The Texas Tribune, the pioneering digital news organization, laid off 11% of its staff Wednesday, renewing worries about the sustainability of local nonprofit journalism. While layoffs in the moribund local news sector are routine at this point, the Tribune’s business model has largely insulated it from cutbacks that have whittled local and regional journalism in recent decades. These are the first layoffs in its 14-year history.
Some see a news hole left behind by the shrinking newsrooms of traditional city newspapers and alt-weeklies. Others want to woo smartphone-addicted millennial readers. They’re using newsletters and social media like Instagram to build an audience for their sites.