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Executive Editor

Reports To: CEO

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Lookout Local seeks an experienced, passionate and creative digital content leader to head our editorial strategy and operations.

The Executive Editor brings a passion for local news and community journalism, and its revival, and a track record leading coverage that builds audiences and drives engagement across all digital devices and products. The ideal candidate will possess superior editorial judgment, excellent communication and team-leading skills, an understanding of fundamental editorial business practices of digital news, and an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Executive Editor will work with a spirited team that has blown life into the model. We support one of the largest newsrooms per capita in the nation, which will soon number 11 journalists in a county of 276,000. In this role, the Executive Editor, in collaboration with the wider team, continues to shape what Lookout offers to, and with, its community, and writes Lookout’s ever-building editorial playbook. As we prove out the model, our next step: scaling that model, along with our unique community betterment-centric business model, across multiple markets.

Building on our successful launch, the position now fits an editor with equal parts news leadership abilities and ideals, and creative innovation, who believes that community-centric, locally and digitally delivered news can do far more for readers, community members and their cities than print ever did.

We value deeply reported enterprise that lends itself to narrative storytelling, and have the display abilities and evolving distribution network to maximize its impact.

In addition, learning from the best reader-first, information-centric, meet-readers-where-they are approaches, we prize the kinds of easy-to-consumer formats, particularly on mobile (where Lookout derives 70% of its traffic):

  • Explainers/101s: Here’s what you need to know about X and why
  • Q&As: This person’s voice is important enough that it stands on its own
  • FAQs: Great for explaining how things affect people or in situations where people are confused and want answers
  • By the numbers: Building a narrative surrounding the major numbers that stand out in a story.
  • Fact Check: People are buzzing about something; we ferret out some truth for them

Lookout’s state of the art website enables correspondents to offer up not only “What to Know,” in shorter and longer form but also “What to Do,” how people can partake in their community in myriad ways. Whenever possible, stories include “take action” boxes or jumping off points that allow readers to go deeper, whether it’s how to make a public comment or read original documents.

Editorial excellence, diversity, and imagination are the hallmarks of Lookout, and that’s where the Executive Editor will focus their talents.

Focus in Three Key Areas

Strategy and Leadership

The Executive Editor:

  • Shapes Lookout’s expanding content strategy, editorial calendar and day-to-day coverage — both news and informational content — to meet the breadth and depth of local and community coverage.
  • Leads the enhancement of Lookout’s current editorial products, and planning for new ones.
  • Ensures the maintaining of journalistic standards, with a keen eye for reader-satisfying quality, voice and engagement.
  • Embraces responsibility to incorporate diversity into the fabric and coverage priorities of Lookout.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to engagement with audiences and communities, legacy and underserved, online and IRL, bringing them into wider conversations on community problem-solving.
  • Manages and coordinates industry and professional relationships with state and national content partners, localizing their content to optimize value for readers and for partners. Works collaboratively with the First Amendment Coalition, implementing Access Democracy open meeting/open records/accountability journalism work.
  • Evaluates content partnerships and third party tools to be implemented across Lookout newsrooms, relishing the opportunity to build local storytelling on a powerful digital platform through text, audio, video and emerging formats.
  • Works with product and technology partners to identify and define production and feature enhancements that enhance storytelling techniques and improve reader engagement.
  • Communicates Lookout’s story and mission internally, and externally to evolving partners, both local and national.

Editorial Operations

  • Demonstrates rock-solid journalism judgment, intuition and taste, with editing experience ranging from accountability journalism to reader-interacting features work.
  • Ensures smooth functioning of the news operation, improving editorial processes that both drive continuous improvement and provide a sustainable work/life balance.
  • Drives content towards reader, and member, check-in behavior. Adept at both maintaining our lead role as a primary, go-to-news provider and bringing to readers the how, why and color of local news.
  • Leads content social media strategy, including both social listening — knowing what people are interested in knowing about or talking about, via Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter & Reddit —and use of these platforms for top-of-the-funnel awareness.
  • Expands our must-read editorial newsletter and text messaging strategies.
  • Keeps Lookout content fresh and dynamic, adjusting coverage to the topics we learn readers most want.
  • Makes highly reader-useful guides, in diverse topical areas, a cornerstone of Lookout, especially given society’s reopening.
  • Is hands-on in the CMS and familiar with the tools and workflow that drive the editorial production and presentation. Acts as final editor on articles.
  • Optimizes the value of content partners (national and local) work.

Data-Informed Reader-First Audience Strategy

  • Drives data-driven site programming decisions and best practices for content, including page placement, style, and packaging. Continuously tests and refines Lookout’s programming approach to optimize reader engagement, drive repeat visits and membership-driven revenue.
  • Works closely with newsroom leadership to develop and implement audience development strategies that are owned across the full organization.
  • Helps drive newsroom audience development efforts across both owned channels — including website, social media, email and SEO best practices — and earned partner/media channels, incorporating optimization strategies into newsroom routines, sharing best practice techniques.
  • Drives a robust social media program that engages correspondents and encourages readers to share Lookout content to their networks.

Your Experience & Skills

  • Proven group leadership experience, with a commitment to the values of building and growing a diverse staff.
  • Superior organizational and collaborative abilities, with excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Rock-solid journalism judgment, intuition and taste, with editing experience ranging from accountability to features work.
  • Curiosity.
  • Deep experience in working within a CMS editing and packaging stories.
  • Demonstrated creativity and vision in shaping and producing a wide range of story formats and presentation styles across digital platforms, and crafting copy from “smart brevity” to longer-form investigations.
  • Familiarity with basic web applications and multimedia types (photo, video, audio).
  • Experience using data and analytics to inform content decisions.
  • A strong sense of social media’s multiplying power and how it can best be used for a local news and commerce model.
  • Project management and scheduling, workflow and production calendar management.
  • Bilingual skills a plus

Benefits and Application

Executive Editor is a full-time Lookout Local employee. We offer competitive employee benefits. Salary + bonus + stock options in Lookout’s for-profit, public benefit company.

Lookout Local is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: Six figures, with wide range, depending on experience.

Please apply, with cover letter, resume to