The senior editor for news/audience at The News & Observer will ensure that all of our journalism and all of our journalists are laser-focused on serving and growing our digital audience.
This editor will report to the executive editor and will supervise six teams of reporters, each of which is lead by an editor: Real Time, Sports, State Accountability; Metro; Growth; and Culture.
This is a senior editorial leadership position, and it will require a unique combination of talents. The ideal senior editor for news/audience will have the story-identifying and story-writing skills of a great writer or editor; the reader-engagement skills of a strong social media editor; the statistical knowledge of an analytics expert; and the coaching skills of a great leader. This editor will have the authority to use those talents to shape our journalism from story conception to approach to distribution and promotion in order to maximize its reach and impact.
The senior editor for news/audience will guide reporters, videographers and editors throughout the editorial process, using a deep understanding of analytics and reader behavior to help determine whether there is an audience for an initial story idea; whether it is possible to broaden that audience and how; what form of storytelling -- text, video, slideshow, podcast, etc. -- would be most likely to succeed in reaching the target audience; how the piece itself should be shaped to speak successfully to that audience; how the headline and social media share text should be written; what keywords will maximize search; what distribution platforms to use; whether and how to tweak posted content to maximize readership; and whether and how to “move the story forward” after that.
Initially, this editor will need to do much of this work in a direct and hands-on way. At the same time, the editor will be teaching reporters and editors to think and work in an audience-centered way themselves. In the course of this work, this editor will ensure that his or her colleagues understand not just the methods being used but the purpose behind them so that the focus on digital audience becomes intuitive for them as well.
The ability to lead, direct, collaborate with and coach colleagues throughout the newsroom.
Strong editing and/or writing skills and excellent news judgment.
An interest in the science of readership and engagement, and a zeal for understanding and using readership data to inform the editorial process.
An interest in telling stories using a variety of media, and an enthusiasm for learning new skills and technologies.
Strong interpersonal skills, including empathy (toward readers and staff) and a superior ear for tone.
Comfort with a job that will be demanding, fast-paced, constantly evolving, and more outcome-oriented than task-oriented.
The senior editor for news/audience is a new role. It is neither a technical job nor a support job; it is a job focused squarely on the journalism we produce. The audience editor will neither provide technical support nor do the work that reporters, editors and others should be doing for themselves.
A deep understanding of both the art and the science of audience engagement, ideally including:
Fluency with analytics and how to apply them.
A way with headlines and an understanding of what works well on different platforms.
Good working knowledge of SEO practices.
A proven record of driving readership through Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
Experience promoting content through major aggregators (Drudge, Bleacher Report, Real Clear Politics, Fark, Yahoo, etc).
An understanding of the psychology of online readers generally, and of the motivations and interests of a broad range of potential audiences. The ability to empathize with readers who will encounter our work under a range of different circumstances.
Skill and versatility as an editor and a writer, including the ability to shape everything from breaking news briefs to longform magazine-style pieces in a way that best serves and engages the broadest possible audience.
Excellent news judgment, and a demonstrated ability to “see the story” that is going to matter to readers and to anticipate reader interests before they exist.
Excellent journalism ethics.
The proven ability to lead, inspire, and convey knowledge to others, and to work effectively with a wide range of colleagues in managing change.
An interest in and aptitude for storytelling using a broad range of media, including the written word, video, photography, podcasts and other audio, and whatever comes next.
The ability to solve problems, innovate and adapt in service of the primary goal, which is to produce journalism that reaches and influences an audience of significant size.
Comfort with a job description that is more outcome-oriented than task-oriented. The audience editor will do what needs to be done to shape stories and other content readers want.