T-Squared: Happy birthday to us! (And many more.)

(John Jordan/The Texas Tribune, John Jordan/The Texas Tribune)

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As of today, The Texas Tribune has been in business for 12 years. No one’s more surprised to be saying those words than I am. Knowing how little we knew back then, 12 months or even 12 weeks wasn’t a sure thing.

In the time since our launch on Nov. 3, 2009, we’ve made mistakes and learned from them. We’ve figured out what we are but have given ourselves room to evolve — to become better at achieving our mission. We’ve hired truly great people, over and over. We’ve found and grown a substantial audience. We’ve honed a sustainable business model. We’ve won acclaim and awards for the quality and imagination of what we do. And we’ve developed best practices that are being emulated by startups and legacy institutions around the country. It’s been a glorious period, gratifying and humbling in every way.

Of course, you can’t succeed as a news organization without news. We are lucky as hell to be doing this work in Texas, which is the center of the universe in ways that are good and bad — usually simultaneously. Over the last 12 years, so many national stories have originated here and migrated to the rest of the country. So many national political figures, real and manufactured, have gotten their start here. So many controversies, real and manufactured, have incubated here. So many conspiracy theories, despite all of our best efforts to beat them back, have gotten traction here. And in classic “everything’s bigger” fashion, when the world has been in the throes of a crisis — or more than one — we’ve been impacted more than just about anywhere else.

Through it all, The Texas Tribune has been a reliable, credible source of news and information about and for a fast-growing, dynamically changing state — the most important of the 50. Offering insight, clarity, context, perspective and something so little in evidence these days: institutional memory. Making sense of it all. The issues we face today are more complex than ever. The stakes in the outcomes of various fights being waged are higher than ever. The disagreements over what is the truth and what are facts are more pronounced than ever. And so Texas and Texans need the Tribune more than ever.

We could not and would not be where we are today without those of you who read and share our best work, attend our events and give what you can to help fund our operations. If you’re not a member, this is a great day to become one! Donate here to support our nonprofit newsroom.

Twelve years in, we’ve never believed more passionately in our mission. Millions of you believe in it, too. Thanks for that and everything else you’ve done to put The Texas Tribune on the map. Here’s to the next 12.