Fran Reilly, an innovative leader with a 30-year career building sustainable growth in media, is the new Executive Director of the News Leaders Association.
Reilly is passionate about the future of journalism, leadership development and sponsoring diversity initiatives that strengthen newsrooms. She is an outspoken advocate for ethical standards and protection of our First Amendment Rights at a time when freedom of the press is under assault across our nation. NLA supports and develops leaders of newsrooms dedicated to independent, fact-based journalism essential to informing our democracy.
Reilly joins News Leaders after a national search that brought forward many terrific candidates. In our view Fran is the right leader at this critical juncture and we could not be happier.
Michael Days, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at The Philadelphia Inquirer and president of the News Leaders Association, welcomed Reilly to the NLA family.
"Fran is charged with taking two legacy organizations, ASNE and APME, that decided not merely to merge, but to create a spirited new organization focused on being the indispensable home for news leaders, regardless of platform,” Days said. “No doubt she will be a driving force in getting us where we need to go.”
Before joining News Leaders, Reilly spent many years in the media and start-up space, ranging from top director roles to advising start-ups. Most recently, she served as Executive Director and Publisher of City Limits News, New York City’s oldest nonprofit investigative news agency. Reilly’s career has been marked by identifying opportunities and helping mission-driven organizations find their voice and expand.
Formerly a strategy, marketing and business development executive at media companies, including Time Inc. and Scholastic, she specializes in start-ups, turn-arounds and digital expansion. Reilly has developed and executed successful growth strategies for media ventures and journalism start-ups. Her focus has been on the growth of nonprofits to build audiences, increase and diversify revenue, and create content that has a transformational impact on the audiences they serve.
Reilly joins News Leaders as the nonprofit is rolling out a strategic plan to reshape the organization into the leading training and leadership organization whose mission is to strengthen democracy. News Leaders has built a diverse board that reflects the changing landscape of media organizations and the country and continues to be leader in diversity training via its Emerging Leaders Institute.
Nancy Barnes, previous NLA president and Senior Vice President for News for National Public Radio, lead the search committee for the new executive director.
“We are thrilled to have Fran joining NLA at such a critical moment in our history,” Barnes said. “Welcome!”
Reilly will play a key role in reshaping NLA, whose mission is to foster and develop the highest standards of trustworthy, truth-seeking journalism; to advocate for open, honest and transparent government; to fight for free speech and an independent press; to nurture the next generation of news leaders committed to spreading knowledge that informs democracy. Our goal is for all citizens to be informed by accurate, truthful, independent reporting so they can demand the best from our democratic institutions.
"There is simply no more important mission today than to ensure our local and national newsrooms have diverse, strong leadership equipped to meet the challenge of providing truthful, independent reporting,” Reilly said. “The NLA Board and community embody the values of our most talented, committed news leaders. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them in setting a new path forward."
Reilly joined NLA on Friday, May 1. She will be based in New York and Washington, D.C.