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Nonprofit Online News Startup Texas Tribune Receives $750K In Grants

The Texas Tribune, a new non-profit news organization launched by former Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith, today announced that it has received $750,000 in grants a month before its Web site goes live. $500,000 was donated by Houston Endowment, a private foundation created by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse H. Jones, while the Knight Foundation contributed another $250,000.

Full release about the funding after the jump.

Earlier: From Texas Monthly To Texas Weekly: Evan Smith Picks Up Experienced Staff For New Venture



Austin, TX — October 1, 2009 — The Texas Tribune, a new non-profit public media organization, has received a total of $750,000 in grants from Houston Endowment and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, CEO Evan Smith and Chairman John Thornton announced today.

Houston Endowment, a private philanthropic foundation created by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse H. Jones, contributed $500,000. Knight Foundation, which promotes excellence in journalism worldwide, donated $250,000 to The Texas Tribune.

“Philanthropy has a role to play in funding ambitious public interest journalism,” Smith said. “These generous gifts will help the Tribune achieve our mission of promoting civic engagement and informed discourse through ambitious news reporting.”

Since late August, when Smith stepped down as president and editor-in-chief of TEXAS MONTHLY, several of the Texas Capitol’s finest young journalists, and a few veterans, have likewise made the leap to the Tribune. The foundation grants will make it possible for these writers and reporters to aggressively cover a wide range of topics, from health care to border policy, from transportation to energy, and to produce stories across a wide range of platforms: text, audio, video, blogs, databases, and the like. The grants will also make it possible for the Tribune to give away the content it creates to newspapers and other media all across Texas.

“The Texas Tribune has strong local support, as well as the potential to rise rapidly to a position of nonprofit news leadership in the nation’s second most populous state,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation’s president and CEO.

“The Texas Tribune is an ambitious effort toward an essential public interest — full and effective reporting on the workings of state government,” said Houston Endowment President Larry Faulkner. “The changing economics of journalism require invention. Houston Endowment is glad to support this important experiment.”

The Texas Tribune’s destination site,, will go live in November 2009.

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