about  /   archives  /   contact  /   subscribe  /   twitter    
Share this entry
Make this entry better

What are we missing? Is there a key link we skipped, or a part of the story we got wrong?

Let us know — we’re counting on you to help Encyclo get better.

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Key links:
Primary website:
Primary Twitter:

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit online news organization based in Austin, Texas, that focuses on political and civic issues.

The site was founded in 2009 by venture capitalist John Thornton and former Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith. Thornton raised $4 million in startup funds for the site, including $1 million of his own money and $750,000 in grants from the Knight Foundation and Houston Endowment.

The Tribune is also supported by about 3,000 donating members, as well as corporate sponsors and dozens of both free and paid public events, on which it was on track to make $1.2 million in 2013. The site started with 16 staff members, including 11 journalists (it had grown to a staff of 50 and 18 full-time reporters by 2014), and a $1.6 million budget. The Tribune was profitable for the first time in 2012. By 2011, the site had raised $3.7 million and spent $4 million. It had raised about $11.8 million in total by early 2012, with a budget of $4.2 million.

In March 2011 the Tribune and The Bay Citizen were awarded a $975,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to develop an open source content management system specifically for news organizations. It received another $1.5 million grant from Knight in 2013 to refine its business model. All told, the Tribune had raised almost $11 million through January 2012. It projected $4.5 million in revenue for that year and was profitable. As of 2014, just more than half of its revenue came from corporate sponsorships and live events, with another 17% from individual donations, 17% from foundations, and 12% from memberships.

In 2014, the Tribune launched TribTalk, an opinion website that is also home to the organization’s native advertising program. The Tribune also owns Texas Weekly, a small weekly online political newsletter founded in 1984. The newsletter brings in revenue to cover about 15 percent of the Tribune’s expenses, and Thornton has mentioned plans to launch similar specialty publications.

The Tribune publishes its stories primarily on its website, though they are also available free to other Texas news outlets.

The Tribune has been involved heavily in social media and data journalism, initiatives for which it earned praise at its launch. In May 2010, Smith reported that the Tribune’s databases were responsible for more than a third of its 5.3 million page views after six months. For 2012 the site reported 5.7 million unique visitors and 40 million page views.

About the Tribune

Interview with former reporter Elise Hu:

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Oct. 18, 2016 / Shan Wang
A changing of the guard at nonprofit MinnPost, a bright spot in sustainable, online local news — After nine full years dedicated to the site, MinnPost founders Joel and Laurie Kramer are officially handing over the reins today. The steadfast Minnesota-focused nonprofit, often named by observers of digital local news...
Sept. 28, 2016 / Ricardo Bilton
Collaborate or die: A new initiative wants to make it easier for national and local outlets to work together — If you want an idea of what it’s like to get news organizations to collaborate, try herding cats. That’s how Tim Griggs describes it, anyway, and he would know. Over the past ten years, in big roles at The Ne...
Aug. 1, 2016 / Shan Wang
The nonprofit Austin Monitor is trying to find the sweet spot for hyperlocal policy news — Publisher Mike Kanin and editor-in-chief Elizabeth Pagano, the only two full-time employees at the hyperlocal Texas capital news site the Austin Monitor, come back to one word when describing the site: wonky. “The ...
July 21, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
As oil prices sag, nonprofit news orgs are tightening their belts and watching their budgets — Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith says he begins every morning the same way. “The first thing I do in the morning before I brush my teeth, before I eat breakfast, is check the price of oil,” Smith told me. Oil pri...
July 8, 2016 / Taylyn Washington-Harmon
The Slack app Carebot is a prototype that seeks to help change how we think about analytics — If you work at a digital news organization, you’re likely surrounded by numbers: pageviews, shares, clicks. But how do you move past one-size-fits-all stats (and analytics programs designed more for brands and reta...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: May 15, 2014.
Make this entry better
How could this entry improve? What's missing, unclear, or wrong?
Name (optional)
Email (optional)
InvestigateWest logo

InvestigateWest is a Seattle-based nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative reporting on the environment, social justice, and health in the western United States. The site was launched in July 2009 by former Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalists. It has three full-time editorial employees, along with several contributors and interns, and it primarily syndicates its work to…

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
Some rights reserved. Copyright information »