Joy Diaz

Producer, Texas Standard

Joy Diaz has been a reporter with KUT on and off since 2005. Since joining KUT, Joy has covered education, healthcare and immigration. She is now a Senior Reporter covering the city beat.

Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to train workers in a telecommunications plant in Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke's NPR station WVTF.

Joy speaks English and Spanish, which is a plus in a state like Texas. She graduated from Universidad de Cuautitlán Izcalli in Mexico City with a degree in journalism. In 2008 she took a break to devote herself to her two young children, before returning to the KUT studios. She loves reading, painting and spending time engaging with the community.  

Ways to Connect

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The Standard has been following Courtney Meeks and William Welch since January. We’ve reported on their pregnancy, Baby Eve's birth, and search for housing.  

Kahron Spearman/Facebook

From Texas Standard.

Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Brent Thompson. Patrick Zamarripa. Michael Krol. Michael Smith. Lorne Ahrens.

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From Texas Standard:

Penalties for the vendor behind this year's botched state student achievement tests total $1.4 million and Texas education officials say the penalties are likely to rise even further for the screw-ups with this year's STAAR exams – computer glitches, missing materials, disappearing answers, lost test results, student information leaked sent to the wrong school districts.

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From Texas Standard:

If you’re the church-going type, you’ve probably heard hundreds – maybe thousands – of sermons throughout your life. You probably don’t remember most of them. But one recently caught my attention.

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From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story discusses details that may not be suitable for children.

Fifteen years ago this week, Andrea Yates – a mom from a Houston suburb – methodically and systematically drowned all five of her children. The kids ranged in age from six months to seven years old.

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From Texas Standard:

When it comes to kids and their well-being, Texas isn't doing a very good job. In fact, the state ranks very close to the bottom of the list – at 43.

That ranking comes from the latest "Kids Count" study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Texas-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, which looked at areas like education rankings and the number of children without health insurance.

 


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From Texas Standard:

In recent weeks there have been reports of the crumbling infrastructure of the state’s Child Protective Services – an agency responsible for the well-being of 12,000 of the most neglected and abused kids in Texas.

Hady Mawajdeh/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Former news anchor for the CBS Evening News and journalism great Dan Rather stepped into the Texas Standard studio this week, along with his grandson Martin Rather, to announce the inaugural winner of the Rather Prize. We asked them about the prize and spoke to Dan Rather about the future of journalism, presidential campaigns and more.

William Welch and Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story contains language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

In Texas, the law is pretty clear when it comes to who's responsible for reporting abuse or neglect – pretty much anyone who thinks abuse or neglect is happening. Often, that person is a delivery nurse or a doctor.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

If you're a regular listener to the Standard, you may remember Courtney Meeks. She's homeless and pregnant. When we met her in January, Meeks was standing at the corner of a busy intersection in Austin asking drivers for money. Back then, she thought she was really close to giving birth.

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From Texas Standard:

Maybe you’ve heard Texas Rep. Pete Sessions wants magic to be recognized as an official national treasure – the proposal made headlines, many of them a little snarky. But how could magic solve some of the state’s most pressing needs?

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From Texas Standard:

It's been a turbulent year for the state's Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). First there was the December court order by a federal judge in Corpus Christi – a sweeping and scathing order condemning what she called a "broken" foster care system, declaring it in violation of the Constitution and demanding a complete overhaul with a special master to be appointed to recommend fixes.

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From Texas Standard:

Applications for citizenship are surging right now. According to the Texas Tribune, not only is the number of naturalization applications from Texas on the rise – jumping 14 percent, according to the latest numbers – but also thousands of legal permanent residents, those with green cards, are lining up for help at citizenship workshops. Thousands more are holding up their right hands and repeating the naturalization oath at citizenship ceremonies.

Courtesy Kristopher Sharp

From Texas Standard:

As a child, Kristopher Sharp never knew what love was.

"I can tell you about the first time I felt I was loved," Sharp says. "This is after I aged out of the foster care system."

Sharp was 18 when he aged out. He was living in Houston. With no job and no skills, he soon became homeless.

 


Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard: 

I'm the child of an addict. However, it is a life I only know anecdotally. My father was cured before I was born. But the man in front of me is in the thick of it.

"It is a horrible life – look at me – I'm homeless, I squeegee windows at the red light. I spend between $80 to $150 a day (on heroin)," the man tells me.

He says he’s ashamed, and that's why he won't tell me his name. He says he's in his 30s but his parched skin and sunken cheeks make him look decades older.

 


Shaine Mata/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you were to ask me how much I pay for car insurance, I wouldn't be able to answer that. It's one of those things where once I set it, I forget it. 

But that's not so for Cristobal Garcia of Mission, Texas. He says to me in Spanish that his insurance costs $170 per month. Multiply that by 12 months and it comes out to $2,042 per year.

 


Flickr/Luis Romero (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

People in the U.S. sent $56 billion to their families back home. Yes, billion. Among the five countries that most benefit from these remittances is Mexico. But how does that work, with more Mexicans leaving the U.S. than coming in?

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

There's a new acronym Texans may want to memorize – PEI, or Prevention and Early Intervention. Instead of sending kids into foster care, the state is now aiming to prevent abuse and neglect altogether.

All the parents listening in: have you ever felt like you're not doing a good job?

Image credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Few things translate into all cultures and backgrounds. Homelessness is one of them. No matter the country, there are people living in the streets. What varies is how communities try to deal with the issue.

In Austin, Alan Graham has spent decades feeding and housing the destitute with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, the organization he founded. Today Graham will be named Citizen of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. And while you may not have heard his name, chances are you've heard one of his most well-known prescriptions for homelessness – building communities of tiny houses for the disabled and chronically homeless.

Image courtesy David Pilgreen

From Texas Standard:

The company that prints new voter registration cards is probably busy this time of year. There are tons of new eligible voters in 2016. Data from the 2010 Census tells us 7 million Texans were under 18 six years ago. Many of those people are now eligible to vote this time around.

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