Tracked

Based on thousands of pages of documents, a reporting team reveals how colleges and universities are using AI technology to surveil student protests:

Documents from Kennesaw State show campus police tracked demonstrators’ online activity for days with Social Sentinel before a contentious 2017 town hall.

Brandy White, a criminal intelligence analyst in KSU’s police department, was in charge of the monitoring. On instruction from her supervisors, White entered information about demonstrators and protest groups into Social Sentinel’s monitoring tool and set up searches to find posts about the event, emails show.

White also received a KSU police intelligence briefing from a colleague about the event. The document, obtained by The News in response to a public records request, singled out one progressive activist group, the liberal grassroots network Indivisible, and cited conservative conspiracy theories that George Soros funded the protesters.

Published: Sep 20, 2022
Length: 13 minutes (3,487 words)

My Aryan Princess

In this epic, seven-part feature, Scott Farwell tells the story of Carol Blevins, a heroin addict and “Aryan Princess featherwood” (property of a gang member) who became the FBI’s most important confidential informant in a massive, six-year investigation into the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas — an organized crime syndicate responsible for over 100 murders and a huge drug trade. Blevins’ keen eye for detail helped take down 13 members of the gang, and they’ve signalled the “green light” on her assassination in a bid for revenge.

Published: Apr 25, 2017
Length: 85 minutes (21,375 words)

A Question of Vision in Marfa

The demolition of a landmark building to make room for a new art installation highlights fissures in the artsy Texas town. The piece also delves into Marfa’s history.

Published: Jul 2, 2015
Length: 14 minutes (3,660 words)

Tested Under Fire

A detailed account of the events surrounding the 1981 attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. After Reagan was shot, Al Haig famously declared that he was “in control,” but it was the vice president from Texas who calmly took control of the situation.

Published: May 13, 2015
Length: 26 minutes (6,625 words)

Salute to a Son

After the death of his son in Afghanistan, a father finds solace in the G.I. Joe hobby he shared with his son.

Published: Dec 20, 2014
Length: 12 minutes (3,203 words)

A Cat Burglar in the House

An investigation of Douglas T. “Chase” Fonteno, who has made a living stealing seemingly abandoned homes and selling them to the poor:

Adverse possession — commonly known as squatter’s rights — made dozens of his acquisitions possible, though not necessarily legally defensible. It’s based on a century-old law that applies almost exclusively to rural land, mining rights and boundary disputes. Experts can’t point to a single time it has been upheld in court as a means of taking urban houses.

Throughout the last decade — and as recently as last month — Fonteno and his associates saw a way to profit by acquiring what they believed to be abandoned houses for which they paid nothing to the legal owners. Instead they filed claims of adverse possession, then sold these houses at inflated values to clients lured by promises of low mortgage payments and no credit checks, according to official property records and interviews with former Fonteno clients and business associates.

Published: May 18, 2014
Length: 17 minutes (4,407 words)

The Real Dallas Buyer’s Club

A 1992 profile of Ron Woodroof and the Dallas Buyer’s Club:

There are 500,000 pills crammed into the trunk of the rented Lincoln Continental.
Ron Woodroof, a foul-mouthed outlaw who is as wiry as an ocotillo, is hanging out in the edgy Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo. He has bought his usual bottle of tequila and carefully placed it on top of the boxes of pills.

Published: Aug 9, 1992
Length: 20 minutes (5,240 words)

To Each His Own

A gay couple in Dallas plan for a family and look for a surrogate:

No one is more stunned about two babies on the way than Hanna and Riggs. It’s not that the boys are an utter surprise — “I’ve always thought I’d get married and have kids by the time I was 35,” Hanna says — it’s that the couple never imagined it would be this soon. The men had been planning and saving for a family even before planning their wedding. Because they saw surrogacy as their “first and only choice” for having children, they would need approximately $100,000 — fees for an egg donor, a surrogate, a fertility clinic, medications and attorneys — and that would take time to amass. To learn more about the process, the couple went to dinner last April with the office manager of a Fort Worth fertility clinic, where the specialties are in-vitro fertilization, donor-egg technology and surrogacy. A friend of Riggs’ and Hanna’s had employed the clinic’s services and connected the men to the manager. She had some time-sensitive information: A particularly extraordinary woman, a 35-year-old in Fort Worth, was about to have her third surrogate child and would be ready for another pregnancy in four to six months. She was, the men were told, the ultimate surrogate: tall and thin; healthy deliveries; no mental issues. If they didn’t act now, it would be almost two years before they would have this chance. Hanna and Riggs sent the woman an email that night. A week later, they took her to lunch. “We loved her,” Hanna says. “It was a great match for us.”

Published: Jan 30, 2014
Length: 14 minutes (3,678 words)

The Girl in the Closet

The story of Lauren Kavanaugh, who was locked up, starved and tortured for six years by her birth mother and stepfather when she was barely two years old. Kavanaugh, now 20, is still figuring out how to live on:

“We know that for at least five or six years, she was tied down and locked up,” said Emily Owens, a child-abuse detective for the Dallas County district attorney’s office who worked 18 months on the case.

“This was during those formative years when you’re supposed to be bonding and the years when you’re supposed to be learning love and trust. All she got was pain. How do you ever get past that?”

That is the central question in Lauren’s life.

Published: Oct 21, 2013
Length: 78 minutes (19,583 words)