Mountain State Spotlight seeks an entrepreneurial, mission-oriented leader to build and manage the operations and revenue functions of a growing, nationally recognized startup investigative civic news organization serving West Virginia. The broad mandate of the role is to ensure that financial resources and operations never block the organization’s growth and success in providing its crucial journalism for West Virginians. 

You would shepherd the design and execution of critical functions in business operations and revenue strategy to support a fast-paced journalism startup, working with the co-founders and our partners at the American Journalism Project. As a growing startup with significant financial backing from national and local partners, including ProPublica and Report for America, this role is a great opportunity for a manager to play roles traditionally split among CRO, COO, and CFO functions.  

As commercial newsrooms in the state struggle with diminishing resources, a growing number of West Virginians are deprived of the information they need, and the journalism to keep government, business, and other institutions accountable. Mountain State Spotlight was created to address this crisis, and now has one of the largest news reporting staffs in the state, with a team of talented reporters and seasoned editors focused on issues including public health threats, economic development, environmental degradation, and government accountability.

You will report to our Chief Executive Officer, and take on the exciting opportunity of partnering with the co-founders to spearhead the development of all non-editorial strategy and operations for the new venture, which has plans to expand as revenue strategies are formed and executed. Key priorities include establishing robust revenue generation capabilities and the organization’s finance and human resources disciplines. 

Out-of-state applicants are welcome, and will be expected to work and live in or near Charleston, West Virginia. Our Mountain State is a beautiful place to live, is full of exciting news to report on, and faces many challenges that demand our vigorous brand of watchdog journalism.

The organization

Mountain State Spotlight was founded just months ago by MacArthur Fellow Ken Ward Jr. and longtime Charleston Gazette-Mail editor Greg Moore. They’re being joined by Pulitzer Prize-winner Eric Eyre, to power an independent, civic news organization that tells stories of importance to West Virginians about the issues and challenges facing their communities. 

Our mission is to help West Virginians improve their state by producing “sustained outrage” journalism that exposes abuses of power by government, business and other institutions.

We have one of the largest news reporting staffs in West Virginia, with a team of aggressive reporters and seasoned editors focused on major issues including public health threats, economic development, environmental degradation and government accountability

We are backed by Report for America, the American Journalism Project and ProPublica, and have ambitious plans to grow to meet the information needs of West Virginians, to give our neighbors the journalism they want, need and deserve.

Job responsibilities

  • Revenue strategy and management: Supervise all aspects of revenue generation, as well as the communications strategies that support revenue growth and Mountain State Spotlight’s mission and vision.
  • Development:  
    • Use knowledge of our mission and market position to develop a multi-year fundraising strategy for the organization that includes creating and managing to specific fundraising targets.
    • Bolster development systems and structures that will support effective, efficient, sustainable, and professional fundraising and communications programs. 
    • Maintain primary responsibility for developing messages, strategy memos, talking points, and donor materials Identify new prospects for the major gifts portfolio and opportunities for increased giving by current donors. 
    • Oversee prospect research and actively lead identification of major gift prospects to bring new supporters into the organization
    • Draft donor correspondence and maintain primary responsibility for developing messages, strategy memos, talking points, and donor materials
  • Finance: Manage Mountain State Spotlight’s finances, including revenue projections and costs, as well as strategic planning for both, and handle relationships with key external vendors (e.g. external accountants).
  • Operations: Work with the executive editor, managing editor and co-founders; will oversee human resources functions and workflow processes. 

You’re a good fit if

  • You have a demonstrated commitment to local accountability journalism and First Amendment values
  • You have at least five years of nonprofit management or news business experience
  • You have built teams from scratch and/or have experience in finance, fundraising, strategy, operations or human resources 
  • You thrive in a fast-paced startup environment where you are expected to think outside the box and build things from the ground up
  • You are a skilled problem-solver, you’re process- and detail-oriented, and enjoy bringing order to chaos
  • You are proficient in any of Quickbooks Online, Microsoft Excel, GSuite, Google Analytics, Newspack, Mailchimp, and project planning tools such as Trello, or are familiar with similar tools and can learn quickly
  • You are organized and can handle multiple projects and people under tight deadlines
  • You have a collaborative spirit and are calm under pressure. You believe that we are all stronger together

Experience working in nonprofits in West Virginia or other rural Appalachian states is a plus, but not mandatory. 

We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. 

We encourage applicants who are ready to take on an ambitious role, but don’t meet 100% of our requirements. We’re growing, so if you’re not right for this job, you might be right for the next one.

Compensation and benefits:

Full-time, competitive salary with benefits.

Three weeks of paid time off in addition to holidays

Flexible work schedule. Some weekend and evening hours will be required.

Application process:

To apply or to ask questions, email Your application should include:

  • Your resume
  • A cover letter telling us why you are the right person for Mountain State Spotlight’s team. Describe your vision for the initial set of priorities for this role as you partner with our CEO and co-founders to build out the business functions of the organization. 

Applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis, giving an advantage to early applicants.