Senior Editor, Short Wave
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Full Time Job
Across our organization, we’re building a workplace where collaboration is essential, diverse voices are heard, and inclusion is the key to our success.
Imagine you’re a small daily podcast on NPR’s Science Desk. You launch in November, 2019, bringing listeners fresh perspectives on all kinds of topics - vaping, space exploration, climate change, invasive species, Ebola, cats – and then, the biggest science story of the century happens. A pandemic was declared and Short Wave’s audience boomed.
We see an appetite among listeners for meaningful, diverse science content – rooted in the belief that science is for everyone. Short Wave is growing and as we write the next chapter, we are looking for a visionary senior editor to lead our show.
This senior editor will work closely with the senior supervising editor. Together, they will coordinate a talented staff of hosts, producers, reporters and fact checkers to make a daily science show that sings–a show where we take science and equity seriously, but not ourselves.
Editing: The editor will edit at least half of the episodes, offering constructive, rigorous, and fair feedback with clarity and kindness, while pushing our staff to grow. We edit Short Wave episodes as a group and value critical thinking. The ideal editor values differing viewpoints and finds a path forward, focusing the team’s energies on the episode at hand and standing in for the listener when our team loses the plot. We value editors that ground their feedback in respect and honesty.
Strategic Vision: This is a huge opportunity for an editor to make a lasting impact on the sound of our show and to grow our audience. Short Wave is approaching our 3rd birthday and is growing as a team. We are looking for someone with vision, to help expand Short Wave’s range of topics and formats. We put a high value on the diversity of lived experiences among our staff. We expect every person on the team to live out Short Wave’s mission of bringing under-represented voices to the show. We are also looking for someone collaborative. NPR has endless opportunities to partner with smart people telling exciting stories around the organization, and potentially outside of it, too.
Leadership: We are posting this job at the senior editor level because we are looking for someone with leadership skills – someone who is equally comfortable overseeing the day-to-day logistics of the show as they are supporting the growth of individual colleagues. That means granting colleagues the benefit of the doubt in a fast-paced situation. The candidate should be able to juggle lots of details, trust the team and have the team trust them - because things change fast and furiously in a daily podcast.
• Help set the editorial agenda of the podcast in collaboration with hosts and other editorial staff. Then empower, motivate and encourage staff to achieve goals, creatively removing obstacles along the way.
• Uphold Short Wave’s mission to bring underrepresented voices in STEM to the show, thinking carefully about whom to book and why.
• Work with the senior supervising editor to approve, sharpen or reject story pitches from staff and freelancers. Like everyone on the team, your supervisor is the senior supervising editor.
• Ensure every episode meets our high standards for audio craft, scientific accuracy, journalistic excellence, tone and substance.
• Re-write stories alongside the host, producer and fact-checker as needed, including restructuring interviews, sharpening narration, stripping out jargon, punching up jokes and trimming episodes for time.
• Guide reporters and producers in deciding what scenes, information and tape to gather. Think ahead about getting that dream tape with just the right question, or by being in just the right place.
• Think BIG. Where should this podcast be? As we move from its infancy to it’s next stage. We’re looking for someone to push the team on all fronts, innovating in craft, format, journalism, narrative, insight, all of it.
• Have a TON of ideas, and get joy from sharing them and working with people to help bring them to life. Know how to pluck news from unexpected sources, or from business or trade press, or the 13th paragraph of a magazine article and turn it into a narrative the general public is eager to hear.
Who should apply? YOU, if:
• You embody the team values of kindness, consideration, inclusivity, diversity and equity.
• You love dissecting complicated science ideas or topics, while always questioning, “Why should I care?” You know how to make a listener feel something.
• You are skeptical, skeptical, skeptical: of science, its process, the cute study, the dramatic study, if your mother says she loves you...you get the gist.
• You can take an idea and sculpt it into a clear structure, thinking arcs and stakes and pacing. And you like leading groups through those conversations.
• You are organized and have patience for taking care of a lot of housekeeping and logistics as well as enjoying the editing.
• You thrive on deadlines! You have experience maintaining high journalistic standards under deadline pressure, including standards of accuracy and completeness.
• You are editing this post right now.
• You want to work in lots of kinds of media – audio, primarily, as well as writing and maybe even video!
EDUCATION: College degree or equivalent work experience in some field of science, science journalism or science communication.
• Demonstrated knowledge and well developed curiosity about science news.
• Ability to talk about complicated or technical topics in a clear, nuanced manner.
• Ability to lead and to delegate: to recognize what needs to be done and communicate what needs to be known.
• 5 years experience explaining complicated topics to audiences, as a journalist, writer, or science communicator
• 5 years experience in a deadline-driven environment
• Expertise in some scientific field
• Broadcast journalism experience
This position is covered under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement with SAG-AFTRA. The minimum annualized salary for this position is $120,000.00.
NPR is an Equal Opportunity Employer. NPR is committed to being an inclusive workplace that welcomes diverse and unique perspectives, all working toward the same goal – to create a more informed public. Qualified applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, age, religion, religious belief, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, lactation, and reproductive health decisions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, transgender status, gender non-conforming status, intersex status, sexual stereotypes, nationality, citizenship status, personal appearance, marital status, family status, family responsibilities, military status, veteran status, mental and physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, genetic characteristics of yourself or a family member, political views and affiliation, unemployment status, protective order status, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or any other basis prohibited under applicable law.