Nate Blakeslee

Senior editor Nate Blakeslee joined the staff in 2006. He is the author of Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town, a book based on a story he broke in 2000 about a police corruption scandal in the Texas Panhandle. His original story, for the Texas Observer, was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, the magazine industry’s highest honor, and led to follow-up coverage in the national and international media. In 2001 Blakeslee was named a finalist for the Livingston Young Journalist Award, and in 2004 he won the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for his drug war reporting in the Observer. Blakeslee’s reporting on Tulia eventually resulted in a major reorganization of the state’s drug enforcement bureaucracy and the exoneration of some three dozen wrongfully convicted individuals. The book, which was supported by a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Institute, was featured on a number of year-end lists of best books and was named a Notable Book of 2005 by the New York Times. It won the J. Anthony Lukas book prize and the Texas Institute of Letters best book of nonfiction prize and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for first nonfiction. In 2007, while Blakeslee was a contributing writer for the Observer, he broke the story of sexual misconduct at a Texas Youth Commission prison for juveniles in the West Texas town of Pyote. The events described in the award-winning story became a major scandal and led to the firing or resignation of virtually all of the agency’s top officials in Austin and the indictment of two former officials at the prison. Blakeslee was recognized by the Texas Legislature for his reporting on the story. He was born and raised in Arlington and has a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, where his field of study was the civil rights movement. He lives in Austin with his wife, Karen Poff, and their two children.


King Of the Christocrats

By preaching that the Founding Fathers opposed the separation of church and state, David Barton has become the darling of evangelicals everywhere—and one of the most powerful Texas Republicans you’ve never heard of.

Family Values

It may surprise you to learn that gay couples in Texas are more likely to have children than those in most other states, or that San Antonio is a gay parenting mecca, with a higher percentage of gay households with children than any other U.S. city. So why are gay parents in such a state of legal limbo here? And why won’t the Legislature get government off their backs?

Sins of Commission

There are plenty of people to blame for the latest shock-inducing juvenile corrections scandal, beginning with the so-called reformers who didn’t heed the lessons of the last one.

The Elephant in the Room

Does Ron Paul’s opposition to the Iraq war make him a traitor to his party and his country? Or the only real Republican in the presidential race?

Everyone’s Poop

Sewerage is the cornerstone of civilization, the sine qua non of urban life, and the best possible window into how we live, what we eat, and who we are.

Will to Power

After the Texas Youth Commission imploded last year, one of the state’s fiercest advocates for criminal justice reform was tapped to help rebuild. Inside his yet-to-be-completed slog.

The Reluctant Prosecutor

After Randy Reynolds sat on his hands as the Texas Youth Commission scandal exploded, everyone wanted the district attorney of Ward, Reeves, and Loving counties bounced from his job. Everyone, that is, except the people of Ward, Reeves, and Loving counties.

An Isolated Incident

After his son died of a drug overdose in his fraternity house at SMU, Tom Stiles began asking questions that campus authorities preferred not to answer. Two years later, he is still learning the truth about what happened—and why.


The Dallas Police Department’s posting of photos in its “indecency” section on its Web site is probably constitutional—the fact that prostitution cases are also listed means that gay men as a class are not being singled out—but is it responsible?

Risky Business

State representative Allen Fletcher is the chairman of a House subcommittee on white-collar crime. So how did his very own company get tangled up in a white-collar-crime investigation?

Dream of a Common Language. Sueño de un Idioma Común.

The future of Texas depends on how well we are able to educate kids who can’t speak English. Has an elementary school in El Paso figured out the best way to do it?

Revolutionary Kind

Daniel Miller, the president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, is a proud secessionist. And the tea parties were just the beginning for this true believer.

The Convert

After a sudden pang of conscience, former Bryan Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson became a pro-life activist and a star on the conservative talk show circuit. But is she telling the truth?

Alex Jones Is About To Explode

Does the country’s most popular conspiracy talk radio host really believe that 9/11 was an inside job? That global warming is a plot cooked up by the World Bank? That an elite cabal wants to kill most of the people on the planet (including you)? Two million listeners think so—and they’re hanging on his every word.

Other Shoe Drops—But Not On Allen Fletcher

Tomball state representative Allen Fletcher is on his way to a second term. His former business associate may be on his way to the federal penitentiary.