As I write this, we're six weeks from the first anniversary of our launch. On November 3, 2009, we flipped the switch on the Trib, and many of you were there with us: founding members who gave us at least $50 for year one in support of the then-untested idea that deep-dive nonpartisan reporting on statewide issues was the route to smarter Texans and a better Texas. Whether you signed on when we announced our intentions in late July of '09 or sprinted in under the wire in the wee hours of November 2, you earned your founder's status, and you enjoyed the meager benefits we could afford to offer from that day forward — along with the much more valuable knowledge that you helped to create an innovative new model for public interest journalism.
Can we count on you again?
November 3, 2010, is the day when we reset the membership clock to zero, when anyone who's been with us for a year or more needs to stand with us again to remain an active Trib member. There are a bunch of good reasons to re-up.
First and foremost, of course, the dollars you generously contribute pay for the Trib's operations — for reporters' salaries, for state-of-the-art technology, for the modest costs of running a nascent nonprofit news operation on the cheap. It would be grand if there were no expenses associated with making Trib content magically appear each morning, but there are.
Second, our benefits are way better this time around. Among the goodies that are perks of membership at certain levels: a digital subscription to Texas Monthly, an invitation to an end-of-year cocktail reception and discounted ticket prices at paid events.
Third, and maybe most important, as we careen toward Election Day and then into the 82nd legislative session, the community we're creating — of insiders, near insiders, wannabe insiders and jus' folks who care about our present and future — is one you want to be part of.
Every day, all day, a conversation is going on in Texas, and it impacts your life and the lives of your loved ones. Whether you hail from a big city or a small town, whether that town has a newspaper or not, whether that newspaper has Capitol coverage or not, this stuff matters. Roads matter. Public education matters. Higher ed matters. Energy matters. Demographic change matters. These and other big issues are being talked about, chewed over, inspected and dissected by the opinion leaders and shapers. By signing up again as a member of the Trib — by inviting us to communicate with you by email and through social media and to engage you with audio, video, text, data, polling, blogs and discerning aggregation of other people's content — you get to join them. You get to be just as wise as any lobbyist, any staffer, any elected denizen of that pink building. You get to be one of those precious few in the know. And you get to parade the flag of civic engagement and civil discourse before your friends and neighbors.
Please take a moment to renew your membership — or if you haven't been with us, to sign up for the first time today. Do it for yourself. Do it for the Trib. But mostly, do it for this great state of ours.