Editor & Publisher Search
Catalyst Chicago

Community Renewal Society seeks an Editor & Publisher for its award-winning education news organization, Catalyst Chicago.

Catalyst Chicago

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Catalyst Chicago is an award winning, nonprofit journalism organization that serves as a resource and watchdog for school improvement in Chicago. Over all, we report on what is working for children, what is not working and why.

We inform a wide variety of readers – parents, educators, community leaders and policy makers – thus equipping them all to participate in the political process that is school reform.

With a diverse audience, we employ diverse reporting and writing techniques, including investigations, data analysis, narratives, explanatory stories, straight-ahead news and social media.

We are unique among Chicago media for paying close to issues of teaching and learning and communicating with our readers in a variety of ways:

  • News and analysis for web-only publication.
  • A print magazine, Catalyst In Depth, that takes a comprehensive look at a single topic in each issue. Copies are distributed free to some 5,000 members of local school councils across the city and to Catalyst donors. We are set to publish three issues a year but continue to monitor the efficacy of print in a digital world.
  • Public forums involving experts from the classroom to academia.
  • Social media.
  • Collaborations with other media outlets.
  • Participation in radio and TV public affairs programs, and being interviewed by broadcast media for their stories.

To mark our anniversary, we are conducting a year-long community engagement campaign that has ushered in popular new ways to delve into education. One is “Classroom Story Slams,” which are social events featuring educators who share their experiences, hopes and dreams in short stories they read aloud. Another is a “Then, Now, Next Almanac” that takes a weekly dive into our archives, updates a previous story and looks to its future.

Our staffing consists of an editor/publisher, two reporters and a half-time web and data editor. CRS, our parent organization, manages all financial services, reader and donor databases and annual appeals to individuals for funding. It assists with fundraising from foundations and event planning.

Community Renewal Society

Catalyst is one of two editorially independent news organizations that are part of the nonprofit Community Renewal Society (CRS). Our sister publication is The Chicago Reporter.

Community Renewal Society is a progressive, faith-based organization that works to eliminate race and class barriers. Founded in 1882, Community Renewal informs, organizes and trains both communities and individuals to advocate for social and economic justice.

The Opportunity

Chicago arguably is the epicenter of education reform activity in the nation – and has been for decades. Former President Clinton acknowledged as much in two State of the Union speeches, and President Barack Obama brought many of his federal policies with him from Chicago. Our mayor and teachers union president play on a national stage. And the city is home to the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, which generates analyses that drive change and inform news reporting.

As in any large urban school district, there is no dearth of issues to write about and, every now and then, some progress, too.

With the milestone of our 25th anniversary and the impending retirement of founder and editor/publisher Linda Lenz, now is the perfect time for a new editor & publisher to re-examine what Catalyst does, how it does it, and find new ways to distinguish its work and have a greater impact.

Linda will be available to provide help during the transition, on request.

The ideal candidate for Editor & Publisher will be:

  • A visionary with entrepreneurial drive. Someone who can identify and develop strategies to reinvigorate the brand, garner more attention, and reach new audiences and donors.
  • A collaborative team leader who can inspire staff members to continue growing as individuals and team members.
  • An experienced journalist with strong reporting and editing skills, and familiarity with data analysis.
  • A digital strategist who understands how to tap ever evolving digital media to advance editorial content, marketing and fundraising.
  • A seasoned pro who will bring integrity and gravitas and become the trusted leader of Catalyst.

The candidate must have demonstrated capabilities in:

Journalism: A minimum of 10 years’ experience in journalism. Experience using data, documents and grass-roots and high-level sources to produce original stories that readers value. Knowledge of education issues and urban environments.

Fundraising: Comfort with a variety of fundraising techniques. Experience marketing a non-profit organization to its stakeholders, including civic and community leaders, donors, investors and readers is highly desired.

Leadership: Creativity and strategic thinking in editorial content, presentation, marketing and fundraising.

Communication: Excellent communication and public speaking skills. Comfort with speaking before audiences of all sizes and demographics, and ability to appear on a range of media outlets.

Minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Managerial experience.
  • Knowledgeable about education, in particular involving issues emerging from realities of race and poverty. Professional experience as an education journalist preferred.
  • Fundraising/development skills, e.g. articulating the publication’s mission and arguing for it persuasively, as well as a creative and entrepreneurial approach to identifying possible new avenues for support and funding.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact comfortably and competently with people from diverse racial, social, economic and education backgrounds.
  • Training or experience in the areas of cross-racial, cross-cultural communication, antiracism, and cultural competency is strongly preferred.
  • Experience in an urban setting, with a strong preference for Chicago.
  • Ability to speak Spanish preferred.

Duties and Responsibilities.

  • Develop the editorial vision and direction for Catalyst.
  • Provide day-to-day supervision and oversight of the publication’s other staff members. Recruit, hire and fire staff members as necessary.
  • Edit all editorial content, with free-lance assistance if necessary. Ensure high-quality graphics accompany all stories.
  • With the assistance of the CRS development staff, lead and execute all fundraising and other revenue-building activities. Identify and solicit the publication’s funding sources; make contact with and report to current and potential funders; and plan/monitor short-term and long-term fundraising and other revenue related activities.
  • With the assistance of the CRS communications staff, collect and analyze web site and other data that can be used for planning and fundraising. Also, plan and execute marketing activities.
  • Serve as chief spokesperson for Catalyst to the media, civic and community leaders, donors and the general public.
  • Retain and supervise independent contractors as needed.
  • Develop and administer an annual work plan and budget.
  • Recruit and administer Catalyst’s editorial advisory board. Evaluate that operation periodically to see whether changes are warranted.
  • Within the limits of editorial independence, work collaboratively with staff of other CRS units.
  • Report to the CRS Executive Director and serve as a member of the organization’s senior leadership team.

Salary commensurate with experience. Flexible hours. Excellent benefits.

Applicants should submit a résumé, cover letter and three sample(s) of their best journalism and/or marketing work.

Application deadline: October 23, 2015, 5 p.m. central daylight savings time.

Applications should be sent to No phone inquiries, please.

CRS is an equal opportunity employer.

More information about Catalyst and the Community Renewal Society can be found at


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