Director of Investigations & Innovation / Political Host
Josh Hinkle is KXAN’s Director of Investigations & Innovation, leading the station’s 10-person duPont and IRE Award-winning investigative team on multiple platforms. He also leads KXAN’s political coverage as the executive producer and host of “State of Texas,” a weekly program – and companion podcast – focused on the Texas Legislature and elections, seen in 14 markets statewide. His work on the show has been honored three times with the national Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism in 2015 for coverage of the women’s health debate, in 2017 for an exposé on border security funding, and in 2019 for an investigation into financial questions surrounding Texas’ oil and gas regulators. The show has also earned nine Emmys for politics and public affairs programming.
In 2018, the Society of Professional Journalists selected “Fallen,” an investigative documentary Josh produced about fatal police shootings and officers’ mental health training, as the recipient of the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Documentary. The same year, “DENIED,” an investigative project he produced about police transparency during in-custody death cases, won an Emmy for investigative series. In 2019, he launched the station’s first podcast series, “Catalyst,” which accompanies the multi-platform investigations “Mayberry Texas” about flaws in the state’s missing persons system, “A History of Mass Violence” about four decades of mass shootings in Texas, and “Dead & Undone” about people dying in police custody – the latter of which earned an Emmy for journalistic enterprise and was recognized nationally with a special citation among the News Leaders Association’s First Amendment Awards in 2021. “Mayberry Texas” was also a national finalist for an Online Journalism Award and Emmy winner for journalistic enterprise in 2019. The inaugural season of “Catalyst” won a National Edward R. Murrow Award in the podcast category in 2020, while a collection of “KXAN Investigates” digital projects Josh led also won a national Murrow in the multimedia category that same year.
In 2020, Josh and his team also debuted a digital-first investigation called “Locked in Limbo,” which highlights mental competency challenges among Texas inmates. It was honored with two Emmys that year for investigative series and journalistic enterprise and was named a Scripps Howard Award national finalist and a Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting national semi-finalist. In addition to its own podcast season, that project featured a solutions journalism approach to storytelling – a concept Josh has helped implement at KXAN and Nexstar through initiatives like 2019’s “Save Our Students: Solutions for Wellness & Safety” – which was the national recipient of Mental Health America’s Media Award and was a finalist for the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation’s Service to America Award – and 2020’s “Pandemic PASS or FAIL: Solutions for Education Equity” – a nationwide project focused on the coronavirus and its disproportionate impact on some students.
In 2021, Josh and the investigative team continued their research into mental health issues in Texas jails, launching “Mental Competency Consequences” after receiving a national fellowship and partnering with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. The project highlighted untracked deaths on the state hospital waitlist, prompting officials to begin re-examining how they collect information and the impact of a record backlog. It was honored with a national Murrow in 2022 for “Excellence in Innovation,” along with two other wins – another collection of “KXAN Investigates” projects in the digital category and an update episode to the fourth season of “Catalyst” in the podcast category, which featured Josh testifying before state legislators about law enforcement transparency challenges. That same year, a multi-platform collaboration, “Justice for Some,” Josh produced with the Texas Observer to examine public corruption won an Emmy for journalistic enterprise.
Josh was named Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters in both 2012 and 2013 and also earned an Emmy as Best General Assignment/Spot News Reporter in Texas. Before coming to Austin, Josh worked as a reporter, anchor and producer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Columbia, Missouri; and Oklahoma City. In his career, he has received multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards and Emmys, plus several other honors from: Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, National Headliner Awards, Columbia University, Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the News Leaders Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Online News Association, the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation, the Constructive Institute, the Headliners Foundation of Texas, the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, the State Bar of Texas, the Dallas Bar Association, the Texas State Teachers Association, the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters, the Iowa Associated Press, the Iowa Broadcast News Association, the Missouri Broadcasters Association, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
He serves on the board of directors for both Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas (FOIFT). He also sits on the Solutions Journalism Network’s advisory council and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). Josh earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish from Oklahoma State University, then his master’s degree in journalism and public policy from the University of Missouri. Josh teaches broadcast journalism at St. Edward’s University in Austin. He has also guest-lectured at the University of Texas and the University of Missouri, in addition to hosting multi-platform, investigative and political coverage workshops for the Texas Association of Broadcasters. He has also spoken at conferences and other events for the Investigative Reporters & Editors organization, the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, the National Press Photographers Association, the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Solutions Journalism Network, the Online News Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, and the Constructive Institute.
Originally from Oklahoma, Josh loves spending time with friends and family. When he is free, he enjoys watching movies, traveling and exploring the Austin area with his Boston Terriers – Betty Blue and Bonnie Blue.