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Texas Tribune lays off staff for first time in its history

August 29, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

Nonprofit news outlet The Texas Tribune has axed staff members for the first time in its history. The 11 cuts will encompass the newsroom, engineering, design and operations department, and includes two staffers who have been with the Tribune since it launched in 2009.

The entire copy desk was also eliminated.

The move comes as the Austin-based independent paper struggles with revenues.

CEO Sonal Shah said:

“It’s easy to forget what a gamble The Texas Tribune’s model was when it launched. We launched a new nonprofit newsroom in an era of serious headwinds for journalism. 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. Their absence will be felt in our newsroom and on our site.”

It’s further reported that Shah and editor-in-chief Sewell Chan are each expected to take 10% pay cuts.

Shah added:

“This year has proven more challenging for us than others — changes in the industry, the unsteady economy and the need to explore new platforms and modes of storytelling are all things the Tribune must address head on. We know we must change to stay ahead. There are, of course, other challenges facing the media industry: AI, uneven news readership and engagement, changing audience behaviors and the growing phenomenon of news avoidance.

“There is no media company — commercial, nonprofit or public — that isn’t experiencing some version of this. We’re confident that the revenue model we’ve built is actually a very good revenue model. The challenge is that our revenue hasn’t kept pace with our expenses.”

However, despite the cuts, the Tribune will continue to grow its revenue team.

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