The American Press Institute seeks a new Director of Inclusion & Audience Growth who will work directly with news organizations that want to improve their coverage of communities of color while also creating and sustaining more equitable workplaces.
Background for this position
Newsrooms across the United States have started to examine their complicity in perpetuating racist policies and actions through their coverage of communities of color and their hiring and treatment of journalists of color. A growing number of journalists and entrepreneurs are motivated to examine the default cultures in the news industry and to create news organizations with equity and inclusion as core values. Catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd and the nationwide protests against police brutality that followed, this racial reckoning in news organizations is just beginning. To make the most of this moment and to have a lasting effect, efforts must move beyond acknowledging the damage to making substantive change measured in real outcomes.
The person in this role will both catalyze and partner with organizations already working in this space. They will also build upon and expand relevant work and tools API has developed in the area of listening, attracting and growing audiences, understanding audiences, source auditing, and encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion policies and more. Overall, the person in this role will be expected to take a holistic approach to the serious DEI issues affecting BIPOC in communities and also within news organizations themselves.
We at API believe that there is an important link between internal organizational culture and news coverage. Changing the culture of news organizations is essential to improving the coverage of, for and with communities of color, as well as the coverage of all other groups historically underserved and stereotyped by mainstream news organizations. The reasons past efforts have failed are complex, but an important factor is that previous approaches were often targeted at one or two issues, such as only trying to feed the so-called pipeline of candidates of color for newsrooms. A more holistic approach is needed.
Because this position is new, the director will work closely with API’s senior team members in developing the outlines of the role, including crafting the materials, programming and other elements of the work stream. Collaboration with colleagues from across API and also externally with other trusted and knowledgeable partners will be a key part of this role.
The goal of this job is to assist news organizations striving to reach and serve communities that they have historically underserved, neglected or harmed and work with startup news organizations, including those led by people of color, dedicated to embracing inclusion and equity from their beginnings. The person in this role will help news leaders and journalists better serve BIPOC communities and nurture more inclusive audiences.
We expect the first four to six months of this job will be focused on researching and creating the structure and shape of the programming, which can be piloted with news organizations. As with all of the work API does, we will adapt our programming and interventions with news organizations to meet their needs and to push for real outcomes.
The key functions and responsibilities of this job include:
To systematically review and learn from the failures of past efforts at diversity, equity and inclusion.
To comprehensively study the existing programs, how they do or could complement each other, identify gaps, overlaps.
To learn about API’s existing tools and methods and how they can add strategically to the tools already in this space. Previous and current API work touching these themes includes:
To develop programming, curriculum and materials aimed at making a substantive difference in the way that news organizations approach and cover communities of color. The goal is to create or synthesize methods and materials that this person and others within API could use to counsel news leaders to start to make lasting changes in their workflows and processes, with the outcome of more inclusive, accurate coverage. This person will work closely with the executive director and senior director (as well as others at API) on the development of this programming and may work in concert with strategic partners of API as well.
Topics that this programming could include:
- Demographic research about communities
- Source diversity (auditing, source research and development)
- Content auditing (text, images, video — on and off platform)
- Developing comprehensive beat histories
- Listening and engagement strategies, tactics and tools
- New product development (based in human-centered design) to serve more inclusive audiences
- Collaboration strategies, tactics and tools that facilitate partnerships between mainstream media and the Black, immigrant, ethnic and/or community press
- Goal setting and metrics measurement
To develop programming, curriculum and materials aimed at helping news leaders create and sustain more equitable workplaces. The goal is to create or synthesize methods and materials that this person and others within API could use to counsel leaders and managers to put in place and enforce policies that are welcoming, nurturing and inclusive to journalists from historically underrepresented backgrounds, especially journalists of color. This person will work closely with the executive director and senior director (as well as others at API) on the development of this programming and may work in concert with strategic partners of API as well.
Topics that this programming could include are as follows:
- Human resources and other enterprise- or company-level policies
- Recruiting, hiring, retaining and promotion strategies and tactics
- Professional development and management training
- Mentorship and sponsorship
- Supporting remote and in-person managers and staff
- Cultural competency
- Goal setting and accountability
To work directly with newsroom partners in the field to implement the strategies and tactics developed around engaging with audiences new to them and/or improving newsroom culture. That could include:
- Working with existing news partners from other programs across API (for example, Table Stakes or Metrics for News)
- Working with new news partners in a cohort or one-off capacity
- Collaborating with other journalism support organizations to assist other news partners
To develop measures of success and impact of the programming (materials, presentations, interventions, etc.) against our goals and against the real-time pressures that news partners face.
Other duties as assigned.
The Inclusion & Audience Growth Director will report to the VP/Senior Director and will have high visibility with the executive director and deputy executive director. The director will not be required to fundraise but will have some budgetary responsibilities in conjunction with senior staff.
Our ideal candidate has the following skills and experience:
- Minimum 6 years experience in news organizations, such as a reporter, editor, product or audience role, or as a news entrepreneur
- Demonstrated interest and skills in creating and implementing strategies to advance DEI practices (e.g., membership on a DEI committee, mentorship role, pay equity research and advocacy, etc.)
- Demonstrated ability to connect with, serve or uplift underrepresented communities — whether via reporting, community listening or other programming
- Demonstrated ability in creative program building and strategic thinking
- Demonstrated success in cross-functional leadership, building strong relationships and partnering with internal colleagues and external stakeholders
- Ability to work in a creative strategic environment that is less structured than a daily news operation
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Demonstrated ability to juggle multiple projects
- Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively, when needed
- Excellent time-management skills
- Strong writing skills
- Familiarity with the business of news and current issues affecting the news industry
- Familiarity with audience-centered analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Crowdtangle, etc.) a plus
We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities. We also know there are excellent candidates who might not have all the skills and experience that we have outlined. If that describes you, please apply and tell us about yourself and share your ideas for this role.
This is a full-time position with a salary commensurate with skills and experience and the following benefits:
- 20 days of paid time off, plus major holidays (9 per year)
- Medical, dental and vision plan
- 401(k) plan with a generous matching policy
- Medical and/or dependent flexible spending plan
- Generous family leave policies
- Employer-paid life insurance, short-term and long-term insurance policies
- Pre-tax mass transit plan
- Professional development opportunities (for example, conference attendance or stipends for course enrollment)
It is preferred that candidates live in or be willing to relocate to the Washington, D.C., area and work from API’s office in Arlington, VA, when, in the future, it is thoroughly safe for people to return to physical offices.
About the American Press Institute
The American Press Institute advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. The American Press Institute is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance. It works with and draws on the best ideas from anyone working in news publishing and journalism and anyone interested in its mission of making journalism sustainable.
TO APPLY: Please send an email to email@example.com, and include “Director of Inclusion & Audience Growth” in the subject line. Include a resume and cover letter that tells us about yourself and why you are interested in and qualified for this job. Please include three professional references or be prepared to provide them upon request.
Location/Region: Arlington, VA