VP Editor in Chief CEN

Date: Sep 28, 2023

Location: Washington, DC, US, 20036

Company: American Chemical Society

Chemical & Engineering News is the leading newsmagazine of the chemical world. It serves a dual function:  as the go-to source of independent news about chemistry and as the official organ of the American Chemical Society. C&EN produces authoritative, award-winning journalism from around the world of chemistry, including research, education, industry, funding, and regulatory policy; and it delivers digital daily news and weekly print and digital formats. Published by ACS, C&EN is received by all paid members of the Society and is described in member satisfaction surveys as a primary benefit of Society membership. Its audited print/digital circulation is about 90,000, its newsletters go to more than 180,000 subscribers, and the website receives nearly 560,000 monthly unique visitors on average. C&EN makes extensive use of social media, newsletters, podcasts, and other media to augment its traditional approach to high-quality science journalism. C&EN is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect, and is a leading voice to advance these tenets for the chemical enterprise. C&EN is supported through advertising revenue and a generous subsidy from the Society. 


Position Summary

C&EN is celebrating its centennial in 2023 and is seeking to transform into a digital-first set of products for its next hundred years.


The Editor-in-Chief is a senior manager in the Publications Division. The incumbent plays a significant role in formulating vision, strategies, objectives, and policies for the Division as a whole; they lead these functions for C&EN. The incumbent collaborates closely with Division leadership and colleagues across the Society to achieve ACS and C&EN strategic goals and to maximize ACS resources.


The Editor-in-Chief must be a visionary but pragmatic leader skilled in strategic planning, fiscal oversight, and staff development. The incumbent develops and directs long-range plans in support of both the magazine’s publishing goals and the Society’s organizational strategy.


The Editor-in-Chief is accountable for the editorial content of C&EN and for formulating publishing plans to enable an appropriate balance of science news, policy, and in-depth reporting on advanced technical topics of interest across the global chemistry enterprise. The Editor-in-Chief supervises direct reports and staff responsible for adherence to a fast-paced schedule of online content delivery and (currently) 40+ issues of the magazine. The Editor-in-Chief has an independent editorial voice but also represents the organization’s policies; their editorial decisions are critical to organization-wide long-term success. Working closely with the Publisher of C&EN, the position has influence over the development of marketing and branding initiatives related to the advertising activities of the publication in its various formats.


This position reports to the Chief Publishing Officer for ACS, within the Publications Division,  where C&EN is organizationally based.




Direct Full-time Reports:   8

Annual Operating Revenues: $6.9 million



Indirect Full-time Reports:  ~25

Annual Operating Expenses: $12.5 million





Reporting directly to the incumbent are the:

  • Head of Creative, Chemical & Engineering News
  • Executive Editor for Business and Policy
  • Executive Editor for Life Sciences
  • Executive Editor for Physical Sciences
  • Science News Editor
  • Journal Content Partnership Editor
  • Audience Engagement Editor
  • Senior Editorial Project Manager, currently vacant


Work Design: Ensures the success of a major business unit or function. Has a significant impact on the organization’s policies, vision, and strategy. Develops and directs long-range plans in support of the organization’s strategy. Accountable for the organization’s policies. Decisions are critical to organization-wide long-term success.  Participates in the development of the strategic plans and objectives of the enterprise.


Position Accountabilities

  1. C&EN is strictly editorially independent from its Publisher, ACS. Editor-in-chief is responsible for working with the publisher to ensure safeguards are in place to maintain editorial independence.
  2. Operational Accountabilities
    1. Responsible for determining the overall content of C&EN on a daily and (currently) weekly basis. This involves planning, selecting, and editing all stories in the publication, and working with the newsroom to select all graphical material and photographs, including covers, that appear in the magazine. It also involves collaborating with the Publisher to ensure efficient, on-time production and distribution of C&EN content.
    2. With C&EN’s senior team, ensures that all content fulfills C&EN’s mission of keeping readers abreast of significant news, events, trends, and activities of the chemical enterprise and, as the official organ of ACS, of the activities and policies of the Society.
    3. Writes regular editorials on topics of importance to the chemistry enterprise to stimulate critical discussion among C&EN readers.
    4. Responds to readers and subscribers of C&EN on matters of editorial concern.  Selects and publishes the most important and salient letters to the editor.
    5. Collaborates with units across the Society to maximize operational effectiveness.
  3. Strategic Accountabilities
    1. Develops short, medium, and long-term strategic plans for C&EN to ensure that C&EN remains a trailblazing and go-to resource for the chemical enterprise. This involves periodic reviews of the trends/emerging areas in the chemical enterprise to adjust the editorial content of C&EN; and analyzing annual readership surveys.
    2. Prepares annual budgets and monitors adherence to authorized budgets; reports twice each year to C&EN’s Editorial Board; organizes C&EN’s annual advisory board and all-staff meetings.
    3. Works closely with the Publisher and advertising sales and marketing teams to develop long-range editorial calendars that maintain and attract advertising revenue and support audience development.
    4. Works closely with other ACS Divisions to ensure that, through C&EN, organizational strategic priorities are met.
  4. Other Accountabilities
    1. Travels widely to industrial sites, universities, government laboratories, and other venues to give talks on C&EN and the chemical enterprise, collect feedback about various user communities, and publicize new features and content of the magazine, as well as activities of the Publications Division and ACS.
    2. Interacts with highest levels of ACS governance to ensure that C&EN is meeting ACS organizational needs.
    3. Serves as the staff liaison to the C&EN Editorial board, attends meetings of the Society Committee on Publications to provide magazine publishing information and to keep informed of overall ACS financial policy changes, budget, and general reporting requirements.



Strong journalism experience is required as is a degree in chemistry or a chemically related field. Advanced educational training (such as a PhD) is highly desired, but an advanced degree is not a prerequisite for the position. 12+ years of science communication/newsroom experience, including demonstrated experience in writing and editing technical information for a wide, technically trained audience; demonstrated experience dealing with the chemical enterprise and/or closely allied sciences across academe, government, and industry; general understanding of the advertising landscape; clearly demonstrated leadership, communication, and management skills; familiarity with evolving information technologies for providing online information in an effective manner; and an abundance of charisma needed to engage in personal outreach.


ACS believes in the strength of diversity in all its forms because inclusion of and respect for diverse people, experiences, and ideas lead to superior solutions to world challenges and advance chemistry as a global, multidisciplinary science. In turn, C&EN believes that to meet its mission to be the world’s go-to source of news about chemistry, our reporting and our newsroom must include diverse perspectives. Therefore, we strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and members of other historically marginalized communities in the chemical sciences to apply.


Job location: ACS operates in a hybrid capacity with 3 days in the office (T/W core plus one other), and the preference is for this position to be based in Washington, DC. Relocation assistance is available.


ACS has exclusively retained Jack Farrell & Associates (www.jackfarrell.com) to find the winning candidate for this important position. Interested candidates should provide a CV and two-page cover letter by email to Fiona Foley Croft (fiona@jackfarrell.com). The cover letter should address: 1) why are you interested?; 2) how are you qualified?; and 3) what might C&EN look like in several years under your stewardship? Thank you.  





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