Award-Winning Nonprofit Texas Tribune Lays Off 11, Citing Revenue Struggles

The nonprofit Texas Tribune has laid off 11 staffers, citing revenue struggles. The move marks the first time the Austin-based independent paper has had to cut staff since it was founded in 2009.

“It’s easy to forget what a gamble The Texas Tribune’s model was when it launched,” CEO Sonal Shah said in a Thursday post. “We launched a new nonprofit newsroom in an era of serious headwinds for journalism.”

Shah said the 11 include two staffers who have been with the paper since the beginning.

“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 said. “Their absence will be felt in our newsroom and on our site.”

The cuts will include jobs across the newsroom, engineering, design and operations. Shah said the paper has actually hired two more staffers to its sponsorship team in an effort to boost revenue.

Since its founding, the paper has relied largely on donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. Like the Voice of San Diego and MinnPost, the web-based, nonprofit outlet focuses on civic, investigative and explanatory journalism.

“We’ve never had layoffs, and this was a very difficult decision,” Shah said. “We recognize the magnitude of this news for our supporters, our staff and our readers. It was hard, but we saw no other choice… In spite of this year’s budget difficulties, we believe the business is sound and will continue to thrive. We will press on.”

The Texas Tribune is an award-winning nonprofit, earning a national Edward R. Murrow award in the Breaking News category (among many other awards) for its coverage of the Uvalde shooting.

Separately, The Futuro Media Group, an award-winning multimedia nonprofit best known for “Latino USA,” which airs on NPR stations nationwide, said it is also cutting staff.

“After months of economic uncertainty that have affected the podcast and news industries, as well as funding for public media, we have made the decision to head into 2024 as a smaller team,” Futuro said in a statement posted on X and its website, without detailing how many positions will be eliminated.

“This difficult decision will allow us to keep operating and producing the high-standard journalism we have proudly worked on for more than a decade,” the Harlem, New York-based media organization said. That includes its podcast division Futuro Studios and its investigative arm, Futuro Investigates.

The organization said it will “remain committed, more than ever, to telling stories from underrepresented voices vital to the audio space and our democracy.”

In response to the layoffs, editorial director Fernanda Santos also chose to resign.

“I offered my resignation in hopes of saving jobs,” Santos wrote on X. “Too many people were laid off and I couldn’t in good conscience stay while seeing them gone. I stand in solidarity with them and remain committed to helping them on the road ahead.”

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