Fresh on the job at USA Today is an editor who is far from new to the world of journalism. Nicole Carroll, now the editor-in-chief at USA Today, says she’s on a mission to lead her team headstrong into future. How she plans on doing that centers on three goals: audience growth, investigative reporting, and innovation in storytelling.
“I see so much opportunity with this really talented team at USA Today,” Carroll said.
In an interview before her official start day at USA Today (March 7), Carroll spoke to E&P about how she wants to hit the ground running and shared her high ambitions for her new role. Those ambitions include carving out the attention of readers in the digital age.
“We are going to be the daily destination for those seeking news,” she said. “We want to be a habit.”
In a clear addition to her three goals, Carroll said presenting exclusive storytelling in the best format is high on the priority list. That goal is in line with her previous experience as editor of the Arizona Republic, where she honed her craft as an innovative storyteller.
For example, she had a hand in the The Wall project, the groundbreaking piece of journalism that presented an in-depth profile of the scope of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and the land and communities it would affect.
The Wall Project “showed the power of our network to do something ambitious and groundbreaking,” Carroll said. The project was also a display of the power of collaboration as they partnered with outlets in Detroit and Milwaukee to help edit and produce certain parts of the project.
Collaboration is another theme Carroll hopes carry over to her new role, given the history of USA Today and scope of the publications under its umbrella.
“Getting to do investigative news on a national level is exciting and I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “It’s a huge advantage that we have these properties across the country and we can have someone covering these events as it happens.”
Carroll said the history that the USA Today has in producing investigative pieces is part of the reason she was attracted to the editor-in-chief position. She also believed that the right way into the future is to continue that legacy and to continue cover and produce “sharp, relevant news.”
“I think we have an incredible future ahead of us,” she said.