Eric Aasen | KERA News

Eric Aasen

Managing Editor

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. 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, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

In 2015, Eric was part of a KERA team that won a national Online Journalism Award. In 2017, KERA earned a station-record eight regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including Overall Excellence. Also in 2017, KERA was nominated for a national Online Journalism Award for the station's coverage of the deadly Dallas police shooting.

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.

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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.

Van Dralan Dixson, whose DNA has been linked to four of nine sexual assaults in southern Dallas, has been arrested in Baton Rouge. Dallas police plan to address the media at 3:30 p.m. Police Major Jeff Cotner says DNA test results have linked Dixson, a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer, to three additional sexual assaults, for a total of four. Nine women have been raped in the neighborhood since June. Dixson, 38, was identified as a suspect over the weekend. His car was found abandoned in Garland.

The Tarrant County epidemiologist says that if there are no new cases confirmed this week, that’s likely the end of the North Texas outbreak.


DISD superintendent Mike Miles said this afternoon that he’s committed to leading the school district, citing recent progress made, including the highest graduation rate in decades.

“I'm here -- I'm not going anywhere,” he said at a Dallas Regional Chamber function.

UPDATE AT 3:45 p.m: LBJ Freeway has reopened after a dump truck jumped a median and struck passing vehicles, killing two people. Most of LBJ near Marsh Lane was closed for several hours after a dump truck jumped the concrete barrier. Dallas Fire-Rescue confirms that two people were killed.

ABC talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is at it again. Did you see the twerking video of a woman who caught on fire? More than 10 million people did. Well, the video is fake. Kimmel and his staff produced it. In other words, we got punked.

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.


Five stories that have North Texas talking:  Students and a teacher get hurt during a science experiment in Frisco, a call for Dallas ISD's Mike Miles to resign, can you really earn $110,000 right out of school?, and more. 

Ally/Criminal Wisdom / Flickr

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, that swanky store with all of the nice handbags and shoes and the over-the-top Christmas catalog, has been all over the news today after it was sold for $6 billion.

Ares Management LLC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are the buyers. Revenue at Neiman hasn’t returned to levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis, Bloomberg reports. Shoppers have been slow to return to the luxury retailer.

While we wait to hear more about what the sale means for Neiman customers, let’s take a look back at some of the store’s rich history – just wait until you find out when Neiman first published its splashy Christmas catalog. Oh, and if you read until the end, there’s a special recipe waiting for you.

Monica Ortiz Uribe/Fronteras Desk

While apprehensions of immigrants crossing the Mexican border are near record lows, South Texas is the one spot where the numbers are rising again, according to a recent report from Fronteras Desk, a public radio initiative involving several stations across the Southwest.

"We could apprehend anywhere between 100 and 200 a shift," said Mark Foster, a Border Patrol supervisor. "On the weekend, it’s very hard to get all the incursions dealt with, with the manpower that we have."

A big day for Dallas-based Neiman Marcus. The luxury retailer has been sold.

A new effort is designed to keep foster children closer to their communities. KUT Radio in Austin has the details.

Someday, you might be able to travel between Austin and San Antonio via high-speed rail.


Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Dallas Cowboys start the new season with a big win, there are more developments in the southern Dallas serial rapist case, there’s talk of a big sale at Neiman Marcus, and more.  

State Fair of Texas

We’re just three weeks away from opening day of the 2013 State Fair of Texas.

And what’s the No. 1 reason we all go to the fair? To pig out. (Corny dogs, fried butter, funnel cakes, oh my!)

You’ve already heard about the top new foods – Fried Thanksgiving Dinner and Deep Fried Cuban Roll recently won the Big Tex Choice Awards. NPR’s John Burnett recently profiled some of the creative chefs.

Check out the slideshow of the eight dishes that competed in the Big Tex Choice contest. Just looking at those pictures raises your cholesterol levels.

But what else have these fried foodies whipped up this year?

Tyler Pratt/KUT News

All of Texas’ biggest cities have passed ordinances that ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation – except for San Antonio. That changed on Thursday when the San Antonio City Council voted 8 to 3 to adopt its own policy. Hundreds of people testified for several hours on Wednesday and Thursday.

This is the Ultimate High School Prank. In November 1963, Fort Worth’s Paschal High School students and alumni conducted an elaborate attack on an Arlington Heights High School spirit rally at Benbrook Lake. They used lead pipes, whips and Molotov cocktails on the crowd. An alum flew a plane over the crowd, dropping rolls of school-color purple-and-white toilet paper. A 1948 sedan covered in gasoline-soaked mattresses was set afire. Nearly 50 people were arrested. Even President John F. Kennedy mentioned the Paschal prank during his fateful visit to Dallas. On Saturday, Paschal’s band will commemorate the prank with the Heights band and perform a neighborhood concert, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Meet Armand Fernandez-Pierre. He’s 6-foot-3 and 335 pounds, and he plays nose tackle for the Episcopal School of Dallas football team. But when he’s not on the field, he’s on the school’s cheer squad. Yes, Armand is both a football player and cheerleader. “I am really loud, trust me,” Armand said of his cheering skills. “And I’m also one of the nicest, upbeat guys in our school. “But when it comes to football, I’m a scary guy to mess with.” The Dallas Morning News and KDFW-TV have featured him in recent days. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly requested video of Armand in action.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas is in the movie spotlight tonight, a person of interest is in custody in connection with the Fair Park serial rapist case, the final investigative report for DISD is due today, and more.

KERA’s Jerome Weeks offers a deeper look at local theater legend Jerry Russell, who died Thursday following complications from abdominal surgery. He was 77. Jerome spoke with Russell’s widow, who offered her thoughts on his life -- and his impact. Russell’s daughter is State Sen. Wendy Davis, who had delayed her decision on whether to run for Texas governor so she could care for him. Jerome reports that Russell wasn’t just talented on the stage – he was a savvy business manager, too. When he opened Stage West in Fort Worth, he didn’t trust the stage to provide a steady livelihood. So he opened a sandwich shop next door.

Dallas Zoo

Meet the newest members of the Dallas Zoo family.

Winspear and Kamau, two male cheetah cubs, were born July 8. These are two cool cats. Look at the pictures -- they sure look sweet.

Winspear weighs about 8 pounds. (No word yet on whether his last name is Opera House.) Kamau is over 6 pounds.

They’ll have a furry friend at their side. Amani is an 8-week-old black Lab who will be raised with the cubs as a “calming playmate,” zoo officials say.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Sen. Wendy Davis' father Jerry Russell dies, Dallas police are on the defense, China has a love for pecans and more.