Sharon Pian Chan named The Seattle Times’ vice president of innovation, product and development

For Immediate Release — Dec. 21, 2016
Lindsay Taylor, Consumer Marketing Manager

SEATTLE — Sharon Pian Chan has been named vice president of innovation, product and development for The Seattle Times, effective January 2017. She first joined The Seattle Times as an intern and spent many years as a reporter covering global institutions rooted in Seattle such as Microsoft and T-Mobile.

The position is new to The Times and unique in the industry. It brings, under one umbrella, The Seattle Times’ innovation in developing non-traditional funding for impact journalism with the newspaper’s evolving capacity to create new products and services for digital, engagement and print platforms.

Chan currently fills both the positions of director of journalism initiatives and deputy managing editor for audience development.

In her new role, Chan will continue to lead content funding and development as well as maintain funder relationships. A new director of development for public service journalism, reporting to Chan, will be hired soon.

She will also lead the Times’ product team in building innovative products to distribute Seattle Times content, engage readers and acquire subscribers. Additionally, Chan will take on the responsibility of managing Business Intelligence, a group using data insights to drive business success.

“Sharon has a deep understanding of the newsroom, and the business units which support it,” said Publisher Frank Blethen. “She’s demonstrated the ability to work cross-functionally to drive business outcomes, and will be an instrumental part of our future.  We’re excited to see what Sharon will do in this new role. I’m confident that under her guidance, we will continue to evolve and expand as the region’s leading provider of award-winning independent journalism.”

This new position builds on Chan’s journalistic experience and expertise devising audience development strategies.

Prior to her current role, she was associate opinion editor, where she expanded opinion outreach and its community forum. She was responsible there for overseeing the engagement work of Education Lab – the nation’s most innovative newspaper education effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“I’m thrilled to take on this new role at The Seattle Times,” Chan said. “In a world of fake news and clickbait, The Seattle Times remains committed to fact-based, in-depth, independent journalism about the place our readers care most about: home. My job is to get our journalism to them with innovative products that cut through the information overload and improve their lives.”

Chan holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from Pomona College.  She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has served as national president of the nonprofit Asian American Journalists Association and as a board member of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity. Before joining The Seattle Times, she was managing editor for Orange Coast magazine in Newport Beach, California.