Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications is a leader in education and research. As the media industry experiences unprecedented change, Medill is at the forefront of innovation. Our expert teaching and thought leadership focus on enduring skills and values as well as new techniques and technologies that are changing the way stories are told and consumed in today's digital world. In celebrating our 100th year in 2021, our experience in leading the fields of journalism and IMC is unparalleled.
Medill offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism, and an undergraduate certificate and graduate degree in integrated marketing communications. The Medill community is tight-knit and supportive. It consists of 100 faculty, 50 staff, 1,200 students and 18,000 alumni. The diversity of the Medill community has been a source of innovation, excellence and leadership throughout our history. Today Medill continues its commitment to creating an inclusive environment and to providing equity in opportunities regarding research, teaching, administration and student services. We aim to welcome students, staff and faculty from diverse backgrounds and support them so they may thrive at Medill.
The Director of the Medill Local News Accelerator will be an entrepreneur in local news audience and financial strategy, working directly with Northwestern colleagues and Chicago area news organizations on new pathways to sustain local news. The Director will be responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the accelerator, collaborating with news leaders on projects involving audience market research, financial assessment and strategy, and the creation of new tools for local news organizations to improve consumer engagement, revenue, and sustainability. The Director will be responsible for cultivating relationships internally with Northwestern colleagues and externally with news outlets, organizing meetings, coordinating audience research projects, working with news organizations on strategy and executing on experiments. The Director also will help organize and lead a new Medill media management program that will help educate Chicago area news leaders on best practices in financial strategy. The Director also will oversee an internship program placing Medill students at Illinois nonprofit news organizations.
Pleasenote: This is a grant-funded position with a term end date of 5/31/2025.
Some evening and weekend work may be required.
This position will be on-site at the Chicago campus for a minimum of two days per week, while the remaining time is allowed to worked remotely. This remote working arrangement will be evaluated on a regular basis and may be changed based on business and operational needs.
Accelerator Oversight & Execution
Executes on the major goals and objectives of the Accelerator, chiefly collaborating with Chicago area news organizations on sustainability-related projects, managing a new Media Management Program and overseeing an internship program placing Medill students at Illinois nonprofit outlets.
Works with Medill colleagues and Chicago area news outlets on audience research projects that provide insights on the needs and behaviors of news consumers. The Director will lead online research surveys and focus groups working in conjunction with Medill faculty and news organizations. The Director will analyze the results and utilize them in creating audience and financial strategies for news outlets. The Director also will present these insights in public presentations and articles.
Collaborates with Northwestern experts and news organizations to assess the financial strategies and tactics of outlets in the Accelerator program. The Director will have confidential access to news organizations’ financial data and will review it and make recommendations in areas like revenue growth and income diversification.
Incorporates all of the information gleaned from the research and financial assessments to work with individual news organizations in the Accelerator program on tailored audience and financial strategies. The Director will identify potential opportunities for growth in audience engagement and development of new income streams. The Director will collaborate with these news organizations in developing new short and long-term strategies and tactics, and explore experiments and creation of new tools to assist in these goals.
Works with Medill faculty, the Knight Lab and news outlets to execute on experiments and new tools to improve financial sustainability of Chicago area news organizations.
Develop, launches, and oversees a new, immersive Media Management Program at Medill for the leaders of Chicago area news organizations. This program is designed to give news leaders the background and expertise they need to successfully lead the financial strategies of their organizations. The Director will be responsible for working with Northwestern colleagues to develop a curriculum after researching news organizations’ needs and existing Media Management programs in the U.S. The Director will assemble the team, build a budget, market the program and secure a venue at Northwestern.
Develops and oversees an internship program at Medill placing students at Illinois nonprofit news organizations.
Supervises and manages the Assistant Director of the Accelerator.
Manages and stays within the annual budget for the Local News Accelerator. The Director will work with supervisor to set budget priorities and review spending on a regular basis.
Drafts and submits regular grant reports in conjunction with Medill and Northwestern administration.
Works with Medill faculty and marketing staff to help organize an annual Chicago Local News Summit, sharing learnings and best practices in local news sustainability.
Works with the Medill Local News Initiative director and editor and the school’s marketing staff to publicize the insights from the work of the Accelerator.
Coordinates with the Chicago campus staff on Accelerator-related events and meetings.
Collaborates with colleagues across the school to help advance Medill’s strategic goals and improve the educational experience of our students.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university, preferably in journalism or communications.
At least five years of experience working at a news organization, preferably in a senior or strategic role. (Experience at a Chicago area news outlet is a plus).
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Passion and understanding of the local news industry.
Ability to work collaboratively internally with Northwestern colleagues and externally with the Chicago news community.
Strong communication skills are essential to connect internal university stakeholders and external participants in the Accelerator program.
Organizational skills necessary to develop and draft strategic plans and launch new programs.
Experience leading either editorial, audience or business strategy for a news outlet or journalism organization.
Experience managing and executing projects.
Experience conducting or studying news consumer audience research.
Experience working directly or indirectly with a university.
Experience working with foundations on grant proposals and reports.
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
Knowledge of the business side of news organizations and the industry.
The ability to communicate effectively with both journalists and business leaders at news organizations.
Work-Life and Wellness: Northwestern offers comprehensive programs and services to help you and your family navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. We support flexible work arrangements where possible and programs to help you locate and pay for quality, affordable childcare and senior/adult care. Visit us at https://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/work-life/index.html to learn more.
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