All posts by joshuaskinner2020

For North Texas, 2019-20 basketball will forever be a lost season

Joshua Skinner
Medill Reports

They were arguably the best basketball team in North Texas history. After starting the season 2-5, the Mean Green stormed to a 14-4 conference record and the No. 1 overall seed in the Conference USA tournament.

At the very least, they were guaranteed a spot in the NIT. At best, they’d clinch the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid in a decade.

Then, within hours, everything they had fought for collapsed under the crushing suddenness of COVID-19.

North Texas Broadcasters Hank Dickenson and Zac Babb relive a special season destroyed by forces beyond their control.

Photo Above: Inside a vacant UNT Coliseum, more commonly known as the “Super Pit.” (Zac Babb/MGRN Radio Network)

How COVID-19 is changing how restaurants do business

By Joshua Skinner
Medill Reports

With Texas’ stay at home order expiring on May 1, restaurants are slowly moving from curbside pick-up to allowing a limited number of diners.

New regulations laid out by Gov. Greg Abbott allow restaurants to operate at 25% capacity, even with new cases of COVID-19 popping up across the state. What does that mean in terms of how restaurants staff, plan, and operate?

Medill Reports was given inside access to follow the management of REM Restaurant Group as they went through an exhaustive list of safety checks for five North Texas restaurants.

Photo above: A staff member waits to deliver a curbside order at Rio Mambo in Fort Worth, TX. (Joshua Skinner/MEDILL)

Many Texas businesses will remain closed despite expiration of stay-at-home order

By Joshua Skinner
Medill Reports

With Texas’ stay-at-home order set to expire at the end of April, many businesses are preparing to operate in a limited fashion. Others have decided to remain closed for financial, liability, or safety reasons.

But on the journey to bring the state economy back to life, not all businesses are treated equally.

Photo at top: The front entrance of Youth and Lashes in Hurst, Texas. (Ian Katz/MEDILL)

Business as unusual: opening businesses and canceled school leave parents with tough decisions

By Joshua Skinner
Medill Reports

On April 19th, Texas Gov, Greg Abbott announced a series of executive orders. Among those were the closing of schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year and the gradual reopening of businesses.

The two orders have the potential to create a problem for parents, forcing them to choose between going to work or making sure their children learn their schoolwork at home. Luckily, there’s a law for that.

Photo at top: Daniella, 6, and Elia Martinez, 4, read schoolwork at home. (Lisa Martinez/MEDILL)

COVID-19: Stories from across America

By Joshua Skinner
Medill Reports

In this April 12-18 special report, COVID-19: Stories from across America, Medill Reports looks at how the global pandemic is affecting the lives of Americans both at home and abroad.

From Los Angeles to New England, Detroit to Dallas, to across the Atlantic Ocean, see how the coronavirus is changing lives.

Photo at top: A nearly empty lounge at Los Angeles International Airport (Michael Thomas/MEDILL)

We, Not Me: An introduction to democratic socialism

By Joshua Skinner
Medill Reports

Socialism might simultaneously be the most feared and loved ideology in the world. The mere mention of the word conjures up visions of utopia and the most horrific crimes of the 20th century.

When Americans hear the word “socialism,” it’s just as likely to convey images of famine and genocide as it is democracy and cooperation.

That’s beginning to change. An upstart political party, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is attempting to bring it’s brand of socialism to the United States, pitting itself as an alternative to both Democrats and Republicans.

A haven for American youth, the DSA has grown to over 60,000 members nationwide. But that number doesn’t reflect their political influence.

More importantly, nearly every account of the DSA isn’t through the eyes of its members, but from an outside perspective.

In We, not Me: An Introduction to Democratic Socialism, Medill Newsmakers breaks this trend, speaking with Chicago DSA members about their local and national vision, policies, and the best path forward for America.

Photo: Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to nearly 10,000 supporters at Grant Park in Chicago. (Joshua Skinner/MEDILL)

Texas legislators grapple with when to reopen state economy

By Joshua Skinner
Medill Reports

Coronavirus deaths in America continue to increase, but that hasn’t stopped some states from beginning to plan how to reopen their economies. Among them is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is preparing a measured plan to reopen the state. But some state legislators believe slower isn’t better, and shutting down the economy will be more harmful to Texans than COVID-19.

Photo at top: One of the many schools, businesses, and athletic facilities closed to the public. (Joshua Skinner/MEDILL)

The future arrives for last-place L.A. Kings

By Joshua R. Skinner
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings are running out of time to make a move for a Western Conference playoff spot. But if they are going to make an unlikely run to the postseason, a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday was a good place to start.

The win — just the third for L.A. in 2020 — was spurred by backup goaltender Cal Petersen, 25, and forward Austin Wagner, 22, who the Kings hope represent their future. Continue reading

Volunteer Coordinator supplies the heart of Community Feast Soup Kitchen

By Joshua R. Skinner
Medill Reports

Community Feast, a volunteer-run soup kitchen, has operated every Sunday in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago for the last 35 years. Unlike most soup kitchens, Community Feast serves restaurant-style meals, complete with seating and menus.

Volunteers are at the heart of that service, many of whom have given the Rogers Park area their Sunday evenings for more than a decade. Each of those volunteers is connected by Volunteer Coordinator Northa Johnson, who has refused to let time, distance, or health stop her from helping those in need.

Photo at top: Freshly cooked mealed meals have been a weekly staple at Community Feast in Rogers Park for over 35 years. (Joshua R. Skinner/MEDILL)