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CEO, The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune
Texas, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
May 19, 2022

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Position Type
Other Fields
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Opportunity

The Texas Tribune, a pioneer and model for nonprofit newsrooms throughout the country, is launching a search for a successor to its current CEO, Evan Smith, who is stepping down after 13 years of dynamic, visionary leadership. This is a significant inflection point for the organization as it recruits a CEO to succeed a founder who is both a highly respected and accomplished leader.

The next CEO will have the opportunity to create an exciting new chapter for The Texas Tribune. Building on a solid organizational base, this leader will work with a strong staff, a new Editor in Chief and a dedicated and committed Board.  This CEO will explore new ways to evolve the organization in the context of the current trends and issues facing the news industry, the journalism profession and the state of Texas. She/he will provide overarching general management in all of the Tribune’s work by championing journalistic excellence, spearheading robust fundraising and development initiatives and maintaining financially sound, thoughtful and inclusive business operations. 

Please see the announcement regarding Evan Smith’s departure HERE. Smith will support the next CEO in a transition to help ensure her/his success.

Key Relationships

Reports to: Board of Directors

Direct Reports: Editor in Chief, Chief Development Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Product Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, and Chief Communications Officer                                  

Other Key Relationships: Funders, Partners and Local, State and Federal Government Officials

Major Responsibilities

  • Ensure The Texas Tribune’s institutional identity by continuing to successfully position the organization as a model of high-quality journalism with a commitment to  transparency, independence and integrity.
  • Generate creative approaches to further evolve and strengthen The Tribune’s business model. Build organizational capabilities and culture for future growth by providing financial, administrative and operating support.
  • Serve as The Tribune’s primary ambassador and chief fundraiser. Play a leadership role, in collaboration with the development team, in strategic and ambitious donor cultivation and stewardship, ensuring a diverse funding stream.
  • Serve as a strategic partner to the Editor in Chief.
  • Develop a high-performance culture and a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that goes beyond the story to better the tools, platforms, practices and teams that support and amplify The Tribune’s journalism and mission.
  • Develop and maintain a productive working partnership with the Board.
  • Continually strive to improve an organizational culture that supports a diverse staff and that attracts, develops, and retains team members who ensure a broad range of perspectives.

Ideal Experience

While the next CEO may come from a variety of backgrounds, successful candidates will bring  several of the following experiences:

  • Leadership Track record as an effective leader and manager of diverse teams, gained in either a for-profit or non-profit environment. This candidate will be an innovator who has successfully evolved a business model and scaled an organization. She/he will have a reputation built from substance, experience, integrity and character sufficient to quickly earn the trust of internal and external constituents.
  • Financial and operating She/he will have displayed an understanding of how to effectively manage budgets and allocate resources, and ideally have P&L operating experience.
  • Commitment to journalistic values. Demonstrated ability to champion the values of journalism, the First Amendment and speaking truth to power. Additionally, she/he will have an understanding of how empowering, educating, and connecting audiences can enhance Texas communities and contribute to building an active and informed democracy.
  • Fundraising Demonstrated skill in generating financial and other support for a  mission-driven organization or cause, as an executive, board member or in a related role. The ideal candidate will have been a successful fundraiser in the context of a non-profit, including from both institutional foundations and high net worth individuals and families; fundraising experience in Texas is a plus.
  • Digital fluency. Demonstrated understanding of the rapidly changing media landscape and how technology continues to change the way news is produced, consumed, and shared. Ideally, the candidate will bring experience in partnering with industry colleagues to leverage new technologies and
  • Commitment to DEI principles. Rich understanding of and belief in the power of celebrating and advancing equity, inclusion, diversity and access at all levels, internally and Recognize and prioritize diversity as a strategic business imperative. Embrace and encourage content creation that authentically represents and elevates all voices in the communities The Tribune serves. A track record of attracting, retaining and developing diverse talent.
  • Communications skills. Superior oral and written communication skills and the ability to sell ideas and concepts to various constituencies, both internal and external. The ideal candidate will be comfortable speaking on local, state and national platforms and across ideologically diverse environments. The candidate will have successfully operated in an environment that  values transparency and integrity in all forms of communication.

Critical Competencies

Strategic Leadership

In an organization operating in the fast-changing media landscape, the successful candidate will:

  • Be a visionary thought leader who can identify and capitalize on opportunities to advance The Tribune’s mission in innovative and financially sustainable ways.
  • Drive the development and communication of a clear strategy that builds upon The Tribune’s significant accomplishments to-date and ensures it continues to make distinctive contributions to high-quality journalism and to the communities that it strives to serve.
  • Model flexibility and openness to experimentation without sacrificing a commitment to quality content, audience engagement, metrics, and outcomes.

Leading People

In an organization where a highly regarded Co-founder and CEO is stepping down, a cultural transition often occurs, and the successful candidate will:

  • Build a collaborative, high-performance organization, in a post pandemic world, where people are engaged, accountable and resilient.
  • Communicate clear expectations for individuals and teams and articulate the context for those expectations, both in terms of organizational objectives and linkages to work in other areas of the organization.
  • Develop, manage, focus, and empower leaders throughout the organization to execute efficiently and effectively.
  • Communicate explicitly when and why changes are necessary and outline desired outcomes and risks while building consensus and alignment among stakeholders. 

Communication and Relationship Building

Building on the legacy of the 13-year-old enterprise, the next CEO will guide The Tribune through a time of leadership transition, respecting its historical competencies and building new strengths to allow it to thrive in a new era. The successful candidate will:

  • Demonstrate a passion for journalism and serve as The Tribune’s primary spokesperson, effectively articulating its mission and value to all relevant audiences.
  • Work effectively with the public, private and nonprofit sectors to leverage resources for the benefit of The Tribune’s audiences.
  • As chief community builder, maintain established relationships with The Tribune’s partners and form new and productive relationships with other not-for-profit and community-based organizations.
  • Champion the mission and values of The Tribune, while promoting and exemplifying a strong culture and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect.
  • Partner with a dedicated and committed Board.

Search Process

The Texas Tribune is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages individuals of all backgrounds and cultures to consider this leadership position. The Tribune’s commitment to inclusivity encompasses but is not limited to diversity in race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability.

The Tribune has retained Sally M. Sterling Executive Search to support the search for its next CEO. We welcome comments, nominations, or expressions of interest. All applicants are asked to include a letter of interest with their resume.

Please send an email with supporting materials to the confidential email address:

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