Mountain State Spotlight seeks an experienced editor to manage the newsroom and audience development of a new investigative civic news organization.
You would lead the design and execution of newsroom operations to support a fast-paced journalism startup, working with the co-founders and a team of reporters to publish articles, newsletters, and other news products covering the crucial issues facing West Virginia communities. You would also be the strategic lead in cultivating and building our audience, and developing a product strategy that achieves our mission.
As local commercial newsrooms in the state struggle with diminishing resources, a growing number of West Virginians are deprived of the information they need, and the journalism to keep government, business, and other institutions accountable. Mountain State Spotlight was created to address this crisis, and now has one of the largest news reporting staffs in the state, with a team of aggressive reporters and seasoned editors focused on issues including public health threats, economic development, environmental degradation, and government accountability.
You will report to our executive editor, and play a key role in developing editorial strategy and newsroom operations that fit our mission. This includes planning and assigning stories, coordinating between reporters and photographers and artists, producing one or more newsletters, managing the editorial calendar, and overseeing our social media strategy. You will also manage our staff reporters and freelancers.
Out-of-state applicants are welcome, and will be expected to work and live in the Charleston, West Virginia area. We are not considering remote-work candidates. Our Mountain State is a beautiful place to live, is full of exciting news to report on, and faces many challenges that demand our vigorous brand of watchdog journalism.
Mountain State Spotlight was founded just months ago by MacArthur Fellow Ken Ward Jr. and veteran West Virginia editor Greg Moore. They’re being joined by Pulitzer Prize-winner Eric Eyre, to power an independent, civic news organization that tells stories of importance to West Virginians about the issues and challenges facing their communities.
Our mission is to help West Virginians improve their state by producing “sustained outrage” journalism that exposes abuses of power by government, business and other institutions.
We have one of the largest news reporting staffs in West Virginia, with a team of aggressive reporters and seasoned editors focused on major issues including public health, economic development, environmental degradation and government accountability.
We are backed by Report for America, the American Journalism Project, and ProPublica, and have ambitious plans to grow to meet the information needs of West Virginians, to give our neighbors the journalism they want, need and deserve.
- Work with co-founders to plan editorial direction and corresponding product strategies
- Design, implement, and manage workflows for newsroom operations, and oversee Mountain State Spotlight’s publishing calendar
- Develop a strategy to develop and grow Mountain State Spotlight’s audience
- Supervise reporters, coaching them through story ideas and editing stories; work closely with the executive editor and co-founders to guide short-term stories, medium-term investigations and longer-term projects
- Manage publishing and distribution, shepherding stories from conceptualization, to production, to distribution to end users
- Bring an innovative approach to development of visuals, multimedia elements, social media, and other formats that are relevant to West Virginians
- Take the lead in incorporating community engagement in everyday coverage; manage communications with undercovered communities across the state to understand what people want to see covered, and ensure our newsroom is responsive
- Oversee Mountain State Spotlight’s social media channels
You’re a good fit if:
- You have a demonstrated commitment to the use of investigative journalism, and live to develop and execute sustained, powerful stories that spur reform
- You have at least seven years of local or regional news experience, at least two of which were as an editor
- You thrive in a fast-paced startup environment where you are expected to think outside the box and build things from scratch
- You are a skilled problem-solver, you’re process and detail-oriented, and enjoy bringing order to chaos
- You have stellar news judgment, sharp editorial skills, and impeccable editing and copy editing skills
- You are proficient in G-Suite, Google Analytics, Newspack, Mailchimp, and project planning tools like Trello, or are familiar with similar tools and can learn quickly
- You are organized and can handle multiple projects and people under tight deadlines
- You have a collaborative spirit and are calm under pressure. You believe that we are all stronger together
Experience as a journalist in West Virginia or other rural Appalachian states is a plus, but not mandatory
We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. We encourage out-of-state applicants, as well as applicants who are ready to take on an ambitious role but aren’t exactly what we’re looking for. We’re growing, so if you’re not right for this job, you might be right for the next one.
The successful candidate will be expected to live in or near Charleston, West Virginia. Our Mountain State is a beautiful place to live, is full of exciting news to report on, and faces many challenges that demand our vigorous brand of watchdog journalism.
Compensation and benefits:
Full-time, competitive salary with benefits.
Three weeks of paid time off in addition to holidays
Flexible work schedule. Some weekend and evening hours will be required.
To apply or to ask questions, email Executive Editor Greg Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your application should include:
- Your resume
- A cover letter telling us why you are the right person for Mountain State Spotlight’s team. Describe your vision of accountability journalism in West Virginia, and discuss a project you managed or a team you previously led.
- Links or .pdf files of at least four examples of your best work. Please include stories that you wrote, pieces that you edited, and projects you managed.
Applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis, giving an advantage to early applicants.