Contact: Caitlin Graf, The Nation, press [at] thenation.com, 212-209-5400
Mike Kanin, Texas Observer, kanin [at] texasobserver.org, 512-477-0746
“The Nation and the Texas Observer have a long record of de facto collaboration, from their founder Ronnie Dugger to the late (and much lamented) Molly Ivins, both of whom wrote frequently—in Ivins’s case regularly—for The Nation,” said Nation editor D.D. Guttenplan. “It seems about time we make our arrangement de jure. I’m also a personal admirer of their new editor, Tristan Ahtone, and the amazing work he’s done. In the middle of a pandemic, given the chance of access to experienced, savvy reporting from a key battleground state—and a state where the Texas Organizing Project has done amazing work—we’d be fools not to leap at the chance to work together. So we’re leaping.”
“We’re excited to be working with reporters and editors at The Nation, and hopeful that this partnership will lead to even greater collaborations in the future,” said Observer editor Tristan Ahtone.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to kick-off what, for us, will be a signature partnership,” added Observer publisher Mike Kanin.
Texas’s enigmatic identity is part of a larger myth of rugged individualism that now dominates the national conversation. Indeed, the complicated truths about the state—truths that rest in a history built on ethnic cleansing and slavery, of those who still suffer the consequences of a derelict system—are too often glossed over in favor of a half-told narrative. For 65 years, the Observer has tried to counter that narrative, diving deeper into the state’s troubled institutions and producing award-winning work that holds officials accountable, gives a platform to underserved voices, and investigates where no other outlet will. In similar spirit, The Nation has long held the powerful to account, no matter their political persuasion, in the belief that independent journalism has the capacity to bring about a more democratic and equitable world.
The first two installments of the partnership demonstrate the breadth and range of its planned focuses: Texas Observer civil rights correspondent Michael Barajas reports on “Texas and the Long Tail of Voter Suppression”: As the growing number of Black and Latinx voters threaten the GOP’s stranglehold on power, attempts to limit safe voting options during the pandemic reveal a deeper sickness in Texas politics. And investigative journalists Chris O’Connell and Savannah Maher report on how, after untold exploitation and erasure, Native artwork is being undermined by fraud: “Indigenous Art May Face a New Foe: Forgery.”
The Texas Observer partnership builds on The Nation’s proud history of building collaborations with like-minded organizations and offering dateline dispatches from locations both domestic and international. In the last year, we’ve partnered with Kopkind to spotlight far-flung scenes from a pandemic, and with Magnum Foundation to offer a visual chronicle of the untold stories of the coronavirus. In addition to cofounding Covering Climate Now, a global journalism initiative of more than 400 news outlets committed to more and better coverage of the defining story of our time, The Nation has partnered since 2016 with Le Monde diplomatique on its international coverage, and for years worked with a host of investigative partners, including Type Investigations, the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Food and Environment Reporting Network, the Hechinger Report, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and more.
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ABOUT: Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life, from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.
The Texas Observer is an Austin-based nonprofit news organization that strives to make Texas a more equitable place by exposing injustice through narrative storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural criticism.