Washington Post looks beyond DC with Texas Tribune

texas tribune break merge

In another signal of its national ambitions, the Washington Post announced Thursday that it will partner with The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization based in Austin.

The announcement is notable given that the New York Times just severed its own partnership with the Tribune in October, a reminder of the financial struggles that have typified the Times' rocky year.

Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said Thursday that the partnership will start in the new year, and will give the newspaper "exclusive outside-of-Texas access to Texas Tribune stories" for both the Post website and newspaper.

Moreover, Texas Tribune reporters will contribute to a host of different Washington Post platforms, including The Fix and Post Politics. Baron also said the two outlets will "pursue a presidential debate in Texas while also co-sponsoring events." The first such event will be a symposium in Washington, D.C. scheduled for Jan. 29.

"We and The Texas Tribune have worked together on many occasions in the past in the realm of events, videos, and print and online stories," Baron said in the announcement. "We're now forging a closer relationship that offers exceptional opportunities to both of us."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who bought the Washington Post last year, has made no secret of his vision for the paper. During an interview earlier this month, Bezos said that although the newspaper has long had "a national and global reputation, the product was local and that was by design."

"For a time, it was a good strategy, and as a business it was super successful for decades, but that is what we're changing," Bezos said. "The Post has the good fortune of being the newspaper of the capital city of the United States of America, and that's a good starting point to be a national and even global publication, so that's the thing that's changing."

5 stunning stats on Amazon
5 stunning stats on Amazon

The Texas Tribune's partnership with the New York Times began in 2010, when the Lone Star State outlet became the newspaper's third regional nonprofit satellite.

The Times had already ended its partnership with the other two nonprofit organizations, the Bay Citizen and the Chicago News Cooperative, in 2012.

Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, announced the Times' decision on Halloween. "This was supposed to be a proud and grateful acknowledgement of the anniversary of our content partnership with The New York Times, which began four years ago today," Smith wrote on the site. "Well, we interrupt this blog post to bring you some late-breaking news."

Smith lamented the end of the partnership but said it was not totally unexpected, citing the Times' newsroom cutbacks, struggles with new mobile products and the harsh media economy.

"Even the Times' budget, larger than those of its peers, has not been able to withstand the impact of precipitous, disruptive changes to nearly every aspect of the newspaper business," Smith wrote.

The partnership, Smith said, was "objectively an expendable line item" for the Times.

Smith said at the time that the Texas Tribune had produced more than 1,200 articles and columns for the Times.

Emily Ramshaw, editor of the Texas Tribune, hailed the new partnership with the Washington Post on Thursday.

"We look forward to sharing the best of Texas with The Post's audience — and even more Texas news and analysis out of Washington with you," she wrote.

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