The Texas Tribune has earned a lot of great accolades over the last nine years, but this one takes the cake: Today we learned we’ve won a Peabody Award, the nation’s premiere honor for multimedia storytelling.
The project that won is Hell and High Water, an interactive look at the terrible — and almost certainly fatal — consequences of a Katrina-like hurricane slamming into the Houston Ship Channel, home to the nation’s largest refining and petrochemical complex.
It was our most innovative collaboration yet, a partnership with investigative powerhouse ProPublica in which enterprising reporters and programmer-journalists paired science journalism with cutting edge technology and on-the-ground reporting.
Hell and High Water was ambitious: It included storm simulations based on complex data models; rich, deeply reported stories; arresting photography; and a lookup tool that lets Houstonians see how their own homes could be affected. Reveal, a public radio show and podcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, produced a show off of the project.
While we’re overjoyed to be honored by the Peabodys, we’re more grateful that the project sparked immediate results. A Texas senator introduced legislation in Congress fast-tracking plans to protect the area. Parts of that legislation were included in a measure signed by President Obama, one aimed at expediting needed reforms.
It’s purely coincidence that this Peabody news should land in the middle of our spring member drive — one of two weeks every year (OK, give or take a few days!) where we make an impassioned plea for your financial support. It’s not overstating it to say that we couldn’t produce these kinds of impactful, game-changing investigations without the dollars and cents you contribute to the cause. If you can give today — in honor of this great honor! — we’d be so thankful.