The Texas Observer is a nonprofit news organization that strives to make Texas a more equitable place by exposing injustice through investigative journalism, narrative storytelling, and cultural coverage. Rather than chasing breaking news, we dig beyond the headlines and contextualize news events. Our essays, reviews, and criticism seek to create a new cultural canon and challenge existing mythologies.
Since its founding in 1954, the Observer has focused on communities whose stories are too often ignored or poorly told. We hope not only to inform, but to empower our readers, as we work to hold public officials and corporations accountable. Our reporters recognize that oppressed people are experts on their own lives and trust their expertise.
Our journalism is fact-based and rigorous, and we prize writing that entertains as it informs. We value history as a reporting tool that allows us to interrogate the origins of policies and to correct narratives that whitewash exploitation, dispossession, and genocide.
Our founding mission statement continues to guide our work:
We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy. We will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit.
The Texas Observer acknowledges that Texas occupies the unceded homelands of many Indigenous communities and nations, past and present, and remains home to Indigenous people today. We honor the people with origin stories and traditional ties to these lands, those whose territories include present-day Texas, those who came here by forces removal, those who were forcibly removed, and all Indigenous communities who have maintained relationships with the land.
The history of colonial violence against Indigenous people continues to this day, often fostered by journalists who have promoted that violence through condescension, stereotypes, or silence. To counteract that history, the Texas Observer is committed to increasing coverage of Indigenous people, hiring Indigenous staff and fellows, and training journalists in the protocols necessary to respectfully and accurately report in Indigenous communities.
As well, the Observer is collaborating with tribal representatives to map their homelands and significant places on their own terms, as they with to describe them. We will feature these map collaborations here, along with interviews or other details for a better understanding of the places and stories in the map.
We recognize that simply acknowledging the land and its communities will not return land to its traditional caretakers, but we hope you will find this acknowledgement, and these resources, useful for understanding that this was, and always will be, Indigenous land.
Editorial Independence & Donor Policy
Our organization retains full authority over editorial content and maintains a firewall between all news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.
We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.
We make public all donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a nonprofit, we avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources, and we do not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office–nor from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.
IRS FORM 990S
The three most recent 990s for the Texas Democracy Foundation.