Title: Democracy Initiative Manager
Reports to: Editorial Director
Position Type: Full-time, temporary
Duration: Temporary position that runs at least through December 2023
Compensation: $75,000- $85,000
Location: Remote, U.S. based
Benefits: 100% premiums covered by SJN for medical insurance, access to dental and vision insurance, 20 days paid vacation, 3 floating personal days, 6 sick days, 8 paid holidays, the last week of December off, a remote work stipend, and funds for professional development.
Application deadline: 5/2/2022
Hiring committee Interviews: 5/11-5/13
Start date: Late May 2022
Since 2013, the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) has worked to legitimize and spread solutions journalism — rigorous reporting that examines not just problems, but also effective efforts to respond to them — in order to rebalance the news. We’ve made a strong case for how and why audiences and society benefit when solutions journalism is integrated into the news — and we’ve had real success. We’ve worked with over 500 news organizations and 20,000 individual journalists and, based on growing demand for our work, currently staff are working across the United States as well as in Africa and Europe. Around the world, solutions reporting is being adopted by news organizations because it increases audience trust and engagement, sharpens accountability and can open up new sources of revenue.
Today we believe it is more urgent than ever that we take bold action and significantly broaden our reach. Building on our foundational work with newsrooms, journalism schools and others, we are embarking upon an ambitious new strategy aimed at advancing a system-level change across the field of journalism, in which capturing and gleaning insights from data will play a critical role. Working with a core group of journalists, educators and allies, we aim to engage tens of thousands more along with hundreds of news organizations in a movement to ensure ready access to news that is informed by solutions reporting. Our vision of success is sweeping but achievable. With broad adoption of solutions journalism, we envision an increase in society’s capacity to solve problems, widespread reach of more complete and accurate coverage, advances in fairness and equity in reporting and a public that is actively involved in the stories being told about their communities.
Democracy is one of our core areas of interest, and over the past four years, we’ve catalyzed more than 100 solutions-focused projects tied to elections, civic engagement and democracy. Now we’re looking for someone to lead our democracy-related initiatives, including Democracy SOS, a cutting-edge fellowship we’ve developed in partnership with Hearken, a consulting company that helps organizations embed stakeholder listening into their growth and operations to build more resilient companies and communities. As part of Democracy SOS, 22 newsrooms are re-examining how they cover politics and elections, with the goal of building civic knowledge and participation and, through solutions journalism and other strategies, aim to hold politicians accountable for making progress.
The Democracy Initiative manager at Solutions Journalism Network will work toward a systemic change in the coverage of elections and democracy. Newsrooms need better ways to engage with their communities, reduce polarization, build or rebuild trust, and provide powerful solutions-focused coverage that can help communities envision how to move forward. We envision a future in which newsrooms replace many of their stories about polls and candidates — which we know contribute to distrust — with deep, ongoing examinations of important social issues, including the health of our democracy itself. We will do so in a way that centers equity as a core value and practice. The Democracy Initiative Manager will, along with our partners at Hearken, lead Democracy SOS, plus independently seek other opportunities in this important area of coverage. Some may be SJN initiatives or, like Democracy SOS, partnerships with other journalism support organizations. As this position is tied to grant funding, it is limited in time to the duration of the grant.
The Democracy Initiative manager will:
Help lead the 2022 Democracy SOS Fellowship, supporting journalists from 22 newsrooms that are committed to transforming their political and elections coverage in ways that heighten civic knowledge and participation, and help bridge divides.
The manager will work closely with SJN’s Editorial Director to support newsrooms throughout the initiative, help measure its impact, report to funders and ensure grant requirements are met.
Work with our Democracy SOS partners to plan and carry out a strategy for Democracy SOS in 2023, which could involve another full fellowship with additional newsrooms, but also could take other forms depending on what we learn this year, and the funding we’re able to attract.
Work closely with the manager of our Advancing Democracy initiative to report on what that project accomplished and look for opportunities to continue it in 2023 and beyond.
Identify additional opportunities for, and help develop, resources that inform and advance the use of solutions journalism in democracy and government coverage.
What we’re looking for:
Commitment to centering equity in all aspects of the work, through how we recruit newsrooms for our democracy initiatives, and how we work with and support participating newsrooms. Each of our current democracy initiatives includes newsrooms that are led by and serve persistent and systemically excluded communities and our goal is to include even more in the future.
Passion for and knowledge of the issues related to elections and democracy in the United States. Knowledge and experience could include past reporting or roles outside of journalism.
Aptitude and talent for training: You love to teach and coach.
Some experience as a journalist, either in a newsroom or as a freelancer.
Project management skills: You are organized, disciplined and focused. You know how to function effectively with multiple moving parts and keep projects moving forward, including working with project management systems such as Asana and Salesforce.
Entrepreneurial skill: You look beyond assigned tasks, anticipate potential successes or bumps in the road ahead, and possible solutions.
A relationship-builder: You are passionate about connecting with people and building deep relationships. You are happiest when you are engaging with new people and bringing them into your community--both internally at SJN and externally within our network.
Do you have skills or experiences that we haven’t thought of that you can bring to this job? Tell us how you can see this role benefit from your own individual experiences. We’re an energetic, ambitious, and fun bunch, and we want great people to join us.
Equity, Justice, Diversity and Inclusion at SJN means a workplace where individual differences are recognized, appreciated, respected and responded to in ways that fully develop and utilize each person’s talents and strengths. Diversity of perspective, identity, and experience is important to us. We want to reflect and serve the whole of society. As a result, we encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds to seek employment, and we make all employment decisions without regard to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or any other factors protected by federal, state or local law. To request reasonable accommodation, contact Eva Blanc, firstname.lastname@example.org