Pamela Colloff

Pamela Colloff is an executive editor at Texas Monthly and has written for the magazine since 1997. Her work has also appeared in the New Yorker and has been anthologized in Best American Magazine Writing, Best American Crime Reporting, Best American Non-Required Reading, and Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.

Colloff is a four-time National Magazine Award finalist. She was nominated in 2001 for her article on school prayer, and then again in 2011 for her two-part series, “Innocence Lost” and “Innocence Found,” about wrongly-convicted death row inmate Anthony Graves. One month after the publication of “Innocence Lost,” the Burleson County district attorney’s office dropped all charges against Graves and released him from jail, where he had been awaiting retrial. Colloff’s article—an exhaustive examination of Graves’s case—was credited with helping Graves win his freedom after eighteen years behind bars.

In 2013 she was nominated twice more, for “Hannah and Andrew” and “The Innocent Man,” a two-part series about Michael Morton, a man who spent 25 years wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his wife, Christine. The latter earned a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing. 

In 2014, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University awarded her the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism.

Colloff holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Brown University and was raised in New York City. She lives in Austin with her husband and their two children.

Stories

Flesh and Blood

The most shocking thing about the murder of the Caffey family in East Texas last year was not how gruesome or inexplicable the crime was. It was that it was masterminded by sixteen-year-old Erin Caffey, a pretty girl who worked at the Sonic, sang in her church, and loved her parents.

Sweet 15

For the longest time, quinceañeras were simple, down-home celebrations held in parish halls and backyards. Then along came the stretch Humvees, the carriages and thrones, the choreographed dance routines, the smoke machines, the climbing walls, and the dinners for four hundred bedazzled guests. One thing remains the same, though: It’s all about the girl.

Out of Sight

For the 140 full-time, residential students lucky enough to be enrolled there, the Texas School for the Blind is “heaven,” “home,” and “the first place I had friends.”

The Fire That Time

On April 19, 1993, the world watched as the Branch Davidian compound, outside Waco, burned to the ground after a 51-day standoff. Fifteen years later, witnesses and participants—from federal agents to loyal followers of David Koresh—remember what they saw during the deadliest law enforcement operation in U.S. history.

Badges of Dishonor

Two Border Patrol agents are sent to prison while the dope smuggler they pursued and wounded is granted immunity by federal prosecutors and goes free. A miscarriage of justice? Not so fast.

Faces of Forgiveness

An East Texas prison ministry is trying to heal crime victims and rehabilitate criminals by getting them to talk.

Law of the Land

Nearly two centuries after their forebears protected colonists from Indian raids, the Texas Rangers are alive and well and wrestling with the realities of the twenty-first century. In their own words, the iconic crime fighters explain how their world has changed—and what it takes to battle the latest generation of bad guys.

The Beating of Billy Ray Johnson

The short, slight, mentally disabled black man was found on the side of a road in Linden, huddled in a fetal position. He was bloody and unconscious—the victim of a violent crime. But another tragedy was how residents of the East Texas town reacted.

The Desert of the Dead

While politicians and bureaucrats endlessly debate the best ways to secure our borders, illegal immigrants are dying to get into America—literally.

96 Minutes

At 11:48 a.m. on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman began firing his rifle from the top of the University of Texas Tower at anyone and everyone in his sights. At 1:24 p.m., he was gunned down himself. The lives of the people who witnessed the sniper’s spree firsthand would never be the same again.

“Beldades” Of the Ball

Every February, on the weekend of Presidents’ Day, the daughters of Laredo’s most prominent families are presented to society in dresses that cost $20,000 or more at a colonial pageant that is the party of the year.

The Protesters

The weekend after Thanksgiving, demonstrators gathered in Crawford and made their feelings about the war quite clear.

A Kiss Before Dying

Forty-five years after Betty Williams was shot to death by the handsome football player she had been secretly seeing, her murder haunts her Odessa high school—literally.

Flipping Out

The letter-sweater-wearing, pom-pom-shaking, pep-rally-leading girl next door has been a beloved Texas icon for generations. So why do so many people today— lawmakers and lawyers, preachers and feminists—think cheerleading is the root, root, root of all evil?

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