IRIN News is hiring an experienced editor to lead our investigative coverage.
Start-date: Oct./Nov. 2018
Location: Remote (with availability during standard CET business hours)
Application deadline: 21 Sept.
As the only media organization dedicated solely to reporting on humanitarian crises and the multi-billion-dollar industry that responds to them, we cover the institutions, policies, and practices that shape lives around the world. Our journalists report on how conflict — from Congo to Syria — upends communities and how natural disasters and epidemics, climate change, and political and economic unrest disrupt livelihoods and families. Our work informs policymakers and decisionmakers in government, NGOs, the UN and other international organizations; aid workers in the field; scholars and journalists; and, through re-publication by mainstream media, a globally concerned general audience.
Put simply, the humanitarian sector requires the same scrutiny journalists routinely give to politics, finance, and other multi-billion-dollar businesses. The humanitarian industry has few watchdogs yet touches more and more people; the number of people in need of emergency life-saving aid has more than doubled over the last decade, to 128 million.
We seek a mentor and expert practitioner to guide our small editorial team and wide correspondent network in producing agenda-setting, exclusive investigations reports. The investigations editor will help us imagine and execute reports that increase transparency in the sector and accountability to those it serves.
We need to acknowledge when politics skews budgets, when aid workers negotiate with tyrants, or when good intentions pave the road to hell. We seek to provide early warnings, on-the-ground assessments of the most visible and the most overlooked crises, and analyses of what went wrong and what can make it right.
The investigative editor will join a young organization with a rich legacy. After 19 years as part of the United Nations, IRIN spun off in 2015 to become an independent non-profit newsroom, headquartered in Geneva — a hub for humanitarian policymakers and decisionmakers.
Our investigative work has explored ties between a CIA-linked firm and a sensitive UN agency; pointed to alleged fraud in a UN refugee resettlement program in Sudan; and uncovered a major corruption and governance scandal at a key international NGO. Our enterprise work has included embeds with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic and with a separatist militia in Cameroon; scrutiny of EU migration policies from the African side of the Mediterranean; and close looks at countering militancy in the Sahel and the challenges faced by civilians in ‘post-conflict’ Iraq.
We seek an editor with the experience and passion to bring our investigative reporting to the next level, and the media industry networks and knowledge to increase its visibility and resonance. That editor will come to us with deep experience producing impactful, multiplatform journalism using both cutting-edge tools and traditional tried-and-true reporting and editing skills. Experience with data-driven journalism and data visualization as well as social and community reporting techniques are musts. Combined with our team’s knowledge of humanitarian policy, practice, and trends, these skills will help us produce even more impactful journalism about lives upended by humanitarian crises around the world.
This is a full-time position reporting to the Geneva-based executive editor. Like much of our decentralized newsroom, the investigations editor can be based anywhere in the world, with occasional trips to Geneva. Media hubs like London, New York, Johannesburg, and Hong Kong have obvious benefits, but availability during standard CET business hours is most important. Salary commensurate with experience.
IRIN News is a donor-supported non-profit newsroom, funded by a mix of foundations and governments.
- In collaboration with the executive and managing editors, develop a strategy for investigative coverage and devise and coordinate a project and publication schedule
- Work with the IRIN editorial team to identify, assign, and execute investigative projects; oversee reporting, editing, presentation, and promotion
- Identify, commission, edit, and supervise freelance contributors, working closely with the in-house editorial team and frequent contributors
- Work with the web producer and audience engagement manager to devise strategies to build audience and engagement via Facebook groups, SEO, livestreams, public events etc.
- Serve as a team-wide evangelist on the latest techniques and tools for investigative reporting
- Recruit and supervise a data researcher to support investigative work
- Pursue co-production, co-publication, and syndication opportunities and partnerships with media and other organizations
- Seek industry exposure for IRIN’s investigative work, including conferences, awards, and other showcases.
- In collaboration with the management team, identify and pursue funding opportunities for production, training, and travel linked to investigative work
- Manage the travel and commissioning budgets for investigative reports
- Additional editorial and planning tasks as requested by the executive and managing editors, including contributions to newsletters, assembling collections of curated coverage, multimedia projects and participation in livestream and other events
Qualifications & Competencies
- At least 10 years as an editor with a global news organization; including at least three years in an investigative unit
- Proven record of conceiving and executing impactful investigative projects
- Great team player and team builder; experience and ease in working with reporters, multimedia producers, web developers, data scientists, researchers and others to produce immersive multi-media packages
- Experience producing coverage for a geographically diverse audience
- Excellent text editing and storytelling skills
- Equal enthusiasm for generating big-picture ideas and performing hands-on detail work; eagerness to fully own a story from beginning to end
- Proven interest in international coverage, particularly in the fields of humanitarian action, development, and conflict and post-conflict environments
- In-depth experience and practice of investigative reporting techniques, including knowledge of legal risks, FOI, and digital security
- In-depth knowledge of the international media landscape and organizations that support and practice investigative reporting
- Network of freelance correspondents, data analysts, developers, and designers
- Entrepreneurial, hands-on, problem-solving spirit; ability to adapt to changing needs within a small team and be a master-of-all
- Ability to work remotely on your own as part of a multinational, geographically dispersed team
- Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines, handle multiple projects, and prioritize urgent tasks
- Excellent news judgement and awareness
- Excellent written and spoken English
- Hands-on experience in one or more of the following: photojournalism and photo editing, data visualisation, data mining; video production and editing; multimedia production; scripting/coding and/or GIS
- Proficiency in Arabic, French, or Spanish
- Familiarity with data reporting and visualization tools, such as Tableau, Open Refine, QGIS, ImageMagick
- Skills in database/spreadsheet manipulation (e.g. Excel)
- Facility with using site and audience metrics to inform presentation and delivery
- Facility with SEO and social content
- Experience writing grant proposals and crowdfunding for investigative and other projects
- Experience working internationally, preferably outside Europe and North America
- Familiarity with the humanitarian sector
- Experience working collaboratively with data, research and other organizations
How to apply
Please send your CV to [email protected] (subject line: Investigations Editor), along with:
- A cover letter outlining why this opportunity excites you, how your experience has prepared you for the role, and how this role fits your career trajectory
- Four examples of investigative coverage you have led, plus brief explanations of your role in the reporting/editing/presentation and how you carried out the projects. At least two examples should be investigative pieces. Pieces on subjects related to our coverage areas are preferred.
- A brief pitch for an investigative story you would like to see IRIN News cover. Please explain how this reporting would serve our audience, how it fits into our portfolio of humanitarian coverage, and its timeliness or urgency. Please explain how you would go about reporting and presenting the stories (i.e., please include notes on multimedia, data visualization etc).
IRIN News is a non-profit newsroom focusing on humanitarian news and analysis. Founded in 1995 in response to the information gap exposed by the Rwandan genocide, it was hosted and funded for 19 years by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as an internal information agency. An independent newsroom since 2015, our on-the-ground reporters highlight overlooked crises around the world, amplifying the voices of some the world’s most vulnerable people and critically examining the multi-billion-dollar aid industry. Our work shapes the global humanitarian narrative, affects humanitarian policy and prompts on-the-ground action.
We are a go-to source for decision makers in the humanitarian aid sector, including in the UN, NGOs, and governments. Some 180,000 people visit IRIN’s website every month; 36,000 subscribe to our newsletter; and up to 70 million people access our work through social media every month.
A 2018 reader survey found that IRIN’s journalism stimulates research and advocacy; informs the operational priorities of aid agencies; influences decisions to fund aid programs; leads practitioners to push for policy changes; and prompts journalists from other media to pursue stories often neglected by mainstream media.
Our work is regularly cited and reproduced in local and international media outlets, including the BBC and The New York Times.
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Our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation triggered this probe, demonstrating the impact our journalism can have.
But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking.
We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.
The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and do more of this.