In 30 days, we will celebrate our second anniversary as Chalkbeat. Remember when that logo and our lovely Chalkbeat-blue were brand-new and a little scary?
Two years later, wow. Who knew how much was possible in 24 months? We’ve merged and strengthened two beloved local news sites, expanded to two new communities, and reported stories that led to major funding increases,newly public databases, and op-ed’s galore. Most exciting for us, we’ve started to prove that the most endangered of all news species — the local kind, rooted in real communities — can thrive in a digital age after all.
As we step into 2016, the word on our minds is connection. So many people in this country care deeply about educational equity. Our charge is to make sure that everyone who cares has ready and consistent access to the information it takes to transform passion into informed action.
To do this, we’ve been focusing on building our team to include not only award-winning journalists, but also leaders who can help us keep pace with innovations in digital news and audience development.
We are thrilled to announce two major additions to the Chalkbeat team who will help steer us in this direction:
- Kang-Xing (KX) Jin, a vice president of engineering at Facebook, joined Chalkbeat’s board of directors this summer. At Facebook, Kang-Xing’s teams are responsible for media (products for news, video, and public figures), ads in News Feed, and several of the company’s consumer products for sharing with friends, family, and groups. Prior to his current role, Kang-Xing helped build out the Facebook ads team from 2007 to 2012. He joined Facebook in 2006 as an engineer on the News Feed team after graduating from Harvard with a degree in Computer Science, summa cum laude. On the Chalkbeat board, Kang-Xing will combine his passion for education with his engineering and product savvy.
- Ryan Sholin, a former director of product management at Gannett, joined Chalkbeat this week as our new director of product and growth. Ryan’s wide range of experience includes serving as a local reporter, a blogger, and an industry leader with experience helping news organizations make a difference at scale through online news design, audience development, and product creation. At Gannett, Ryan led various initiatives leveraging product creation to drive strategic organizational goals and better connect audiences with content. At Chalkbeat, he is passionate about ensuring that we reach all the people who care about educational equity as much as we do — and then serve them well.
Bringing on all-stars, of course, is just the start. One year from now, I hope we can report back that our Chalkbeat community has grown to ensure that more people who care about better schools for all kids are connected to the stories they need to fuel their thinking. And I hope we can do it by thanking not just KX and Ryan, but you.
Because, here’s the kicker:we’re hiring more people. This is your formal invitation to spread the word as we build the greatest Chalkbeat yet. We hope you’ll join us!