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It Was 11 Years Ago Today...

by: Burnt Orange Report

Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 03:30 PM CDT

It was on this day in 2003 that University of Texas student Byron LaMasters and some friends founded a LiveJournal site about political happenings at the Capitol and around Austin. They called it Burnt Orange Report.

Since then, Burnt Orange Report has recorded over 14.4 million page views, published over 15,000 posts on three different platforms (Moveable Type, anyone?) and featured the writing of over fifty different bloggers.

One could argue that not much has changed in the last 11 years: Rick Perry is still governor, Democrats are still fighting redistricting battles, and the Texas press still loves to kick around the Blue Team every election cycle.

However, that doesn't tell the whole story -- not in Texas, or in the blogosphere.

For more, including some epic Throwback Thursday staff photos, click below the jump.

Since 2003, progressive political blogs have proliferated all over the country, providing outlets for citizens to report on and discuss what's happening in their community, and offer commentary on national politics as well. Unfortunately over the last several years, many of these original sites have shut down, as the operators moved on to other projects or the time involved became too much. Blogging has often been a passion project rather than a paying job, regardless of the value that political blogs provide to an informed citizenry.

As Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites became popular, many blogs (including this one) have seen their comment threads diminish as discussion moves to those platforms. However, these sites have also provided a tremendously powerful new way for users to share the information published on blogs with a wider audience. Here at BOR, over one third of our traffic comes from Facebook alone, as our readers share our work with their friends. (Thank you!!)

And while many of our allied sites in other states have shut down or decreased posting, here at BOR we're committed to continuing to grow our team and expand our coverage, because we know that both blogging and Texas are important to the national progressive political conversation.

Things are actually starting to change here in Texas. There is an energy behind on-the-ground organizing in the Lone Star State, led by the investment of Democratic funds that had previously gone to elsewhere to fight other, higher priority battles. From the reinvigorated Texas Democratic Party to the emergence of Battleground Texas; the relentless work of Texas Organizing Project to the critical support provided by organizations such as Progress Texas, there's a lot of good going on in a state that far too many progressives have wanted to write off for far too long.

It goes without saying, but if Texas can become the "blue" state that its voting-eligible population has the potential to produce, that changes the national conversation about Democratic control of the White House -- and eventually the US House and Senate. Just this very week, the Republican National Committee is visiting Dallas, as they consider hosting their 2016 presidential convention here. Isn't that sort of thing usually reserved for battleground states?

It remains an exciting time to be a progressive and Democratic voter here in Texas. Here at Burnt Orange Report, we're committed to keeping our eyes on Texas politics, and providing you coverage from the front lines of the efforts to turn our state blue and elect leaders that will serve all of us.

Our staff extends a warm thanks to all of our readers over the years, and we look forward to continuing to be one of your must-visit sites on the Internet. If you'd like to join us for our 11th anniversary party, please do. We'd love to celebrate with you.

Burnt Orange Report's 11th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, May 2nd | 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Container Bar | 90 Rainey Street
Austin, Texas
Purchase Tickets Here

Now, about those Throwback Thursday photos y'all were promised...

Thanks for all the page views. Here's to the next 11 years!

Copyright Burnt Orange Report, all rights reserved.
Do not republish without express written permission.

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I was there! (5.00 / 1)
If anyone is going to get to post a pre-beard photo of me, I'm glad it's BOR.

Haven't always seen eye-to-eye on every little issue over the years, but proud to have been there at the beginning. I remember when Byron and Jim Dallas launched this thing, and it's so exciting to see it alive and well. Thanks to all the writers and editors for all the work you've done!

I'm sorry I won't be at the party next week, my sister is getting married and that trumps. I know there will be many more years of BOR celebrations to come, and I look forward to being a part of those then.  


Thanks Dobbs!! (0.00 / 0)
Woooaaahhh never seen you pre-beard!

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Burnt Orange Reporters
Editor and Publisher:
Katherine Haenschen

Senior Staff Writers:
Genevieve Cato
Joe Deshotel
Ben Sherman

Staff Writers:
Omar Araiza
Emily Cadik
Phillip Martin
Natalie San Luis
Katie Singh
Joseph Vogas

Byron LaMasters

Blogger Emeritus:
Karl-Thomas Musselman

Read staff bios here.

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