Thursday, April 09, 2020

Coronavirus: Texas Trib likely to be less of a success in Year 11

I recently blogged about the Texas Tribune turning 10 and how Evan Smith nearly dislocated his shoulder from the vigor of patting himself on the back.

I also looked at the realities of the Trib versus the turd-polishing.

One reality is that 18 percent of Evan's haul for the Trib comes from events. At the time, I was condemnatory based on the fact that other places that once did "events," like Atlantic and the pre-Bezos Post, had generally dropped them.

But now, there's something besides an ethical conundrum.

The market for events has cratered with the coronavirus. As Nieman reports, O'Reilly Media has left the events biz entirely. Surely, more and more TEX Talks (better than TED Talks, cuz Evan) are being cancelled as we speak. Contributions from foundations and website sponsorships may also crater if the founders of the foundations, or the companies sponsoring the website, are in COVID-vulnerable businesses.

Like oil companies headquartered in Texas. Like two major airlines headquartered in Texas, with Southwest also having other problems to the MAX with Boeing. (Yes, most its fleet is not 737 MAX 8, but it's all 737s.)

Remember, Evan said he got lucky with Wendy Davis and her pink tennis shoes in 2013. There's only one statewide race this year, and many Dems aren't enthused about either M.J. Hegar or Royce West.

In addition, per this E and P piece, even as Gov. Greg Abbott could stand criticism for, among other things, not calling a special session of the Lege, it's doubtful Evan and the gang will do that. They didn't write about Cornyn's Corona beer jokes, after all.

And, of course, the Trib doesn't do traditional op-ed columns, let alone full-on house editorials.

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