Thursday, July 15, 2010

Texas Tribune: "Lone Star Trailblazer"

If you're not on the Texas Tribune e-mailing list, you might not have seen the profile that appears in the latest issue of Columbia Journalism Review. Here's the link, and enjoy the read, courtesy of Jake Batsell.

The profile is notable for a couple of reasons.

One is the level of detail it offers in examining the challenges that face the regional nonprofit news organizations that have cropped up around the country the past few years. Batsell spent a lot of time with the Tribune's staff and leadership, and it shows. He picks apart the business model as well as he does the journalism.

Another is that the piece asks (and to the extent possible, answers) the right questions in the right context. For example, Batsell, like the leadership of the Tribune, examines on how the enterprise can be sustained for the long haul. (Answer: They still don't know, but they're adding to the playbook every day.) Questions about whether the Tribune harbors the economic and/or political biases of its funders aren't any more relevant here than they would be in a profile of a newspaper or magazine, and they're treated in the context they deserve.

One piece of news (at least for me) that got buried: The Tribune is talking to the New York Times about providing content for a regional edition, much like it has with the Bay Citizen in California and the Chicago News Cooperative.

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