We envision a Texas where every Texan is empowered with the civic information they need to become full participants in our democracy. We believe that a more engaged, better informed, more civically aware Texas will help bring about a healthier, better educated, more productive, more prosperous and more equitable Texas.
The Texas Tribune is the only member-supported, digital-first, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
About the Tribune
The Texas Tribune is based at 919 Congress Avenue, Sixth Floor, Austin, Texas 78701. Our main phone number is 512-716-8600. We also have journalists who live and work in Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, Lufkin, Odessa, San Antonio, and Washington, D.C.
The Tribune covers a range of topics including K-12 and higher education, health care, immigration, criminal justice, energy, social services, the environment, transportation, civil rights, rural issues and infrastructure — essentially all of the policy areas covered by the Texas government. We also cover the major candidates and campaigns for elected office, though we train our sights less on the candidates than the issues. To further our mission of engaging and educating all Texans, we provide all of our news and information to Texas newspapers, news sites, radio and television stations to republish for free. In addition to our news articles and investigations, The Tribune publishes explainers (articles that contextualize the news and breaks down how they work), live blogs (continuous updates on major breaking news stories) and analysis (factual reporting in which the journalist applies their expertise to put the news in perspective).
Each year, we host dozens of on-the-record, open-to-the-public live events — in our own events space, on college campuses, in community centers and everywhere in between — at which public officials, policy experts and others talk about the work they’re doing and various issues affecting Texans. Events are regularly available via livestream video for those who can’t attend in person. Following the conversation, we publish and archive videos online at texastribune.org. Our signature annual event, The Texas Tribune Festival, attracts thousands of attendees to downtown Austin to learn about Texas’ biggest challenges and to spark thoughtful discussion about solutions. Decision-makers, industry leaders and community activists from near and far come to take part in this nationally recognized three-day event.
Venture capitalist John Thornton founded The Texas Tribune and provided its initial $1 million in funding in 2008. Evan Smith joined as co-founder and CEO with Ross Ramsey serving as co-founder and executive editor, and the Tribune launched on election night of 2009. Today, the Tribune is recognized as a leader in digital-first journalism as well as a national role model for sustainability. In 2022, Thornton retired from the board, and Smith and Ramsey retired from the staff. Sonal Shah began as Tribune CEO in January 2023. Smith remains a senior adviser to the Tribune.
The Tribune is supported by more than 10,000 individuals who value our work and our mission so much that they support it with donations.
These Texas Tribune members are among our most engaged readers. To more deeply connect them with the Tribune, we offer a variety of perks, from an inside look at the making of a story after it’s published to discounts at The Texas Tribune Festival.
There is no minimum donation to be a member. Support from members helps ensure that our stories, multimedia projects, events and newsletters are available at no cost, with no paywall and that our newsroom has the resources it needs to pursue investigative projects and daily stories to cover the latest Texas news. (Donations of over $1,000 a year are considered major gifts and counted separately from membership revenue.)
As a nonprofit organization, the Tribune does not have an owner and is instead governed by an independent, volunteer board of directors who believe deeply in our mission and in the importance of public service journalism. They influence the direction of the organization, approve budgets and oversee the chief executive officer. Learn more about our board members.
The newsroom leadership team oversees editors, reporters, photo and multimedia journalists, copy editors, data visuals developers, audience engagement editors and other editorial staff. The newsroom is managed by the editor-in-chief.
Our ethics, sourcing policy and our commitment to accuracy
The Texas Tribune’s mission drives the values and guidelines set out in our code of ethics, which borrows generously from the policies set by other fine nonprofit news organizations like ProPublica, NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Exceptional circumstances may require exceptions to these rules; as our industry and the technology surrounding it evolve, we will continue to revise this code. We also adhere to the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (last updated in 2014), which calls on journalists to seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable and transparent.
Accuracy and Attribution
Our reporting on all platforms will be truthful, transparent and respectful; our facts will be accurate, complete and fairly presented. Our analysis will represent our best independent judgment, not our preferences or those of our sources. There will be no hidden agendas in our endeavors.
When we make a mistake — and from time to time, we will — we will work quickly to fully address the error, correcting it within the story, detailing the error on the story page and adding it to a running list of Tribune corrections. If you find an error, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tribune journalists will not republish stories, images or other content from outside sources without permission and credit. Plagiarism, fabrication and misappropriation of intellectual property are all grounds for immediate termination.
Tribune photo editors and video producers may improve the technical quality of photos and video or audio recordings, but may not alter the substance of that media. All photo illustrations, graphics or animations will be clearly labeled as such.
We will try our best to identify all of our sources, granting individuals anonymity only when the information is critical to the story, we are certain the source is reliable and there is no other way to obtain the information. Senior editorial leaders must approve the use of anonymous sources. We will not say that a person declined comment if they are already quoted anonymously. As much as possible, we will identify in our reporting any bias we know our sources have. Anonymous sources should know that the reporter will share their identity with a senior editor, who will also keep that information confidential.
Our journalists will never misrepresent themselves or mislead a source to get an interview or a story, and they will always identify themselves as journalists. They do not use hidden cameras or microphones, go undercover or pay for interviews.
Multiple efforts will be made to contact the primary subjects and sources of criticism in our stories.
Impartiality and Conflicts of Interest
At The Texas Tribune, there are no sacred cows; we aggressively pursue all stories we deem newsworthy. Editorial decisions are made by journalists alone.
Those who contribute to the Tribune do so with the understanding that we are only beholden to great journalism. Our fundraisers inform all potential donors —individuals, foundations, corporate sponsors, underwriters — that their contributions to the Tribune do not entitle them to preferential treatment or to relationships with newsroom staff, and in no way protect them from investigations or scrutiny. All contributions are listed by year and by amount, and are published here.
Our reporters play no role in cultivating financial relationships with major donors or corporate sponsors. Starting Feb. 28, 2014, stories that reference or quote a Tribune donor or corporate sponsor who has contributed $1,000 or more will include a written disclosure that conveys when those stories are picked up by other news organizations.
Journalists may not work on stories or projects in which they have a vested interest, financial or personal. They should avoid investment in companies or industries they regularly cover.
Journalists seeking secondary employment or freelance work to supplement their income must be cleared by an editor to ensure the work does not conflict with their responsibilities at the Tribune.
Top editors at the Tribune work with other divisions of the organization — including marketing, sponsorship and development — to help support, promote and enhance editorial efforts. From time to time, editorial employees may promote Tribune membership drives or fundraising initiatives on their personal social media profiles or be featured in Tribune marketing materials. They do this at their own discretion and are under no obligation to do so.
Editorial employees may moderate panels or speak at Tribune events underwritten by corporate sponsors, so long as their role is purely journalistic; sponsors do not determine the panelists, the subject matter or the line of questioning. Tribune journalists may speak at events hosted by other companies or institutions. Any honoraria must be paid to the Tribune — not to the journalist — in the form of a tax-deductible donation.
Tribune employees, contractors and interns will not accept any gift with more than a nominal value from any company, individual or institution that could have an interest in the Tribune’s reporting. We always pay our own way when traveling for editorial or business purposes.
All employees, contractors and interns with any responsibility for reporting or editing the news will refrain from partisan political activity of any kind, including making political contributions or displaying partisan signage.
Sponsorships and Advertising
The Tribune accepts corporate sponsorships, underwriting and, within permissible limits, advertising that does not compromise its editorial integrity. All such support, including “sponsor content” — the digital equivalent of “advertorials” in newspapers and magazines — must be clearly and obviously distinguished from editorial content. Any sponsor or advertiser messages that contain false or unlawful content, or that the Tribune believes undermines its integrity, mission or brand, may be removed at the Tribune’s discretion. All corporate support will be solicited by the Tribune’s business staff, and no sponsored content will be produced by Texas Tribune employees. Present and past corporate sponsors are listed by amount and by year here.
Paid content allows sponsors to reach The Texas Tribune’s well-educated, policy-minded audience through clearly-identified brand messaging in the form of written articles, videos or interactives. Readers will be able to easily identify that this content is paid for by a sponsor — all paid content is clearly labeled as “paid content” and visually differentiated to prevent readers from confusing it with independent editorial content. It’s the digital equivalent of “advertorials” you’ve seen in newspapers and magazines for decades. The points of view expressed don’t reflect those of the Tribune, and sponsors play no role in the Tribune’s editorial decisions. We do not permit political endorsements. Read our full guidelines for paid content.
Sometimes The Tribune seeks out content to be supported by funding from an entity — but this content is independently produced by our journalists and not approved or reviewed by the entity who helped to fund the work. This content will include a note that it was supported by another organization.
The Texas Tribune’s product is trusted news and information. Fairness, accuracy and context are what we aim for, with every article we publish.
We take many steps to ensure accuracy: We investigate claims with skepticism; challenge conventional wisdom; consult data to verify claims by public officials; and confirm information with experts. We are constantly assessing whether information is verified and trustworthy, and we try to make sure we never spread misinformation or falsehoods. We may share relevant components of a story with a primary source or an outside expert to verify them.
We stand by the information as accurate, and if it’s not, we will change it as quickly as possible and be transparent with our readers about the magnitude of the error.
Our journalists are expected to verify and double-check information through interviews, research, data collection and data analysis.
The Trust Project
The Texas Tribune is a proud member of The Trust Project, a global network of news organizations building Trust Indicators and working with technology platforms to affirm and amplify journalism’s commitment to transparency, accuracy, inclusion and fairness so that the public can make informed news choices.
Our commitment to diversity
The Texas Tribune is committed to including diverse sources in our coverage and incorporating voices that represent the state’s diversity of race, ethnicity, class, generation, gender, sexual orientation and geography. We believe the better we can reflect Texas, the more nuanced our journalism. Our journalists make an active effort to seek a variety of expert sources — that when looked at in aggregate — better reflect Texas.
Similarly, we are committed to hiring practices that promote diversity and make Spanish-language skills a greater priority among newsroom staff. Our organization and our editorial decision-making must more accurately reflect the communities we serve.
We publish our staff demographics annually. Here is the latest report. Below you’ll find the breakdown of our staff demographics. Women make up 57% of Tribune staffers.
We want to hear from you.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Have a tip? Want to report an error? There are a variety of ways to contact the Tribune — including secure and private methods. Listening to and engaging with our readers is an integral part of our strategy to ensure we’re serving Texans.
You can also email us any time at email@example.com. We’re happy to answer questions or receive feedback on our journalism, website, newsletters and everything else we do. Our main phone number is 512-716-8600.
We seek input from our readers in a variety of ways, including:
Social media comments and messages
Our texting service
Interviews with readers
T-Squared: The latest updates from the Trib
The Tribune periodically updates our readers on new hires, accomplishments, initiatives and more in our T-Squared posts. You can find the latest five posts below or go to the series page to see them all.
Latest in the series: T-Squared
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How we partner with other newsrooms
Partnerships are in the Tribune’s DNA. Our journalism is free to republish, with a few ground rules. Our articles appear regularly in Texas newspapers and are cited by Texas TV and radio stations.
The ProPublica-Texas Tribune investigative unit, launched in 2020, employs several reporters, including a researcher, a data visualization journalist and a community engagement reporter. It’s led by Zahira Torres, based in El Paso.
The Tribune employs journalists through a partnership with Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists into local newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered issues.
The Tribune and Votebeat have a partnership to cover election administration in Texas, including early and mail-in voting, voter registration and election security.