Introducing the 2020 INN Emerging Leaders Council

The Institute for Nonprofit News is pleased to announce the members of the 2020 INN Emerging Leaders Council, an initiative to identify and support leaders who will advance the nonprofit news sector throughout the next decade.

Leadership development is a cornerstone of INN’s programming. Members of the 2020 cohort were nominated by their organization’s leadership and selected from an outstanding field of nominees to join INN’s third Emerging Leaders Council.

“Building leadership capacity is fundamental to the growth and sustainability of nonprofit news and to the service individual outlets bring to their communities,” said Fran Scarlett, INN’s Chief Knowledge Officer.

This year’s Council includes leaders from publications both large and small, established and emerging, all united by skill, a spirit of innovation and a powerful commitment to nonprofit news. The cohort will collaborate and receive coaching on topics including major gifts, innovative audience-building strategies, building diverse and dynamic teams and leadership best practices.

“Today’s nonprofit news leaders carry an extremely wide variety of responsibilities,” said INN’s director of leadership and talent development, Sara Shahriari, who coordinates the program. “It’s important to make time for these busy leaders to expand skill sets and connect with supportive peers across the field.”

Coaches for the 2020 INN Emerging Leaders Council include leadership specialist Madhu Maron, and INN’s Fran Scarlett and Jeffrey Woolverton. In addition to one-on-one coaching and entering into conversations with innovators in the nonprofit news field, over the next four months each participant will develop a project designed to grow their leadership and strengthen their news organization.

Here are the members of the 2020 INN Emerging Leaders Council:

Irene Romulo is the co-founder of Cicero Independiente, a bilingual, local news outlet for people living in Cicero, Illinois. Romulo’s work is focused on creating a hyperlocal space for civic engagement rooted in accessible news production by and for people of color, non-English speakers and those who are excluded from traditional media models.

Jim Malewitz joined the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism in 2019 as investigations editor. His role includes editing, managing fellows and interns, facilitating cross-newsroom collaborations and investigative reporting. Malewitz has worked almost exclusively in nonprofit, public affairs journalism. He most recently reported on the environment for Bridge Magazine. He also was an energy and investigative reporter for the Texas Tribune and covered energy for Stateline. Malewitz graduated from Grinnell College and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. He was a founding staff member of the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism and continues to serve on its board.

Loren A. Lynch is the development director at the Texas Observer. Though she was born in Dallas, Loren has spent most of her life outside of the state, in Wisconsin and New York City. She is excited to return to Texas because of tacos, BBQ and mild winters. Previously, Loren was at The Nation, where she fundraised and oversaw special revenue programs and events. When not talking about the importance of independent, local journalism, she writes about science fiction, TV, films and comic books.

Jahna Berry is Mother Jones’ chief operating officer, based in San Francisco. Before joining Mother Jones, Jahna was head of content operations at Wired, where she played a key role in developing strategies that increased digital subscriptions, and opened Wired’s first permanent retail store. Earlier in her career, Jahna was Mother Jones’ director of product and managed the publication’s award-winning 2016 digital redesign. The project helped Mother Jones win the Magazine of the Year award from the American Society of Magazine Editors in 2017. Jahna has been a writer and editor at several publications, including the San Francisco Business Times, the Arizona Republic, the Contra Costa Times (now called the East Bay Times), and the San Francisco Recorder.

Corrie MacLaggan is The Texas Tribune's managing editor for newsroom administration. Previously, the Austin native was a national correspondent for Reuters, writing and editing stories about Texas and nearby states and overseeing a network of freelance writers. Before that, she covered Texas government and politics for the Austin American-Statesman, writing about everything from gubernatorial races to food-stamp application backlogs. She spent her first year at the Statesman writing for the newspaper's weekly Spanish-language publication. She has also worked in Mexico City, where she wrote for publications including the Miami Herald's Mexico edition, Latin Trade magazine and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Lauchlin Fields is the web and engagement editor at Mississippi Today. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Lauchlin saw the need to bring together the editorial and marketing teams at Mississippi Today, resulting in the formation of a cross-departmental engagement team that works with reporters from concept to publication and beyond. Under Lauchlin’s leadership, Mississippi Today now has a suite of niche newsletter products that provide curated content on topics ranging from education to arts and culture. Lauchlin’s focus on audience development and reader experience is a cornerstone in Mississippi Today’s growth strategy.

Judy Lin is assistant editor of CalMatters. Prior to that she covered state finances, workforce and economic issues for CalMatters. She brings more than a decade of government reporting experience from the Associated Press, Sacramento Bee and Detroit News. She's a long-time member of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Suzanne Behnke is executive director-editor at the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism - IowaWatch and a longtime editor and journalist in Iowa. She has worked at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, the Des Moines Register and the Des Moines Business Record. Behnke is also an adjunct professor in editing at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim is the founder, editor and executive director of Sahan Journal, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to chronicling the struggles, successes and transformations of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities. He previously worked as a staff writer for the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio News. Born in Somalia, Mukhtar earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a graduate degree in investigative and data journalism from Columbia University.

Annie Chabel is the chief operating officer for The Center for Investigative Reporting. Serving as an integral member of the senior leadership team, she contributes to the organization’s strategy, partners with its leadership team to achieve measurable strategic goals, and is responsible for continually improving and professionalizing CIR’s financial management and operations. Previously, she served as the director of philanthropic partnerships at CIR. Prior to joining CIR, Chabel served as the grants manager for the Bay Area Video Coalition, a nonprofit media arts center in San Francisco.

Brandon Quester is the founder, executive director and editor of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. Quester built AZCIR into an award-winning newsroom, becoming a hub for original and collaborative journalism known for its deep reporting on important public policy issues. Prior to AZCIR, Quester’s career focused on the U.S.-Mexico border, soldiers serving abroad and immigration across the Caribbean. He also worked as an editor for the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national investigative reporting project at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Most recently he was the director of data for inewsource.