When talk turns to nonprofit journalism success stories, a few names tend to pop up—and the Texas Tribune is usually one. Launched in 2009, the Austin-based news outlet now boasts $6.5 million in annual revenue, a staff of nearly 60 people, and a steady stream of awards and accolades for its coverage of Texas politics and government. Today, it’s no surprise to see other nonprofit startups try to emulate the Tribune.
But the Tribune’s ambitions have always been lofty, and so its success has always been shadowed by the question of what its ceiling is: How far can the Tribune extend its reach beyond the political class in the state capital, while maintaining its focus? And what is the right target audience for the Tribune’s coverage, anyway?