PublicSource will have two executive directors effective next week, in a move approved by the nonprofit newsroom’s board of directors and expected to enhance the organization’s vibrancy and resilience, and to preserve the independence of the reporting and business sides.
Jennie Liska will become executive director for revenue and operations, while Halle Stockton serves as executive director and editor-in-chief.
“Here we are with two of the best leaders that PublicSource has ever had,” Ted Anthony, the president of PublicSource’s Board of Directors, told the staff during a meeting Monday. “We have two people who have done incredible work for a number of years in their respective realms.”
Stockton was one of the first reporters hired by PublicSource 11 years ago, after beginning her career at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida. She rose to be managing editor and, starting last year, editor-in-chief.
Liska spent 13 years working in management and technology consulting. She was a member of the PublicSource board from 2016 through 2018, before joining the staff and taking charge of revenue generation, relationship development and internal business operations.
PublicSource has been without a CEO since January, and prior to last year it always had a single executive director.
Liska and Stockton brought the board the concept of two executive directors, and one of the board’s two vice presidents, Jeff Galak, researched the concept.
“This is actually an unusual model — but not an unheard-of one — in the nonprofit space,” Galak told the staff. He reached out to three organizations that use the two-executive director structure, and all spoke highly of its power to instill a culture of teamwork, compromise and resilience.
“This was seen as a positive direction for nonprofits, and importantly for us as a board, it was seen as a positive direction for PublicSource,” Galak said.
Anthony added that having two executive directors formalizes the important separation of editorial decisions from revenue considerations.
The board was unanimous in its enthusiasm for the model and the personnel who will lead it, said Anthony and Galak.
“After 11 years at PublicSource, I couldn’t be more thrilled to take on a co-leadership position and remain at the helm of this ambitious and talented newsroom,” said Stockton. “Together, Jennie and I will work to ensure that PublicSource continues to evolve and meet the needs of the Pittsburgh region through innovative journalistic endeavors accomplished with integrity and care.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to co-lead PublicSource, with a focus on making sure that our journalists have the resources to continue telling important, authentic and creative stories about Pittsburgh and the region,” said Liska. “I look forward to partnering with Halle and the PublicSource team on the exciting projects to come. We both encourage any community members who have thoughts about our work to get in touch.”
PublicSource, founded in 2011, grew from a project within Pittsburgh Filmmakers to an independent nonprofit with a full-time staff of 14. The organization is guided by a board including veterans of media, marketing, technology, education, medicine, law, human resources, finance and communications.
“I believe this co-lead structure will allow bandwidth for necessary focus on all of the important aspects of this organization, our team and PublicSource’s future,” Stockton added. “It also fits squarely into our organization’s core values of furthering collaboration and equity.”
Rich Lord is PublicSource’s managing editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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