Program Officer (Opening Journalism), Program on Independent Journalism

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Nov 16

Position description

Program Officer (Opening Journalism), Program on Independent Journalism, Program on Independent Journalism, London, Deadline: 11/30/2018

The Open Society Foundations Program on Independent Journalism supports creative, talented, and open-minded groups and networks of journalists or media organizations producing verifiable, trustworthy information on any platform, especially in places where such content is not only scarce but also difficult to produce.

We are interested in the development of new ideas taking advantage of the digital revolution in the production of news. We support investigative journalism in its quest for more transparency in our societies, accountable powers and better democracies. We wish to secure a free and safe environment, focusing on activities that protect journalists, citizens practicing journalism and sources or information from physical and legal harassment. We aim to improve global and regional connections, facilitate knowledge circulation, exchange ideas and learn from various contexts. We work in a participatory and creative team culture.

Job profile

The Program on Independent Journalism seeks to hire a Program Officer to do programmatic work, with considerable autonomy, as part of a team that develops the "Opening Journalism" portfolio in its quest to build a better-informed society, particularly where independent, transparent information is scant.

This Program Officer is the pivotal programmatic role at OSF. This person will be responsible for making grants to national, regional and global organizations (digital media outlets, networks, conferences and other learning spaces and/or types of enterprises advancing this field), following the program's and the Opening Journalism portfolio's strategy. The Program Officer monitors changes and new developments in the broad journalism field, particularly new challenges arising from digital disruption, through study and attendance of relevant events, scoping trips, and the building of collaborative relationships with protagonists and with other OSF staff. The Program Officer also participates in the development of the overall strategy of the portfolio and of the program.

  • Be responsible for a set of grant-making activities within the Opening Journalism portfolio of the program. Operates with considerable autonomy and makes decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget reflective of own field experience/expertise. /declining grants within an approved budget reflective of own field experience/expertise. This involves researching and assessing funding proposals, analyzing governing structures and financial statements of applying organizations, and ensuring due administrative, financial and legal processes are observed while making the grants.
  • Collaborate effectively with program and/or administrative staff in support of grant-making or other program activities.
  • Alert to tools and practices used in the journalism field and follow innovation trends, by scoping the field, talking to experts, travelling, reading specialized material and journalistic stories, and participating in relevant events on the subject.
  • Utilize other appropriate tools and/or participate in other activities that the program undertakes in strengthening journalistic organizations and networks. Of particular importance is consistent monitoring of each grantee's development (audience engagement, economic independence and story-telling diversity).
  • Build collaborative relationships with experts, philanthropic and partner organisations, academia, among others, in order to advance media's capacity to solve problems and adapt to the many emerging challenges of a field in constant disruption.
  • Participate in the program's meetings, retreats and workshops and contribute with ideas and suggestions on how to advance and improve the program strategy and budget.
  • Liaise and work with colleagues across Open Society Foundations to advance its general mission. This may include advancing projects jointly, making complex decisions that involve political and cultural differences and navigating tensions between diverse goals.
  • Guides the work of program and/or administrative staff in support of grant-making or other program activities

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have:

  • 7-10 years of relevant work experience in funding journalism and/or the journalistic profession. It would be desirable, but not indispensable, that part of this work experience is directly related to independent digital media;
  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study close to journalism or equivalent expertise acquired through practicing journalism;
  • Good understanding of and a vision for how journalism impacts on societies, and is familiar with the developments in the field, particularly the challenges and opportunities facing digital journalism;
  • Experience in advancing strategies for the expansion of the journalism field, including planning and implementing modifications in response to an evolving situation;
  • Familiarity with innovative digital media outlets in the world and with the diverse models they have developed;
  • Experience in analyzing at least one journalism initiative, including coherence of the goals, activities, budgets and financial statements, and based on this, make informed decisions;
  • An ability to prioritize multiple tasks and work under tight deadlines while not sacrificing attention to detail;
  • An ability to work well with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds;
  • Very good command of English and good command of at least one other language;
  • Willingness to travel extensively;

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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