McClatchy (NYSE American: MNI) named Mandy Jenkins as General Manager of The Compass Experiment. Jenkins will lead a three-year effort to explore new sustainable models for local news. She will start in this new role beginning June 17, 2019.
“Mandy is precisely the right type of talent for this important role at McClatchy,” said Craig Forman, President and CEO. “Her trailblazing expertise in digital journalism coupled with her experience in local news positions her well to take on this ambitious and industry-leading initiative.”
Earlier this year, The Compass Experiment, a three-year experimental “lab” for local news, was announced by McClatchy in partnership with the Google News Initiative. As envisioned, The Compass Experiment will develop new, sustainable business models for local news and information in three U.S. communities that have limited sources of local, independent journalism.
“The goal of the GNI Local Experiments Project is to test the business models and operational aspects necessary to succeed in local news and to share those insights with the industry,” said Jason Washing Managing Director, Global Partnerships at Google. “We are excited to have someone of Mandy’s stature lead this effort which comes at an important time for the local news industry.”
Jenkins will lead the effort to launch three digital-only local news sites, hire and manage a team of journalists, sales professionals, audience growth experts and product staff that will build and support these new sites. She will also collaborate with various teams across McClatchy and Google and share the lessons learned with the industry. Jenkins published a blog post today on The Compass Experiment’s new Medium account to start sharing news and developments on the initiative.
“Leading such a bold initiative at this critical juncture for the news industry is an exhilarating opportunity,” said Jenkins. “I’m eager to put my ideas to work to ensure that local news can sustainably thrive in communities across the country.”
Jenkins is the president of the board of directors for the Online News Association (ONA) and has held previous ONA board positions including vice president and secretary through which she’s overseen operating budgets and growth strategy for the nonprofit organization.
She is completing a John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University where she’s spent the last nine months conducting a grant-funded research project focused on the disconnection between news consumers and mainstream news outlets with a focus on disinformation.
Jenkins was previously editor-in-chief for Storyful. She also held multiple leadership roles at Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome. She’s held social news editor positions at Huffington Post Politics and TBD. Jenkins worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer as social media editor and online special projects editor. She was an online news producer for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a news fellow at WKSU-FM and co-founder/editor-in-chief for Fusion Magazine. She holds a Master’s in Journalism Media Management (degree focus in cybermedia) and a Bachelor’s in News (with concentration in magazine journalism) from Kent State University.
Jenkins will be traveling frequently as part of her new role and be based officially at McClatchy’s Washington, D.C. office. She will report to Angela Lunter, Senior Director of Business Strategy and Operations, who works with Scott Manuel, McClatchy Vice President, Customer and Product to manage McClatchy’s partnership with Google.