Executive Editor

Cardinal Productions   Roanoke, VA   Full-time     Writing / Editing
Posted on May 14, 2024

Cardinal News is seeking its next Executive Editor to lead one of the nation’s fastest-growing nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations as it fulfills its mission to cover a journalistically underserved region of Virginia.

This is a terrific opportunity for a high-energy editorial leader to build on our journalistic successes and inspire our team to pursue investigative and accountability journalism.

We’re looking for someone who understands our mission -- telling the untold stories of Southwest and Southside Virginia and strengthening the voices of the people in our communities who have been sidelined in the commonwealth’s political, economic and cultural conversations simply because of where they live. Cardinal’s Executive Editor should also understand that to reach our diverse audiences our stories need to be adapted for multiple platforms.

Now in its third full year, Cardinal News has quickly grown from an editorial staff of three – an editor and two reporters – to nine reporters and two editors, plus two part-time copy editors. We have the only health reporter and education reporter west of Richmond, and the only politics reporter focused full-time on our part of the state.  With that growth has come a need to restructure and expand our editor capacity as we prepare both for future staff growth and the changing needs of our readers in a geographic area where legacy media outlets continue to rapidly retrench.

We want a leader excited about journalism’s role in the vitality of our coverage area. This is a hands-on position for an editor who understands that even daily stories need explanatory information, and that to fulfill our mission our news content demands a mix of long-form journalism, short news updates and in-depth enterprise and investigative stories.

Cardinal News is an organization with a bias toward action, and uses data to measure its efforts and guide decision-making. It was named Startup of the Year in 2023 by the Institute for Nonprofit News. By its second year, Cardinal was among the top 10 percent of nonprofit local news organizations in revenue and audience growth. It will be among the top 5 percent by 2028.

To achieve this, the Executive Editor will carry out our 5-year goals to increase:

  • Cardinal’s impact on public life in our region through storytelling.
  • The expertise and skills of our journalists
  • Audience engagement by increasing understanding of the people and issues in the communities we cover and finding new ways to bring our stories to them on the platforms they wish to consume news.

The Executive Editor oversees all aspects of our journalism team that currently includes nine reporters, two part-time copy editors, a managing editor and a founding editor/columnist.  The position reports to the Executive Director. The Executive Editor is also responsible for preparing and delivering monthly reports to the Board of Directors. Like the rest of the Cardinal staff, the Executive Editor must reside in our coverage area of Southwest and Southside Virginia.

We are dedicated to creating an inclusive workplace and encourage members of communities that are traditionally underrepresented in media to apply. Key areas of responsibility and preferred qualifications follow. We realize this list is long and not everyone will have the expertise in all aspects. If you meet most of our requirements, and have what it takes to be Cardinal News’ journalistic leader, send a resume and cover letter to jobs@cardinalnews.org. What should not get lost in the details is that we are strongly committed to excellent journalism and to our mission and are seeking an Executive Editor who shares those values.

In the cover letter, please describe your vision for our newsroom and why you are a good fit for Cardinal News.


Collaborative culture

Cardinal News is small but mighty because we believe in the cliché of getting everyone in the same boat, and rowing in the same direction. We encourage collaboration with others and among ourselves. The Executive Editor will:

– Seek collaborations and partners for projects, products and events in service to our mission.

– Foster a team culture that supports its employees so that they can perform to their highest abilities.

– Place a continuous emphasis on team building and other communication to enhance shared values across the newsroom, especially important for a remote workforce.

– Maintain an inclusive workplace that supports a sense of belonging and that is inclusive of all people no matter their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

– Communicate Cardinal News’ mission and vision clearly to reporters, supporters, partners and to the journalism community at large.


The Executive Editor will use our impact tracking tool to understand outcomes of our stories on individuals and policies, and will use the information to make data-based decisions on what we need to do to have more of an impact for the people of our communities.


As a new organization, Cardinal News has much opportunity to expand its market penetration. Our loyal readership skews wealthier, whiter and more educated than the population that we serve. Both of these measures allow for great strides to be made in outreach. The Executive Editor will be integral in developing and implement strategies and tools to engage and build our audience, and to conceive and test new ways to bring our stories to people in the format and on the platforms they want.

Staff development

The Executive Editor will be responsible for ensuring that the news team receives clear directions on the newsroom’s vision and the support necessary to perform at high levels. We want someone who can lead, coach and supervise our team, and who can spot and address underperforming areas.


  • An unwavering commitment to local journalism.
  • At least 10 years managing a newsroom, including experience as the top newsroom leader.
  • A proven track record guiding reporters to produce great accountability journalism and corresponding experience in editorial decisions with complex or sensitive news content. Please provide several examples in your application.
  • Management experience that shows both visionary thinking and leadership in execution of goals.
  • Hands-on knowledge of setting performance-based expectations and coaching newsroom staff.


  • Demonstrated ability to lead a high-performing news team
  • Excellent communication skills across the board
  • Exemplary organizational and time management skills
  • Flexibility – we are a growing organization and wear many hats
  • An understanding of our communities and the people we serve