Eric Aasen | KERA News

Eric Aasen

Managing Editor

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard.

Eric joined KERA in 2013 after 11 years as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News. His subjects ranged from the fiery demise of Big Tex (the iconic State Fair of Texas cowboy), to a friendly goose who helped children cross a busy street to school. He’s won numerous awards, including honors from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for his feature writing and breaking news reporting.

A Minnesota native, Eric has wanted to be a journalist since he was in the third grade. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University in Indiana, where he earned a political science degree and served as editor-in-chief of The DePauw student newspaper.

Eric and his wife, who’s also a journalist, have a daughter and son.

Ways to Connect

New rules could be put in place by next summer that would help prevent the spread of zebra mussels. If approved, all boats in a 17-county area across North Texas would have to be completely drained after use.

Take a look at these pictures of plastified animals -- a cool new exhibit at the Perot Museum. Jeff Rudolph, CEO of the California Science Center in Los Angeles, says that the process of plastination turns animals and organs into pieces of art and draws visitors in. “It lets us see ourselves and other living things in a way we really don’t otherwise get to see them and understand how they work,” he says.

Brandi Korte/ladybugbkt / Flickr

Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park Sept. 27 -- next Friday.

(If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re going to offer a daily online look at All Things Big Tex each day until next Friday.

Programming note: Eric Aasen, KERA's digital news editor who's a Big Tex expert, will talk about Big Tex around 12:20 p.m. today on KERA's "Anything You Ever Wanted To Know" with host Jeff Whittington. That's on KERA Radio, 90.1 FM. 


Five stories that have North Texas talking: The rain keeps falling, the pope keeps talking, Skinny the cat isn't so fat, and more.

Gravitywave /

A second Dallas resident has been diagnosed with West Nile virus.

The resident lives in the 75224 zip code, which is in the Oak Cliff area, Dallas County’s health and human services department announced today. It's the same zip code where this year's only West Nile death was reported last week.  The latest case is the sixth reported in the county so far this year.

North Texas Giving Day

UPDATE at 1:40 p.m. Thursday: By early this afternoon, North Texas Giving Day clocked in with $10 million and 35,000 donations.

More than 1,000 certified nonprofits are eligible to receive money today -- they’re listed on

Organizers report that a formerly homeless client at Arlington Life Shelter donated to the shelter as part of North Texas Giving Day. Both Ronald McDonald House and Second Saturday surpassed their 2012 Giving Day totals before reaching the halfway point today.


Arrrrrr, me mateys! Did you know that today is the official International Talk Like A Pirate Day? Avast! And gather a grog or two and brush up on pirate life from our friends at

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!

We have some basic and advanced pirate lingo below.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

A Texas appeals court has overturned the money laundering conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 ruling on Thursday that DeLay had been acquitted, The Associated Press is reporting. DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison, but his sentence was on hold while his case made its way through the appellate process.


Dallas’ Alliance-AFT teachers association is holding a press conference this morning to demand that embattled DISD superintendent Mike Miles be fired.

Dallas Zoo

Five stories that have North Texans talking: Adorable animals at the Dallas Zoo, give to your favorite nonprofit today, have you ever tried the McEverything, and more.


The state’s death penalty system has made progress in recent years but continues to fall short, according to a report issued today by the American Bar Association.

The 500-page report offers several recommendations:


Five stories that have North Texans talking: Your gut can make beer, the suspected Navy shooter hoped to become a monk in White Settlement, have you seen the amazing Chipotle ad, and more.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Update at 4:22 p.m.: Just six weeks ago, Aaron Alexis called police in Newport, R.I., from his hotel room, saying that he was “hearing voices” and that three men had been sent to harass him. NPR has obtained a police report about the call made on Aug. 7. Alexis told police that the three men were going to keep him awake by talking to him and “sending vibrations into his body,” the report said. Alexis told police that he had moved from one hotel to a Navy base and then to a third hotel because the voices were following him.

How are the courts and mental health service providers working to address mental illness in the criminal justice system?

That was the topic of today’s “Think” at 1 p.m. on KERA-FM, 90.1. “Think” host Krys Boyd discussed the issue with Pete Earley, author of “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness” and Ron Stretcher, director of criminal justice for Dallas County

Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas

SMU’s Meadows Museum has acquired six new paintings and drawings, some of which are rare, as part of its “milestone expansion.” The museum marks its 50th anniversary in 2015.

Most of the works are first-timers for the museum. KERA’s Jerome Weeks has more details. And take a look at the pieces in this slideshow.

Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul

Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Navy Yard gunman had Fort Worth ties, aboard Air Force One after Kennedy was shot, Texas A&M rakes in millions, and more.

Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul / KERA News

The suspect in Monday’s Navy Yard shootings had North Texas connections – and a checkered past.

Friends described Aaron Alexis, a discharged Navy reservist who lived and worked in Fort Worth, as a nice guy who was interested in Buddhism and Thai culture.

Alexis, 34, told them that he liked guns and was a good shooter. His shooting got him into trouble with police: He was arrested in Fort Worth and Seattle in separate gun-related incidents.

Mighty mum corsages are a tradition at Homecoming events across the state this fall. Photographer Nancy Newberry has taken pictures of mammoth mums on students across the state.

Credit tourism for the coastal town's resurgence, local leaders say. Last year, Galveston had its best tourist season on record. But much work remains.

The BiblioTech library opens today in Bexar County. The library has a physical presence, as well, with 600 e-readers and 48 computer stations, in addition to laptops and tablets.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: More older Texans are getting guns, Dallas celebrates gay pride, don’t mess with ‘Don’t Mess With Texas,’ and more.

Reaction from lawmakers – from Texas and elsewhere -- continues to pour in following last night’s presidential address to the nation about Syria.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said that a U.S. attack that allows Syrian President Bashar Assad to remain in power wouldn’t promote U.S. national security interests. Cornyn calls a strike "reckless" and "ill-advised."

Are the lights at night too big and bright across downtown Dallas? Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster and KERA's Jerome Weeks discussed the issue on Think at noon today on KERA-FM, 90.1.

Jerome produced a report about new lighting for a downtown landmark: The Bank of America Plaza became an icon because of its green, argon lighting. But in July that glowing outline of the 72-story-tall skyscraper went dark for a major renovation.

Lawrence Jackson / The White House

UPDATE at 11:25 a.m. Wednesday: President Obama addressed the nation Tuesday night to discuss the Syrian crisis. The address comes as Syrian President Bashar Assad says he might be willing to give up his chemical weapons. PBS and NPR provided live coverage of the president's address. NPR developed this viewer's guide to the president's speech.  Obama sat down with PBS on Monday to discuss the situation. Assad spoke with PBS' Charlie Rose over the weekend. In case you missed the speech, scroll below for the video of the president's remarks. NPR published a live blog during Obama's address -- here's a recap.

KUT Radio in Austin interviewed Eric Draper, the White House photographer for George W. Bush, about what it was like to be with the president on Sept. 11, 2001. Draper's book, "Front Row Seat," includes a chapter on 9/11 and its aftermath.

NPR's All Things Considered aired an interesting story yesterday about concerns that a new Dust Bowl could rip through the country's midsection. Why the worry? Trees in Texas and the Great Plains are dying.


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Today is Sept. 11, a lawsuit has been filed by the family of the woman killed at Six Flags Over Texas, swearing on cable TV, and  more. 

On the heels of the new iPhone buzz in Silicon Valley, Motorola gave its first glimpse into the Fort Worth factory where the Moto X is assembled. KERA's Lauren Silverman took a look.

Dallas police

UPDATE AT 4 p.m.: The neighborhood watch volunteer suspected of raping four women in southern Dallas has been arrested in Louisiana.

Van Dralan Dixson, 38, was arrested in a motel near downtown Baton Rouge around 2 this afternoon, Dallas police announced at a press conference.

Police believe a single attacker sexually assaulted as many as nine women since June in the Fair Park area.

Police say the attacker forced victims at gunpoint into secluded areas and sexually assaulted them.


A University Park woman pleaded guilty this morning to collecting child pornography.

Erika Susan Perdue could face 14 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña’s office announced. Perdue could also have to pay a $250,000 fine. She will be sentenced in January, when a judge will consider a plea deal.