in Houston, Texas
Texas Watchdog celebrates its fourth birthday -- thanks to you!
Thursday, Aug 30, 2012, 10:26AM CST
By Trent Seibert

In a moment of collective inspiration, many newspaper websites this year began throwing up paywalls to charge readers for the stories their reporters produce.

We here at Texas Watchdog aren’t surprised. When we published our first story in August of 2008, we knew full well the civic value of deeply reported, powerfully written watchdog journalism.

And because our values are enthusiastically shared by you who read us and have so generously supported us we have been able to keep close watch on your governments and elected officials without having to figure out how to restrict you from following us.

Indeed, we are able to keep going by generous donations from you and many other Texas Watchdog readers, in the way of the model of PBS and other nonprofit news organizations.

We know you have come to us looking for the kinds of stories that news outlets do too few of any more. Like the powerful reporting by Texas Watchdog’’s Steve Miller on the mess and conflicts-of--interest at the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association honored this year by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ top investigative award.

Or nearly three years tracking the federal stimulus, work by Mark Lisheron cited in a Harvard University study of public access to information about how their money was spent.

After we took on state Rep. Vicki Truitt and her personal business dealing with a state-supported hospital district, Truitt in May couldn’t make it out of her own Republican primary.

Mike Cronin, Jennifer Peebles and Lynn Walsh’s dogged reporting of the Houston Independent School district was honored by the Fort Worth Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists this year.

In these four years our reputation has grown so that we are regularly called on to share our work with national publications, on radio and television stations and other websites across Texas.

We’re just getting started. And as we continue delivering first-rate enterprise reporting we’d like to say thank you for being able to do it the way it ought to be done -- and without a paywall.

Please consider making a donation to Texas Watchdog today. Go to our homepage (top right) and click "Donate." Please give what you can so we can continue solid and important accountability journalism.

If you can’t give money, we ask that you tell a friend about Texas Watchdog. And here’s something else that’s free and easy to do: ‘like’ us on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Again, thank you. Look for an announcement in September for a party we’re putting together as a special way to thank to the supporters of Texas Watchdog.

Contact Trent Seibert at or 832-316-4994 or on Twitter at @trentseibert  or@texaswatchdog.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us onTwitterand Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of 'happy birthday hat' by Flickr user architekt2, used under the Creative Commons license.

Ken Martin
Thursday, 08/30/2012 - 11:29AM

Congratulations, Trent, on sustaining the great work being done by the Texas Watchdog. And may you enjoy many more years of continued success.

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