Emily Ramshaw is the editor of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics and government. Under her leadership, the five-year-old start-up news site has grown into the largest statehouse bureau in the United States and been honored alongside the country’s longest-standing news organizations with national Edward R. Murrow Awards, IRE’s Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and a general excellence award from the Online News Association. Before coming aboard as one of the Tribune’s original reporters, Ramshaw spent six years at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound and uncovered “fight clubs” inside state institutions for people with disabilities. She was named Texas’ top reporter of the year in 2008.
Hi, what’s your name?
Where do you hail from?
Who do you work for?
Tell us a bit about you – how did you get to where you are today?
I’m a storyteller by birth; I was raised by two political reporter parents in Washington, D.C. My first taste of professional journalism came in the summer before the Sept. 11 attacks, when I interned in the Washington bureau of The Dallas Morning News, one of Texas’ biggest newspapers. Texas was never someplace I thought I’d end up, but when the paper hired me I moved to Dallas to cover city government — and then to Austin to cover the Texas Legislature. It was there I had the opportunity to help start The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization that I’m proud to say has become a model for new media ventures across the nation.
What are your career highlights?
Since 2012, I’ve been the editor of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics and government. In that time, our scrappy, five-year-old start-up has grown into the largest statehouse bureau in the country and been honored alongside the nation’s biggest media players. Before joining the Tribune in 2009 as an investigative reporter, I spent six great years at The Dallas Morning News, breaking national stories about sexual abuse inside youth lock-ups, reporting from inside a polygamist compound and uncovering “fight clubs” inside state institutions for people with disabilities. In 2008, I was honored as Texas’ top reporter.
Who or what inspires you to get out of bed in the morning?
I’m fascinated by political decisions and decision-makers, and by the wide swathe of beliefs and backgrounds represented in government. I’m drawn to the science behind engagement, by what inspires some to participate while others sit on the sidelines. These days, I’m also highly motivated to seek sustainable solutions for the news business — revenue models that reward watchdog journalism over click-bait. I’m inspired by the new media innovators who are taking big risks toward that end.
Which other storytellers do you admire?
Jhumpa Lahiri, David Byrne, Errol Morris, Eli Saslow, Pamela Colloff, Mary Roach
What do you plan to share at Storyology?
At Storyology, I plan to share The Texas Tribune’s approach to finding a sustainable financial model for journalism; our efforts to tell stories that connect with audiences across platforms and mediums; and the tricks and tools we employ to make politics and policy sexy for Texas news consumers.
Where can we find you?
LinkedIn: Emily Ramshaw