Deep South Today, the networked hub of nonprofit newsrooms serving the Southern region of the United States, today announced the appointment of Warwick Sabin as its inaugural president and CEO.
Sabin is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Arkansas who was elected to three terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives and previously served as Publisher of the Oxford American, an award-winning national magazine that focuses on the American South. Earlier in his career, Sabin was the founding leader of the Innovation Hub in Little Rock, which later became part of Winrock International, which along with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is among the three institutions created to sustain the legacy of Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. More recently, he served for four years as the executive director of strategic engagement at the Aspen Institute.
Sabin was selected after a seven-month national search that attracted more than 100 candidates.
“For more than two decades, Warwick Sabin has worked at the intersection of journalism, government, and philanthropy,” said Andrew Lack, the executive chair of the Deep South Today Board of Directors and the former president and chairman of NBC News. “Warwick’s wide range of experience, thoughtful approach to the future of news, and deep commitment to the South made him our clear choice as Deep South Today’s inaugural president and CEO.”
Sabin will take the helm of Deep South Today, a groundbreaking impact-driven news network, at a pivotal moment for the organization and at a crucial time for nonprofit news. In May, Mississippi Today won the Pulitzer Prize for its investigative series on Mississippi’s sprawling $77 million welfare scandal. The network recently expanded to New Orleans with the launch of the Verite newsroom, which covers inequities facing communities of color, and is seeking to broaden its reach into nearby states.
“I am honored, grateful and energized to take on this role, in this region, at this time,” Sabin said. “Like the rest of the country, the Deep South is in need of high-quality, accountability journalism, and the teams at Mississippi Today and Verite are serving their communities by providing local news and honest information. I relish the opportunity to collaborate with our talented team to sustain and expand this work across the region.”
As president and CEO, Sabin, at the direction of the Deep South Today board of directors, will oversee finance, communications, business development, platforms and technology, and human resources. He will be responsible for advancing the networked approach as a sustainable, high-functioning model.
“I’m thrilled for what Warwick’s appointment means for our newsrooms and for journalism in this part of the country,” Donna K. Barksdale, former chair of Mississippi Today and current vice chair of Deep South Today. “We are poised to grow, and Warwick is just the right leader to guide our team into this exciting future.”
Sewell Chan, the editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, has known Sabin for 25 years. The two first met when they studied at Oxford University as Marshall Scholars.
“Warwick has tremendous integrity,” Chan said. “He believes in mission-driven work, and he has achieved operational success at the Oxford American, the Aspen Institute, and Interfaith America. He has the ability to work across generational, cultural, political and racial divides, and I believe he is uniquely positioned to lead Deep South Today during this high-stakes moment for journalism and for the country.”
Sabin most recently served as chief strategy officer at Interfaith America, the nation’s premier interfaith organization.
Sabin’s first day as president and CEO of Deep South Today will be Sept. 5.