Last year, Texas Tribune readers made it possible for our reporters to spend months on the road telling tales of life in the state's shale plays.
The Shale Life campaign, a partnership with the crowdfunding-for-journalism site Beacon Reader, was so successful that we're trying it again — this time for a crucial series on Texans who have no access to clean drinking water.
For the Undrinkable project, environmental reporter Neena Satija and demographics reporter Alexa Ura are investigating why hundreds of thousands of Texans along the Mexican border — the vast majority of them low-income Latinos — still can't turn on the tap and get potable water, despite decades and billions of dollars worth of effort.
They're traveling to four of the state's most remote and marginalized communities, asking local officials hard questions about political will, failing government systems, environmental woes and cultural barriers.
And they're bringing along partners: everyone from talented Tribune photographers to video crews from Univision, which has committed to telling the Tribune's stories in Spanish and sharing them with a wider audience.
Beacon has had some great wins already: The Center for Investigative Reporting in California used the Beacon platform to raise money for a project on police and government surveillance; the Huffington Post used it to keep a reporter on the ground in Ferguson, Mo.
For Undrinkable, the Tribune is hoping to raise $3,000 in a mere 20 days — a sprint goal that will help cover reporter travel, data analysis and photography expenses ahead of a mid-March water symposium at Texas A&M University. (Stay tuned for more details on that!)
Check out our Undrinkable page to support this project, and to watch a video of our reporters describing the important and under-covered stories they hope to tell.