Saeed Ahmed

saeedahmed(at)outlook(dot)com

Director of digital news. NPR
2021 - Present

  • Oversee NPR’s digital presence across its site, social, streaming platforms, newsletters and smart speakers
  • Led a reorganization that combined four disparate teams into one, retooling the way we commission, create and curate content
  • Extended NPR’s competitive lead by holding – and then growing – traffic in a year when almost every news organization saw a precipitous drop in users
  • Produced more stories for diverse audiences than ever before and hired more journalists of color to become, in the words of one DEI expert, “the most diverse unit at NPR overnight”
  • Spearheaded multiple successful initiatives to expand NPR’s digital footprint. Among them, a live blog that helped grow the 18-34 age demographic; Twitter Spaces, where, alongside one other site, NPR became the industry leader; and a promotions strategy that accounted for 150 million+ NPR podcast downloads

2021 - Present
Consultant
, Poynter Institute for Media Studies

  • Design courses and workshops on digital storytelling for organizations worldwide, including a year-long project with one of Asia’s largest media holding companies

2019 - 2021
Assistant Managing Editor
, CNN Digital National 

  • Oversaw the culture, trends and enterprise teams that directly led to month-over-month audience growth for every vertical. The teams’ mantra of taking content beyond text led to an Emmy Award for Outstanding Interactive Media in 2021.
  • Led CNN’s content diversity initiative, which allowed the site to dominate the competition since it began
  • Created ‘5 Things,’ CNN’s morning newsletter and oversaw a 46X growth in two years to make it the most popular in our portfolio. In 2019, it won two Webbys for ‘Best newsletter’
  • Launched ‘The Good Stuff,’ and, in one year, grew it to the second most popular CNN newsletter, with an open rate in the high 40%
  • Focused on emerging audiences and developed franchises, such as a subscribers-only weekly quiz and a twice-daily brief for smart speakers that is CNN’s most popular audio product
  • Created a class on storytelling, offered globally across CNN and required of all writers. It had an 83% ROI, measured in new bylines
  • Ran the Digital news desk’s internship program, focused on diverse talent, where every participant either landed a job or freelance stint at CNN, or a position elsewhere


2007 - 2019
Various roles
, CNN Digital 

From newsdesk editor to supervising news editor to senior editor

  • Oversaw coverage of national and international breaking news for CNN.com, the no. 1 news website in the world, and for the CNN Wire, the news subscription service with about 1,300 clients
  • Part of the Peabody Award-winning team for coverage of the Deepwater Horizon spill, Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War
  • Managed an intercontinental staff in Atlanta, London and Hong Kong
  • Co-produced an hour-long documentary, “Operation Hope” that won Best Social Awareness Programme at the 2013 Asian Television Awards

2001 - 2007
Breaking news reporter
, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • Pulitzer finalist, along with the breaking news team, for the 2005 Fulton County Courthouse shooting. The package of stories won the National Headliner Award and the Associated Press Managing Editor’s Online Award

EDUCATION
Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. Major: Biology

AWARDS
Emmy
for Outstanding Interactive Media: ‘How American Police Gear Up to Respond to Protests’ (CNN) | Webby, Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice: ‘5 Things’ newsletter (CNN) | Eppy, Best Use of Crowdsourcing: 'Coronavirus Q&A' (CNN) |  Asian TV Award for Best Social Programme: ‘Operation Hope’ (CNN) | Peabody Awards for coverage of Arab Spring, Deepwater Horizon Spill and the Syrian Civil War (CNN) | Pulitzer finalist, National Headliner Award and the Associated Press Managing Editor’s Online Award for coverage of the Fulton County Courthouse shooting (AJC)

FELLOWSHIPS
Poynter’s Diversity in Digital Media leadership academy | BetterUp | Management essentials 9-month course | Surviving Hostile Regions training | China-U.S. Journalist Exchange | Poynter’s Cops & Courts academy

VOLUNTEERING, INTERESTS AND LANGUAGES

  • Atlanta Community Foodbank | Project Open Hand
  • Running | Cooking | Photography | Cartooning | Playing music
  • Bengali (fluent) | Hindi and Urdu (conversational)