If we've learned one thing in the nearly six months since the launch of TribTalk, it's that our readers have diverse tastes.
They're big fans of politics, of course. And luckily for them (and us), since May there's been no shortage of explosive material in Texas — the elections, Gov Rick Perry's indictment, just to name two — to keep them entertained.
But a perusal of our 10 most-read columns from May to October shows that their interests are more varied than that:
- The heartbreak of being a teacher in Texas, by Katie Plemmons
- 5 public health threats in Texas scarier than Ebola, by Anna C. Dragsbaek
- Ban flights from Ebola-stricken nations, by Ted Cruz
- Why the indictment doesn't matter, by Dick DeGuerin
- A rancher on the border of fear and compassion, by Hugh Fitzsimons
- What's really happening on the border, by Jim Darling
- Austin's "black problem" is a class problem, by Ellen Sweets
- Texas Democrats' unspoken predicament, by Jim Henson and Joshua Blank
- Why the indictment matters, by Glenn W. Smith
- Texas women are on the cusp of victory again, by Grace Ann Garcia
In other words, it's not just politics that's drawing readers to TribTalk. It's also immigration, which rancher Hugh Fitzsimons in August wrote about in a deeply personal account of his conflicted feelings about living near the border. It's health care, which Anna C. Dragsbaek, CEO of the Immunization Partnership, addressed in a piece last month attempting to quiet fears over Ebola. And it's class and demographics, which Austin author Ellen Sweets explored in her take on why Austin is the only fast-growing large city in America losing black residents.
One of the biggest surprises of all, however, is that our most-read piece — by far — wasn't written by a politician or high-profile advocate but by an everyday Texan named Katie Plemmons, an Austin-area high school teacher who wrote in July about the personal toll of her job.
It’s a reminder that while we at TribTalk are trying to highlight and give context to the hottest political debates of the moment, we’re also hoping to give voice to the stories of all kinds of Texans. After all, that's what our goal has been from the beginning — to create a home for both the well-known and the unsung, the predictable and the unexpected, the established and the emerging. We think that's key to building a community here.
It's also a reminder that one of those voices could be yours. Have an idea for a column? Pitch it to us. Who knows? You might just end up on our most-read list.