Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

Isabelle Roughol

Executive leader building newsrooms where people love to work

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I build smart, healthy and sustainable newsrooms to better serve the public

I work at the intersection of tech and media, editorial and product, entrepreneurialism and management. I am driven to transform our industry for the future, develop and mentor our people, build compassionate and innovative organisational cultures, and put readers and communities at the centre of it all. I love strategy and leadership, and I also still love to get my hands dirty, write, edit and create podcasts.My career has been about building bridges between countries and industries. I nerd out on deconstructing systems and translating between worlds that don’t understand one another, which is really just an extension of my first love as a foreign reporter. I believe that borders are gateways, not walls. I believe that truth is the most precious gift you can give and the foundation of liberty and equity. I believe in public interest journalism that fosters healthy societies, and I believe that can't happen without first building healthy newsrooms where people love to work and aren't scared of the future. That's what I strive to do.

I’m a media artisan, a podcaster and a journalism consultant at this very moment. I’ve been a tech executive. A product director. A people manager. A newspaper editor. A foreign correspondent. A local reporter. A film producer. An educator. A writer. An entrepreneur... Here's what I've done and learned.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

Borderline
I'm hosting, producing, editing and building from A to Z an independent podcast and niche media company, self-funded and backed by a membership model.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

Public Interest News Foundation
I serve as a trustee of this charity supporting independent news outlets in the public interest in the UK.

CUNY Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
I coach media leaders in the executive education program.

LinkedIn (Paris, Sydney and London, 2012-2020)
I joined the nascent editorial team as content editor, helped build it from the ground up and rose through the ranks to director and deputy to the editor-in-chief, focused on expanding our newsroom globally including hiring, product and strategy. Proudest of our culture of constant innovation, strong ethical backbone and how good our people are to one another.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

Le Figaro (Paris, 2009-2011)
I ran the foreign desk at night to update the late print edition with the latest breaking news.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

The New York Times International Weekly (Paris, 2009-2011)
I managed from launch a weekly section of NYT journalism in French translation.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

The Cambodia Daily (Phnom Penh, 2008-2009)
As national reporter, I covered daily political and general news, in particular the Khmer Rouge international tribunal, an armed border dispute with Thailand and rampant sex crimes against children. My stories inspired a documentary film, on which I was assistant producer.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

The Columbia Missourian (USA, 2006-2008)
I learned the ropes as a local beat reporter and a minimum wage assistant city editor. Still possibly my fondest journalism memories.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

CUNY Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
Entrepeneurial Journalism Creators Program, class of '22

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

LinkedIn
Data-Driven University ('18) and INvestin' ('19), selective internal courses for rising leaders on decision-making, financial acumen and leading large organisations

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

University of Missouri School of Journalism
Bachelor's of Journalism, summa cum laude, class of '08

Leadership

  • Hired and led a multi-level team of 30+ journalists in hypergrowth mode to support the development of LinkedIn News across four continents

  • Built a high-performing and collaborative team culture and consistently received high marks in anonymous employee feedback surveys. My team's trust and friendship is my proudest achievement. (Read their feedback)

  • Excellent track record in hiring and managing diverse, cross-cultural newsrooms with personal experience working in the US, UK, Australia, Cambodia and France, and remote management experience with India, China, Brazil, Germany, Japan...

Product & strategy

  • Devised and executed the strategy expanding LinkedIn News in 16 countries and 10 languages, establishing a global brand while accounting for local specificities

  • Piloted, co-wrote and edited for years LinkedIn's Daily Rundown, a business newsletter now reaching tens of millions of readers

  • Partnered with product managers, software engineers, designers, user researchers and fellow editors to conceive and ship many of LinkedIn's iconic content products, including LinkedIn Influencer, Daily Rundown, LinkedIn Lists, the publishing platform open to 700M+ members, editorial curation ("storylines"), mobile app and more...

Entrepreneurship

  • Now building Borderline, an independent podcast and niche media company backed by membership, where I'm both content creator and small business owner. I handle everything from sound design to audience development to coding the website – on purpose, for the chance to learn by doing.

  • Track record of taking on new ideas and piloting intrapreneurial projects within larger organisations, such as establishing The New York Times in translation at Le Figaro, spearheading LinkedIn's first non-English content product, or co-creating the first major influencer program on any social platform

  • Trained in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism's entrepreneurial program, including opportunity exploration, community surveying, stakeholder mapping, audience funnels, business models

Podcasting

  • Created and executive produce a weekly podcast, now with 50+ in-depth interviews about immigration, geopolitics and lives lived across borders (listen here)

  • Host and produce the show from A to Z: booking, research, audio editing, sound design, distribution, visual identity, social media...

  • Built a community of devoted listeners who support the show through membership

Newsletters

  • Invented LinkedIn's business newsletter Daily Rundown and expanded it into a dedicated product, now reaching 100M+ people in a dozen languages and many more countries, across web, mobile app, email, video and voice-activated devices

  • Produced the daily newsletter 5 days a week under tight deadlines, including research and writing on business, finance, management and tech, in time for US morning readers and in coordination with colleagues across Asia, Europe and North America

  • Iterated with R&D teams to expand reach and engagement, particularly on mobile and email. The Daily Rundown is to this day the cornerstone of a content strategy that gave rise to a $3bn advertising business

Public interest journalism

  • Fifteen years' journalism experience in print, digital media and podcasting, specialising in global affairs, immigration, tech and business

  • Agile breaking news editor, adept at coordinating journalists across timezones to keep up with rapid news cycles and produce high-quality daily newsletters, podcast and websites

  • Keen editor with a strong eye for story structure, deconstructing how systems work and asking the questions the reader will. Experience editing with both professional and non-professional writers.

  • Serve on the board of the Public Interest News Foundation, a charity supporting independent news outlets serving the public good and the first to establish journalism as a charitable goal recognised by the UK government

How I work
Agility, humility, collaboration

  • I tend to do jobs that didn't exist a few years ago. I look for people who can adapt, thrive on change and aren't wedded to a job description. You don't need to know everything, but be ready to learn anything.

  • I'll never have enough of the experts. I'm a generalist with nothing but awe for deep specialists. As a leader, you should know enough of everyone's job to understand what they can contribute – and enough to know the task is better left in others' hands.

  • Good journalism is a team sport, even if we tend to only byline the reporter. I want to build collaborative newsrooms that truly listen to the public, value all contributions and reward those who are generous with their knowledge. We have too many stories of toxic culture in our industry. No brilliant jerks tolerated here.

Testimonials from Borderline listeners

Daniel Roth, editor-in-chief and VP, LinkedIn

"Isabelle was my right-hand person when we were building the LinkedIn editorial team outside the US. Actually, she was my right hand for everything! I can't think of a decision I made that I didn't first get Isa's wise guidance on. Isabelle has a fine-tuned ability to cut through the clutter and see what's important; to make key decisions (she hired many of our best people and was just as adept at having tough conversations with team members); to engender trust inside the team and among partner groups by always being true to her word; and to just absolutely give every project her absolute all. When Isa joined the team, she committed herself to becoming an expert on not just our true north, but the metrics we'd use to see how we were achieving them. Her self-taught knowledge of how to read, interpret and collect data became the way we evaluated projects and made key decisions. Even better, she then taught the team everything she'd done. Though she left to pursue the writer's life (I understand the allure, but also have seen the pain...), I really hope Isa comes back to management, where she still has so much left to give. I have a feeling she'll be building and growing world-changing orgs before long."

"Isabelle is one of the most inspiring and respectful manager I ever had. While offering clear guidelines and strategic thinking to her team, she is leading with trust and offering lots of freedom to be entrepreneurial so that her teammates can test and learn. Isabelle is also a really strong writer both in French and in English. She is passionate about content, fostering creativity while always focusing on high-quality standards. She also has a strong knowledge of international markets being herself a "globalist". Her multiple international experience offers her the ability to lead multi-cultural teams and be a strong advisor in go-to-market strategies across the world. Isabelle is also very engaged, relying on strong humanist values and always dares to speak up to share valuable and thoughtful input to best inform the strategy of the company she is working for and provide career advice to each of the individuals in her team. Finally, Isabelle is a really fast learner and can adjust to tech systems really quickly and provide valuable feedback to engineers to best improve a digital product. In short, Isabelle is the kind of flexible and experienced leader any organisation or company would dream of. It's been a great pleasure to work with her and learn from her.

Testimonials from Borderline listeners

Sandrine Chauvin, director & senior managing editor EMEA & LatAm, LinkedIn

Testimonials from Borderline listeners

Sara Weber, managing editor Germany & Netherlands, LinkedIn

"Isabelle hired me as editor for LinkedIn in Germany. I started covering tech and startup and then moved up to lead two teams in two countries. On my way, she always supported and encouraged me, having an open ear and an open mind for any ideas and suggestions – first as my manager, then as my mentor and friend. She has built the international LinkedIn editorial team across the world (from Brazil to Japan) from scratch, hiring and managing an incredible group of talented and kind people. I admire her strategic abilities: She has launched countless new products (e.g. Daily Rundown, Influencer and LinkedIn lists) across markets, factoring in different languages and audiences. For this, she collaborated across teams like engineering and product, always putting the members first. I have learned a lot from the way she has handled difficult situations, and am in awe of the business she has built since leaving LinkedIn."

Isabelle is a resourceful, just and empathetic manager. She has the knack of bringing out the best in her team. Isabelle has a very hands-on approach but also allows the team to come up with original ideas and execution strategies. She gives people a long rope and that helps them flourish. I learnt a lot from her management and communication style and am glad to have had the chance to work directly under her supervision for 1.5 years. Even though we do not work together anymore, Isabelle has been kind enough to stay in touch and share her wisdom whenever I’ve reached out. Isabelle is definitely one for the corner office. I wish her the best for the next phase of her professional journey.

Testimonials from Borderline listeners

Adith Charlie, managing editor India, LinkedIn

Testimonials from Borderline listeners

Sarah Browne, startup founder, innovation & market research executive

"Isabelle is a force of nature. A journalist's journalist, she is a writer who brilliantly blends both heart and head with language that often takes my breath away. (She'd never use that metaphor!) On top of this, she was a trusted team leader at Linkedin, winning kudos from bosses and team mates. I'm marveling as she grows her podcast business and brand. Keep an eye on her so you can say you knew her when."

Testimonials from Borderline listeners
Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

I am building Borderline, a podcast and independent niche media for defiant global citizens, backed by a membership model.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

I am a student in the '21-'22 cohort of the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program at CUNY's Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

I serve on the board of the Public Interest News Foundation, the first UK non-profit to establish journalism as a recognised charitable aim.

Portrait of Isabelle Roughol in front of microphone

I partner with various organisations as a coach, trainer and consultant on people management, media strategy and innovation.

I'm open to executive leadership roles in media serving the public interest and available for select consulting work. Reach out.