The ‘Emerald’ Is Growing — Search for Executive Director Begins

by Sharon Maeda

The South Seattle Emerald’s founder and publisher, Marcus Harrison Green, often says that we’re “flying the plane while we’re building it,” which is an apt description. But after more than seven years of struggle and dedication, the Emerald is pleased to take a giant step forward. This week, the Emerald is posting the job description for the newly created Executive Director position. The person filling this position will manage the Emerald while Marcus steps away from day-to-day operation but remains the Emerald’s publisher.

We thank you, our readers, for this opportunity to hire full-time staff. As we worked 24/7 to provide the most up-to-date COVID-19 information and BIPOC-focused coverage of the racial uprising and reckoning that caught fire in 2020, we increased our coverage from 3–5 stories per week to 3–5 stories per day

You did your part. You told your family, friends, and colleagues about this scrappy nonprofit digital media outlet that provides fresh voices and honest truth. We have readers all around the South End and beyond, including government officials and even a handful of international readers. If we didn’t have the analytics to prove it, we would not believe that we now have over half a million views per year and that number is growing fast. And, of course, we are humbled by a doubling of our monthly Rainmaker donors. 

With a dedicated board, a core team of six, and nearly 70 writers, artists, and photographers, we tell the stories from diverse perspectives covering Kent to the Central Area, White Center to SeaTac, in addition to South Seattle. Over the past 20 months, we have been noticed by grant-makers across the spectrum — from the Seattle Foundation to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, Group Health Foundation, Nia Tero, and the Borealis Racial Equity in Journalism Fund. We also received content-focused project grants from City and County agencies as well as local foundations. And we continue to receive journalism awards. 

In the age of COVID, the core team recently met for the first time in over a year on The Patio in Columbia City. We’ve been working in isolation, losing team members as they lost day jobs and had to move home in order to help family members, but we’re forging ahead. We all laughed and shared our own stories of how we came to the Emerald; most had something to do with Marcus’ charming and very persuasive personality. Most of us have been here much longer than we planned. The truth is, we stay because of love and commitment to Marcus, the diverse communities we cover, and our sense of responsibility to amplify truth from the perspectives of those least covered or understood by mainstream media. 

While Marcus will remain publisher of the Emerald, being relieved of the day-to-day management will allow him to manage his bipolar disorder diagnosis and to tend to family — who have made great sacrifices to help him keep this plane in the air. Cynthia “Mama” Green is a recognized community leader in her own right and has served on the Emerald board since its inception. Marcus’ father, Phillip “Papa” Green, has been a pillar of support. When Marcus gave up his lucrative but unsatisfying career in the investment world and came home to start the Emerald in the family basement, his dad had a heart-to-heart with him. When Papa Green was convinced that this publication was more than a passing idea or passion project, but rather a calling, he gave his unconditional support. 

Marcus has shared with readers details of his struggle with mental health issues, and he’s survived the added stress in the COVID era alongside his beloved South Seattle community. Check out his new book, Readying to Rise, a compendium of his very personal essays. The book has been listed in Seattle Met as one of the Top Ten Books to Read this fall and Moira MacDonald’s recommendations for “11 Authors Out on Tour (or On Zoom)” in The Seattle Times. 

With the hiring of an executive director for the Emerald, Marcus will take some much, much deserved time off. No doubt, he will return from his upcoming trip to New York with another book in his head, if not on his laptop. 

Look for more news about the Emerald’s exciting growth in the weeks and months to come. And, save December 4 for our virtual gala. We will celebrate Marcus and welcome the new executive director who will start at the beginning of the new year. 

Find the executive director job description, info about the application process, and deadline to apply on our website.

Sharon Maeda is the Emerald’s planning director and has been on her “three-month stay” at the Emerald for the past 18 months.

📸 Featured Image: Collage of photos from the Emerald archive created by Nikki Barron.

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