The Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism has announced the retirement of Carol Nunnelley, founding executive director of the organization. Nunnelley joined Jerry Lanning and Mark Kelly to found AIIJ in 2014 and became its first executive director in 2015.
Nunnelley led AIIJ through the creation of its publishing arm, BirminghamWatch, and fostered steady growth in reporting and readership. Key projects included nonpartisan voter guides for local elections and a series on the Legacy of Race.
Nunnelley previously was managing editor of The Birmingham News and worked on the national level with Associated Press Media Editors to develop programs, including the National Credibility Roundtables Project. In 2008, Nunnelley received APME’s top award for working for the betterment of journalism. In 2019, she was honored with the Auburn Journalism Award from the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council.
“Carol Nunnelley’s experience at the local and national level has been key to the success of BirminghamWatch,” said Emily Rushing, president of the AIIJ board of directors. “She set a high standard for journalistic excellence and integrity, values that will continue to guide our work.”
Virginia Martin is lead news editor for BirminghamWatch and is taking on additional duties for AIIJ. The board is in the planning process for a national executive director search.