Journalist, editor and communications specialist Kathleen Struck has worked for some of journalism’s most recognized organizations. She has led newsrooms and their substantial budgets, lived and reported overseas for 15 years, and created a web startup in 1999. She advises news and content organizations about startup, funding, organization, staff, reporting, editing, social media and marketing functions.
(Background photo of Samaritans on Mount Gerizim celebrating a feast, by Kathleen Struck.)
Since 2015, she has been digital managing editor and education editor at Voice of America in Washington, D.C., bringing multimedia content to students and young people around the world. That content, under her editorship and the @VOAStudentUnion brand, is typically produced by college and university interns through livestreams, bringing sources from around the world to Student Union social platforms. Last count, she had grown the Student Union Facebook page to 155,000 followers.
In response, audience and viewers participate from all corners of the world, including Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nepal, Brazil, Nigeria, Poland, and Mongolia.
Before returning to Washington, she consulted to publishers and content creators about digital startups focused on news and information, social and multimedia platforms. Having managed newsrooms, their staff and budgets, as well as living and working internationally, she brings a combination of skills to help websites launch and succeed.
And while many journalists are skilled at creating content, fewer are schooled in how to promote it. In Boston, she directed editorial content and content marketing for major American brands like CVS, Huntington, New Balance and Grads of Life as Digital Managing Editor for Arnold Worldwide. In the health space, she was Senior Editor at MedpageToday.com — a news site for physicians and other healthcare professionals — and Everyday Health.com, MPT’s sibling product serving a consumer health audience of more than 30 million readers/viewers per month.
News and content strategy, creation and management that increased traffic under her editorship included shaming the overweight, AIDS in America, starvation among American children (in partnership with PBS Frontline) and the deadly results of narcotic bath salts. She also managed coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on the deeply complicated Affordable Care Act.
She improved news coverage, technology and distribution as Managing Editor of the Lowell Sun, where in five months, social media usage nearly doubled. The website was cleaner and better organized. Traffic spiked. Unabashed flaming on the website’s comments board was doused by registration and moderation, yet reader engagement increased.
As Special Advisor to the Federal Communications Commission’s “Future of Media” project, she was among a team that examined how a 30 percent cut in journalists nationwide affected citizens, communities and democracy. Recent events around law enforcement and government secrecy validate the research that civil rights has been weakened by insufficient numbers of reporters covering courts, schools, environment, city hall, statehouses and other American issues.
At GlobalPost, she helped build the internet startup and its team from the ground up, working with the editorial and business sides of the online international news website mentioned by the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, PBS and NPR. As Newsroom Manager and Study Abroad Editor, she directed correspondents reporting about earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, wartime rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sinofication of Tibet, forest clearing in Cambodia to produce Ecstasy for US consumers, and an unlikely new ocean predator: jellyfish. Stories from her desk were among the most heavily trafficked on the site.
In Japan, as Managing Editor of Stars and Stripes, a daily newspaper that brings independent and defense specific news and information to military, staff and diplomats overseas, she got an inside glimpse into the Department of Defense. With a worldwide circulation of 350,000, Stripes covered the anguish of war (Iraq and Afghanistan) as well as everyday life on military bases for service members and their families (gas prices and schools).
She also edited broadcast news for NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, as well.
Her first newsroom leadership position came before she was 30 for two daily papers in North Jersey, where she was responsible for a $3.4 million budget and 60 employees. She was an editor and reporter at the storied Baltimore Sun, learning from some of the best and brightest in the industry. After moving overseas, her byline and photos appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Newsday, Globe and Mail and other major newspapers. She began her career as a reporter in grimy, congested and ignored north Jersey cities and their leafy suburbs, covering corrupt politicians, environmental devastation, tabloid-style crime and zoning shell games. She watched panicked mothers throw children from a third-floor window to barking firefighters and sat through town council meetings that seemed frozen in time, some of the best training for reporting anywhere on the globe.
In the digital space, she started a communications employment website — www.writehire.com — under the mission “Connecting pens with Inc.,” in the nascent years of the Internet (1999) that was meant to match business with communications professionals: writers, editors, designers and photographers.
She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, achieving a bachelor’s degree in news, photo and magazine journalism with the help of generous Pell grants and waiting tables. She also worked as the only non-medical person in the surgical, thoracic and burn intensive-care units at the University of Missouri Medical Center, witnessing care and treatment for spinal cord, airplane crash, electrocution and gunshot injuries.
In 2003-2004, she attended mostly military, defense and leadership courses at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as the affiliate of a Nieman fellow, a true gift to her life and career.