The Texas Tribune’s star-studded ideas festival returns as the nonprofit touts a decade of journalism as a public good, invigorating democracy and serving as a beacon for the nonprofit news model


AUSTIN, TEXAS (FEBRUARY 12, 2020) — The 2020 Texas Tribune Festival will take place Sept. 24-26 in downtown Austin, Texas, The Texas Tribune announced today. The 2020 Festival marks year 10 of the nonprofit’s annual celebration of ideas, community, politics, and conversation.


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The 10th annual Festival comes as The Texas Tribune commemorates its 10th anniversary, a decade of providing exceptional news and information for the exceptional state of Texas. The nonprofit newsroom’s beat reporting, breaking and daily news reporting, political reporting, watchdog and investigative reporting, widely accessible data apps, and on-the-record events have served as an outpost of civility, credibility, and transparency since 2009. The award-winning news operation has also become a model for nonprofit media organizations globally, helping media outlets everywhere replicate the Tribune’s success for free.

“This ought to be an especially good year for TribFest. A momentous election cycle, including a life-altering presidential race, will be in its last lap. A consequential legislative session will be just over the rise — with redistricting looming,” said Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune. “We mean for this to be the biggest and best of our festivals yet, and we want everyone here.”


The Festival, which will take place a mere six weeks ahead of the 2020 general election and months away from Texas’ 87th legislative session, will bring together hundreds of the state’s and nation’s top politicians, political commentators, industry experts and community leaders for one-on-one interviews, panel discussions, live podcast recordings, radio and TV broadcasts, book signings, and meet-and-greets. 2019 headliners included Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Houston; 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar; former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro; former National Security Adviser and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice; author and presidential historian for NBC News Michael Beschloss; U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Will Hurd, R-Helotes, Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, and Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina; Cecile Richards, co-founder of Supermajority; former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command William McRaven; criminal justice reform advocate and author Piper Kerman; former White House Communications Director Anthony Scarmucci; founder and Editor-in-Chief of FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver; The Washington Post columnist George Will; Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath; former state Sen. Wendy Davis; Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush; Mayors Betsy Price of Fort Worth and Eric Johnson of Dallas; and more than 400 others.


The 2020 Festival will kick off Sept. 23 with the annual sellout conversation and exclusive dinner event at Franklin Barbecue. The official program will begin Sept. 24 with a keynote address with one of the biggest names on the political scene. Sept. 25 and 26 will offer full days of programming, sunup to sundown. The Fest will be punctuated with Friday night’s TribFeast, a fundraising dinner honoring 10 years of public service journalism from The Texas Tribune. The Festival will come to a close the evening of Sept. 26 with a lively closing keynote event.


More than 8,600 in-person attendees experienced the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival. Programming included matters of national security, technology, innovation, international trade, the 2020 elections, urban and rural challenges, solution-seeking, public and higher education, criminal justice, immigration, health care and more. Open Congress at The Texas Tribune Festival, the free, public portion of the event that takes place along Austin’s iconic Congress Avenue, offered programming from POLITICO, a leading source of national politics and policy news; Texas 2036, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of Texas; The University of Texas at Austin; Texas Monthly, the national magazine of Texas; Lawfare, the cult-favorite blog dedicated to national security issues; The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law; the nonpartisan global affairs research center at The University of Texas at Austin; the Urban Lab at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin; the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a news organization on a mission to raise the standard of coverage on international systemic crises; and the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization that advocates for solutions journalism in response to social problems.

For #TribFest20 updates visit Follow The Texas Tribune on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TexasTribune. Special pricing for students, educators and members will be available. Become a Texas Tribune member today at

The Texas Tribune Festival is supported by AARP, AT&T, Austin Community College, The Beer Alliance of Texas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Capital Metro, Catena Foundation, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, The Commit Partnership, DHR Health, Educate Texas, Energy Foundation, Greater Texas Water, H-E-B, IBC Bank, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and The Hackett Center, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, The Nature Conservancy, Neste, Oncor, One World Strategy Group, Panacea Collective, Pastors for Texas Children, Raise Your Hand Texas, St. David’s Foundation, St. David’s HealthCare, The Sumners Foundation, Texas 2036, Texas Association of Community Colleges, Texas Cultural Trust, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, Texas Exes, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Realtors, Tito’s Homemade Vodka, Uber, University of Texas Press, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Zachry Group.

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