It’s believed that the Texas Observer went online in 1997. In those days, the Observer called the website the “Down Home Page”—presumably a play on the term “home page”—and offered visitors a guestbook to sign, a free copy of the magazine, and a survey that “could influence the future appearance and content of the Observer web page. Maybe.”
Subjects visitors could read online included Corporate Watch, Legislative Watch, Radical Right Watch, and a statement of intention: “We are not alone. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. It’s not always easy being a hell-raising, muck-raking progressive journal—in fact, sometimes it’s downright lonely. That’s why we keep this collection of sites for Observer faithfuls.”
A lot has changed since then, but we still view our work as mission driven: we strive to make Texas a more equitable place by exposing injustice through investigative journalism, narrative storytelling, and cultural coverage.
We’ve also moved away from the scrappy journal vibe that the Observer was known for in the past. Today, we think of our work as a tool that allows us to interrogate the origins of policies, correct narratives that whitewash exploitation and genocide, and also think critically about the idea of Texas, its roots, and its influence.
As you know, we still publish our award-winning print magazine, and no doubt you’ve already seen the gorgeous redesign we unveiled last month. Now, texasobserver.org is following suit. Led by art director Michael Patti and digital editor Danielle Lopez, our staff has worked tirelessly to bring you a website that looks and feels like our print edition, and provides an entirely new experience to enjoy the work of our reporters.
There are many changes that we hope you’ll explore, and as usual, there is no paywall, our work can still be syndicated by news organizations free of charge, and our deep archives remain fully accessible.
This next phase of the Observer is something we’re proud to present to you. If you like what you see, consider supporting us as a member and share the good word online.