The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit digital periodical launched in 2009, laid off 11 employees last week — 11% of its staff — in the first layoffs in its history.
Newsroom, engineering, design and operations teams were affected. Two of the staffers had been with the Tribune since its launch.
“As I began planning with the leadership team for 2024 and matched our goals with the numbers — readership, potential audience and financial data — we realized that we could be entering a tough budget year,” wrote CEO Sonal Shah in a memo to staff. “It was hard, but we saw no other choice.”
This is a setback to the Tribune’s news coverage.
“The journalism done by those departing has been some of the best our newsroom and our industry has seen — conversation-changing, light-shining and award-winning,” Shah adds. “Their absence will be felt in our newsroom and on our site.”
However, the Tribune is adding two people to its sponsorship team and will soon invest in its development staff.
One lesson learned is that “The Texas Tribune is not immune to external forces,” Shah wrote. “We don’t get to opt out of the realities of an unsteady economy, an evolving media industry, the pressures of technology or the world in which we’re operating in. No Texas exceptionalism here.”
But Shah adheres to her goal of the Tribune being "the indispensable first stop for Texans seeking Texas state news."