You're only as old as you feel, right? If that's the case, then all of us at The Texas Tribune are happily marking our centennial. Because, trust me, it feels like we've been doing this for at least 100 years.
In truth, we turn 1 today. When we launched last Election Day, the amount we didn't know could fill a good-sized website. And it did. But the amount we've learned since then is as big as the freaking internet. It has been truly amazing to experience, in real time, both an evolution and a revolution in the media business — in the way content is produced and distributed, in the way commerce is conducted, in the way the tools of technology are applied to solve the problem of disengagment.
When we started, nonprofit online news was a novelty. Today it's enough of a vibrant, burgeoning industry that there are multiple conferences of editors and publishers committed to the nurturing of the emerging model.
When we started, we could only assert, without evidence, that people really do care about public policy and politics — about "this stuff." We're long past having to prove the theory of that particular case.
When we started, few believed there was enough in the way of philanthropy out there, individual and corporate, to support the operations of an organization that could successfully compete with the legacy guys: the big papers, the TV stations, the public broadcasters. Millions of dollars later, sustainability is much less of a stretch to contemplate.
We are proud and humbled and energized and elated and tired. We're going to celebrate like hell tonight, and then we're gonna get back to work. There are election results to pick over and a legislative session to prepare for and redistricting and maybe three special sessions and, soon after that, another round of elections, including, if we're lucky, a presidential race in which Texas and Texans play a role. We can't wait. Thanks for giving us the best seat in the house.
Two videos you should watch are posted below. The first was created by the Trib's Queen of All Media, Elise Hu, even before we flipped the switch on day one. Look how young we look! And mostly clueless about what we were about to get into. The second video was also pulled together by Elise, with the help of our secret-weapon multimedia producer, Todd "Todd-O" Wiseman. It's a compendium of numbers that add up to what has been, in our estimation, a fantastic first year.