We launched The Texas Tribune exactly four weeks ago, having conceived and executed the thing at breakneck speed, and let me tell you: We’re honored to be slogging away on behalf of our beloved state. We’ve broken news (about a Democratic defection, a powerbroker’s retirement, and the withdrawal of the Democrats’ gubernatorial frontrunner), produced deep-dive reporting on big public policy issues that you won’t find elsewhere (the broken border, unregulated payday lenders, the use of physical restraints by school districts) told the most important stories going through audio and video and other web-centric platforms, published more than a dozen searchable databases (public employee pay, gubernatorial appointees, state ethics fines), pushed our content through social media and our network of print, online, and broadcast syndication partners, and released the first of our proprietary polls on the 2010 races and the issues that matter to Texans — in the process, turning the Capitol community on its ear. We've also basked in the glow, sometimes a bit too bright, of press coverage from around Texas, across the country, and around the world.
We're just getting started. There's so much more that we want to do — new features and functionality, innovations in content creation and presentation, tweaks to the fundraising model, technological advances that have the potential to benefit all non-profit journalism sites — and we can't wait to do it. In time, we know we can accomplish great(er) things.
The feedback we've been receiving, not all of it kissy-face positive, has been very instructive and much appreciated; it's made the site better in ways that everyone can see. Please keep those cards and letters coming, as what our high-priced developers call "user interface" is the whole ballgame. The financial support, meanwhile, has been overwhelming and humbling. We are well beyond the goals we set for members, major donors, corporate sponsors, foundation funding, and total money raised. But of course it's not enough — it never is. Our grand plans require that we continue to feed the kitty, so we're intensifying our solicitations of generous folks everywhere to enable our most ambitious efforts. (That includes you. If you haven't donated to the Trib, and even if you have, might we suggest a year-end, tax-deduction-qualifying gift?)
Next up, we unfurl our events strategy, which kicks off with the first installment of The Texas Tribune Conversation Series on the morning of January 8, at the Austin Club. Precise details to come, but know this: (1) it's free to attend and on the record, (2) we're providing breakfast, (3) we'll be taping the event — thanks, Elise! — for our site and for a podcast on iTunes, (4) there will be audience Q&A with the guest, and (5) said guest, in the inaugural hot seat, is Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who has kindly agreed to be interviewed by yours truly.
To all of you who've taken a shine to us, great big thanks. Stick with us as we tackle the next four weeks. If the first four are any indication, it should be a hell of a good time.