This American Life is looking for an Executive Editor to oversee the editorial operations of the program and lead the editorial vision for the show, in collaboration with the show’s Host/Executive Producer Ira Glass.
About the job:
The Executive Editor is responsible for thinking about the big picture of what This American Life covers, pro-actively shaping the overall editorial vision for the show. Doing this involves talking with the show’s Producers about their interests and about what’s going on in the world, figuring out what would be exciting and worthwhile to dive into, then leading the staff to do that. Often this means finding and developing relationships with potential collaborators and contributors who’ll bring useful perspectives or special expertise. We’re looking for someone to lead an ongoing conversation around what kinds of shows we should make and how we can push our own limits.
Just as important – the Executive Editor runs the show’s weekly editorial process. That means strategizing about show planning, being a great manager to our Editors, and working with our Managing Editor to make sure the trains run on time. The Executive Editor will edit lots of stories, and will also be heavily involved with the story selection and story development for individual episodes of the program, in collaboration with whatever Producer is in charge of that episode. They will make decisions on whether to move forward with a story, will bring stories to final wording, and will be an arbiter on journalistic ethics and standards. They will be involved in hiring, staff development, and staff evaluations, and will coordinate partnerships and projects with other organizations. Occasionally the Executive Editor might produce or report a story or episode.
We’re looking for someone with demonstrated experience creating journalism like the stories on our show. This means narrative journalism, stories that unfold with a plot and emotion and humor and surprises, with complicated, three-dimensional characters. Ideally you have a lot of radio experience, though we’ll also consider relevant experience in film, TV documentary or print, if it involves crafting character-based, narrative reporting.
We want someone who knows narrative audio journalism so well that they can invent new and exciting approaches to telling stories in this medium.
Additionally we’re looking for someone with:
- Proven ability to think about big picture approaches to covering issues and ideas and to rally a team to do the same.
- Extensive editing experience.
- Strong people management skills, ideally with experience managing journalists. You’re well versed in how to give feedback and have no problem receiving it. You have experience coaching others on how to to take things further, how to be open to failure, and generally get stories to later stages on their own. Experience with racial and gender equity work a big plus.
- A strong interest in collaboration. This American Life is a very collaborative workplace. All producers also serve as editors on stories. You must be an expert communicator, meaning you’re both smart and kind with your words.
- The ability to meet deadlines and plan strategically in the midst of a creative process. You should be skilled at balancing priorities, quality, and deadlines.
Since our entire story process is driven by the taste, observations and interests of our staff, we believe that having a diverse staff is the only way to effectively document the reality of life in this country with the proper nuance and perspective. A more diverse group of people putting together the show makes us better at every stage of the editorial process, from story selection to line editing. We strongly encourage people of all backgrounds, races, genders, and abilities to apply.
This position is based at the This American Life office in New York City.
This American Life has been on the air since 1995. It invented and championed a style of narrative radio journalism that’s been widely imitated. The show includes small personal stories, longform investigative pieces, and reporting that takes on bigger national and international issues. It’s heard each week by 2.2 million people on over 500 public radio stations. Another 3.6 million download each episode as a podcast, making it one of the most popular podcasts in the world. The program has won every major award for broadcasting and journalism excellence, some of them many times over. View more information about the show here.
Please send your cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your cover letter please say something about where you’d want to push the editorial focus of the show. If you have an idea for an episode of the show you’d be excited for us to do, tell us that as well. Please put “Executive Editor” and your name in the subject line and include links to work samples in your cover letter.