Texas Tribune

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8 lesser known stories the Pulitzer committee should know about

Related: Roy J. Harris Jr. makes his Pulitzer predictions

National journalism awards have already sniffed out some exceptional journalism that no doubt will be top Pulitzer contenders: The Arizona Republic’s exceptional work investigating VA hospitals, The New York Times’ coverage of Ebola in Western Africa and The St Louis Post-Dispatch’s coverage of the Ferguson, Missouri police shooting and protests all have rightfully been cited as among 2014’s best journalism. But let me tell you about some other reporting in print and online that deserves your attention.

  • Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.17.52 PMOne of my favorite investigations of 2014 was “Subsidized Squalor” by the Center for Investigative Reporting and a host of partners. I loved the project from the first sentence, “There are 4,055 public housing agencies across the U.S., and we’ve spent the past year writing about one of the worst.” People living in Richmond, California’s public housing lived with rodents and sewage CIR created a unit-by-unit interactive graphic so you could see what was wrong in each unit.
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Knight Foundation finds nonprofit sites’ revenue rising but sustainability elusive

knight-nonprofitsThe Knight Foundation finds progress in the nonprofit news sector in its latest report, released today, with average revenues up 73 percent in two years at 20 outlets it has been tracking.

“But the issues are not going away,” Jon Sotsky, Knight’s director for strategy and assessment, said in a phone interview. “They’re still over dependent on foundation grants,” with many potentially in trouble if key grants are not renewed or replaced.

Today’s report, third in a series, includes a bonus — a comprehensive study of Texas Tribune, a leader among regional sites in developing diverse revenue streams which built to a $7 million annual budget in five years.

On the positive side of the ledger, the report finds:

  • Earned income increased from 18 to 23 percent of revenues over the two years.
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First Look seeks a publisher who can react ‘calmly to criticism’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories. (Please read the note below if you’d like to keep getting this email.)

  1. Second looks at First Look

    Andrew Rice's profile of First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar unspools the billionaire's animating interest in pandemics and Edward Snowden's revalations. It also catalogs the startup's awkward first steps. "The confusion inherent to any start-up has been exacerbated by Omidyar’s ruminative style," he writes. “I’ve never met Pierre in person,” Intercept reporter Glenn Greenwald tells Rice. (New York) | The NYT snagged a First Look solicitation for a publisher who can react "calmly to criticism and negative feedback." (NYT) | Related: Micah Lee writes about how he helped Snowden, Greenwald and Laura Poitras connect, and the dashed plans for a Snowden site called supportonlinerights.com.

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NYT ends partnership with Texas Tribune

mediawiremorningHappy Halloween! Here are 10 scaaaaary media stories.

  1. NYT ends partnership with Texas Tribune

    The Times told the news nonprofit that at the end of this year it will no longer produce a two-page section for the paper's Texas edition. "We hate to see the whole thing come to an end, but it's like that line from The Godfather: It’s business, not personal," Trib EIC Evan Smith writes. (Texas Tribune) | Interesting inversion: The Dallas Morning News' Sunday edition will include an insert produced by the New York Times. (NYTCo) | Related: CEO Mark Thompson wants the Times to be “unashamedly experimental.” (Nieman Lab) | 9 takeways from the New York Times Co. 3rd quarter earnings call (Poynter) | Only slightly related to that last related item: Rick Edmonds notes that Denise Warren is the third woman Times exec to leave in the past three years; Erik Wemple reported yesterday that the last woman on The Washington Post's masthead is leaving.

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How to build a news apps team (Hint: if you don’t have a lot of money, settle for scrappy)

It isn’t really a question of whether you need a news apps team or not. The question for most newsrooms is what kind of news apps team can you afford? And then, how can you keep them as long as possible, given your scarce resources?

Programmers and developers with journalistic inclinations are in high demand. They command good salaries and they tend to want to live in places where there is a vibrant tech industry.

That means big newsrooms with big budgets in big cities have a distinct advantage. So smaller newsrooms with smaller budgets must be realistic and strategic.

Emily Ramshaw, editor of the Texas Tribune, and Jonathan Keegan, director of interactive graphics at the Wall Street Journal, offered up tips and strategies this past weekend at ONA14 for building the best news apps team possible. Read more

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Texas Tribune’s biggest day was after Rick Perry announced presidential run

Texas Tribune
About 6.4 million people have visited the nonprofit news site — which focuses on public policy, politics and government — since it launched two years ago today. The day it attracted the most visitors (143,689 uniques) was the Monday after Texas Governor Rick Perry declared he was running for the GOP presidential nomination.

Metrics from the first two years:

On average, visitors view about five pages per visit. Read more

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NYT partnership ‘sort of a halo & a cloud’ for independent news sites

NetNewsCheck
Michael Depp examines the close, complicated relationship between The New York Times and three nonprofit news operations that provide local coverage for certain editions: Texas Tribune, The Bay Citizen and Chicago News Cooperative. While the partnerships have kickstarted the nonprofits’ operations and boosted their credibility, it’s tough to balance the Times’ need for content (they’re responsible for two pages, twice a week) with their own missions and editorial voices. The partners spend a lot more time on journalism for the Times than they get in licensing revenue, and they don’t get a cut of the money that the Times makes selling ads next to their stories. Times assistant national editor Jill Agostino sometimes has to fend off requests from within the Times for help on developing stories. Read more

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New Knight study identifies 3 surprising keys to nonprofit news business success

The Knight Foundation has a new study out this morning examining the business models for seven locally-based nonprofit news sites in their drive to achieve sustainability.

Focusing on high-profile ventures such as Texas Tribune and Voice of San Diego, the report, “Getting Local,” concludes that none of the sites are all the way to sustainability yet.  But they are well along and developing best practices that other geographically-based ventures can learn from.

The report identifies three “next-stage” opportunities, each with a flavor of paradox:

  • While the sites were founded in part as a reaction to declines in newspaper and other traditional media coverage, they do better if they set editorial goals beyond simply replacing what is gone. Engaging a specific audience and demonstrating social utility will be key to attracting continued and broader support.
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Texas editor on Perry: ‘What you’re seeing now is effectively who we’ve seen all these years’

Huffington Post
“He’s not dropping more g’s for effect. This is not a cowboy shtick he’s putting on display for a point of contrast against Romney,” says Texas Tribune editor-in-chief Evan Smith. Texas Observer executive editor Dave Mann adds:
“Even if the Bernanke line was a slip up, the Perry people won’t back down. They’re not going to apologize or show weakness. Of all the potentially controversial things [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry’s said and done over the years, I can remember only one real apology — when he said ‘Adios, Mofo’ to a Houston television reporter.” || Washington Post: Perry’s “facts” on climate change get a “Four Pinocchios” rating. || Earlier: Perry tries to stop reporters from following him on Twitter, and more stories from Romenesko’s archives. Read more

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