The Houston Local News Initiative (“HLNI”) is growing our team of passionate people on a mission to advance democracy in our communities and strengthen the lives of all Houstonians one story at a time. HLNI is launching soon as an independent, non-profit digital news operation that will cover a broad range of topics serving the Greater Houston community. HLNI is initially supported by a coalition of three of Houston’s leading philanthropies including Arnold Ventures, The Houston Endowment, and the Kinder Foundation.

At HLNI, we are expanding our Newsroom team to include a Director of Audience. The Director of Audience will report directly to the Editor-in-Chief. The Director of Audience will be responsible for crafting strategy around cultivating early brand advocates through our initial newsletter product. As we progress our products to include a mobile first website, the Director of Audience will be responsible for strategy to expand audiences to include underserved communities in Houston and underrepresented communities in the greater Houston area. 

We will consider applications on an ongoing basis, but we encourage those who are interested to apply ASAP.

The Role
What You'll Do
  • Responsible for growing and retaining our audience through a variety of strategies including SEO, social, and newsletters. 
  • Create meaningful traffic reports and recommend actions that align with our vision.
  • Work with the leadership team to develop KPIs for visits, engagement, newsletters, social, SEO, membership, donations. 
  • Develop and implement strategies to build loyal audiences and reach underserved members of our community.
Who you are

The potential audience in the Houston region is huge. Truly. We have seven million people living in our area from a wide variety of backgrounds. The director of audience engagement will be critical to understanding how to reach those people and how to keep them coming to our content. This person must have a thorough understanding of how a diverse range of audiences consume news through search, newsletters, social, homepage, text – or ways we have not even considered. This candidate will have a proven track record of developing strategies around growing audiences. This person will be able to decipher data and analytics like a good detective – to give us clues on how our audience is responding to our content and how to influence them in deeper ways. We want someone who knows how to make digital content look amazing so we can maximize reader engagement and drive donations.

  • Mission-oriented - You’re committed to our mission to advance democracy and improve the lives of all Houstonians. You are committed to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Experience - You have five + years of experience in a digital news organization growing and retaining an audience through a variety of strategies including SEO, search, social and newsletters.
  • Technical skills – You have deep experience with data visualization tools and analytics.
  • Communicator - You have strong communication skills. You must be able to report on analytics and data in a way that is easy to understand and helpful.
  • Self-starter - You have a journalist’s curiosity, editorial integrity and commitment to telling good stories along with the high energy and innovative spirit of a digital start-up.

Our Values

EXCELLENCE: We wake up every day with the intent to be the best at what we do. We hustle. We have grit. When we make mistakes, we’ll learn from them.

INCLUSION: We aren’t all the same, and those differences are what make us better. We’ll respect each person’s uniqueness. Perspective, context and life experiences help us to tell the story.

AMBITION: We will be bold and creative, open to all ideas big or small. We really mean it.

FUN: We are not making widgets, although there is nothing wrong with widgets. We tell stories - and stories are often fun, so we believe in having lots of fun.

COLLABORATION: We are all in this together. We may not always agree, but we will listen to each other and communicate candidly and respectfully.

Compensation and Benefits
  • Compensation commensurate with experience.
  • 401(k)
  • Healthcare 100% premium paid for employee and 50% for dependents
  • 20 vacation days
  • Ten sick days
  • Generous paid maternity leave 
  • Hybrid work policy (initially we all work together to build culture)
  • Stipend for development / learning

We’re committed to building an inclusive organization that represents the people and communities we serve. We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities.

Apply using the form below