Photo by Andrea Morales for MLK50

MLK50: Justice Through Journalism is hiring an executive editor to manage our award-winning digital newsroom during an exciting stage of growth. You’ll be the #2 on the editorial side, supervising news coverage while working with our founding editor to implement editorial strategy and determine team hires.

The executive editor will expand how we incorporate MLK50’s mission into every step of our reporting—from how stories are conceptualized to how we engage the communities we serve. The executive editor is a collaborative leader that reports to the founding editor and manages our newsroom staff while incorporating team feedback into our emerging editorial systems. You will play a key role in upholding our high editorial standards and demonstrating our approach to equity-focused reporting as a model for the future of local news. Your news judgment reflects an understanding of poverty, power and policy as well as systemic racism, oppression and modern-day movement building. 

Preference will be given to candidates willing to relocate to Memphis within the next year, but for exceptional candidates, remote work is an option. 

April 4, 2018 – Memphis, TN: the I AM 2018 50th Anniversary of Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and March on Wednesday. Photo by Andrea Morales.

The organization

Founded in 2017, MLK50 is an ambitious nonprofit digital newsroom focused on poverty, power and policy. Our mission is to report on the intersection of poverty, power and policy, and to equip residents to pursue reform.

Since 2017, MLK50’s journalists have won several national and regional awards, including the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting. We believe in collaboration: We’ve partnered with national outlets such as ProPublica and The Marshall Project, and are leading the Memphis Media Collaborative, a group of four local news outlets.

We are fiscally sponsored by Community LIFT. Our core funders include the Surdna Foundation, the American Journalism Project, Racial Equity in Journalism at Borealis Philanthropy and the Emerson Collective. We are also a partner newsroom with Report for America.

Job responsibilities

  • Frame news coverage through the lens of the most vulnerable, with a focus on poverty, power and policy.
  • Directly supervise the visuals director, editorial operations manager and reporters.
  • Coach reporters through story ideas and serve as the line editor for stories.
  • Maintain MLK50’s editorial calendar,  ensure publication of at least four stories weekly and manage long term editorial planning.
  • Lead editorial meetings and oversee the rollout of special projects.
  • Work with the founding editor to set editorial strategy, ensuring stories align with MLK50’s mission. 
  • Oversee the production of regular newsletters, in collaboration with the editorial operations manager.
  • Help conceptualize multimedia elements including audio, video, photography and graphics, in collaboration with the visuals director and digital editor.
  • Support the distribution and engagement strategies of daily reporting, major investigations or other special projects.
  • Support digital editor in the curation of MLK50’s website.
Scenes along the parade route at the Southern Heritage Classic parade in September 2017 that processed down Park Avenue in Orange Mound. Photo by Andrea Morales for MLK50

You’ll be a good fit if…

  • You have at least seven years of local/regional news experience, at least two of which should be as an editor. 
  • You have stellar news judgment and sharp editorial instincts.
  • You have impeccable editing, copy editing skills and a commitment to excellence in this area.
  • You have managed a team and have conducted staff evaluations. 
  • You have a demonstrated commitment to cultural competency.
  • You have a collaborative spirit and are calm under pressure.
  • You can balance building editorial systems and managing a team during an exciting time of organizational growth. 
  • You have a deep-seated commitment to independent, local journalism.
  • You’re proficient in WordPress, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Slack and social scheduling tools.
  • You are detail oriented, super organized and adept at managing multiple projects, people and deadlines simultaneously.
  • You can dream big, execute efficiently, anticipate challenges and look out for opportunities.
  • You enjoy developing reporters and story ideas.
  • You have a solid grasp of headline writing and SEO.

Compensation and benefits:

  • Full-time, exempt role with benefits
  • Salary starting at $85,000
  • $1,000 professional development stipend
  • 10 days paid time off, 10 paid holidays (Memorial Day, Juneteenth, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Eve and Day, Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day)
  • Flexible work schedule — some night/weekend hours will be required
  • Up to $3,000 reimbursement for moving expenses

Application process

To apply, please send the following to hr@mlk50.com by 5 p.m. April 17, 2021.

  • Your resume/CV.
  • A cover letter or statement of interest that responds to the following: 
    • Why are you a good fit for MLK50? 
    • What does journalism at the intersection of poverty, power and policy look like to you? 
    • Tell us about a team or project you managed that you’re really proud of and include specifics about working with direct reports.
  • Send us at least five samples of your best work, at least two of which should be stories you’ve edited and/or projects you’ve coordinated with a summary of your role.

Please be sure to proofread your application for any typos or spelling errors.

We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

If you meet most of the qualifications but not every single one, apply anyway. We’re growing, so if you’re not right for this job, you might be right for the next one.

Applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis, giving an advantage to early applicants.

Please send questions to hr@mlk50.com.