The Texas Tribune, a digital news outlet in Austin, is losing two of its leaders.
Stacy-Marie Ishmael, the editorial director, and Millie Tran, the chief product officer, said on Tuesday that they planned to leave The Tribune next month, a little more than a year after they both started working at the publication. Ms. Ishmael, 36, and Ms. Tran, 32, announced their resignations on Twitter and in a joint email to the Tribune staff that was viewed by The New York Times.
Ms. Ishmael, who is Black, wrote in her part of the email that she had reached her limit after “an absolute brutal year for many people, and especially for nonwhite people.”
“It has been impossible for me to separate what’s been happening in the world, which we’ve been covering rigorously and intensely for these 12 months, from what’s happening in my own life and in the lives of my friends, family and communities,” she wrote.
Ms. Tran, a former deputy off-platform editor at The Times, had been working in New York rather than Austin, The Tribune’s home city, because of the pandemic. She said she had decided she would rather stay put.
“When I accepted this job last February, I had no idea what this year would bring,” Ms. Tran, who is Asian-American, wrote in the email. “No one did. I am so proud of what we’ve done in extraordinary circumstances.”
Evan Smith, the chief executive of The Tribune, a digital news platform founded in 2009, brought Ms. Ishmael and Ms. Tran to the publication about a year ago, after Emily Ramshaw, the former editor in chief, and Amanda Zamora, the former chief audience officer, left to start The 19th, a nonprofit news site focused on gender and politics.
In an interview Mr. Smith, 54, said he was “caught off guard” when Ms. Ishmael and Ms. Tran told him on March 2 of their decision to leave. “I think they both really hit a wall together,” he said.
“These were the most adverse and unusual circumstances that you could have asked for as new leaders of an organization and new managers of a team of folks in a period of transition,” he added.
Mr. Smith praised the leadership of Ms. Ishmael and Ms. Tran and said The Tribune’s audience had grown 2.5 times since the pandemic began. He said he would talk with his staff before starting a search to fill the jobs, adding that he would consider the toll that working for The Tribune may take on its employees.
“I think that the culture of this place and the degree to which the normal work that we take on has an adverse effect on the lives and well-being of people is something that we have to confront as an organization,” he said. “Not just us as an organization, but us as an industry.”
The last day at The Tribune for Ms. Ishmael and Ms. Tran will be April 16.
“It made sense to end as we began,” Ms. Ishmael said of their decision to leave together.
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