Matt Largey | KUT

Projects Editor

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. He previously worked at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on many national radio shows. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including a national Edward R. Murrow award in 2013. He’s originally from Maine, but has lived in Austin since 2006. While it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.

Ways to Connect

A line of customers, spaced apart from one another in accordance with social distancing guidelines, wait to enter an HEB grocery store in South Austin during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The first thing you should know about contact tracing is that it’s time-tested. It’s been around for a long time — one of the original weapons in the public health arsenal for fighting infectious diseases. It was used before vaccines. Before antibiotics. Before we knew most of what we know now about infectious disease.

Businesses across Texas have closed and laid off or furloughed their employees as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Phone lines and the website to apply for unemployment benefits in Texas have been jammed for more than two weeks now. The Texas Workforce Commission says it has already processed more jobless claims since March 14 than it did in all of 2019. 

Construction workers work on a building in Austin last week.
Julia Reihs / KUT

When Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued a stay-at-home order last week, he laid out the “essential” businesses and activities that could still be done — as long as people maintained proper physical distance from each other. But there was confusion about whether construction projects could continue.

Many businesses have been shut down during the pandemic, forcing layoffs and furloughs of thousands of workers.
Julia Reihs / KUT

When Brian Biehl found out Wednesday that he’d been furloughed from his job at a company that makes software for restaurants in Austin, the first thing he did was take his dog for a walk.

“You know, [to] kind of assess the situation,” he said.

A construction worker at a building site at Trinity and Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin on March 23, 2020.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Click here to read this story in English. 

Cuando la ciudad de Austin emitió la orden de quedarse en casa la semana pasada, no estaba claro cuáles eran las implicaciones para el sector de la construcción. Algunas personas estaban confundidas, y muchos trabajadores continuaron iendo a sus trabajos. Pero, ¿pueden los constructores seguir construyendo? 

No - con algunas excepciones. 

A construction worker at a building site at Trinity and Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin on March 23, 2020.
Julia Reihs / KUT

When Austin issued its stay-at-home order last week, it was kind of vague about construction. Some people were confused, and plenty of builders stayed on the job. So, can builders keep building?

No – with some exceptions.

A delivery person carries Amazon packages to an apartment complex in South Austin. Mail and shipping services are considered essential under Austin's stay-at-home order.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has issued an order that requires everyone (with some exceptions) to stay at home and requires many businesses to close in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

A yard sign referencing toilet paper shortages in the Northwest Hills neighborhood of Austin during the coronavirus pandemic on March 20, 2020.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

There's no other way to put it: Things have changed.

We’re collecting stories of how your life has changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Tell us about your new normal.

The City of Austin banned dining in at restaurants on Tuesday,
Julia Reihs / KUT

With much of Austin's service and entertainment sectors shut down and the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic being felt across the local, state and national economy, people are being laid off.

Numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission show new unemployment claims between March 15 and March 18 were 11 times higher than the same period a year ago — 5,623 in 2019 vs. 61,541 in 2020.

Austin's first drive-up testing center for COVID-19 at Baylor Scott & White clinic in North Austin on March 15, 2020.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin public health officials say they've received about 1,000 COVID-19 test kits, acknowledging that there is still a huge gulf between the number of tests available and the number of people who want to be tested. 

Franklin Gardens near E.M. Franklin Avenue and East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is a city-owned property that has been made into affordable housing.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

****This event has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic****

Join KUT, the Texas Observer and the Austin Monitor for a live discussion about housing in Austin — why it’s so expensive and ways we can make it more affordable.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Do you have questions about the coronavirus?

KUT is planning a live, one-hour program aimed at answering your questions about the virus, its potential effects on Austin and Central Texas and what we can all do to help stop the spread of the disease.

In many ways, political reporting is broken. 

Horserace coverage. Palace intrigue stories. Candidates setting the agenda. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Early voting in the 2020 Texas primaries runs from Feb. 18 until Feb. 28, and before you head to the polls, make sure you know your rights as a voter.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Join Texas Standard, KUT, KVUE-TV and The Texas Tribune for a debate with the candidates running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. 

The top of the Independent in downtown Austin, as seen during the day.
Luis Perales for KUT

The top of the Independent (the Jenga tower, to many) has been the subject of debate since it was finished last year. Tonight, though, the building near the corner of West Avenue and Third Street will look a little different. 

Schmutz on a car door Friday afternoon.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Many Central Texans woke up Thursday morning to a delightful sight: a light covering of snow on roofs and cars. But after it melted, what was left was decidedly less delightful: a layer of grime on the car.

Hazel O'Neil / KUT

Perhaps especially in an election year, we need stories about bridging differences and seeing the world from another perspective. 

We're teaming up with the Austin Public Library Foundation for a storytelling project called Common Ground

Over the coming weeks, we’re inviting you to craft personal stories of overcoming differences with others — whatever that might mean to you — at one of a series of creative writing workshops.

Tim Miller, owner of Millberg Farm in Kyle, talks with KUT's Mose Buchele on January 22nd, 2019.
Julia Reihs / KUT

In 2018, KUT committed to tracking the gender, race or ethnicity, and expertise of the sources you hear in our local news reporting. We asked each source to tell us how they identify. The goal was to see how well we are doing in reflecting the diversity of our community — making sure we’re truly representing everyone in Central Texas.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Curious about the candidates running in the March 3 primaries in Texas?

Join KUT, Good Politics, MOVE Texas, USTomorrow and the Austin Monitor for a night dedicated to learning about the people who want to represent you (but in a fun way).

Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue bridge.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

This has been a big year for our ATXplained project. We answered more than 20 audience questions about Austin's people, places and culture. Here's a look back at some of the most popular stories we produced so far. 

Hazel O'Neil

TICKETS | Get your tickets here

Friends: Last year, our ATXplained project brought seven brand-new stories based on your questions to the stage.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

GET TICKETS HERE.

Friends: Last year, our ATXplained project brought seven brand-new stories based on your questions to the stage.

John Lawhon
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When Christine Hannon was getting married a few years ago, she found herself at her local post office on East Sixth Street a lot.

The Crestview neighborhood
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A state appeals court has declared some elements of Austin's rules governing short-term rentals unconstitutional, including provisions banning non-owner-occupied rentals and occupancy limits.

Defense Distributed had been in a years-long legal battle in federal court in Austin over the legality of publishing the plans online.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A federal judge in Washington state is overturning a settlement between the federal government and Austin-based Defense Distributed that allowed the company to publish plans for 3D-printable guns online last year. 

Nathan Bernier / KUT

Many Central Texas school districts have announced delayed openings this morning, as temperatures dip below freezing and ice has been reported on some roadways in the Austin area.

Georgetown resident Kalena Powell has our final Library Love Story.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Libraries can be many things. A place of learning. Of relaxation. Of belonging.

We teamed up with Austin's Library Foundation to collect people's stories about what libraries mean to them for a series called Library Love Stories.

In our last story, Kalena Powell tells the story of finding support throughout her life at her local library.

For Pat Sartor, the public library is a place of 'belonging'.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Earlier this year, KUT partnered with Austin's Library Foundation to gather your stories about what the public library means to you. We selected a few of the writers to come record their essays at KUT.

Today, we hear from Austinite Pat Sartor.

If you've ever thought you would have better answers than your elected leaders, here's your chance to prove it. 

KUT and the Austin Monitor are pitting a group of City Council members against their fellow Austinites in a test of knowledge starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the North Door on Brushy Street.

We'll also watch the Democratic presidential debate after trivia — so join us for drinks, trivia and debate watching!

RSVP here.

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