The ink is just getting dry on our report of Austin Ventures partner John Thornton’s new startup, and the hiring of Alisha Ring and Evan Smith. Now, incoming Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith announced today that the non-profit public media organization has acquired Texas Weekly, the premier newsletter for government and politics in Texas, and has hired longtime Texas Weekly editor and owner Ross Ramsey as its managing editor. Smith also formally announced the hiring of the first five reporters on the Tribune’s newsroom team: Brandi Grissom, Elise Hu, Emily Ramshaw, Abby Rapoport, and Matt Stiles.
“I’m thrilled that we were able to attract journalists of such high caliber,” says Smith, “as each one brings incredible experience and perspective on matters of statewide interest, along with a high level of energy and passion and ambition. I couldn’t imagine a better foundation for the kind of work we intend to produce.”
Before taking over Texas Weekly in September 1998, Ramsey spent twenty-eight months as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications in the office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. From 1991 to 1996, the West Texas native reported on state politics and policy from the Houston Chronicle’s Austin bureau. From 1986-1991, he was a reporter on the business desk and in the Capitol bureau of the Dallas Times Herald, eventually serving as the paper’s Austin bureau chief. He has also been a radio reporter in Dallas and Denton.
“Ross is one of the two or three best-respected reporters at the Capitol,” Smith says. “He’s fair, scrupulously nonpartisan, whip-smart, and crafty in the way he pries information out of sources. He’s also funny as hell, which makes him a great story-teller. That’s why we’ve asked him to write and report as well as lead our newsroom.”
In acquiring Texas Weekly, the Tribune will give its readers access to the venerable publication’s vast archives—a searchable electronic trove of stories dating back to the early 1990s that amounts to a modern history of Texas politics. Upon the Tribune’s launch this fall, current Texas Weekly subscribers will receive, for the duration of their subscriptions, a new weekly publication featuring premium content not available to regular readers of the Tribune.