Jay Root — Click for higher resolution staff photos

Jay Root is an award-winning journalist who has covered politics, immigration, natural disasters and live music — not necessarily in that order. For a dozen years, Root was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he chronicled the rise of then-Gov. George W. Bush, wrote about cartel violence in Mexico and covered Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. During a three-year stint at the Associated Press, Root was twice named AP Staff Reporter of the Year for his watchdog reporting, including a story that sparked felony charges against a sitting state representative. Since 2011, Root has been a senior political and investigative reporter at The Texas Tribune, where he covered the dramatic collapse of Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign and went on to write an ebook about it called “Oops! A Diary from the 2012 Campaign Trail.” Root also broke the story that put the Texas attorney general on the path toward criminal indictment, co-wrote an exposé that brought an end to privately funded prosecutions in Travis County, and authored a series of watchdog articles that prompted a wave of firings and resignations at two major state agencies. In 2017, Root co-directed Beyond The Wall, a film exploring border politics in the age of Trump, which won a national Edward R. Murrow award for best news documentary. Root’s latest film, Border Hustle, was released in early 2019 and reveals how desperate migrants have become cash cows on both sides of the border.

Latest Contributions

Christian Leader Explains Views on Heaven and Hell

Are non-Christians bound for the gates of hell? The topic has generated heated discussion since Tim Wildmon, the president of the American Family Association, which Gov. Rick Perry has tapped to stage his Aug. 6 prayer vigil, told the Tribune that he believed only Christians will escape eternal damnation.

Full Story 
Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, discusses congressional redistricting with Sen .Royce West, D-Dallas, (not shown) on the Senate floor Monday, June 6, 2011.
 Bob Daemmrich

GOP-Drawn Congressional Map Sails Out of Senate

A new redistricting map, drawn to promote and protect Republican interests in the U.S. Congress, sailed out of the GOP-led state Senate Monday. The map, approved along strict party lines, would give Republicans a decent chance of retaining every congressional seat they now hold plus a new one they don't.

Full Story 
Gov. Rick Perry on May 30th, 2011
 Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Perry Releases Proclamation on "Day of Prayer and Fasting"

Gov. Rick Perry, who’s eying a possible run for the White House, released a proclamation Monday declaring Aug. 6 a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation’s Challenges." Perry plans to give up food on the day of the event, which is being paid for by the American Family Association.

Full Story 
Article thumbnail
 Illustration by Todd Wiseman / Caleb Bryant Miller

Sizing Up a Rick Perry White House Bid

There’s a sort of collective disbelief within the Texas political establishment about Republican Gov. Rick Perry testing the uncertain waters of a presidential campaign. But if critics have learned nothing else about Perry, they should know this: Underestimate him at your peril.

Full Story 
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs the Voter ID on May 27, 2011.
 Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Updated: Perry Flirting With White House Run

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in his boldest statement yet about a possible run for national office, said Friday he will think about launching a campaign for president in coming days. "I'm going to think about it," Perry said. He quickly added, "I think about a lot of things."

Full Story 
Gov. Perry ceremonially signs HB 15, which requires a woman to have a sonogram before an abortion. He is joined by Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston and Rep. Sid Miller R-Stephenville on May 24th, 2011
 Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Perry Won't Rule Out 2012 Run

With conservatives aching for more choices in 2012, Gov. Rick Perry declined Tuesday to rule out a White House bid. “I’ve said multiple times I’m not going to get distracted from my work at hand, and I’m not going to get distracted today, either,” Perry said.

Full Story 
Gov. Rick Perry makes a playful salute to the son of State Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, as he walked through the House chamber on his way to a meeting with House Speaker Joe Straus at noon on May 19, 2011.
 Bob Daemmrich

Perry Says White House Talk Won't Distract Him

Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that he refuses to get distracted by the suggestion that he should run for president in 2012. “I’ve got a legislative session that is substantially more important to the people of the state of Texas and to me,” he said.

Full Story