T-Squared: Introducing our new salaries explorer

Photo Illustration by Ben Hasson / Texas Tribune

Today, The Texas Tribune is excited to launch a new and revamped version of our Government Salaries Explorer. The new explorer will be updated four times a year. We provide detailed data for all of the 113 agencies in state government and every position at each of those agencies.

As part of designing this new site, we surveyed more than 1,000 readers about how we could make the data more useful to them. We learned many site visitors did not know that the Tribune is a news organization with dozens of journalists who closely track the workings of the state government and hold officials accountable. The new site makes those journalists more accessible — you’ll find contact information for our reporters on each page, along with their recently published stories..

We’ve updated our design to be even clearer and more accessible, with important context like salary ranges for selected positions. And we’ve added even more interactive charts and tables to enable comparisons across tenure, ethnicity and gender.

We made one other big change: We will only publish individual pages for workers who make more than the median salary, which is $44,642 per year. The highest earners are more likely to be newsmakers; people making minimum wage are not public figures. Lower-wage workers, however, are still counted in our analysis of the median salary. We will always include individual pages for elected officials, including those who make less than the median.

The explorer no longer includes salaries for university, public hospital or local government employees. By focusing our salaries explorer on one data source — the state comptroller’s database of state government workers — we’re better able to ensure our data is accurate and up to date.

The data we previously published is still available through public records, and Texas’ open records law allows anyone to request it. Here’s the public information request that we use to request salaries data. We’re actively exploring ways to help others make public data more accessible.

Questions? Check out our detailed FAQ page and read our methodology.

We hope you enjoy the new site, and we’re excited to get your feedback.

Disclosure: The office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.