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The Dallas Observer's Best Stories of 2016

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It's been a big, dramatic year for Dallas. The staff and writers of the Dallas Observer have done our best to keep pace with the intense news cycle, bringing you perspective and reporting that you won't find elsewhere. We did a lot of good work this year; here's a sample of some of the year's highlights.

Aftermath: Dallas Regroups, Mourns and Looks Ahead After a Long Night of Pain
The city's defining event of 2016 was Micah Johnson's murderous ambush of five police officers in downtown Dallas. As the international press descended on Dallas, the Observer staff kept its focus on the people of the city we serve. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort, with the entire staff diving in to chronicle the way the city was coping with the trauma. (Not every newspaper enjoys music, culture and food editors with such news reporting skills.) Within days we produced this cover story, a proud and difficult feature of which we're enormously proud.

On the Record with Dallas Chief of Police David Brown
In February, Chief David Brown agreed to sit for an extensive question-and-answer interview with the Observer. The paper does not often hand so much page space to one person's words, but Brown's personal story, influence and impact on the city warranted such treatment. Months later, as the media hunted for information about Brown after the downtown police ambush, media around the world read and quoted from the interview to understand the police chief.

A Father Goes to Extremes When His Son Loses His Place on Pearce High's Basketball Team
Parents have been known to become involved as advocates for their children — it's part of the job description. But Steve Baxter went too far with his crusade to keep his son on the Pearce High School basketball team. We're talking about lie detectors and private eyes here.

Local 'Hoods, Global Fare: DFW's Best International Food Enclaves
There is a universe of food to experience in DFW. Our team explores North Texas in search of global culinary experiences in this mix of descriptive writing and service journalism.  

In Meeting With Landlords, Mayor Talked About Selling Land, Not Conditions

When columnist Jim Schutze gets his hands on recordings with Mayor Mike Rawlings that completely substantiate his reporting that he and the city daily newspaper deny, we run the unvarnished truth and watch the mayor (and the Dallas Morning News) squirm.

Post Malone Defies Critics in the Fight to Make His Overnight Stardom Last
It's not often that a Dallas artist breaks into the national spotlight, especially as quickly as Post Malone. Here, the Observer offers the definitive profile of the rap artist as he stands on the edge of continuing fame or one-hit obscurity.

Denton's Scandal-Prone Sheriff
Denton County Sheriff William B. Travis sat with the Observer to explain a past checkered with personal and professional trouble. After this carefully documented piece ran, Travis lost his primary.

The Strange Times of Allen Falkner, the Founding Father of Body Suspension

One man has made Dallas the global epicenter of the suspension subculture. Those involved hang from hooks in displays of art, sexuality and physical fitness. The sources, including rock stars and international "hookers," and the photos make this feature a standout.

Secret Military Tests Flying At Love Field
Our city airport is not just a place for commercial flights; the Navy is testing a secret new radar on sub hunting airplanes, the Pentagon exclusively confirmed to the Observer.

We Can't Sugar Coat the Bad News About Chicken Scratch
No food critic enjoys becoming a lightning rod by speaking ill about a favorite. But when the food isn't good, it's a matter of pride and professionalism. Here, Brian Reinhart keeps focus on the food and finds it lacking. 

What I Learned About Family and Firearms When I Inherited a Gun Store 
Not many personal essays about guns and gun control have the bite, depth and deft touch that Christian McPhate brings to this must-read. Those in search of a political diatribe look elsewhere. Those who want an authentic, thoughtful reading experience, read on.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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