Today is the first day of our spring membership drive. It may seem indistinguishable from every other week of the season and the year, since there's literally no time when we're not laser-focused on signing up new supporters, but this is a committed moment to deliberately and energetically make our pitch — and after all this time, it's a particularly good one. (It better be.)
Four-and-a-half years in, the mission of the Tribune is unchanged. We told you what you we planned to do and we've done it, and we're doing it still. Through the journalism we produce each day, the data sets we acquire, visualize and disseminate, and the in-person events we convene in big cities and small towns, through the access, accountability and transparency made possible by our robust reporting, we mean to educate as many Texans as we can about the work of elected officials, of state government and the impact it has on them, and about the intricacies of the issues in play.
That education is the first step in the path toward greater engagement, which we desperately need. Texas is nearly dead last in voter turnout among the 50 states, but the problem is greater than not showing up on a particular day to cast a ballot. Because of mostly noncompetitive elections, Texans have little reason to participate in our democratic system or even pay attention enough to know who represents them at the Capitol. Because of the decline in coverage of public policy, politics and government over the last decade, they have few places to go to get reliable information that allows them to be thoughtful and productive citizens; that allows this to be, generally speaking, an informed state. Who would disagree that an uninformed state, an uneducated state, a disengaged state, is a worse state? Or that an informed, educated, engaged state is a better state?
That's the basis for the shorthand articulation of our mission: Smarter Texans equal a better Texas. You've been hearing it a lot since we launched, and you'll hear it many times this week as we cast the membership net ever wider. We all have a stake in the future of Texas. By supporting the Trib, you're empowering your fellow Texans, and you're helping to create a community of everyday insiders. Give what you can today. Thanks!