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Lookout Local, Inc. Published: August 23, 2020
Santa Cruz, CA
Job Type


Executive Director, Design and Product

Santa Cruz, CA Full-time Salary: $110,000.00 to $120,000.00 /year

Executive Director, Design and Product
Status: Full-Time
Reports To: CEO
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Lookout Local’s Executive Director, Design and Product defines the experience of Lookout, in look, feel and brand promise, for both our readers and marketing partners. The Executive Director, Design and Product will collaborate with our editorial, audience and revenue teams to fulfill Lookout’s mission: the creation of a new 2020s local news and information model that is audience-enriching, community-building and revenue-producing. The goal: set a new standard of what a local digital platform can now make possible.

The Executive Director, Design and Product focuses on three key outcomes:

  • Optimizes user experience using proprietary front-end web templates, and leads development of additional storytelling tools and templates to increase audience engagement
  • Creates Lookout’s first brand studio, providing the vision and sizzle that dazzles our first clients, and establishes early studio strategy and production workflows.
  • Leads data-informed product roadmap development and deployment, including managing all key technology partner relationships.

This versatile role requires whole-picture thinking, cross-functional adaptability, excellent communication, an entrepreneurial mindset and customer success skills. We particularly value understanding customers’ marketing objectives and fundamental business practices.

The Executive Director, Design and Product, with a Producer position reporting to them at Lookout’s launch, will have a critical seat at the table working with the founding team to build strategies and tactics that help Lookout grow.

We’ll be counting on you to roll up your sleeves to fully advance an entrepreneurial, fast-growth startup environment, embracing the agility and flexibility required to thrive within a new business.

About Lookout Local

Lookout Local is a new network of intensely local, community-centric, digital-only, mobile-first news sites, built for the way citizens and consumers read, act, and interact, in the 2020s. Dedicated to community betterment, Lookout Santa Cruz launches this fall.

We seek colleagues to form our initial, diverse team of 15. We’re looking for those who share our sense of mission, our can-do, entrepreneurial spirit, and our hard-headed realism that smart execution will quickly create a new, much-needed model for local news and community revival. Lookout Local’s for-profit, public benefit corporation is built to last, providing the foundation for multi-site network growth.

What You’ll Be Doing

The Executive Director, Design and Product's focus is in four central areas, and related outcomes:

Optimizes User Experience Using First-Generation Lookout Content Templates and Leads

Development of Additional Storytelling Tools and Templates

  • Working closely with editorial, develops a visuals (infographics, photos, illustrations) creation and deployment system for Lookout’s mobile, desktop and newsletter products, with active involvement in content strategy and content planning.
  • Provides creative, visual and multimedia leadership, creating and applying consistent use of a design system to ensure that all Lookout products uphold and promote Lookout’s high-quality brand design standards.
  • Deploys a media repository and workflow to support editorial, revenue and marketing teams’ use of assets across the organizations. Proactively recommends editorial workflow improvements.

Creates Lookout’s First Brand Studio, Providing the Vision and Sizzle that Dazzles Our Clients, and Establishes Studio Workflows to Make Us Hum with Efficiency

  • Empowers thriving marketing partner relationships, collaborating with revenue and account management teams. Drives creative strategy, asset creation and campaign production (aided by Producer and revenue team) for branded content storytelling and custom sponsorships, nailing campaigns that deliver results and expand marketing revenue. The goal: to have local and regional businesses dropping their ad agencies to line up for our creative services.
  • Designs the workflow -- systems, tools and processes -- that will make Lookout’s Brand Studio a nimble machine, one that the full team can intuitively use to effectively manage all clients. The goals: meet and beat client deadlines, demonstrate ROI through top-shelf creative production, create workflows that scale as we grow
  • Supports trafficking of all non-editorial related assets including sponsorships, advertising and branded content campaigns, and more.

Leads Data-Informed Product Creation, Owning Lookout’s Product Roadmap for Both Editorial and Revenue

  • Drives the product development roadmap, priorities and timeline, intaking and synthesizing feedback from key internal and external customers to make well-rounded decisions. This includes the consumer-facing website and newsletters experience, the CMS, branded content and sponsorship, promotional systems, and more.
  • Builds and manages relationships, SOWs, and deliverables with Lookout’s technology and platform partners - including Graphene CMS, user management, data analytics, audience development and more - for ongoing support, development, and roadmap execution. Researches, scopes and evaluates new third party services and technology partners.
  • Extracts key takeaways from user experience and audience research to coach the staff on winning approaches to content creation and delivery through a multitude of channels including newsletters, social media, and more.
  • Sets up and manages operational relationships with local and national content partners, optimizing their on-site integration and presence.

Manages Corporate Infrastructure and Support

  • Manages corporate shared systems including Google Apps for enterprise (email, shared repositories, calendars).
  • Supports and provides expertise for all corporate IT needs including provisioning personal workstations and all related software.

Your Experience

  • Demonstrated innovative product strategy, design and execution skills. Proven creative leader with a strong operations focus, lover of process and advocate for quality with a keen understanding of media and journalism.
  • Branded content ideation and execution experience. Demonstrated, customer-focused creative and critical thinking that is solutions-focused.
  • Ability to lead visuals strategy for a news enterprise. Strong design sensibility accompanied by experience with news-oriented visuals, including photos, infographics, data visualizations.
  • Experience implementing scheduling, project and production management, ticketing and production management tools or systems.
  • Understand the basics of product development methodologies from waterfall to agile scrum development.
  • Ability to flexibly work with Lookout’s outsourced Graphene CMS to optimize internal workflows and external customer experience.
  • Superior creative, organizational and communication abilities. Skilled interacting with both clients and technology partners.
  • Experience with data analytics platforms and user experience research, utilizing them to define success criteria and guide product and content decisions.

Skills Required

  • Content management systems and digital production tools, including an understanding of HTML, CSS, FTP and other technologies required for https operations. Wordpress a plus.
  • Project management and ticketing programs such as Jira, Confluence, etc.
  • Google Enterprise Apps Suites (email, calendar, etc)
  • Google Publisher Suite (analytics, tag manager, ad server)
  • Adobe Creative Suite, familiarity with Sketch, in-Vision and other creative visualization and UX tools
  • Subscription/membership services technologies a plus

Benefits and Application
Executive Director, Design and Product is a full-time Lookout Local employee. We offer competitive employee benefits.

Lookout Local is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.