Elana Zak is head of newsletters at Politico, where she works across the newsroom to strengthen content strategy and forge best practices for Politico’s expansive newsletter
Most recently, Elana was the Senior Editor of Programming at CNN Business where she launched a number of new products, including a personalized business news app and the CNN Business Nightcap newsletter. She managed CNN Business’ digital presence across platforms and worked with CNN’s homepage teams on breaking news events, sponsorships, and push alerts.
Previously, Elana led social media efforts at Stat, Boston Globe Media’s life sciences site, and was an audience engagement editor at The Wall Street Journal. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York and New York University. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication and a master’s degree from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Describe your vision for the future of digital journalism. How would you reimagine the journalism industry?
My vision for the future of digital journalism is that it is more agile, diverse and has found a sustainable business model.
I started out as a reporter at a weekly newspaper outside of Boston. It was 2008 and newsrooms were beginning to shut down because of the Great Recession. But I thought the industry would be okay and we were witnessing the worst of it. I was wrong. In the years since, I have watched countless friends and colleagues worry about job stability or get laid off and ultimately leave the business. Many who have gone on to their Plan B outside of journalism are voices the industry desperately needs to hear more from.
ONA has been a leader in supporting newsrooms and journalists as we search for a better future. Whether it is through the Women’s Leadership Accelerator or the Journalism Mentorship Program, ONA is there to offer financial and emotional aid. And I want to help it continue to thrive.
For years, I have helped ONA at the local level. I have connected my graduate students with hiring managers and created communities for journalists to come together. Now I am running for the Board of ONA because I want to help at the national level. I want to be a bigger part of ensuring that the newsrooms of the future are financially secure and represent all audiences, not just a select few.