Newly Named Salon CEO Discloses Plans for Mobile Apps (Exclusive)

Cindy Jeffers, a former Huffington Post executive, plans to finally launch apps for the 17-year-old online news site

Salon named Cindy Jeffers as the new CEO and CTO of the online newsmagazine Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with TheWrap, her first since being named to Salon's top post, Jeffers said she plans to launch smartphone and tablet apps for the 17-year-old culture chronicle, which has long lagged behind its mobile-savvy competitors, like Slate and The Daily Beast.

"We're going to be experimenting a lot with emerging platforms and new data sets," Jeffers told TheWrap. "It is something we're working toward."

Jeffers joined Salon last month as CTO after serving as an executive at the Huffington Post for about two years. She succeeds Salon founder David Talbot, who served a third stint as CEO for almost a year after former CEO Richard Gingras stepped down to become the head of Google's global news department. 

Read also: David Talbot Returns as Salon's Interim CEO

Though her journalistic experience is limited to a news outlet known for its steady stream of aggregated stories, Jeffers said she will leave Salon's editorial department untouched and respect its new credo to publish less but produce more impactful, original stories.

"I think that they have really proven to be strong as leaders in journalism in the last few years," Jeffers said of Salon's roster of reporters and editors.

In February, Editor-in-Chief Kerry Lauerman publicly recanted the publication's previous aggregation practice of writing what he described as short decoders to other journalists' in-depth news coverage. In a blog post, he said he was not proud of that approach, one he called "a mandate from above."

The new CEO sees herself as a techie-turned-newshound, a businesswoman who can write code in eight different programs.

"We've seen a shift in the last few years with technology companies really leading the way with journalism and finding journalism from the outside," Jeffers said.

She said she also plans to continue growing Open Salon, a community blogging platform hosted on the site.

"Internally, we're thinking through how to take it to the next level," she said.

Jeffers graduated from New York University with a master's degree in interactive telecommunications and started an eight-year career at a variety of technology research firms. While based at a company in northern Scotland, Jeffers worked on a project aimed at helping rural communities in Rwanda build data sets and legal information online through their mobile phones.

A year later, she was back in New York, overseeing technology at Arianna Huffington's blogging behemoth.

"I got really interested in working with communities," Jeffers said. "I think that HuffPost has always done a great job at having a community and working very much with their readers to innovate it."

Also Wednesday, Salon hired Matthew Sussberg, another Huffington Post alumnus, to lead the advertising department.