Editorial Director (Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk)

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO, USA 🇺🇸

Hiring Department

Missouri School of Journalism

Job Description

The Opportunity

There is a strong need for connected, strategic, in-depth reporting and communication about water, agriculture and environmental issues inside the Mississippi River Basin. To fill that void, the Missouri School of Journalism is launching the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk, a new reporting and content distribution network. Through a partnership with Report for America (RFA), we will build reporting capacity by adding 10 new full-time reporters at partner newsrooms throughout the basin. These reporters will create local and regional stories in collaboration with the Desk. We will also incorporate some of the strongest established reporting outlets and journalists in the region by recruiting five senior journalists as partners. We will work with the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) to provide expert subject matter training and ongoing support to the team.

The Editorial Director will build this innovative cross-platform collaborative beat reporting program. The editorial director will foster a cohesive reporting network for the Mississippi River Basin working directly with all members of the team. This position will help recruit and retain newsrooms, support journalists, and provide project management and editing. The Editorial Director will manage the work of participating journalists and the distribution of the content across the region. The work products will be individual stories and group projects strategically tackling major environmental issues. The Editorial Director will work closely with an Executive Director and an Assistant Director to make this all a reality.

We are looking for a dynamic, creative leader with multiplatform, collaborative experience to help define the editorial vision for this collaboration and develop a strategy for executing it. We need a highly organized manager who collaborates and communicates well with a wide range of stakeholders and exhibits flexibility and empathy in the process.

The Editorial Director will be a staff employee of the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO, but this position will be remote and could be based anywhere in the Mississippi River Basin. 

This is a three-year, grant-funded staff position supported initially by the Walton Family Foundation. There is a clearly stated intention to raise funds to sustain the position and the project beyond that period. Regardless of the source of funding, the Desk will be editorially independent.

The Characteristic Duties

  • Supervise, lead, and inspire the project partners. This includes assigning and editing “traditional” and digital stories across multiple mediums.
  • Serve as a central point of contact for editorial leaders at the participating news outlets.
  • Ensure stories are considered through diverse perspectives, so they are inclusive, equitable and reflect the audiences they serve.
  • Strengthen the digital journalism capacity among the project partners and boost the visual storytelling capacity.
  • Maintain close relationships with  news outlets across the region and set up regular training opportunities for reporters.
  • Identify and reach new audiences through storytelling and new products on all platforms.

Salary

Salary Range: $53,000 – $70,000

GGS Grade: 11

University Title: SENIOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT

Internal applicants can determine their university title by accessing the Talent Profile tile in myHR.

Minimum Qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • At least 4 years of experience from which comparable knowledge and skills can be acquired

Preferred Qualifications

  • Strong leadership and management skills, including the ability to manage workers in a variety of remote locations.
  • Strong work ethic and the ability to work independently as well as with teams.
  • Commitment to editorial standards of accuracy, thoroughness, ethics, balance and diversity.
  • Ability to exercise sound news judgment and generate factual, error-free copy on deadline.
  • Ability to think strategically, set goals and use metrics to track progress towards meeting those goals.
  • Familiarity with the beats of agriculture, water and environment, and experience reporting, producing and editing investigative work.
  • Knowledge of the issues, cultures, people, geography and news opportunities in the Mississippi River Basin.
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Experience with and credibility in journalism in the region.
  • Experience in multiple journalistic mediums.
  • Experience leading multi-partner collaborations.
  • Experience developing new products.
  • Ability to solve problems, manage complexity and be resilient.

Application Materials

Required application materials are (a) a cover letter describing your vision for leading the Ag & Water Desk, including how you would address equity, diversity and inclusion on the beat; b) a CV/resume; c) a list of three references; d) 3-5 relevant work samples. Applications must be made online and will not be considered without all application materials. 

Applications will begin being considered on July 19 and continue until the position is filled. 

For questions, please contact professors Sara Shipley Hiles and Ryan Famuliner at [email protected] and [email protected].

Benefit Eligibility

This position is eligible for University benefits.  The University offers a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental and vision plans, retirement, paid time off, and educational fee discounts.  For additional information on University benefits, please visit the Faculty & Staff Benefits website at http://www.umsystem.edu/totalrewards/benefits.

Diversity Commitment

The University of Missouri is fully committed to achieving  the goal of a diverse and inclusive academic community of faculty, staff and students. We seek individuals who are committed to this goal and our core campus values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal Opportunity is and shall be provided for all employees and applicants for employment on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law. This policy shall not be interpreted in such a manner as to violate the legal rights of religious organizations or the recruiting rights of military organizations associated with the Armed Forces or the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America. For more information, call the Vice Chancellor of Human Resource Services/Affirmative Action officer at 573-882-4256.

To request ADA accommodations, please call the Disability Inclusion and ADA Compliance Manager at 573-884-7278.


POSITION TYPE

ORGANIZATION TYPE

EXPERIENCE-LEVEL

DEGREE REQUIRED