The 74 Announces Leadership Transition, Steve Snyder Named Next CEO of Education News Outlet

Jim Roberts to step down as publisher in early 2024; will continue to serve as contributing editor.

Steve Snyder, the longtime editor in chief of The 74, has been named the next CEO of the education news nonprofit (Rebecca Hales/Hales Studio)

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The 74, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom covering America’s education system, today announced that Editor-in-Chief Steve Snyder will soon become the organization’s next chief executive officer. As part of the leadership transition, Jim Roberts, a 46-year news veteran, will step down as publisher and become contributing editor.

“Under the leadership of Jim and Steve, The 74 has grown into one of the most dynamic and influential newsrooms covering the most important issue of our lifetime,” said Romy Drucker, co-founder of The 74 and chair of the organization’s board of directors. “Jim is a journalism legend and he has left an indelible mark on The 74 with his thoughtful approach to strengthening the nonprofit newsroom model. With Steve as CEO, The 74 is positioned to reach new heights in bringing insightful education storytelling to readers across the country.” 

In his expanded role, Snyder will oversee both the content of the publication and the organization’s operations, including its strategic growth initiatives. He has been with the education news site since its inception in 2015 and worked closely with co-founders and current board members Campbell Brown and Romy Drucker in developing the newsroom’s voice, focus and strategy behind the broader 74 network. Prior to The 74, Snyder held various leadership positions at Time Magazine, People Magazine and NBC, where he both oversaw national news coverage and helped steer editorial innovations. 

Under the joint leadership of Snyder and Roberts, The 74 has been recognized widely for its journalistic excellence with top industry awards, including The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award presented by the Online News Association, top news prizes from the Education Writers Association and the Insight Award for Visual Journalism from the Institute for Nonprofit News. The 74 has also quadrupled its overall readership and audience, and partnered in its storytelling with a growing universe of national outlets, including The Atlantic, Axios, The Guardian, Fast Company, The Texas Tribune, The Trace, Honolulu Civil Beat, The Boston Globe, AMNY and MinnPost.

Snyder said, “Against a backdrop of historic declines in student scores, an alarming spike in school absenteeism and an escalating mental health crisis, The 74’s journalism has never felt more urgent or needed. I’m honored to be taking on this new role at this pivotal time and am grateful for our world-class team of journalists that make The 74 required reading every morning. I’ve learned so much from Jim over the past three years about the digital news ecosystem and am determined to carry on his legacy of ensuring our student-first coverage reaches an ever wider universe of readers.” 

Prior to joining The 74 in 2020, Roberts served in several newsroom leadership roles at Cheddar, Mashable, Reuters, and The New York Times, where he worked for more than 25 years. During his tenure as publisher, Roberts helped The 74 grow its revenue significantly by increasing its base of institutional donors threefold, establishing a membership program, as well as a major gifts effort, and introducing new sponsorship opportunities. Those financial resources have been used to expand the newsroom with the addition of new journalists and the launch of new reporting initiatives. Additionally, Roberts revamped The 74’s distribution system to scale the audience that its content reaches, and he led a year-long effort to modernize the organization’s design and brand identity. 

Roberts also spearheaded a new program in partnership with the USC-Annenberg School of Journalism to help train the next generation of education journalists.

“As a longtime reader of The 74, I was always impressed by its dedication to bringing the audience closer to what’s happening inside America’s schools,” said Roberts. “As publisher for the past three years, I strove to ensure that The 74’s coverage could reach a vastly bigger audience and that the editorial team had the necessary resources to produce award-winning journalism about the triumphs and failures of American education. As I step away from a day-to-day role, I am truly inspired by what The 74 has built and what the future holds. With Steve at the helm, The 74 has a CEO that cares deeply about journalism, about engaging storytelling and about expanding the reach of this news outlet. Education news has never been as important as it is today, and The 74 is in position to continue to lead in bringing these stories to students, parents, and educators across the country.” 

The leadership transition is set to conclude in early February. The 74 has now launched a national search for its next Editor in Chief, who will oversee daily news operations.

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