At a time when Texans are hungrier than ever for news, the pandemic economy has struck news outlets hard. Since mid-March, hundreds of publications, including dozens in Texas, have announced layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts. More than fifty have suspended print publication, and some have gone out of business entirely.
At Texas Monthly, we’ve been fortunate. Ad revenue is down, but not as sharply as at most other publications. We’ve had to postpone some of our live events but have converted a couple into video series, such as our “Bedtime Stories,” which have attracted more than 375,000 video views. Our paid print subscriptions are growing. So is traffic on our website, where in March we set a new record of three million visitors. We hope to attract even more now that we’ve made all of our online stories available for free through the end of this year.
We’re especially fortunate to have an owner who is investing for the long term, enabling us to increase our editorial staff by nearly 50 percent since last July. That allows us to boost the quality and timeliness of our print magazine and to post on our website as many as a dozen new stories a day, including news analysis, service journalism, and longform storytelling.
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In recent months, I’ve told you about Michelle Williams, the new editorial director of our website, and Peter Holley, our new senior editor in Houston. Now I’m pleased to introduce you to seven more of our latest hires:
Alainna Beddie just became our newsletter editor and has already helped launch a new weekly email called “Staying in With TM.” Beddie earlier worked at Schumacher, a design company based in New York City, and at T: The New York Times Style Magazine and WSJ Magazine.
Rose Cahalan is our new associate editor for culture and lifestyle coverage. She has worked as managing editor of the Texas Observer and at Alcalde, the University of Texas alumni magazine. She grew up in Pennsylvania but got to Texas as soon as she could, earning a BA in English at Rice University.
Christopher Hooks has been a frequent contributor to TM, and we’re pleased to have hired him as a full-time writer. He has worked for the Texas Observer and has contributed to publications including the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Lauren Larson, our new features editor, has worked as an editor at GQ and written for publications such as GQ, Men’s Health, and the New Yorker. She grew up in San Francisco, Seattle, and Baltimore.
Taylor Prewitt, our new social media editor, came to us from Creative Action, a nonprofit focused on youth development, where she managed social media strategy. She is a native Texan from Navasota and a UT-Austin alum.
Ben Rowen, our new associate editor for news and politics, joined us from Pacific Standard, where he served as national editor. He earlier worked at the Atlantic as an editorial fellow.
Daniel Vaughn has long delighted TM readers with his work as the magazine world’s only full-time barbecue editor. He has spent the past seven years working for us as a contractor, and we’re pleased to have brought him on as a full-time staffer.
I hope you enjoy the work of these fine journalists in this issue of TM and on our website.