Chief Executive Officer

The Indiana Local News Initiative, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to filling local news and information gaps across Indiana, is seeking its Chief Executive Officer to lead the organization’s launch and growth. The successful candidate will have a passion for local journalism, executive leadership experience, a strong perspective on equitable organization design, and demonstrate an ability to effectively fundraise for mission-driven organizations. 

Leading this startup will place the successful candidate at the forefront of a movement to make local journalism a foundational part of civic life across Indiana by enabling the kind of journalism that holds power to account, and truly addresses the information needs of communities.

Organization overview: 

The mission of the organization is to strengthen Indiana’s communities and preserve its democracy. The organization will fill information gaps with original, community-based non-partisan local reporting and work collaboratively with the Indiana news ecosystem until every Hoosier has the information they need.

The Indiana Local News Initiative approaches its work through three key strategies:

  • Fill: We’re going to launch community-centered nonprofit newsrooms where needed around the state, beginning with a robust newsroom in Central Indiana but growing over time to interventions in numerous areas of Indiana.
  • Foster: Support the news ecosystem in coordinating collaboration to close coverage gaps, share content and make more local journalism available to all Hoosiers who need it. Collaborating closely and effectively with other media leaders is an essential component of this role. 
  • Facilitate: Rally philanthropic support for partner news organizations to strengthen their news and their impact.

More information can be found on our website

In 2021, a steering committee of local journalism, community and business leaders worked with the American Journalism Project to conduct a comprehensive statewide research study, working with 27 community ambassadors around Indiana and collecting input through text messaging and online surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Through the study, more than 1,000 Hoosiers across 79 counties said they needed more unbiased, fact-based information about their communities.

Out of those findings, a coalition of organizations in and around Indiana, local community leaders, and the American Journalism Project, partnered to launch the Indiana Local News Initiative, a new nonprofit organization with a mission to fill information gaps in the state. The coalition, which is supported by a growing list of more than a dozen philanthropies, has raised over $10 million for the organization so far, and has formed search committees that are conducting an open search for a founding leadership team.

The organization, which will be governed by a board that is representative of Indiana’s diverse communities, inclusive of race and ethnicity, gender, and political perspectives, is beginning by launching a robust, 25-person news organization in Central Indiana, facilitating investments in journalism outlets around the state, and fostering collaboration among Indiana outlets to amplify local journalism for all Hoosiers, especially underserved communities. It will have an innovative, community-focused structure, and work directly with residents to report on and elevate voices and stories from their own communities in addition to providing much-needed accountability and service journalism across critical topics. It will also house Indianapolis Documenters, a program that will train and pay residents to participate in news gathering. It will be sustained by a combination of philanthropy, membership, and sponsorships.

Information produced for communities by the Indiana Local News Initiative will be free to access, and is available for republishing. Its newsrooms will work in partnership with a growing list of outlets to amplify and increase the volume of relevant, original local reporting available to all residents.

The Role

The CEO will help build and quickly grow the organization. You will lead strategic planning for the startup to build a sustainable, local civic institution. You will coordinate the organization’s fundraising efforts across a diverse mix of revenue streams, and build the financial, human resources, and administrative infrastructure to support fast-paced growth while cultivating a just and equitable organizational culture. As a partner for the editorial team, which will report into you, you will be a champion for newsrooms in the network, maintaining relationships with funders and sponsors while protecting the independence of the organization’s editorial team.

Responsibilities & Priorities

Strategic vision

  • Work with the organization’s editorial leaders and board to develop a strategic plan for the next five years. This includes building a fundraising strategy, and defining strategic and hiring priorities in line with the editorial mission.
  • Ensure that diversity is a key part of the organization’s framework and that equity and inclusion are ingrained in the organization’s strategic vision, including when it comes to hiring, retention, compensation and coverage. 
  • Ensure a culture of innovation and collaboration between internal and external stakeholders. 
  • Lead and inspire staff to meet the goals of the organization’s strategic vision while also supporting the needs of the community they serve. 
  • Support editorial leaders in the design, implementation, and management of daily newsroom operations that can produce strong, community-oriented accountability journalism where ground level stakeholders are involved in shaping news stories.
  • Create an environment where editorial leaders across the network are incentivized to produce culturally relevant narratives to amplify the voices and lived experiences of marginalized communities. Hold editorial leaders accountable for producing culturally competent news coverage that centers on the perspectives and concerns of the community most impacted by the subject matter.
  • Work with editorial leaders to build new products that will enhance the startup’s presence as Indiana’s anchor newsroom. 
  • Develop a brand strategy to bring awareness to the organization’s vision and increase its readership.

General management

  • Ensure the organization’s day-to-day operations and programs are professionally and efficiently administered, holding the organization to the highest levels of transparency, accountability and consistency; set benchmarks for program spending and delivery without losing commitment to the communities being served.
  • Develop, manage and provide oversight of the startup’s operating budget; ensure that financial systems, budgets, and planning strategies accurately reflect the financial realities of the organization; achieve ambitious but realistic and attainable financial projections and ensure fiscal stability.
  • Quickly build systems for measuring and evaluating the organization’s and members of the team’s progress and success; track and disseminate information about impact internally and to funders and partners.
  • Build and maintain core administrative functions including HR, Finance, Development and Marketing.
  • Manage compliance for all grants and contracts including public and private funders and regulatory bodies.
  • Ensure the organization’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion commitment and programming spans across all levels of program, staff development and operations.

Fundraising and revenue

  • Develop and implement a long-term funding and sustainability plan for the organization.
  • Manage the organization’s fundraising pipeline, including funding from foundations, major donors, and underwriters, and corporate sponsors.
  • Build and oversee a development team, and coordinate with the editorial team as necessary to galvanize funding support.
  • Personally identify, cultivate, and solicit new donors, and maintain active partnerships with all of the organization’s funders.
  • Explore and strategically deploy opportunities for new revenue streams, including sponsorships, events, and membership, to diversify revenue and protect the independence of the newsroom.
  • Implement best practices in growth management including the development of financial models for new initiatives and newsroom expansion plans.

Board relations and development

  • Serve as a contact for the organization with its Board of Directors, and be evaluated by benchmarks created by the board.
  • Engage and update the Board of Directors on matters related to revenue and operations; in partnership with the editorial leadership, consistently update the Board on relevant progress and impact.
  • Partner with the Board to recruit new Board members, including members that reflect the diversity of the populations served.
  • Partner with the editorial leadership and Board of Directors on issues related to strategic planning.

You’re a good fit if…

  • You’re passionate about media, local news, and serving the information needs of Indiana residents.
  • You have executive management experience in nonprofits and/or media, including managing expenses and reporting to and working with a strong board.
  • You prioritize and have a track record of building an equitable and inclusive organizational culture.
  • You have a familiarity with the business side of a media organization and are familiar with and committed to journalism ethics and working with editorial teams.
  • You have a proven track record of fundraising for fast-growing organizations or programs.
  • You have a proven track record of diversifying and increasing revenues.
  • You have experience in P&L management and setting and delivering budgets.
  • You have a proven track record of attracting, retaining and evaluating top local talent.
  • You are the kind of leader who brings teams together, fosters a healthy work environment, and motivates people to work toward a common goal.
  • You believe that an independent free press is crucial to a local community’s civic engagement and you are deeply committed to journalism values and ethics.
  • You’re passionate about building an organization from the ground up and influencing its vision for years to come. 
  • You would thrive in a startup environment where you are expected to think outside the box; you are comfortable in an early-stage organization that will often require scrappiness and “building the plane as you fly it.”
  • You’re committed to learning and inspiring others around you to do the same.
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.

To apply or to ask questions, email admin@localnewsforindiana.org. Please send us a resume and a cover letter that tells us why you are right for the role and the team.


Apply using the form below

Apply by using the form below. You can email question to admin@localnewsforindiana.org with “Central Indiana CEO” in the subject line.