Sara Shahriari has joined the Institute for Nonprofit News in a new role as director of leadership and talent development.
Shahriari will lead three key initiatives–increasing the number of INN member newsrooms led by people of color or serving under-represented communities, growing the organization’s leadership training and mentoring programs, and expanding internship and fellowship programs.
Shahriari comes to INN from nonprofit news organizations. Most recently, she was managing editor of Georgia Public Broadcasting, and before that, assistant news director at KBIA, the NPR member station at the Missouri School of Journalism. She also was an assistant professor at Missouri and hosted an award-winning weekly public affairs program. In 2009, an O.O. McIntyre Fellowship took her to Bolivia to write about land reform. She stayed for almost six years, reporting for organizations including the Guardian, Bloomberg News and The Christian Science Monitor.
“I believe in nonprofit news,’’ Shahriari said. “The INN members are so brave, and they are doing crucial work to connect our communities and support our democracy. I’m really looking forward to helping them grow their organizations’ leadership potential and build inclusive teams, and to creating a path into nonprofit news for more interns and fellows through our programs.”
As commercial media has struggled, the nonprofit news sector has grown substantially, as journalists and community leaders created grassroots organizations to provide independent investigative and public interest journalism.
“INN has seen growing demand from our members for help in recruiting the next wave of newsroom leaders, for business skills training and for leadership development, so we’re really excited with the experience Sara brings us,” said Fran Scarlett, INN’s chief knowledge officer. “From her academic experience to her work in public radio, she knows what nonprofit newsrooms face and how to help them.’’
Shahriari will be based in Athens, Georgia, where she lives with her husband, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia.
Shahriari’s position is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with added support of INN’s diversity and leadership initiatives coming from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and a generous circle of general support funders.
INN’s goal is to double in three years the number of member newsrooms led by people of color or serving under-represented communities, while supporting all members in building newsrooms that reflect the audiences they serve. Such newsrooms now make up about 15 percent of INN’s approximately 240 member organizations. INN also seeks to increase the number of internships. This builds on INN’s success in growing the number of interns of color placed in member newsrooms through its partnership with the Emma Bowen Foundation, which promotes diversity in media and technology. Recruiting the next generation of news leaders, while building skills and fostering current newsroom managers, is a key aspect of INN’s mission