Grants to Texas Tribune Support Online Journalism Launch

Houston Endowment and Knight Foundation
Contribute t o Non-profit Public Media Organization

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 Dr. Larry R. 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.

About The Texas Tribune

Scheduled to launch in the fall of 2009, the Texas Tribune is a non-profit, nonpartisan public media organization whose mission is to promote civic engagement and discourse on the public policy, politics, government, and other matters of statewide interest. Based in the Texas capital, the Tribune will publish original news reporting online and host conferences and similar on-the-record, open-to-the-public events. Individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy will provide much of its operating budget; other revenue sources will include content syndication and multi-platform brand extensions.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

About Houston Endowment

In 2008, Houston Endowment donated more than $82 million to support the arts, education, health, human services, the environment and community enhancement. Since its 1937 inception, the foundation has given more than $1.4 billion to help fulfill the Joneses’ vision of a vibrant community where the opportunity to thrive is available to all.

The Texas Tribune’s web site is You can also follow the Tribune on Twitter (@texastribune) or become a fan of the Tribune on its Facebook page.