Today, we’re announcing a brand new product: Teach Me How to Texas, a five-week serial newsletter aimed at helping Texans learn more about how government works. Our first edition will focus on elections.
As a newsroom dedicated to motivating civic participation through civic education, we’ve always said that a smarter Texas is a better Texas. In 2018, we reaffirmed that mission through our strategic plan, adding the specific goal of “explaining and contextualizing storylines for Texans who’d like to be engaged in what we cover, but struggle to find a way in.”
Teach Me How to Texas is our answer to that charge.
Subscribers will learn interesting facts about Texas' past and culture, how different communities and regions in Texas vote, how candidates raise and spend money, how to spot a good poll from a bad one, and how to decode their November ballots. Not specific to 2020, this newsletter will give Texans the context they need to follow any election.
Teach Me How to Texas is also part of a larger effort to engage target audiences before, during and after launching a new product. A $25,000 grant from the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network has enabled us to experiment more with user research and marketing. After brainstorming what to cover in Teach Me How to Texas, we asked more than 400 Texans which topics resonated with them and applied those insights directly to the newsletter.
We’re using custom signup pages to reach audiences through targeted marketing and partnerships, and enabling community groups to share the newsletter with their networks in a more personalized way. We’re measuring the impact of the newsletter by asking subscribers to tell us about their perceptions of The Texas Tribune and elections before and after completing the series.
Do you want to get a better handle on the 2020 election? Are you a first-time voter or new to Texas? Teach Me How to Texas is here for you through the November 2020 election; sign up here. And don’t forget to share with your friends and family because a smarter Texas is a better Texas!
As always, let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, a huge thanks to the Texas Tribune team who worked to bring you this new series: Elvia Limón, Sarah Glen, Ross Ramsey, Amanda Zamora, Emily Yount, Emily Goldstein, Jacob Villanueva, April Hinkle, Natalie Choate, Ben Hasson and Daniel Craigmile.