sources familiar with her plans.

There’s been plenty of speculation in recent weeks.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Julián Castro, the San Antonio mayor who surged onto the national stage at last year's Democratic Convention, tells KERA he'll stay in his current job for four more years. But if Hillary Clinton comes calling, he's got a suggested running mate: his identical twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro. 

Julián Castro sat down today with Rick Holter, KERA’s vice president of news. Castro is the first guest in the new KERA series “The Friday Conversation,”  to air Fridays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on KERA 90.1 FM.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Update 5:55 p.m.: State Fair of Texas organizers had long been concerned about weather conditions and how that might impact Big Tex's debut. While Big Tex has been built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the curtain that shielded him from public view was causing problems. Fair officials didn't want to risk any issues with their new cowboy.

1:46 p.m. The Big Tex boots, sponsored by Lucchese, include the Texas flag, bluebonnets and Texas State Capitol. These are intricate, fancy boots.

1:39 p.m. Big Tex has made his debut -- a patriotic outfit with a mostly-white shirt. The curtain was dropped minutes ago.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In just a few days, Texans will be able to start going online to check out health insurance options as part of the Affordable Care Act. And today an all-star cast headlined by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Dallas to pitch the new marketplace. 


Five stories that have North Texas talking: The invasion of the spider webs, Ted Cruz's talkathon vs. Wendy Davis filibuster, Big Tex as a work of art, and more.

There were countless reports of silky spider webs across Dallas-Fort Worth this morning. Spiders are attempting to make their annual move for the fall — baby spiders in particular, The Dallas Morning News reports.

In San Patricio County, a game warden received a call about someone keeping a family of deer as pets, while in Henderson County, a man accidentally shot a deer out of season, claiming to have mistaken the animal for a dog. StateImpact Texas took a look through the Game Warden Field Notes from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

CBS News via UStream

Update, 12:03 p.m: Sen. Ted Cruz has ended a marathon Senate speech opposing President Barack Obama's health care law after talking for 21 hours, 19 minutes.
The Texas Republican and tea party conservative stopped speaking at 11 a.m. Dallas time Wednesday, sitting down to yield the floor, The Associated Press is reporting. The Texas freshman began talking Tuesday afternoon, seeking to urge defunding of the 3-year-old health system overhaul. Fellow conservatives helped by making occasional remarks.


Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park on Friday. (If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re offering a daily online look at All Things Big Tex until Friday.

In today's edition of Big Tex 101, we take a look at some odd odds and ends.

Let’s admit it: Big Tex is an odd duck. He has a colorful history, too. Let’s take a look back at some of the more unusual things that have happened to him.

CBS News via UStream

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A bedtime story from Ted Cruz, classical music groups love the Dallas City Performance Hall, should Big Tex be burned down every year?, and more.