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Josh Hinkle watching a video during his presentation

OSU welcomes alumnus Hinkle for 35th Paul Miller Lecture Series

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Media Contact: Page Mindedahl | Communications Specialist | 405-744-9782 |

Students, faculty and staff of Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communications gathered in the Student Union Theater on Wednesday for the 35th annual Paul Miller lecture series.

This year, 2003 OSU alumnus Josh Hinkle spoke to students about expanding audiences, accountability and investigative impact in journalism. Hinkle is the director of investigations and innovations at KXAN in Austin, Texas, where he leads a 12-person national Murrow, duPont and IRE Award-winning investigative team. 

He also hosts and produces a serial investigative podcast — “Catalyst” — where he exposes societal problems and shortfalls in the systems that impact Texans. He has twice been named Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and also earned an Emmy as Best General Assignment/Spot News Reporter in Texas.   

Dr. Jared Johnson, SMSC director, gave opening remarks about the importance of the lecture series.

“Through this series, we honor the late Paul Miller, a 1931 OSU graduate whose career models the best of journalism. His creative journalism is held in high regard throughout the profession as an ideal all journalists must strive toward,” Johnson said. 

Hinkle then dove into a short video presentation of his team’s most recent marketing promotion, introducing the audience to Hinkle’s investigative team. His team produces between 250 to 300 investigations for KXAN each year. Recently, the reporters have taken notice of digital trends on their news website, leading them to shift toward a new way of relaying stories and information. 

“Audiences are accessing news and articles mostly on their mobile devices. They're not looking at it from their laptops or their desktop computers. They're doing it from their phones or whatever tablet they have,” Hinkle said. “That was important in how we started to tailor the platform and the investigation we were going to be telling. It changed the way we told our stories.”

One project Hinkle and his team have most recently worked on is a docu-series they released titled “Denied.” In the presentation, students saw a clip from the second episode where Hinkle’s team investigated the death of a Travis County inmate. 

The series covers a legal gap known as the “dead suspect loophole,” which gave police discretion to withhold information if a suspect died in custody. Because of Hinkle and his team’s passion for uncovering the truth, the law that allowed this loophole was changed in 2023, closing the controversial legal gap. 

“Real people and their personal stories matter. We knew that this wasn't just a project that was about our journalists or about the legislation that was happening, but it was impacting real people,” Hinkle said. 

He ended his presentation by discussing his team’s Catalyst unit. It represents a specialized division within the KXAN investigative team dedicated to pioneering digital-first narratives with the intent of igniting beneficial societal transformations. The team strives to make a meaningful impact by employing a multi-platform and inventive strategy for every endeavor, such as the KXAN “Catalyst” podcast. 

“Persistence matters. Sometimes, it's the only way to bring about change. That persistence is all about getting as many people to receive, listen and read the content that you're producing, which is why I love multi-platform and why we'll continue to experiment with it,” Hinkle said. 

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