Rick Holter | KERA News

Rick Holter

Vice President of News

Rick Holter is KERA's vice president of news. He oversees news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News has won 31 awards so far this year. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.

Rick returned to Dallas in 2012 after six years at NPR, where he edited the shows Weekend All Things Considered and Day to Day, and supervised the Digital News operation. Before that, Rick spent 15 years at The Dallas Morning News, after editing stints at what was then the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) in Florida and the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

In addition to the Peabody, he’s collected honors including USC-Getty Arts Journalism Fellowships in 2005 and 2011, a National Headliners Award (2010), a NLGJA Award (2009) and numerous newspaper design awards. He also edited and designed a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature series (1992). A graduate of the University of Maryland, he grew up on a dairy farm in Middletown, Md.

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Stunned. That's how Bob Schieffer, the retired CBS newsman with deep Texas roots, reacted on Election Night. He, like much of America, didn't think Donald Trump had much of a chance against Hillary Clinton. He, like much of America, was wrong.

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A Baptist church in Dallas that's been in the national spotlight the last few years voted this week to grant full membership to folks in the LGBT community. And that effectively severs ties between Wilshire Baptist Church and the the Baptist General Convention of Texas, one of the governing bodies for Southern Baptists in the state.

It’s the latest in an ongoing debate among churches about LGBT inclusiveness.

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The United Hispanic Council of Tarrant County asked the U.S. Justice Department this week to investigate complaints of voter suppression among elderly Latino voters. The group alleges state investigators looking into mail-in voter fraud in the county are actually “creating an atmosphere of fear.”

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DART made a big decision this week on two major transportation projects. Brandon Formby has been following that story, along with legislative races in Dallas County. The longtime Dallas Morning News reporter moved to the Texas Tribune this month. He’s working out of the KERA newsroom, as a part of the station’s partnership with the statewide online news source.

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In the past week, Donald Trump has suggested the United States election system is rigged as he continues sliding in the polls. The accusation, along with news of a potential voter fraud investigation in Tarrant County, has raised questions about the security of our elections process. 

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Union Station in downtown Dallas opened in 1916 as a railroad hub for the city. At its peak, 80 trains passed through daily.  After a brief closure in the 1970s, Union Station still services buses and rail, but it remains underused. However, things are looking up as the station approaches its 100th birthday.

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It’s been a week since Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas would withdraw from the federal Refugee Resettlement Program. The state took in 7,000 refugees in the last year and about 900 of those refugees have come from Syria.

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Merritt Tierce’s debut novel Love Me Back is the story of a single mother working as a waitress in Dallas. The book earned rave reviews when it was released two years ago, but that didn’t translate into sales.

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take the stage Monday night, the audience is expected to be the biggest ever for a presidential debate. No one may be watching as intently as the man who’s moderated more of these matchups than anyone else, Jim Lehrer.

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Marcelo Cavazos, the man who leads Arlington’s schools system, was named Texas Superintendent of the Year this afternoon. The honor came at the annual Texas Association of School Boards conference in Houston – and it includes a $5,000 prize. The five finalists also included another North Texan, DeSoto superintendent David Harris.

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Dallas Police Chief David Brown has at least one job lined up after he retires next month: He said today that he's been invited to be commencement speaker at the University of Texas in Austin.

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Beginning this semester, prospective pastors at the Dallas Theological Seminary will get training on sexual abuse prevention. The evangelical seminary says it’s the only one in the country that makes this sort of training mandatory.

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The Dallas Morning News made its name reporting the news, but this week, the paper made news. The editorial board endorsed Hillary Clinton – the first time it’s endorsed a Democrat for president in the general election since World War II.

KERA News

The Dallas Morning News endorsed Hillary Clinton for president today. It's the first time the newspaper's editorial board has recommended a Democrat for president in a general election since World War II.

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North Texas will say goodbye to a key figure soon. Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas has been promoted to a new job within the Vatican – as head of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.

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KERA’s been listening to conversations about race across the education spectrum – from students to school security officers. Fort Worth district superintendent Kent Scribner leads a diverse student population. Almost 23 percent of students are black and 63 percent are Latino. He talked about what he calls ‘the equity conversation’ and the transgender guidelines that thrust him into the spotlight.

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The University of North Texas at Dallas has been trying to build a different kind of law school -- one that’s more affordable and targets diverse and non-traditional students. 

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Three years ago, James Glassman was founding executive director of the institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. Yesterday, he helped launch a group called R4C16, which stands for Republicans for Clinton in 2016. He tells KERA that's because his fellow Republican, Donald Trump, "would be a disaster" as president.

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Texas’ campus carry law went into effect this week, which allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapons onto public universities. University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk is one of many school administrators wrestling with how to enforce the law. 

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On Monday, the University of Texas marks 50 years since sniper Charles Whitman gunned down 16 people before police killed him. Thirty-two others were hurt.

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A federal appeals court invalidated the Texas voter ID law this week. The controversial law is one of the strictest in the country, requiring voters to show one of seven forms of identification before casting their ballot. Despite the victory in court, the man who filed the lawsuit -- "Veasey v. Abbott" -- is cautious. 

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When President Obama stepped off Air Force One this week, a familiar face was there to greet him on the tarmac at Love Field. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was once again meeting the commander in chief while guiding his county through a crisis. Two years ago it was Ebola. This week, it was the deaths of five officers at the hands of a gunman.

Elizabeth Myong / KERA News

The top local story from the KERA today: President Obama's visit to Dallas to join his predecessor, an array of state and local luminaries, and a symphony hall full of law enforcement officers mourning five of their own.

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A week ago, British voters shocked the world when they voted to pull Britain out of the European Union. One of the clearest voices against what's known as "Brexit" visited North Texas this week.

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Britain will vote on Thursday whether to stay or leave the European Union. The fallout from that vote could have major implications elsewhere. UT Dallas professor Harold Clarke studies British politics and economics, and he explains what a ‘Brexit’ vote would mean for Texas.

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Neil Cazares-Thomas leads the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, which calls itself the largest LGBT congregation in the country. Just a few weeks into the job, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Last month, there was the debate over transgender bathrooms, and last weekend – the deadly attack in Orlando.

 

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The fallout from last weekend’s Orlando shootings has special resonance for Araf Hossain. He co-founded Alpha Lambda Mu, the country’s first all-Muslim fraternity, at UT-Dallas in 2012. Hossain’s now trying to launch a new project called Muslims Against ISIS.

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The mayors of Fort Worth and Dallas spent this week in Mexico, pitching North Texas to the country’s government and business leaders. Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump criticized a federal judge on CNN for his Mexican heritage.

KERA News

To the surprise of many, Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez this week announced he’ll retire after three years on the job. 

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Oil prices hit $50 a barrel last week for the first time in seven months. Prices have dropped again, and a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas wonders if falling oil prices will lead to bust in house prices.

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