WBEZ is one of the largest, most decorated, aggressively creative, and journalistically ambitious public radio stations in the nation. It is the birthplace of such celebrated programs as This American Life, Wait…Wait Don’t Tell Me, Sound Opinions, Third Coast International Audio Festival and Curious City. WBEZ has recently developed a set of new strategic initiatives that include growing the number of reporters, producers and editors who can bring insight and accountability to the most important stories in the Chicago area. 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.
WBEZ seeks an outstanding, highly accomplished senior editor to lead the creation of a new enterprise reporting desk focused on the themes of race, class and communities in the Chicago region. This innovative desk will be staffed with three reporters, with future plans to add a dedicated digital producer. This team will be charged with covering news across platforms and bringing an enterprising approach to their stories.
We’ve chosen Race, Class & Communities as a title and focus of coverage because we believe these issues have fundamentally shaped Chicago’s past, lie at the heart of the most significant challenges facing Chicago today, and will fundamentally shape the region’s future. Investing in contextual, in-depth coverage that helps us understand these forces and the people at the heart of them is critical to understanding the direction and health of our region in the 21st century.
Under the frame of Race, Class & Communities, we will focus our efforts on four key reporting areas, each of which represents a critical lens through which to examine the human face of opportunity and equity. They include housing, immigration, neighborhood life, and work.
We believe editing requires a special set of skills – editorial, interpersonal and organizational. Therefore, the best candidates will have superb news judgment, strong editorial chops, and the ability to nourish talent and empower it to grow. They will be responsible for shaping our presence as a distinctive source for enterprising reporting and news coverage on multiple platforms. And they will have an insatiable appetite for making great, impactful work that’s journalistically and creatively ambitious – and a track record of leading reporters to excellence in their craft.
The best candidates also will demonstrate a thirst for understanding the people and forces that shape the Chicagoland region and the role race, class and communities play in that process. They will demonstrate a fluency in the local and national public conversation and the ability to see the natural connections between them. And they will possess a desire to tell stories of singular impact and maximum relevance - stories that hold institutions accountable, surface new voices and perspectives, challenge assumptions, and deepen understanding.
We believe public media is in as strong a position as it ever has been to be shaping, contributing to, enriching and driving the public conversation. We believe editorial ability and craft is essential to our ability to realize that role. We believe in a culture that deeply honors and respects this part of what we do. That is spirit in which we seek to fill this position.
- Hire, train, lead and inspire the staff of the Race, Class & Communities Desk to contribute at the highest possible levels
- Set priorities and plan coverage for the desk, working closely and collaboratively with reporters to execute that plan across digital and broadcast platforms, including daily news items, feature stories, projects, podcasts, on-air discussions and live events
- Work with reporters and producers to conceptualize stories and provide the necessary editorial guidance and leadership to ensure journalism of the highest caliber and resonance
- Maintain a thorough familiarity with key local and national trends across an array of demographic and public policy areas directly connected to the umbrella focus of Race, Class & Communities
- Lead special projects and conceptualize coverage plans for a variety of news events, enterprising stories and investigations
- Work collaboratively with editorial leadership throughout the organization on coverage plans, special projects, new ideas and newsroom initiatives
- Represent Chicago Public Media and the work of the Race, Class & Communities desk to internal and external audiences, including staff and board meetings, public events, etc.
Required Skills and Experience
- Seven to ten years of editorial leadership experience in a journalism setting
- Strong leadership abilities and the emotional intelligence necessary to inspire others to excellence
- An outstanding track record of producing journalism of the highest caliber and impact – and a demonstrated ability to lead teams of reporters to excellence in their craft
- A deep familiarity with the issues and themes at the heart of the Race, Class & Communities desk
- Ability to edit feature news stories across platforms for content, accuracy, pacing, ideas, narrative and voice
- Familiarity with audio production and editing, or enthusiasm to learn
- Ability to work in an editorially collaborative way – to articulate your own ideas precisely and concisely, and to recognize and build on strong ideas that come from other editors and reporters
- Excellent writing, editing, communication and organizational skills
- A familiarity with data-driven analysis and reporting is desired
- Ability to juggle a variety of daily tasks, with a demonstrated knowledge of project management principles
- Experience developing, inspiring and growing talent and creating opportunities for team members
- Comfortable representing Chicago Public Media and the work of the Race, Class & Communities Desk to internal and external audiences, including staff and board meetings, public events, etc.
- A thoughtful, creative, energetic, collegial, and collaborative work style
- A passion for new ideas and new approaches to reporting, storytelling and engaging new audiences and communities
- Deep familiarity with the Chicago region is desired
- Must be available to provide evening and holiday coverage as needed.
We have a company culture that encourages innovation. A PPO Health/Dental/Vision plan. We are located on Navy Pier, with great views of the city, and easy access via public transportation.
This job is located in Chicago, IL.
At Chicago Public Media, we are looking for people who are curious about the world and have an excitement for the mission of independent, nonprofit journalism. If it sounds like you would be a good fit for our team, apply today.
Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer, an Affirmative Action Employer and actively seeks talented people from all backgrounds, orientations and walks of life.