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Texas Trib turns 10; cause for joy? Maybe, maybe not (totally)

Tags: trib texas evan

Well, maybe. It depends on what metrics and how you analyze them, as we look at Evan Smith's hoorah piece.

OK, first, financials.

$10 million intake and $9.7 million expenses. Yes, you're in the black.

At 3 percent.

A total haul of $76 million over that decade?

How much of that haul is from your "sponsors" in what Jim Moore five years ago called pay-to-play journalism, as I blogged here? Care to open your books all the way, Evan? I didn't think so. Remember, at the same time, Moore called you out for lack of transparency, as well. (I have a more detailed analysis below.)

And, how much of your haul over the years is from advertorial pieces? Easier to do that, maybe, when you have "sponsors."

Ten years in, we still consult at no cost with any wide-eyed, big-hearted social entrepreneurs who want advice and insight on how to create an operation like ours from scratch.
I can consult like that, too, also for free.

"Dear Salt Lake City Tribune, as you now enter the nonprofit world, getcha a bunch of fucking money from big corporations. List them by name to be ethical, but ... don't let that actually bother if you shade your writing their way."

There ya go!

What Evan won't tell you, in addition, is that if that money comes from a foundation, attached to it are foundation terms of use and other strings.

Does that have an effect?

Arguably yes.

Especially when it comes to talking Earl, which the Trib don't have much of in Utah, compared to the Black Gold, the Texas Tea, and the refining thereof in Texas. The Trib has always been light in the loafers about calling Big Oil to account, let alone following fellow light-in-the-loafers Politico to write something about climate change legal liabilities. I noted that at its 3-year mark, with this piece.

Reaching more than 2 million per month on various platforms? Does that include, or not, the New York Times website on cross-produced stories carried at both places?

Speaking of separate platforms and sponsored journalism, running Trib Talk pieces separately is now being killed. That would, therefore, not be a success. How clearly they'll be distinguished in the future, who knows?

About 80 full time and part time employees? Sounds good, as others still gut. But how many are FT and how many PT?

Oh, and per that same environmental piece link, Evan, you were making more than $300 large 7 years ago. Care to tell us what the current haul is?

I'm surprised that Evan hasn't branched Trib Talk into a TED Trib Talk channel. He must be slipping.

Finally, given ProPublica's recently announced partnership with the Trib on investigative journalism, what happens when serious dirt gets found on a Trib sponsor?

At least Smith, in an interview with Texas Monthly, admits he got lucky. He refers to livestreaming Wendy Davis and her pink shoes inside the pink dome in 2013.

Sadly, Poynter can only see fit to write a puff piece.

I shouldn't totally bitch on Poynter. It does tell us what Evan didn't — where the money comes from:
Its diverse revenue stream, according to a 2018 financial report, is 25% from foundations, 24% from individuals, 19% from website sponsorship, 18% from events, 10% from membership. 5% is “earned.”
OK. So Poynter doesn't have a breakout of income level of the individuals. Nor $$$ amounts to attend events. Nor does it tell us that at places like The Atlantic, Washington Post and elsewhere, "events" have led to ethical conundrums — conundrums enough for said places to generally drop the "events."

So, less ethical than the Atlantic and the WaPost. Got it.

Meanwhile, the Trib is losing its top editor.

Kuff, as part of last week's Texas Progressives roundup, offered a Twitter link salute to Emily Ramshaw (and Amanda Zamora) all the best in their new media venture.

I added a bit to it ... starting with:

as they go bowling for pink-themed sponsorship dollar or whatever. No, seriously, they may not be doing that, since their new gig isn't the Texas Tribune. But, Ramshaw jumped from the Snooze to Trib because, per Robert Wilonsky,  because she "didn't want to go down with a sinking ship." No, she was willing to close one eye (maybe not both) at pay-to-play journalism and its problems.

But maybe they will be doing that? And I still don't get how the hell Ramshaw got from Focus Daily News to the Trib's top editor spot. Or even to her level at the Snooze. Oh, I do now. Family background, which gave her exposure, and even privilege, per this story. (I also get why Focus Daily News publisher Marlon Hanson said she was going places.)

Or to put it another way? Her wedding was written up in the New York Times. No, really.

That said, Robert Wilonsky, before HE jumped the Observer ship to jump the Snooze shark, slightly p'wned her and very much did the Trib, with this brief.

This post first appeared on SocraticGadfly, please read the originial post: here

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Texas Trib turns 10; cause for joy? Maybe, maybe not (totally)


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