One year of KSAT Explains: What we’ve learned about San Antonio in the past 12 months

34 episodes later...

SAN ANTONIO – One year ago, as the world tried to get a collective grip on the coronavirus pandemic, we launched KSAT Explains.

From breaking down a contentious and complicated police reform ballot initiative to exploring the origins of Mexican candy — we’ve covered a lot.

Since the beginning, we’ve tried to make KSAT Explains a place for viewers to find more depth, context and explanation about things happening in our community. It was an experiment we came up with, in part, because we knew a community with issues as complex as San Antonio deserved more exploration than a traditional newscast allows.

In the past year, we’ve put out 34 episodes.

In the course of producing this journalism, every member of the KSAT Explains team has learned something. Actually, we’ve all learned a lot. Because in the process of creating this show, we’ve realized just how much there is to uncover about this community we all call home.

So, to mark the anniversary, our team is sharing some of the biggest takeaways that have stuck with us since we launched in June 2020.

Producing this show for you has been a privilege for all of us. On behalf of our entire team, thanks for joining us these past 12 months.

- Lexi Salazar, KSAT Explains creator/producer

Behind every police shooting, there’s a family demanding answers.

In the year since we launched KSAT Explains, we’ve explored a range of topics that have impacted nearly every aspect of our community, but one that stands out for me was our in-depth look into body-worn cameras.

Police body-worn cameras have become such a vital part of the way we look at deadly officer shootings or any shooting that involves law enforcement. Our team examined the arguments for and against releasing police body cam videos and how it plays into a larger discussion of accountability and transparency.

But many times, we don’t pay enough attention to the families of the victims. In this episode, I had the opportunity to interview the family of Charles Roundtree, a Black teenager who was killed by San Antonio Police Officer Steve Casanova.

It was a powerful and emotional interview that I will not forget. In the process of putting the story together, we also were the first news outlet to show a new angle of the shooting from the body camera of another officer at the scene.

This episode had raw emotion from family members, a direct impact on the San Antonio community and an explanation of how our law enforcement agencies deal with body camera footage. For me, it was what KSAT Explains is all about.

- RJ Marquez, KSAT Explains reporter

San Antonio is home to one of the oldest public housing developments in the country.

We did an episode about the Alazan Apache Courts a few months after we launched our show. We talked about proposed future developments for it and the history of the courts. I grew up in San Antonio, had family that lived in the courts back in the day, and I went to Tafolla Middle School, which is right by the courts. This episode taught me that those courts are one of the first and oldest public housing developments in the country.

- Valerie Gomez, KSAT Explains video editor

The story of the Alamo is much larger than the myths surrounding the historic site.

The story I was taught in school about the Battle of the Alamo never sat right with me. To be fair, it’s been a minute since I’ve been a student, but I remember the retelling being two-dimensional — lacking depth and missing essential elements.

I know I’m not the only person who feels that way.

When we decided to focus an episode of KSAT Explains on the Alamo, we knew it would be a challenge. I don’t think we realized just how much we’d learn. It was a lot. But the thing that sticks out to me most is just how much the story of the battle has been co-opted by larger-than-life tales and myths.

There’s a consequence to this. Critics say the role Tejanos played in the Battle of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution is often glossed over. Historians agree that Juan Seguin and Lorenzo de Zavala were as important to Texas independence as people like William B. Travis and Sam Houston. And when we rely on half-truths to teach us about historic events, we don’t acknowledge how complex those events are.

The Battle of the Alamo isn’t a story of good vs. evil. It’s not even just a matter of one side against another. It was part of a larger war that was political, complex, driven by a lot of factors. The complexity of this war literally pitted brother against brother.

What we know about what really happened at the Battle of the Alamo is a better story than the one driven by myth. Because it’s real and it’s human. Learning about that story and being able to convey it to our viewers has been one of the many highlights of my experience working on KSAT Explains this past year.

I’m eager to learn more in the next year of Explains.

- Lexi Salazar, KSAT Explains creator/producer

San Antonio has a rich history and promising future as a major beer town.

I can’t believe it has been one year since KSAT Explains debuted.

Working with the team has truly been rewarding. I’ve learned so much about San Antonio and its rich history.

One of my favorite episodes is the city’s history and future as a brew town.

I learned that immigrants built the platform that allowed breweries and factories to succeed. And it all came about because it was cheaper for them to make their own beer. I respect that.

Breweries today put a spin on their beers but still find a way to incorporate that history. I love to see how breweries have transformed into family-friendly places. I can’t wait to see what developers do with the Lone Star Brewery.

It was hard to choose one episode. There are so many others that are my favorite because they challenged us and allowed us to educate people about the pressing issues in our city. It’s an honor to be a part of the team. Happy Birthday, KSAT Explains!

- Brina Monterroza, KSAT Explains executive producer

We’ve only just begun.

What topic do you want KSAT Explains to tackle next? (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

What I’ve learned during the last year working on KSAT Explains is that we have only scratched the surface of the stories San Antonio has to tell. Every time we embark on a new subject for a new episode, we learn more than we anticipated. Our city has a wealth of history, demographics and dynamics to explore. There’s plenty left to Explain!

-Myra Arthur, KSAT Explains host

Catch up on all 34 episodes of KSAT Explains here and let us know what we should explain next here. We’ll see you in a few weeks with brand new episodes.

About the Authors:

Myra Arthur is passionate about San Antonio and sharing its stories. She graduated high school in the Alamo City and always wanted to anchor and report in her hometown. Myra anchors KSAT News at 6:00 p.m. and hosts and reports for the streaming show, KSAT Explains. She joined KSAT in 2012 after anchoring and reporting in Waco and Corpus Christi.

Valerie Gomez is the lead video editor and graphic artist for KSAT Explains. Before starting at KSAT in 2017, she worked as a video editor for KENS 5 and KVUE in Austin. She graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a bachelor's in mass communication and is a product of SAISD and the South Side of San Antonio. She loves Jeff Goldblum.