Director of Audience Development
The Role

The Indiana Local News Initiative is seeking a director of audience development to launch an ambitious new local newsroom serving Indianapolis.

The audience development director will be responsible for growing, cultivating and measuring audiences and membership. They’ll partner with newsroom leadership in designing audience-centric product, technology, and data strategies that implement search, social and on-platform engagement and conversion best practices, while exploring new, innovative ways to increase the reach, engagement, and impact of local journalism.

This is a unique opportunity to join the founding team of a new newsroom that is at the forefront of rebuilding local news in communities across the country. The successful candidate will play a critical role in shaping news products that better serve the public, while achieving sustainability and independence with strong support from local audiences.

Who we are

The start of the yet-to-be-named Indianapolis newsroom follows an information needs assessment conducted by American Journalism Project that found many Indiana residents do not feel they have adequate, relevant, and accessible information about their communities and the decisions that impact their daily lives.

The founding team of the Indianapolis newsroom will be tasked with hiring experienced journalists with deep ties to Indianapolis communities, reporting on the local issues that residents care most about, including government, housing, jobs, education, health, and local arts and culture, with the highest standards of editorial integrity and independence, and distributed over a variety of platforms designed to broaden storytelling formats and engage a wide range of audiences. The new organization’s top priority will be to earn the trust of the communities it serves through two-way relationships and an innovative community-led reporting model; these efforts will augment newsroom coverage and aid in story development.

The new organization’s top priority will be to build trust with the communities it serves, through development of an innovative community-led reporting model. It will feature a community bureau, staffed by people experienced in journalism and community engagement, who will recruit, train, pay, and mentor residents to collaborate on gathering information for their communities. These community reporting efforts will help drive newsroom coverage, aid in story development, and hold the newsroom accountable for 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 & Priorities

Goal-setting and metrics

  • Establishes and owns KPIs for growth and engagement for newsletters, social, SEO, and other channels, as well as membership  
  • Develop strategies to build reader habits; track, target, and grow loyal reader segments
  • Builds insightful and actionable traffic reports and recommends actions based on insights
  • Uses audience data, in consultation with audience consultants, to drive to understanding and strategy adjustments
  • Makes recommendations on actions to take that further the newsroom’s goal of serving target audiences

Audience growth and engagement

  • Creates and executes search and social strategies to grow audience
  • Writes and optimizes newsroom social media copy; posts stories to social platforms on a timely and strategic basis
  • Ensures proper execution of SEO workflows for the newsroom, including training, documentation, and support
  • Acts as newsroom point person for optimizing headlines for article pages, social media, and SEO
  • Monitors search trends and local happenings to help inform coverage, making use of the organization’s social networks and tools such as Google Search Console
  • Provide coaching to staff about best practices on digital/social platforms
  • Seeks out and manages potential third-party channels for growth, such as Apple News, Flipboard, Pocket, etc.


  • Owns newsletter strategy, including the production and execution of our editorial newsletter portfolio and targeted campaigns
  • Oversees email list growth and develops strategies to grow it
  • Owns newsletter engagement KPIs and reports regularly on progress

Membership growth and engagement

  • Develops and executes strategies (targeted campaigns, consistent stewardship) to grow membership in partnership with Blue Lena
  • Develops effective messaging for campaigns, and manages onsite and newsletter calls-to-action  
  • Experiments with product and messaging strategies that convert loyal readers into members and one-time donors into recurring members
  • Measures and reports on metrics key to conversion and retention success, and develop strategies to increase effectiveness

Consider applying if you have some of these skillsets:

  • At least two years of full-time experience in a digital newsroom
  • A desire to innovate, problem-solve, and launch new initiatives
  • Strong editorial judgment (reporting experience preferred)
  • A proven ability to work in partnership with journalists
  • Experience managing professional social accounts, and ideally established brands
  • A finger on the pulse of social media trends
  • A basic understanding of search engine optimization
  • Experience running newsletters is a plus; knowledge of Mailchimp preferred

This position is open to remote work for the first several months before the candidate would be expected to relocate to Indianapolis. Indiana-based candidates are preferred.

Compensation and Benefits
  • Full time role with benefits
  • Salary minimum: starting at $100,000, 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. The Indiana Local News Initiative is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. We encourage people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations, and marital statuses to apply.

What to expect in the hiring process
We hope to fill this role as soon as possible, though the hiring process can typically take from a few weeks to a few months. We will do our best to communicate with you about timing expectations throughout the process.Candidates who advance to later rounds of this process can expect several interviews, including with a panel of community members. Semi-finalists will be asked to complete a written assignment designed to help us understand your thinking and approach to the role, and you will be offered an optional prep session to ask any questions that will help you put your best foot forward in this process. We aim to truly get to know you, to help you fully understand the role you’re applying for.

Apply using the form below