The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government, and other matters of statewide concern. Our vision is to serve the journalism community as a source of innovation and to build the next great public media brand in the United States.
The Texas Tribune was co-founded by John Thornton, Evan Smith, and Ross Ramsey. John Thornton, our chairman, has been a venture capitalist in Austin for nearly twenty years, and he believes passionately in the potential of public media. Evan Smith serves as CEO and editor-in-chief, having spent nearly eighteen years at Texas Monthly. Managing editor Ross Ramsey was the longtime owner and editor of Texas Weekly, the state's premier newsletter on politics and government, which was acquired in July of 2009 by the Tribune. Emily Ramshaw, one of the Tribune's original reporters, was named editor in 2011, overseeing the day-to-day editorial operation and long-term projects. Our staff of 34 includes an impressive array of veteran reporters, young stars, and ambitious newcomers, plus some pretty terrific tech and business development folks.
We advance our mission in two principal ways: First, we report, write, compile, record, shoot, and post nonpartisan news and information online at our destination web site and in the pages and on the sites of our distribution partners, to which we provide content for free. We cover a full range of topics including education, health care, human services, immigration, border issues, transportation, water, the environment, criminal justice, poverty, energy—pretty much every line in the state budget. We also cover the major candidates and campaigns for high office, though we train our sights less on the candidates than the issues. Second, we present on-the-record, open-to-the-public events: a conversation series featuring elected officials and other newsmakers, an ideas festival, a college tour, and other mission-related educational and social events. The point here is that the in-person experience is itself a distribution platform, and once the event is over, the audio and video of what took place becomes content of its own available online on our site.
We launched texastribune.org on November 3, 2009. In 2010, our first full year of operation, our work was recognized with two Edward R. Murrow Awards for best use of video by a local news operation and for best Web site, as well as through a General Excellence Award from the Online News Association. In 2011, the site had 5.1 million unique visitors, 9.5 million total visits, and 40 million page views. Through a content partnership with The New York Times, we provide news, political reporting, opinion, arts, and entertainment coverage in expanded front sections of the Friday and Sunday print editions of The Times distributed in Texas. We partner with KUT Radio in Austin to provide radio journalism and collaborate with numerous Texas news organizations including 27 daily newspapers and 11 television stations.
As a 501(c)3 organization, The Texas Tribune is supported by individual contributions, major gifts, corporate sponsorships, and foundation grants. The Tribune also generates earned revenue from events and specialty publications. Contributions from the Tribune's launch campaign will subsidize operations through 2012. By the end of 2012, The Texas Tribune is forecast to be better than break even on $4.5 million in revenue.