Karen Rundlet, a force in journalism philanthropy for nearly a decade, will take the helm as the new CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News, the network looking to shape the future of local reporting.
“Across the country, we are experiencing a renaissance in newsmaking, with INN members driving that shift,” Rundlet said.
Rundlet grew up in Miami after her family immigrated from Jamaica. She joined the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2015 and served as senior director for the Knight Foundation’s journalism program.
INN supports more than 5,000 journalists in 425 news organizations in the U.S. and Canada, including the Key Biscayne Independent and its parent non-profit organization, Miami Fourth Estate.
“Karen is uniquely positioned as a visionary, passionate and experienced journalist and philanthropist to propel the nonprofit news movement,” said Marcia Parker, the chair of INN’s Board of Directors.
Rundlet will join INN on Jan. 8, succeeding CEO Sue Cross, who announced she would step down by the end of the year. Rundlet will oversee a remote staff of 22 that assists communities in launching new publications to fill “news deserts” where newspapers and broadcasters have closed or cut coverage.
“Ours is a powerful community of practice, focused on excellence in journalism, equity and inclusion, and the financial health of news,” Rundlet said. “We are world-building and innovating with the ultimate goal of keeping communities informed to serve our collective future.”
Rundlet worked as a television news producer in Atlanta and New York. She worked at the Miami Herald, leading digital initiatives and building the newsroom’s first video studio. She moved to Knight in 2015.
As senior director for the Knight Foundation’s journalism program, Rundlet managed a more than $50 million portfolio of grants in newsrooms and field-building organizations, including INN.
She also helped lead the growth of NewsMatch, the end-of-year campaign launched by Knight and supported by a coalition of dozens of funders that has leveraged a $25 million investment to help newsrooms raise $246 million in support from their communities since 2017. Miami Fourth Estate is a participant in the NewsMatch program.
Rundlet is one of the funding leaders helping organize Press Forward, a new collaborative effort spearheaded by the MacArthur Foundation that aims to enhance the expansion and sustainability of local news organizations across the country.
“As a leader of our field, she already is driving the national advances to redesign news media that is inclusive for communities of color and can bring trusted information to everyone,” Parker said.