Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Texas Tribune: an impressive launch that feels web-native


The Texas Tribune lifts off this morning in Austin — there’s an election today — offering not only a slew of innovative features but also a unique content-sharing plan, by which the state’s legacy media can freely publish any content generated by the Tribune and dip into its multi-faceted information databases.

Tribune CEO and editor Evan Smith took me on a tour through the site last night, showing off what he and a staff of just 16 (plus some outside help from Austin design group FlashBang) have put together in just three months of ramp-up time. Smith points out that Trib (as it tends to call itself) is not just about journalism, but about information and context. And in fact, the depth of political information already offered on the site puts to shame the offerings of many metro newspapers with vastly larger reporting, technical and design resources than the Trib.

The Trib is offering all of its content as a “free syndication service” to print and broadcast media throughout Texas, as long as it’s credited to Texas Tribune. The reception of this offer, especially among the larger newspapers, has been cautious, Smith says, but has been welcomed by smaller papers without a statehouse staff of their own. The Waco Tribune-Herald has already published some Tribune content, according to Smith. Texas media will also be able to offer their readers access to Texas Tribune databases via apps they can embed on their sites.

On the Trib front page, Smith points out:

Read the rest of this post at Nieman Journalism Lab.