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A coalition of Cleveland-based organizations and the American Journalism Project are partnering to launch the Ohio Local News Initiative, a network of independent local newsrooms across Ohio that will start at launch with an independent, community-led, nonprofit newsroom serving Cleveland. The Cleveland newsroom — which will launch next year — is looking for its founding Editor-in-Chief.
The successful candidate is an experienced newsroom leader with a passion for local journalism; a track record of building and managing teams that produce impactful stories; and a strong perspective on equitable, audience-driven journalism.
You would be at the forefront of a movement to make local news a foundational part of civic life in Cleveland by enabling the kind of journalism that holds power to account while being accountable to the communities it serves.
The Editor-in-Chief, based in Greater Cleveland, will build, manage and scale a newsroom capable of carrying out this broad vision for a community-oriented primary news source. You will oversee daily editorial functions of the newsroom, including the aforementioned community bureau, beat reporting, research, multimedia production, and operational partnerships, such as with Cleveland Documenters. You will create a collaborative and inclusive environment, with a strong foundation and editorial processes for reporters and editors to identify and deploy community-driven reporting and services.
You will lead the charge in making the startup newsroom’s journalism worthy of support from its audience, ensuring the newsroom is setting and meeting ambitious goals for producing local journalism, in terms of both quality and quantity, and distributing it in a way that reaches as many people in Greater Cleveland as possible, with an emphasis on Clevelanders who need it most.
You will work with the organization’s executive team to make a case for local funding, and push for the newsroom growth needed to fill Cleveland’s vast information gaps. You will play an active role in representing the organization in public forums to evangelize the newsroom’s mission, including by representing program strategy to current and prospective funders. As the organization’s top representative in Cleveland, you will be charged with cultivating relationships with key stakeholders across sectors. You’ll report to the CEO of the Ohio Local News Initiative, who will lead the organization’s business, fundraising and operations strategies and functions; over time, you may report to a statewide editor-in-chief as the organization develops.
The Cleveland newsroom
The Cleveland newsroom will be staffed by journalists who will report on the issues that communities care most about, including contextual coverage of housing, environment, education, and health, with the highest standards of editorial integrity and independence. Enterprise reporting will hold power to account, but will be done with self-awareness and a focus on solutions for local issues. It will also produce service journalism, to ensure information is relevant to residents’ everyday lives.
The new organization’s top priority will be to build trust with the communities it serves, through development of an innovative community-led reporting model. It will feature a community bureau, staffed by people experienced in journalism and community engagement, who will recruit, train, pay, and mentor residents to collaborate on gathering information for their communities. These community reporting efforts will help drive newsroom coverage, aid in story development, and hold the newsroom accountable for being responsive to community needs.
The newsroom will also provide information without barriers. Coverage will be distributed across multiple formats and platforms, without paywalls or subscription requirements, to broaden storytelling formats and engage a wide range of audiences, no matter their literacy level, language or Internet access.
Responsibilities and priorities
Develop and execute a vision and strategy to grow the newsroom from scratch into a thriving anchor newsroom for Cleveland.
Design, implement and manage daily newsroom operations that can produce strong, community-oriented accountability journalism where ground level stakeholders are involved in shaping news stories.
Produce culturally relevant narratives to amplify the voices and lived experiences of marginalized communities. Foster culturally competent news coverage that centers on the perspectives and concerns of the community most impacted by the subject matter.
Create a newsroom culture that can attract, retain and develop journalism talent in Cleveland. Make continuous efforts to cultivate the journalist in grassroots storytellers.
Hold the newsroom to the highest levels of transparency, accountability and consistency.
Ensure that the newsroom fully embodies core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and incorporates DEI best practices in alignment with the strategic plan.
Ensure that newsroom staff on all levels reflect the diversity of Cleveland, and take the lead in incorporating community engagement in everyday coverage.
Share and learn with Cleveland’s community media outlets with the goal of building trust that can lead to increased distribution and amplification of original reporting in Greater Cleveland.
Drive an open culture of collaboration, quality, innovation, data-driven decision-making and intelligent use of resources.
Serve as a visible ambassador for the newsroom in the community, including speaking at public events and with potential donors.
You’re a good fit if…
You are an experienced local newsroom leader with experience and a track record of producing and/or editing impactful journalism.
You wake up every day thinking about how to get more people in Cleveland the information they need, and how to produce journalism that holds power to account.
You believe local newsrooms should support, and be responsive to, the needs of the communities they serve, and are eager to build a newsroom that can do both accountability journalism and service journalism without settling for less than what your constituencies need.
You have a strong interest in and can rally support for local journalism and independent media.
You thrive in a fast-paced startup environment where you are expected to think outside the box and build things from scratch.
You enjoy collaborating with others and finding new ways to serve the community.
You prioritize building an equitable and inclusive organizational culture.
You are the kind of leader who brings teams together, fosters a healthy work environment and motivates people to go the extra mile.
Compensation and benefits
Compensation commensurate with experience.
We’re committed to building an inclusive organization that represents the people and communities we serve. We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities.
The American Journalism Project is a venture philanthropy dedicated to local news. We believe in civic journalism as a public good and are reimagining its future by building a model to finance and sustain the local news our democracy requires. We make grants to local nonprofit news organizations to build their revenue and business operations, partner with communities to launch new organizations, and mentor leaders as they grow and sustain their newsrooms. To learn more about the American Journalism Project, visit our website: theajp.org