Jay Root Reporter

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.

Recent Contributions

Menéndez failed to report $50,000 in donations

Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, reacts after his point of order to kill SB 4 the sanctuary city bill is denied during debate on Feb. 7, 2017.
Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, reacts after his point of order to kill SB 4 the sanctuary city bill is denied during debate on Feb. 7, 2017.

A Texas Tribune investigation found that two state senators failed to report almost $60,000 in donations from two PACs. Sens. Jose Menendez and Carlos Uresti, both San Antonio Democrats, vowed to file amended reports.

In apparent case of mistaken identity, father caught in ICE sting

Irma Perez talks briefly with her husband, Miguel Angel Torres, who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement leaving Irma to care for their three daughters Melani (12), Dana (8), and Jamilet (6) on Feb. 12, 2017.
Irma Perez talks briefly with her husband, Miguel Angel Torres, who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement leaving Irma to care for their three daughters Melani (12), Dana (8), and Jamilet (6) on Feb. 12, 2017.

Undocumented immigrant Miguel Angel Torres was on his way to deliver Valentine's Day chocolates to his daughter last week near Austin. Now, in what his family calls a case of mistaken identity, Torres is in an immigration lock-up near San Antonio.

Texas Senate passes ethics reform

State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, lays out SB 14, the Ethics Reform and Anti-Corruption Act, in the Texas Senate on Feb. 7, 2017.
State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, lays out SB 14, the Ethics Reform and Anti-Corruption Act, in the Texas Senate on Feb. 7, 2017.

The Texas Senate passed a bill that would take pensions away from officials convicted of felonies and require lobbyists to disclose more of their wining and dining of lawmakers.

Two sharply different portrayals of Border Patrol agent at murder trial

Defense attorney Carlos Garcia (r.) confers with former Border Patrol agent Joel Luna.
Defense attorney Carlos Garcia (r.) confers with former Border Patrol agent Joel Luna.

Devoted public servant who protected the nation’s borders and erred only by helping out his family? Or leader of a drug- and gun-trafficking enterprise? Those were the two portraits that emerged of Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna at his two-week murder trial. Now, a jury will decide his fate as early as Monday.

Jury to decide Border Patrol agent's fate

Chief Prosecutor Gus Garza walks by a safe brought into the courtroom as evidence during the murder trial of former Border Patrol agent Joel Luna and his brother Eduardo Luna Rodriguez.
Chief Prosecutor Gus Garza walks by a safe brought into the courtroom as evidence during the murder trial of former Border Patrol agent Joel Luna and his brother Eduardo Luna Rodriguez.

The fate of Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna and his Mexican-born brother Eduardo, both charged with drug trafficking and the murder of a would-be snitch, is set to fall to a Cameron County jury Friday after almost two weeks of testimony and sparring over evidence.

Texas Senate's ethics reform plan unveiled, targets revolving door

Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, details his plan for passing ethics reform during a press conference at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 25, 2017.
Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, details his plan for passing ethics reform during a press conference at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 25, 2017.

Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, unveiled his ethics reform plan on Wednesday. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Republican Senate leader, was on hand for the unveiling and announced that there were enough votes to pass the proposal out of the 31-member chamber.

Border Patrol agent tied to smuggled money but not to slaying in day 3 of trial

Border Patrol agent Joel Luna (seated) and lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia on the first day of Luna's trial in the slaying of Franky Palacios on Jan. 17, 2017.
Border Patrol agent Joel Luna (seated) and lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia on the first day of Luna's trial in the slaying of Franky Palacios on Jan. 17, 2017.

Joel Luna, the Border Patrol agent on trial for capital murder in Brownsville, was linked to hundreds of thousands of dollars in smuggled money by the prosecution's star witness — Luna's older brother Eduardo.

Sparring over evidence marks first day of Border Patrol agent's trial

Lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia assists defendant Joel Luna in putting on a tie prior to Luna's murder trial in Brownsville on January 17, 2017.
Lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia assists defendant Joel Luna in putting on a tie prior to Luna's murder trial in Brownsville on January 17, 2017.

A state judge ruled that a statement Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna voluntarily gave authorities can be used in his murder trial.  Sparring over evidence marked the first day of his trial in South Texas, in a case that has stoked concern about alleged law enforcement corruption on the U.S. side of the border.

Border Patrol agent's murder trial begins this week

Ex-Border Patrol agent Joel Luna confers with attorney Carlos Garcia after his arraignment in Brownsville before Judge Benjamin Euresti on Feb. 3, 2016.
Ex-Border Patrol agent Joel Luna confers with attorney Carlos Garcia after his arraignment in Brownsville before Judge Benjamin Euresti on Feb. 3, 2016.

The capital murder case began in 2015 with the discovery of a headless body floating off South Padre Island. The trial of two men charged in the case — a U.S. Border Patrol agent and his Mexican-born brother — begins today in South Texas.

Top House Republican says dark money debate won't kill ethics reform

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, chairman of the House Administration Committee, looks toward the gallery while House members watch the seevere weather during debate on May 25, 2015.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, chairman of the House Administration Committee, looks toward the gallery while House members watch the seevere weather during debate on May 25, 2015.

Rep. Charlie Geren, the powerful Fort Worth Republican pushing ethics reform in the Texas House this year, is determined not to let a fight over so-called "dark money" torpedo the effort as it did in 2015.