5 things we learned watching KSAT Explains in 2020

KSAT Explains dug into a range of topics in 2021. (Valerie Gomez/KSAT)

SAN ANTONIOThis was a year unlike any other. Find more stories wrapping up 2020 here.

Not a lot of good things can be said about 2020. But inspired by controversial, emotional, human and cultural stories, KSAT Explains was born.

Headlines have come at us fast all year. We saw an opportunity for a show that slowed down and provided more context to the stories we bring you throughout the day in our newscasts, online and our digital platforms.

For each episode, the KSAT Explains team picks one topic and goes exploring. The goal of the show is depth, analysis and perspective. Since July, we’ve released 19 episodes about topics ranging from San Antonio’s coffee culture to the future of transportation in our city. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the past six months:

1. Surveillance video, cell phone footage emerging as tool to hold police accountable

It’s a debate that’s taken center stage over the past several years. Should police departments release body-worn camera footage after they shoot and kill someone?

The question is part of a larger conversations happening across the nation and here in San Antonio. More people are calling for increased police reform, accountability and transparency.

In episode 17 of KSAT Explains, we take a look at the arguments for and against releasing footage from body-worn cameras, the possible drawbacks and how surveillance and cell phone footage is now playing a role in these conversations.

Watch the full episode here or in the video player below.

2. The color of your skin likely affects your health outcomes

Much of 2020 has been defined by the novel coronavirus. But there’s been another big story, one that some argue is another public health crisis.

In August, following a summer of demonstrations demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality, the City of San Antonio joined dozens of cities and counties across the country and declared racism a public health crisis.

In episode 15 of KSAT Explains, we take a look at how racism has shaped health outcomes, how the city plans to address the issue and what it means to treat racism as a public health crisis.

Watch the full episode here or in the video player below.

3. San Antonio’s West Side is home to one of the nation’s first public housing complexes, and it’s under threat

In the heart of San Antonio’s West Side, there is a community of 500 families living in one of the nation’s first and now oldest public housing developments. The roots of the Alazan Apache Courts run deep.

Generations of San Antonio families have been raised at the courts, but now it’s uncertain if the housing complex will see another generation or even another few years.

In episode 12 of KSAT Explains, we examine the current battle over the Alazan Apache Courts, their impact and the future.

Watch full episode here or in video player below.

4. For the second time in history, this hurricane season was so active we ran out of letters in the English alphabet to name storms

Wildfires burning in the western part of the country and an extremely active hurricane season: these two weather phenomena have become politically charged. Conversations about both have naturally turned into conversations about climate change.

But what role has climate change played in the fires and this hurricane season?

In episode 13 of KSAT Explains, meteorologists Kaiti Blake and Sarah Spivey explain why the answer to that question is nuanced.

Watch full episode here or in the video player below.

5. Mexican candy has origins that date back thousands of years

If you live in San Antonio, you’re probably familiar with at least some types of Mexican candy.

If you’ve ever been inside a Mexican restaurant, if you’ve ever been to El Mercado and even if you’ve ever been inside a bar, you’ve likely been exposed to some variation of it.

But while it has always been a favorite for some families, lately it seems that it’s become even more popular.

In episode 16 of KSAT Explains, we take a look at the history, the culture and the evolution of Mexican candy.

Watch the full episode here or in the video player below.