The New Bedford Light (New Bedford, Massachusetts)
Date Posted: February 13, 2023
Industry: Nonprofit news site
Job Status: Full-time; highly competitive salary and benefits
The new Editor-in-Chief of the New Bedford Light will take the helm of one of the country’s most successful recent nonprofit news startups. Two years ago, The Light was a gleam in the eye of a group of concerned citizens worried that this vibrant city of 101,000 was in the middle of a news desert. Local journalism had all but vanished. Residents had almost nowhere to turn to learn what government agencies were doing. There was no one to hold powerful people and institutions accountable. Civic engagement was in a downward spiral. No more: The Light, which published its first article in June 2021 with one editor and two freelancers, now has a newsroom of three editors and eight staff reporters. Having raised $2.4 million to date, we have a 2023 budget of $1.7 million, a donor base that already exceeds 1,000 people and a lengthening string of investigative and enterprise stories that have injected new life – and an appreciation for the importance of watchdog journalism – into one of America’s most storied cities.
And our nonpartisan journalism is free to our readers. There is no paywall, thanks to the outpouring of financial support from our readers, our major donors, and corporate sponsors.
The time is now for an Editor-in-Chief to steer The Light’s talented staff to the next level of excellence, producing on-the-ground enterprise reporting on issues that matter to our readers.
New Bedford is a city of 101,000 people that sits at a crossroads – beset by socioeconomic challenges, but opportunities as well. It is the largest fishing port in North America, a growing center for the nascent wind industry. And soon New Bedford will have a commuter rail link to Boston.
The city has been a melting pot since the 18th and 19th Centuries, a dazzling seaside gem that back then was the wealthiest city in the country because of its whaling industry dominance. Today, it has among the largest Portuguese and Cape Verdean communities in the United States, and a burgeoning Latino population that now approaches 20+ percent of New Bedford’s residents.
The Light’s much anticipated debut in the midst of the pandemic was chronicled by the New York Times, the Boston Globe and other news organizations. And, by any measure, we have exceeded expectations and will continue to do so. We do not cover breaking crime news, or high school sports. We do not do clickbait journalism. Instead, we prioritize in-depth investigative and explanatory journalism that makes a difference. We measure our value based on the impact we have. Our stories are not just stories. They are time-intensive, multimedia packages – stories augmented by charts, maps, photos, and videos that provide important data and even broader context.
The Light covers the most challenging issues in the region, including the fishing industry, wind energy, education, the environment, immigration, city government, housing, health and politics.
In addition, The Light showcases the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene. It is reporting that underscores The Light’s commitment to stories that help a city with such a diverse population discover and enjoy passions they have in common.
From a running start, The Light has quickly become a major force on the South Coast of Massachusetts. We partnered with ProPublica on a months-long investigation that disclosed that much of the New Bedford fishing fleet is secretly owned by a Dutch hedge fund. We revealed that 900 New Bedford public school students are homeless, that 3,000 New Bedford homes are still connected to lead plumbing lines, and that corporations with hidden ownership are buying multi family properties in the city. Our partnership with ProPublica continues. We have been selected by Report for America to become a host newsroom and hire a reporter to cover the climate crisis and the environment.
The Editor-in-Chief should have:
- A strong record of producing high-impact enterprise journalism, including investigative, explanatory and narrative-style stories that take on the toughest local issues with deep reporting and vivid storytelling.
- A passion for community journalism that connects with a highly diverse population and captures the whole of our complex city, particularly underserved or marginalized groups.
- The leadership skills to inspire, coach and direct a team of reporters, editors and multimedia journalists of varying levels of experience.
- A proven ability to instill a spirit of collaboration, creativity and adventure, in a newsroom mindful of the importance of a work-life balance.
- An entrepreneurial instinct for experimentation and risk-taking, always looking for new ways to engage readers through cutting-edge content presentation and inventive outreach techniques.
- Impeccable integrity, devotion to the highest standards of journalistic independence, transparency and ethics.
- Demonstrated ability to work closely with the business side of the operation, including development, fundraising and audience.
The salary will be highly competitive, commensurate with experience. The benefits package includes health care, dental and vision coverage, as well as a company match to our 401(k) program.
The Light is committed to fostering a culture committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, both in our coverage and in our hiring. We encourage applications from journalists who come from groups that have been historically underrepresented in news organizations.
The deadline for applications is March 31. Please email a cover letter that addresses your qualifications, a resume and three references to Publisher Steve Taylor. His email address is email@example.com. Please note that applications will be treated in confidence, and that references will only be contacted later in the process and with the applicant’s knowledge.
View full job description here.