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Position Description

Managing Editor
Location Chicago, Navy Pier
Job Code 322
# of Openings 1
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About Chicago Public Media

To nourish the public conversation by telling the stories that matter—stories that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.

 

Chicago Public Media Mission Statement

 

Who is Chicago Public Media?

Chicago Public Media is one of the largest, most decorated, aggressively creative, and journalistically ambitious public radio organizations in the nation. We are home to WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station, celebrating our 75th year anniversary broadcasting at 91.5 FM, and Vocalo Radio, Chicago’s Urban Alternative music station at 91.1 FM. We are the birthplace of such celebrated programs as This American Life, Wait,Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Sound Opinions, Curious City and most recently, a growing portfolio of podcasts that include Serial, the “Making” series, including Making Obama and Making Oprah, and The Trouble with Shannon Cason. WBEZ’s award-winning newsroom is growing in order to tackle the stories that matter most to our community.  As an essential source of news and context, we are a powerful connector among lines of difference.


An opportunity to make an impact

At Chicago Public Media, we believe independent journalism is essential to a well-functioning democracy and access to fact-based, objective news and information a right of every citizen.  We serve the public interest by creating diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires and enriches.  We connect diverse audiences and help them make a difference in our communities, our region and our world.  If you are inspired by our mission and want to belong to an organization that inspires you, supports you, and challenges you, we encourage you to apply.

 

Chicago Public Media’s new strategic plan provides a roadmap for transforming the WBEZ newsroom.  At the heart of this vision is the creation of five in-depth Enterprise Desks to provide world-class reporting on local issues that holds power accountable and deepens our understanding of the people and forces shaping our communities. In addition to growing the number of reporters, producers and editors who can bring insight and accountability to the most important stories in the Chicago area, our strategic plan requires us to build meaningful audiences outside of our traditional distribution platform (radio.)  WBEZ is seeking a managing editor to lead this transformation and growth, and to enhance WBEZ’s reputation as:

  • A vital, indispensable source of enterprising news and information that drives the civic conversation and engages a much larger, more diverse audience than ever before. 
  • A place of dynamic, forward looking innovation that puts the listener first.
  • A major creative force in news media, producing original content across platforms.
  • A beloved institution that exudes and reflects the texture, diversity and unique sense of place that is Chicago - and the greater Midwest.
  • A magnet for the very best, most diverse talent in journalism.

 

Position Summary

Reporting to the chief content officer, the managing editor will be a key member of the Chicago Public Media leadership team. He or she will lead its award-winning newsroom in an exciting new phase of growth and innovation across a wide array of audio and digital platforms.

 

The managing editor will lead the day-to-day operations of WBEZ’s newsroom and oversee a growing team of editors, reporters and producers. The managing editor will possess a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of how to drive editorial impact in the Chicago area through original reporting and multiplatform storytelling.

 

The finalist candidate will have extensive experience inspiring journalists to create work of the highest caliber. He or she will bring compelling ideas to the table, but will also take joy in shaping and encouraging the ideas of others. The managing editor will embrace diversity of coverage as a service to our audience. The managing editor will possess an appetite for adventure and fun, a healthy competitive spirit, and a passion for growth and innovation in a time of dynamic change. The finalist candidate will have discerning taste and keen editorial judgment, as well as a deep commitment to the mission of public media and the highest ethical standards.

 

Key Relationships

Reports to:                                          VP, Chief Content Officer                                         

Management scope:                           Newsroom including all editors, reporters and producers     

 

Other key relationships:                      Chief Executive Officer

                                                            VP, Finance

                                                            VP, General Counsel

                                                            VP, Development

                                                            VP, Digital

                                                            VP, Marketing and Membership

                                                            VP. Human Resources

                                                            Managing Director, Vocalo
                                                            Managing Director, Programming & Audience Dev.

                                                           

Major Responsibilities

  • Lead a team of award-winning journalists, including reporters, producers and editors in coverage priorities, editorial excellence and digital innovation.
  • Work with a team of Senior Editors to build a dynamic, professional, nimble, integrated multi-platform daily news operation.
  • Instill a multi-platform approach to newsgathering and newsroom production in order to build a significant digital audience.
  • Effectively translate WBEZ’s core audio journalism for a digital audience through new editorial products.
  • Be responsible for the editorial strategy, tone, voice, ideation, planning, production and editing of our journalism.
  • Initiate and/or coordinate special projects and/or reporting partnerships with local and national newsrooms.
  • Inspire the newsroom team to seek excellence; instill systems that drive impact, relevance and productivity.
  • Build a highly skilled, diverse and nimble newsroom by attracting outstanding talent and investing in their on-going growth and development.
  • Rigorously assess performance and manage to standards of excellence.
  • Leverage audience data to shape content and engagement strategies.
  • Embrace and foster a newsroom culture of collaboration, dynamic innovation and continued learning in pursuit of editorial excellence.

 

Required Experience

  • 10+ years as a leader in highly accomplished, multi-platform newsroom (ideally mid- to large-sized newsroom – 50+ people).
  • Deep commitment to the highest standards of journalistic ethics and the mission of public media.
  • Outstanding news judgment and a significant record of accomplishment in leading journalists to produce work of tremendous distinction and community impact.
  • Significant digital editorial leadership experience and experience as a change agent.
  • Ability to articulate ideas precisely and concisely – and to cultivate the strong ideas that come from other producers, editors, and reporters.
  • Excellent writing, editing, communication and organizational skills.
  • Passion for identifying top talent, building diverse and inclusive teams and designing effective organizational structures and workflows.
  • Skilled at juggling a variety of daily tasks with ease, precision and a bias for action.
  • Experience driving and measuring journalistic impact using a variety of qualitative and quantitative metrics to chart progress and to make informed decisions.
  • Strong relationship builder, coach and naturally collaborative leader with experience building successful partnerships within and beyond the organization.

 

Critical Competencies for Success

Strong Manager of People:  The ideal candidate will have extensive experience managing people and will have led a news operation of significant scale and scope. They will have demonstrated an ability to lead and inspire teams, and drive a culture of positivity, ambition, inclusion, excellence and impact.  They will have strong organizational and workflow design experience and possess an understanding of how to build an organization to deliver results. 

News Judgment:  The finalist candidate will have superb news instincts and will have demonstrated an ability to build and lead teams to deliver consistently excellent journalism. They must have the ability to set the agenda for the newsroom (an agenda that sets WBEZ apart/provides distinctive, original work).  The ideal candidate will have a track record of commitment to objective, fact-based, impactful journalism. The best candidate will have extensive experience inspiring journalists to create work of the highest caliber. They will be a leader who brings compelling ideas of to the table, but also will take joy in shaping and encouraging the ideas of others.

Digital Innovator:  The ideal candidate will have displayed an ability to lead the digital transformation of a news operation and possess a keen understanding of how to engage with audiences across all platforms. They will have displayed an ability to think strategically about growing audience beyond an organization’s traditional platforms and be able to conceive of the editorial products necessary to build audience on new platforms. They will have experience developing the structure, processes and procedures to make an integrated multi-platform newsroom work.  

 

Working at Chicago Public Media

We at Chicago Public Media care deeply about our employees as we know attracting, nurturing and growing talent is key to our success and enhancing our impact.  Our culture is one where collaboration, ideas, and innovation are encouraged.  We value colleagues who will enhance our culture by bringing new ideas, diverse experiences and talents to our dynamic workplace.

 

Chicago Public Media’s dedication to promoting diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion is reflective across our brands, WBEZ 91.5 FM and Vocalo 91.1 FM, in our staff and in our work.  We are fully focused on equality of opportunity and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin and all other fascinating characteristics that make us different.

 

At Chicago Public Media we believe dedication to a great workplace includes supporting our employees and their families. As a result, we provide a broad and generous benefits package for you at hire and in the years to come.  Our benefits include:

 

  •  6 weeks fully paid family leave
  •  12 weeks paid maternity leave
  •  High quality Medical, Dental, and Vision plans at an affordable cost
  •  A  403(b)retirement plan with a company match
  •  Generous paid time off, including starting with 3 weeks’ vacation and 4 personal days
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