The Texas Tribune announced a new shift in leadership on Thursday, bringing Sewell Chan, a venerated journalist and editor from the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post on board as editor-in-chief.
Chan's newly-appointed role marks the fifth editor-in-chief the digital paper has seen in its 12 years of business.
Some news: I'm joining @TexasTribune and moving to Austin! I need your help preparing. What should I read and who should I follow? https://t.co/lg92XQMmUv
— Sewell Chan (@sewellchan) August 5, 2021
The Tribune applauded his accomplishments in the announcement, calling his career "stellar." Chan started his career at The Washington Post as a metro reporter, and followed with 14 years wearing numerous hats at The New York Times before, finally spending the last three years as deputy managing editor of the Los Angeles Times.
"He's terrific at every aspect of the job, from writing and editing and to inspiring and marshaling the troops. By reputation, he outworks everyone in our business. We're so excited to have a steady hand on the wheel and a fresh set of eyes on everything we do and how we do it," the announcement reads.
After a year and a half of bad news and fatigue during the pandemic, The Tribune said it is aiming for the road to recovery with the help of Chan's "gentle, empathetic, collaborative style." Meanwhile, the Harvard University and University of Oxford alumni has already earned the respect of fellow members of local media—Austin American-Statesman editor Manny García said Chan is "a healer."
The Tribune has been searching for a new editor since former editor Stacy-Marie Ishmael stepped down on March 30 this year, citing burnout during the pandemic. Prior to Ishmael, the paper was led by Emily Ramshaw, who went on to launch a women's and policy publication, The 19th*.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Chan will leave their newsroom on Sept. 3 and join the Tribune team by Oct. 18. He'll be in Austin sooner, though, at the Texas Tribune Festival in September.
"We're so fortunate to attract someone of his caliber and character," the announcement said.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.