The Texas Tribune and ProPublica today announced the forthcoming launch of a jointly operated, 11-person investigative reporting unit serving Texas — an initiative that will invest more than $1.6 million a year into critical accountability and watchdog journalism.
The investigative unit, which will be based in the Tribune’s Austin newsroom but will power the platforms of both organizations, will begin publishing in early 2020. Recruiting for the team’s senior editor begins today, with the rest of the journalists to be hired shortly.
The full team will consist of a senior editor, five reporters, a research reporter and a producer on the staff of ProPublica and a data visuals reporter, engagement reporter and development associate on the staff of the Tribune. All but the producer will be based in Austin; the producer will work out of the ProPublica newsroom in New York.
The initiative is being supported by a five-year commitment of $5.75 million from Houston-based Arnold Ventures. Additional support at launch comes from the Energy Foundation, the Catena Foundation, the Charles Butt Foundation, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, and attorneys Marc Stanley and Mikal Watts.
“No state is more in need of watchdog reporting than Texas,” said Evan Smith, the Tribune’s CEO. “It’s a target-rich environment if you’re in the business of holding people in power and institutions accountable, but the human and financial resources available to realize this worthy mission are always inadequate. Teaming up with ProPublica, the very best investigative journalism org in the country, expands the limits of what’s possible and will serve the public interest in ways that make our state better. This is a big win for all Texans.”
“ProPublica is deeply committed to local as well as national reporting, and the stories and issues in Texas are among the nation’s most compelling,” said Richard Tofel, president of ProPublica. “We’re thrilled at the opportunity to dig into them in partnership with our friends at The Texas Tribune, the country’s leading nonprofit statehouse news operation. We’re confident that the result will be more investigative journalism that spurs needed reforms.”
“We are delighted to support this endeavor, which brings together two of our most accomplished and tenacious grantees, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune,” said Laura Arnold, co-founder of Arnold Ventures. “Texas is a big state and it needs big journalism to look under each cactus and behind every skyscraper.”
About The Texas Tribune
The Texas Tribune is an independent, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to engaging and informing Texans on politics, public policy and matters of statewide concern. It is read by nearly 2 million people each month, hosts more than 50 editorial events around Texas each year and has more journalists covering state government than any newsroom in the country. To further its pursuit of statewide engagement, the award-winning Tribune provides all of its content for free to print, radio and television news organizations throughout the state of Texas.
ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. With a team of more than 100 dedicated journalists, ProPublica covers a range of topics, focusing on stories with the potential to spur real-world impact. Its local initiatives include ProPublica Illinois, a 12-person newsroom based in Chicago, and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network, which funds and jointly publishes yearlong projects, currently with 21 local news organizations around the country. Since it began publishing in 2008, ProPublica has received five Pulitzer Prizes, five Peabody Awards, three Emmy Awards, seven George Polk Awards and five Online News Association Awards for general excellence.
About Arnold Ventures
Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy dedicated to improving lives through evidence-based solutions that maximize opportunity and minimize injustice. Arnold Ventures invests in sustainable change, building it from the ground up based on research, deep thinking and a strong foundation of evidence. With more than 100 employees in Houston, Washington, D.C., and New York City, Arnold Ventures focuses on criminal justice, health, education and public finance.