MLK50: Justice Through Journalism

Managing Editor


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Post Date:Jan 18, 2024Type:Full time
Start Date:Salary:$85,000/year
Location: United States - Tennessee - Memphis Job Reference:
Job Description:

MLK50: Justice Through Journalism is an award-winning nonprofit digital news site in Memphis, Tennessee. Our work focuses on the intersection of poverty, power and policy. We examine the systems that make it hard for workers to make ends meet and interrogate those who profit from the status quo. Our goal is to help Memphians — especially workers — have enough resources to thrive and demand that public and private policy support their success. We strive for our newsroom culture to reflect the values we prize: community, accountability, courage and justice.

That’s because we believe a collaborative and caring environment will help ensure our reporters do great work. So, we’re looking for a managing editor who will work each day to bring those values to life. This person will have a central responsibility in shepherding the heart of our organization: the journalism. That means they must make a true commitment to changing policies and practices that keep people poor, establishing MLK50 as a trusted community source that people use to hold power to account, and shifting the local news and civic ecosystem in Memphis toward justice. 

Our managing editor must, through lived experience or deep listening and learning, understand the toll and harms of inequity. They’d be familiar with the historic levers of systemic oppression broadly and be curious enough to want to learn more. 

They’ll model giving feedback that serves the work and the organization’s goals and, through evaluations and routine conversations, ensure staff development is continuous and robust. The managing editor will guide our staff of writers from idea conception to final story polish, ensuring that ideas for community and audience engagement are inherent to the work. They’ll be a clear communicator and a strong and detail-oriented line editor — one who can help craft a story structure where each paragraph builds off the next, one who can tighten a flabby sentence, one who claims grammar rules as gospel, one who understands there is no story without a nut graph, one who can help identify a strong beginning and a powerful last line. 

They’ll hone processes for a smooth production cycle and a steady publication cadence, maintaining the editorial flow through Notion. As a newsroom with specific goals for our community’s growth, the managing editor will guide with MLK50’s impact metrics in mind.  Story meetings will be an opportunity for creation, staff exchange and camaraderie.  With the executive editor, they’ll develop annual editorial goals.

This position supervises reporters and works closely with the visuals editor, digital editor and audience engagement manager. They’ll report to the executive editor. 

Salary starts at $85,000 and can increase based on experience. 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES

  • Foster a culture of safety, collaboration, excellence, creativity and innovation within the editorial team.

  • Manage a team of reporters and other editorial contributors with care, providing editorial guidance and feedback.

  • Edit, review and oversee editorial content, ensuring it meets MLK50’s framework and high journalistic standards for accuracy and clarity.

  • Coordinate editorial workflows, deadlines and assignments to produce efficient and timely content; manage publishing cadence. 

  • Collaborate with reporters to identify and prioritize key topics and stories.

  • Lead ambitious and impactful cross-newsroom special projects, including investigations and series.

  • In collaboration with the executive editor, help provide strategic direction and vision for the editorial team in alignment with the organization’s mission and goals.

  • In collaboration with the digital editor and the audience engagement manager, develop and execute content strategies that are revelatory, engaging and support the nonprofit mission.

  • Work with the audience engagement manager to help package editorial content for online platforms and social media.

  • Participate in outreach efforts to build and maintain relationships with readers and supporters.

  • Collaborate with the chief strategy officer and development director to support grant applications and donor relations, as needed.

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE IS: 

  • Experienced: You have at least eight years in journalism and four years of managerial experience, ideally managing a team of reporters 

  • Knowledgeable: About equity and systemic issues, white supremacy and Black history

  • Patient: With a good sense of humor

  • Flexible: Nimble and able to pivot when priorities shift. Bring a can-do attitude to work

  • Memphis-loving: A working knowledge of (or eagerness to immerse yourself in) the character, people, relationships and ways of Memphis

  • Curious: An eagerness to learn about the topics and MLK50 coverage areas; you stay current on Memphis and national news topics related to our coverage areas

  • Mission-focused: You frame work through the lens of the most vulnerable, with a focus on poverty, power and policy.

  • Committed: You keep abreast of social, racial and economic justice movements locally and nationally; you demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the cultural competency that matches MLK50’s mission

  • Organized: All staff are expected to prioritize and balance multiple projects simultaneously

  • Courageous: You’re willing to disrupt narratives of suffering and interrupt the status quo

BENEFITS

  • $3,000 hiring bonus 

  • At least 30 paid days off per year, including: At least two weeks’ paid vacation, 10 paid holidays per year: Memorial Day, Juneteenth, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Two “dark” weeks, one in the spring and the other the week leading up to Labor Day

  • $1,000 annual professional development stipend

  • Company credit card

  • 100% employer-paid health insurance for the employee, 75% for dependents

  • Company-supplied computer

  • Life insurance, long and short-term disability insurance

  • $50 monthly tech stipend 

  • 4% employer 401K match 

  • Annual cost of living raise

ABOUT US

Founded in 2017, MLK50 is an ambitious nonprofit digital newsroom focused on poverty, power and policy in Memphis, Tennessee. Our mission is to report on the intersection of poverty, power and policy, and to bear witness to movement-making and lived experiences. At MLK50, we believe journalism is a tool for liberation, and we are here to help people — especially Black people, people of color, poor people, and everyone who has been pushed to the margins — get free.

MLK50 and its journalists continue to garner national recognition for work that makes a meaningful, tangible difference in people’s lives, including the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting. We believe in collaboration: We’ve partnered with national outlets such as ProPublica, Next City and The Marshall Project. Our investigative reporting led a hospital system to erase nearly $12 million in medical debt for more than 5,300 patients and helped stop an oil pipeline that would have threatened a low-wealth Black community. Our impact includes reporting that led the city and county to reverse its decision to end the local Emergency Rental Assistance program.

LOCATION AND WORK TRAVEL 

Candidate is based in the Memphis metro area or is willing to relocate. Remote candidates will not be considered.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS/WORK ENVIRONMENT 

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear.

The employee is frequently required to use hands or fingers, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls.

The employee is often required to stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms, climb or balance, and stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl.

The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, and the ability to adjust focus.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. We are a hybrid newsroom.

TO APPLY 

We are eager to learn more about you and how you fit this role. When you apply, don’t limit your upload to a resume; show us what you’ve done. To do so, put together a single document file that includes the following, in this order:

1. Your resume – one to two pages.

2. A cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job.

3. Links to 3-6 online samples of your work. Show us what you’ve done or had a hand in that best demonstrates what you can do in this job. Explain your role in the content, how you made it better and how you collaborated. 

Please put all of these items into a single PDF and email it to jobs@mlk50.com. Put “managing editor” in the subject line. 

 




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Contact Information
MLK50: Justice Through Journalism
Memphis, TN
United States
Email/URL: jobs@mlk50.com
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