Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
One month ago, I took the reins as CEO of The Texas Tribune, beginning what I hope will be a season of growth for me, the team and our statewide news organization. In my short time with the Tribune, I’ve been moved to see the staff’s dedication to our readers, members and supporters, and the power of our journalism to inform and engage the people of Texas.
I have already had the pleasure of meeting some of you at our events, and I look forward to meeting even more Tribune readers, members, donors and sponsors through the year as we continue to host conversations on issues that affect everyday Texans. In January, the Tribune hosted three public events, bringing important conversations to attendees in person and online, with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, a slate of freshman representatives from the Texas House and Austin Mayor Kirk Watson. And we are already preparing to hit the road in a big way as part of our statewide event series.
What is a T-Squared post?
A T-Squared post is a blog post from The Tribune to share news or information about the organization with our readers. We use T-Squared posts to inform our readers of new hires, partnerships, shifts in strategy and grant insights into our process.
One of the most important relationships at the Tribune is my partnership with our editor-in-chief, Sewell Chan, who oversees our newsroom and editorial operations while I run the business and strategy of the Tribune. Sewell is recognized throughout Texas and beyond for his visionary editorial leadership. He has guided our newsroom through coverage that has brought context and accountability around incredibly difficult issues such as the tragic school shooting in Uvalde and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Over the past month, I have embarked on a staffwide listening tour, getting to know our managers and individual contributors personally and professionally, learning about their work and asking a litany of questions along the way. I have a profound appreciation for the complex and important work each person at the Tribune does on behalf of Texans. Based on my early conversations, one of the first decisions I made as CEO was promoting our chief communications officer, Natalie Choate, who has been with the Tribune since 2011, to chief operating officer, empowering her to develop greater organizational efficiency, improving our employee experience and helping us make progress on our strategic plans and priorities.
Moving forward, my listening tour continues as I take to the road to meet with the Tribune’s external partners and political and policy leaders in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and across the state. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the good people who have contributed to our success so far. I look forward to talking with more Texans about how we can better serve them with helpful news and information and inspiring stories of community.
One thing that isn’t changing is the Tribune’s unwavering mission to bring Texans fair and trustworthy coverage of their state government and the people who run it. Our newsroom has been busy covering the new legislative session in Austin, as well issues affecting our communities throughout the state, including the lack of access to maternity care for pregnant East Texans, the state’s troubled foster care system and needed resources for the electric grid.
Why does this matter? Because democracy matters. A recent Texas Lyceum poll found erosion in Texans’ faith in democracy, with 68% of Texans agreeing that democracy is the best form of government — a drop of 14 percentage points from 2019. Texans deserve better. We will continue to do our part in providing free, reliable, credible and trustworthy journalism, data features and public events. We will continue telling the stories of how policies affect our communities and holding government to account — making sure our government delivers on its promise.
In my career and in this moment, there is no more important mission than The Texas Tribune’s. Texas is changing quickly. Our politics and policies are influencing other states and our country. Our state represents the diversity of the America we are and the America we are becoming. What we do here matters for Texas and for the rest of the nation. We have a responsibility to our communities, to our state, to our country and to you to provide fair information about the impact of Texas policy and politics.
The Texas Tribune is well into its second decade, but in many ways we’re just getting started.
Disclosure: The Texas comptroller of public accounts and Texas Lyceum have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.