Emerging Leaders

Nonprofit news is growing rapidly, and so is demand for people with the vision and skill to lead the field. INN formed the Emerging Leaders Council in 2017 to identify and support current and future leaders in nonprofit news through a professional development program. Nominations for the 2021 cohort open in March. 

This program teaches leadership, management and business tools that yield immediate results, and it creates space for participants to develop and launch a project with help from a supportive network.

This program is for full-time staff at INN member organizations who can advance the nonprofit news sector throughout the next decade. We encourage the nomination of individuals mid-level in their careers who have the potential to lead their own or another organization, or leaders of small organizations who want to develop their ability to run larger nonprofits.

In particular, we seek candidates who:

  • Show potential to lead a nonprofit news organization
  • Express interest in management strategies and building business leadership skills
  • We want to retain in nonprofit news
  • Reflect the diversity of the communities they serve
  • Will invest in the peer group as well as draw from it

Throughout the four-month program, participants will come together once in person for a workshop designed for nonprofit leaders, and they will meet twice monthly via videoconferencing for project development and follow-through, leadership and business skills discussions.

Applicants must be nominated by their Executive Director/CEO, or if they themselves are the director of a small organization, nominated by their board chair. The cohort will be selected from among the eligible nominations by a panel of INN and industry leaders.

If you have questions about the program, please email Sara Shahriari at sara.s@inn.org

Emerging Leaders Alumni

These leaders represent the excellence and diversity of nonprofit news organizations working to inform communities through factual journalism and build philanthropic support for news. Positions are those held at the time of their participation in the program.

 Suzanne Behnke (2020) Executive Director and Editor, The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism



Jahna Berry (2020) Chief Operating Officer, Mother Jones




 Annie Chabel (2020) Chief Operating Officer, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting



Lauchlin Fields (2020) Audience Development Director, Mississippi Today



Mukhtar Ibrahim (2020) Editor and Executive Editor, Sahan Journal



Judy Lin (2020) Assistant Editor, CalMatters




Loren Lynch (2020) Chief Revenue Officer, The Texas Observer




Corrie MacLaggan (2020) Managing Editor, Texas Tribune




Jim Malewitz (2020) Investigations Editor, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Reporting



Irene Romulo (2020) Co-Founder, Cicero Independiente




Brandon Quester (2020) Executive Editor and Director, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting



Thomas Brennan (2019) Founder, The War Horse



Brian Calvert (2019) Editor-in-Chief, High Country News



Candice Fortman (2019) Chief of Engagement and Operations, Outlier Media



Lucas Grindley (2019) Executive Director, Next City



Andrea Faye Hart (2019) Co-Founder and Director of Community Engagement, City Bureau


Brian Hiatt (2019) Marketing and Membership Director, Mother Jones


Kay Lima (2019) Director, INN Labs



Byrhonda Lyons (2019) Video Journalist, CALmatters



Asraa Mustufa (2019) Digital Editor, The Chicago Reporter



Akoto Ofori-Atta (2019) Managing Editor, The Trace



Tasneem Raja (2019) Executive Editor, The Tyler Loop


Jim Small AZCIR

Jim Small (2017) Executive Director and Editor, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Natalie Choate INN Emerging Leader

Natalie Choate (2017) Director of Media Relations and Partnerships, Texas Tribune


Lauren Fuhrmann INN Emerging Leader

Lauren Fuhrmann (2017) Associate Director, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism


Sarah Garland INN Emerging Leader

Sarah Garland (2017) Executive Editor, The Hechinger Report


Dave Levinthal | Center for Public Integrity

Dave Levinthal (2017) Federal Politics Editor and Senior Reporter, Center for Public Integrity


Ben Nishimoto | Honolulu Civil Beat

Ben Nishimoto (2017) Director of Philanthropy, Honolulu Civil Beat


Brad Racino | inewsource

Brad Racino (2017) Senior Reporter, Assistant Director and Director of Partnerships & Innovation, inewsource


Amber Rivera | Inside Energy

Amber Rivera (2017) Engagement Editor, Inside Energy


Paula Saha | NJ Spotlight

Paula Saha (2017) Director of Audience and Donor Development, NJ Spotlight


Halle Stockton | PublicSource

Halle Stockton (2017) Managing Editor, PublicSource