From the Publisher Molly Ivin.s at the 2006 Rabble Rouser photo by Alan Pogue Since its founding in 1954 by a group of independently-minded progressive Texas liberals, The Texas Observer has been about community. And so to youour community of subscribers and readers, our supporters both financial and moral we want to say thank you. The year 2006 was one of amazing growth and fortune. We’ve added extraordinary talent to an already talented staff; we’ve seen remarkable fundraising success for your journal of Texas politics and culture; and we’ve entered the realm of “new media,” with e-mail blasts, a just-launched blog, and a fully-accessible redesigned web site. Some of the year’s highlights: Eileen Welsome joined executive editor Jake Bernstein and the Observer editorial staff in August. Eileen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author of The Plutonium Files and The General and the Jaguar. Eileen was joined in November by Pulitzer Prize finalist David Pasztora 26-year veteran of weekly and daily newspapers including the late, great Dallas Times Herald, as managing editor. He replaces Barbara Belejack, who, in our one bittersweet note of the year, will shortly leave us for other journalistic endeavors \(but will remain a part of the Observer The Observer received three journalism awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and kudos from Alternet, which named our story “Soldiers on the Border,” by Mary Jo McConahay, “one of the 10 most important stories that didn’t get the attention it deserved.” We gathered for discussion and conversation at book-signings in Austin and Houston with authors David Sirota, Robert Bryce, Molly Ivins, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Lou Dubose, and Jake Bernstein. The Observer received its first-ever $500,000 challenge grant from an anonymous national foundation, which decided to invest in our politically progressive and independent publication after recognizing the Observer’s years of investigative reporting, and its impact. Individual progressives demonstrated their willingness, through their financial support, to sustain an independent publication that will be doing the sort of work the Observer has done for another fifty years. Friends and admirers of Observer board president Molly Ivins joined us from across the country in an event recognizing her lifetime achievement by contributing to the one publication that she has worked so hard to sustain and support. Thanks to many of you, who have responded so generously to our appeals and events, we have less than $50,000 remaining to raise to meet our challenge! And we’ve had a blast doing itwhether roasting our beloved Molly in Austin, laughing with Molly and Calvin Trillin in Houston, or schmoozing with Fat Cats and rocking at the Rabble Rouser. Our goals for the coming year are ambitiousraising the Observer’s profile by expanding the reach of its voice and the impact of its reporting. We intend to increase the diversity of voices contributing as writers and as readers. We aim to entice the citizens of Texas, and those unfortunates beyond its borders, in conversation. We want to hear more from you. Write letters to the editor, respond to our web site, read our recently launched Observer blog and post your thoughts. We will take the Observer on the road to communities around the state, and start Observer discussion groups, or “book clubs.” Our purpose is to sustain and strengthen our journalism, because that will strengthen and expand the Observer community and serve the vision expressed in our founding documents of a Texas in which “education, justice, and material progress are available to all.” We look forward to your participation, and hope you’ll join us. Charlotte McCann, Publisher JANUARY 12, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25
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