Introduction

The Texas Tribune was conceived as part of the solution to the decline of public service journalism in Texas and as a new way to provide this essential public good — the news and information required to engage and educate Texans about the big issues affecting us all: public education, health care, transportation, immigration, energy and the environment.

The Texas Tribune is an established leader in the field of journalism as a digital-first news site, devoted to promoting civic engagement through data applications, statewide events and enterprise reporting on a range of topics, including public and higher education, health and human services, the economy, immigration, border issues, transportation, criminal justice and the environment. The Tribune emphasizes 21st-century storytelling, from traditional narrative stories and audio slideshows to multimedia packages, interactive maps and databases of public information. We’ve expanded into new visual and interactive platforms with bureaus in Washington, D.C., on the Texas-Mexico border in Dallas, and Houston. According to a Pew Research Center report, the Tribune has the largest newsroom covering a state capital anywhere in the country (for-profit or nonprofit, digital or legacy). We've won a Peabody and twenty-two national Edward R. Murrow awards. We're known as the leader in public service journalism in the United States.

Since its start, the Tribune has grown from a niche publication favored by legislators and lobbyists to the state’s authoritative source on Texas politics and policy. Our website currently attracts an average of more than 5 million people each month — — and thousands of others consume our journalism in their local newspapers, on their local newscasts, through social media and via Tribune’s statewide events.

To further encourage statewide engagement, the Tribune provides all of this content for free to more than 60 statewide print, radio and television news organizations — so readers, listeners and viewers in big cities and small towns have equal access to information. Partnerships with Apple News, The Washington Post, as well as other national outlets, puts our content before a nationwide audience of citizens, lawmakers and stakeholders. The unique opportunity to republish Tribune content at no charge places The Texas Tribune in front of media of all sizes who are following Tribune content day in and day out.

For anyone who cares about politics and public policy in Texas, specifically our legislators, key stakeholders and influencers, we are the first and most important read — a trusted source of news and information worthy of our beloved home. The Tribune is more committed than ever to this public-service mission. Through the journalism we produce, the datasets we disseminate, and the in-person gatherings we convene in big cities and small towns, we aim to inform and engage as much of the state as we can about the issues facing Texans and the consequences of decisions made in their name by elected officials.

As a 501(c)3 organization, the Tribune is supported by individual contributions through memberships and major gifts, corporate sponsorships and foundation grants. Since 2009, the Tribune has had more than 21,608 contributing members and 1170 corporate sponsors, as well as an active major gift and grant program. The Tribune also generates earned revenue from events and specialty publications. According to the Pew Research Center, we operate the largest statehouse bureau in the country.

Our Mission

to promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.


Our Vision

to build the next great public media brand in the United States.

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Differentiation

Although commercial models for delivering news and information are under tremendous pressure, the level of “media clutter” seems only to increase. We are keenly aware that breaking through that clutter is perhaps the central challenge we face in making TexasTribune.org a success. What sets us apart:

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Not Just News – Knowledge

Our website is built from scratch as a “digitally native” public service. Advances in technology provide unparalleled opportunities for educating the public. Original reporting is married to the newest online presentation and visualization tools. Our site also includes highly curated news aggregation from other sources, polling, blogging, columns, commentary and an ever-growing lineup of searchable databases that numbers more than 100. Citizens and other journalists already see the Tribune as the authoritative source of data on a wide range of topics such as voting records, campaign finance, public school quality and public employee compensation.

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Objectivity & Nonpartisanship

We believe that the serious-minded public is fed up with the “echo chamber” structure of the news media and is hungry for a trusted news source. Objective journalism sets the tone for the Tribune and differentiates us in a crowded media universe. As a 501(c)3, the Tribune has opted out of specific candidate or issue endorsements.

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Culture of Experimentation

Although the Tribune is not a technology company, a component of our mission is to experiment constantly with the ever-growing arsenal of tools at our disposal to make the reader experience ever more engaging.

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Voice

Serious-minded and dull are not synonymous. We reject the idea that reporting in the public interest must be boring, or that reporters on serious topics must be stripped of their authorial voice. Reporters can have distinct personalities without compromising their objectivity. The best magazines have proved this over time, and the Tribune will as well.

Focus
Subject Focus

What the Tribune does not cover is almost as important as what it does. Since we are not a paper of record and do not attempt to reach a mass audience, we do not chase the “story” of the moment. Instead, we focus on reporting the issues that matter to Texans with a comprehensiveness and depth that aren’t found elsewhere: water, transportation, criminal justice, health care, public education, energy and immigration.

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Youth

Our team members are digital natives, and our site is designed with the news-consuming habits of a young public in mind. Effective leverage of social networking tools is key to our success with a younger audience. We are also conducting a college outreach program on a scale that has never been mounted by a journalistic enterprise in Texas.

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Leveraged Distribution

In syndicating our content at no cost to other news outlets, we believe we will advance the goal of ubiquity very rapidly and cost effectively. It matters not to us whether a reader encounters our content on our site, in a public radio interview with one of our reporters or in The Facts of Brazoria County.

2020 Awards

Peabody Award

Peabody Awards

Nominee, "Border Hustle (with TIME)"

2016 National Edward R. Murrow Award

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

Continuing coverage, Inside Texas’ botched voter-rolls review
Hard news, Border Hustle (with TIME)

society of professional journalists award

Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter

Investigative reporting, Texas Voting Rights
Green news, Captured by Coal (with Grist)

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