Happy birthday to us! Seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating our fantastic fifth, but today marks the sixth anniversary of our launch — and no one is more amazed and gratified that we’ve made it this far than we are.
Believe me when I tell you that all the way back in 2009, my Trib colleagues and I were at the top of the list of those who wondered whether a nonprofit, nonpartisan news org covering only Texas politics and public policy could thrive or even survive in this chaotic world. More than just the odds were against us. But we believed deeply in our mission, and thanks to an unwavering focus on it, plus hard work, good luck, great timing, and the generosity of thousands of people in Texas and out, we’ve built an acclaimed journalism operation with a sustainable business model that’s being studied and emulated the world over.
Nothing and no one is perfect, and certainly we can always stand to improve. In the newsroom, our default setting is "self-critical." But our daily and investigative reporting, our data analysis and visualizations, and our suite of editorial events consistently meet the very high standard we've set from day one. Hooray, at a minimum, for that.
As an augur of future success, 2015 has been especially hopeful: an enthusiastic pivot to old-fashioned investigative reporting with immediate, measurable impact; more collaborations than ever (in the last two months alone, we've partnered with the Austin American-Statesman, the Beaumont Enterprise and Texas PBS); more peer recognition than ever (three national Edward R. Murrow Awards and 2 Online Journalism Awards); meaningful growth in site traffic (up about 25 percent over last year); the most money we've raised in a single year ($5.8 million and counting so far, en route to $6.5 million or more); the biggest Texas Tribune Festival yet (more than 3,200 registrants and nearly 260 speakers); and a renewed emphasis on innovation in everything we do.
To be sure, we plan to top all of that next year, and in the next six years. Thanks so much in advance for the significant role you'll play in making it possible.