Managing Editor, Partnerships & Special Projects

The Role

Fostering collaboration is one of the key strategic pillars of Free Press Indiana, because we believe that when we work together, we can reach more audiences more effectively. Central to that effort will be a managing editor for partnerships and special projects.

This editor will work closely with more than a dozen newsroom and university partners who are eager to team up to expand the breadth and depth of local news. The editor will support these partners in frequent collaboration and will spearhead ambitious cross-newsroom investigative efforts and other special projects. They will also help coordinate coverage of major news events, putting together comprehensive coverage plans in which each partner focuses on angles and formats in their wheelhouse and cross-promotes content. 

We are looking for an excellent editor who is passionate about helping Indiana’s news ecosystem thrive. This senior role will report to the CEO of the Indiana Local News Initiative.

The Organization

The mission of the organization is to strengthen Indiana’s communities and preserve its democracy. The organization will fill information gaps with original, community-based non-partisan local reporting and work collaboratively with the Indiana news ecosystem until every Hoosier has the information they need.

Free Press Indiana Initiative approaches its work through three key strategies:

  • Fill: We’re going to launch community-centered nonprofit newsrooms where needed around the state, beginning with a robust newsroom in Central Indiana but growing over time to interventions in numerous areas of Indiana.
  • Foster: Support the news ecosystem in coordinating collaboration to close coverage gaps, share content and make more local journalism available to all Hoosiers who need it. Collaborating closely and effectively with other media leaders is an essential component of this role. 
  • Facilitate: Rally philanthropic support for partner news organizations to strengthen their news and their impact.

In 2021, a steering committee of local journalism, community and business leaders worked with the American Journalism Project to conduct a comprehensive statewide research study, working with 27 community ambassadors around Indiana and collecting input through text messaging and online surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Through the study, more than 1,000 Hoosiers across 79 counties said they needed more unbiased, fact-based information about their communities.

Out of those findings, a coalition of organizations in and around Indiana, local community leaders, and the American Journalism Project, partnered to launch the Indiana Local News Initiative, a new nonprofit organization with a mission to fill information gaps in the state. The coalition, which is supported by a growing list of more than a dozen philanthropies, has raised almost $10 million for the organization so far, and has formed search committees that are conducting an open search for a founding leadership team.

The organization, which will be governed by a board that is representative of Indiana’s diverse communities, inclusive of race and ethnicity, gender, and political perspectives, is beginning by launching a robust, 25-person news organization in Central Indiana, facilitating investments in journalism outlets around the state, and fostering collaboration among Indiana outlets to amplify local journalism for all Hoosiers, especially underserved communities. It will have an innovative, community-focused structure, and work directly with residents to report on and elevate voices and stories from their own communities in addition to providing much-needed accountability and service journalism across critical topics. It will also house Indianapolis Documenters, a program that will train and pay residents to participate in news gathering. It will be sustained by a combination of philanthropy, membership, and sponsorships.

Information produced for communities by the Indiana Local News Initiative will be free to access, and is available for republishing. Its newsrooms will work in partnership with a growing list of outlets to amplify and increase the volume of relevant, original local reporting available to all residents.

Responsibilities & Priorities
  • Ensure that our journalism is more accessible to more people by fostering collaboration among partners across the state
  • Lead ambitious and impactful cross-newsroom special projects, including investigations and series
  • Develop a strategy for helping newsrooms collaborate on coverage of tentpole news events, building and shepherding a comprehensive coverage plan in which each partner focuses on angles and/or formats in their wheelhouse and cross promote content across the projects
  • Work with partner newsrooms to identify and design resources that could be widely useful, including but not limited to a shared library of accurate and balanced depictions of local neighborhoods and diverse representation that grows over time as a public resource
  • Develop resources that would foster stronger collaboration among newsrooms, including a directory of contacts and a feed or portal for shared stories.
  • Help identify the most important pieces of content for sharing and work with a web producer to flag news and information that partners can republish or repurpose
  • Develop strong relationships with key editors in partner newsrooms and work with them to problem solve and identify opportunities for collaboration, strengthening the news ecosystem
  • Identify and recruit new partners; coordinate regular events so that newsrooms have a chance to connect
  • Conceive of and execute projects that help newsrooms recruit and retain talent
  • Work with university partners to identify opportunities for student journalists within the Indiana journalism community
  • Collaborate with the market director to identify new partnership opportunities and engage community organizations

Consider applying if you have some of these skill sets:

  • Demonstrated commitment to local, public service journalism with a track record of producing and/or leading impactful reporting
  • Experience leading large projects, including investigations, special reports and multi-part series
  • Strong understanding and knowledge of how newsrooms work 
  • A passion for collaboration and a willingness to spend time in different newsrooms across the city
  • 5+ years experience in daily, local newsrooms
  • Stellar news judgment, editorial skills, and editing and copy editing skills
  • Strong communication and writing skills
  • Ability to work under deadline and prioritize work
  • Adept at problem solving, detail-oriented with excellent organizational skills
  • Experience with and/or strong understanding of creating accessible content, including in audio and video formats
  • Entrepreneurial spirit—you can thrive in a startup environment where you are expected to learn as you go, think outside the box and build things from scratch
  • Ability to work evenings as needed
  • Interpersonal/communications skills - willing to negotiate and talk through issues in an honest and clear manner
  • Ability to interact effectively with a diverse group of individuals internal and external to the newsroom
  • Team player - help others and is supportive
Compensation and Benefits
  • Full-time role with benefits
  • Salary levels will be commensurate with experience, starting at: $90,000

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