The Houston Local News Initiative is looking for its founding Editor-in-Chief to build and lead its newsroom.

The successful candidate is an experienced newsroom leader with a passion for local journalism; a track record of building and managing teams that produce impactful stories; and a strong perspective on equitable, audience-driven journalism.

You would be at the forefront of a movement to make local news a foundational part of civic life in Houston by enabling the kind of journalism that holds power to account while being accountable to the communities it serves.

We will consider applications on an ongoing basis, but we encourage those who are interested to apply by March 31st.

The Role

The Editor-in-Chief, based in Houston, will build, manage and scale a newsroom capable of carrying out this broad vision for a community-oriented primary news source. You will oversee daily editorial functions of the newsroom, beat reporting, research, multimedia production, and other functions. You will create a collaborative and inclusive environment, with a strong foundation and editorial processes for reporters and editors to identify and deploy reporting and services.

You will lead the charge in making the startup newsroom’s journalism worthy of support from its audience, ensuring the newsroom is setting and meeting ambitious goals for producing local journalism, in terms of both quality and quantity, and distributing it in a way that reaches as many people in Houston as possible, with an emphasis on Houstonians who need it most.

You will work with the organization’s executive team to make a case for local funding, and push for the newsroom growth needed to fill Houston’s vast information gaps. You will play an active role in representing the organization in public forums to evangelize the newsroom’s mission, including by representing program strategy to current and prospective funders. . You’ll report to the CEO, who will lead the organization’s business, fundraising and operations strategies and functions, and work with them to cultivate relationships with key stakeholders across sectors.

The Newsroom

The newsroom will be staffed by journalists who will report on the issues that communities care most about, including contextual coverage of key topics with the highest standards of editorial integrity and independence. Enterprise reporting will hold power to account, but will be done with self-awareness and a focus on solutions for local issues. It will also produce service journalism, to ensure information is relevant to residents’ everyday lives.

The new organization’s top priority will be to build trust with the communities it serves, and will hire and deploy a diverse workforce and work directly with community members, training and paying residents to participate in reporting and help set the newsroom’s agenda. These community reporting efforts will help drive newsroom coverage, aid in story development, and support the newsroom in being responsive to community needs.

The newsroom will also provide information without barriers. Coverage will be distributed across multiple formats and platforms, without paywalls or subscription requirements, to broaden storytelling formats and engage a wide range of audiences, no matter their literacy level, language or Internet access.

Responsibilities and Priorities
  • Develop and execute a vision and strategy to grow the newsroom from scratch into a thriving anchor newsroom for Houston.
  • Design, implement and manage daily newsroom operations that can produce strong, community-oriented accountability journalism where ground level stakeholders are involved in shaping news stories.
  • Produce culturally relevant narratives to amplify the voices and lived experiences of marginalized communities. Foster culturally competent news coverage that centers on the perspectives and concerns of the community most impacted by the subject matter.
  • Create a newsroom culture that can attract, retain and develop journalism talent in Houston. Make continuous efforts to cultivate the journalist in grassroots storytellers.
  • Hold the newsroom to the highest levels of transparency, accountability and consistency.
  • Ensure that the newsroom fully embodies core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and incorporates DEI best practices in alignment with the strategic plan.
  • Ensure that newsroom staff on all levels reflect the diversity of Houston, and take the lead in incorporating community engagement in everyday coverage.
  • Share and learn with Houston’s community media outlets with the goal of building trust that can lead to increased distribution and amplification of original reporting in the Houston metro area.
  • Drive an open culture of collaboration, quality, innovation, data-driven decision-making and intelligent use of resources.
  • Serve as a visible ambassador for the newsroom in the community, including speaking at public events and with potential donors.

You’re a good fit if…

  • You are an experienced newsroom leader with experience and a track record of producing and/or editing impactful journalism.
  • You wake up every day thinking about how to get more people in Houston the information they need, and how to produce journalism that holds power to account.
  • You believe local newsrooms should support, and be responsive to, the needs of the communities they serve, and are eager to build a newsroom that can do both accountability journalism and service journalism without settling for less than what your constituencies need.
  • You thrive in a fast-paced startup environment where you are expected to think outside the box and build things from scratch.
  • You enjoy collaborating with others and finding new ways to serve the community.
  • You prioritize building an equitable and inclusive organizational culture.
  • You are the kind of leader who brings teams together, fosters a healthy work environment and motivates people to go the extra mile.
Compensation and Benefits

Compensation commensurate with experience.

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