Indianapolis Documenters Assignment Editor

Reports to: Community Journalism Director
Position Status:
Regular, Full Time, Exempt
Date Revised
: August 2023

The Role

The Indiana Local News Initiative is seeking an editor with a passion for local government, policy, and power to support our team as a Documenters assignment editor.

This editor will be a critical part of the newsroom team, which will include service journalism and community reporters as well as beat reporters focused on government, education, criminal justice and economics. They will help manage the deployment of Documenters, editing and reviewing some of the content produced from Documenter assignments, and writing a newsletter summarizing Documenters notes from the week. They will work to ensure Documenters’ work is reflected in newsroom output (e.g., identifying opportunities in meeting coverage for stories/deeper reporting, identifying new civic tools, and identifying opportunities for first-person accounts from Documenters to accompany reporting). As needed, they will produce explainers and how-to videos and hold office hours to assist the Documenters community with the work of documenting. They will lend an extra set of eyes to explainers, and will lead reporting that emerges from Documenters work.

This role is a great fit for you if you believe that getting more people engaged with local government is an important way to create a more equitable society. Strong candidates will also be passionate about distilling complicated topics into conversational and easy-to-understand language, and helping train a diverse group of Indianapolis residents in the nuts-and-bolts of reporting and meeting coverage.

The Newsroom

The decision to launch this yet-to-be-named Indianapolis newsroom followed an information needs assessment conducted by the American Journalism Project, which found that many Indiana residents do not feel they have adequate, relevant, and accessible information about their communities and the decisions that impact their daily lives.

The innovative 25-person Indianapolis news organization will fill these critical gaps by hiring experienced journalists with deep ties to Indianapolis communities, reporting on the local issues that residents care most about, including government, housing, jobs, education, health, and local arts and culture, with the highest standards of editorial integrity and independence, and distributed over a variety of platforms designed to broaden storytelling formats and engage a wide range of audiences.

The new organization’s top priority will be to earn the trust of the communities it serves through two-way relationships and an innovative community-led reporting model; these efforts will augment newsroom coverage and aid in story development. 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 & Priorities

As a Documenters Assignment Editor, you will:

  • Edit, fact-check and approve Documenters content daily and on deadline
  • Make and manage assignments for Documenters, in collaboration with the Community Journalism Director
  • Provide written and verbal feedback to Documenters
  • Produce a newsletter based on Documenters content
  • Help run regular training sessions for Documenters, along with other community listening events
  • Create guides and videos to support Documenters in their work of documenting
  • Consult with and support reporters and editors on editorial coverage about local government and civic power
  • Support our newsroom community events

Consider applying if you have some of these skill sets …

  • You share the Indiana Local News Initiative’s commitment to a community-centered newsroom that engages and empowers residents
  • You have strong communication skills, and are passionate about journalistic writing and editing
  • You have excellent fact-checking and copy-editing skills, and are detail oriented
  • You have a basic knowledge of local policy-making and the ways that people can get involved in local government
  • You are able to quickly learn about complex issues and prioritize information
  • You have excellent time-management skills and an ability to work on deadline
  • You have experience with technology like Airtable and Google spreadsheets, or are willing to learn
  • You have 1 - 3 years in relevant fields such as journalism, community organizing and/or political campaigning
  • You’re flexible and entrepreneurial — you can thrive in a startup environment where you are expected to learn as you go and think outside the box
  • You are able to to work evenings and weekends as needed
Compensation and Benefits
  • Full time role with benefits
  • Salary minimum: starting at $55,000, 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 Indiana Local News Initiative is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. We encourage people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations, and marital statuses to apply.

What to expect in the hiring process
We hope to fill this role as soon as possible, though the hiring process can typically take from a few weeks to a few months. We will do our best to communicate with you about timing expectations throughout the process.Candidates who advance to later rounds of this process can expect several interviews, including with a panel of community members. Semi-finalists will be asked to complete a written assignment designed to help us understand your thinking and approach to the role, and you will be offered an optional prep session to ask any questions that will help you put your best foot forward in this process. We aim to truly get to know you, to help you fully understand the role you’re applying for.

Apply using the form below