Editor Leadership Development Initiative

New applications are no longer being accepted. Check this page for updates about this initiative.


See guidelines for specific qualifications.


April 30, 2018

Request for Proposals

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) seeks an entity to design and implement a professional development fellowship program for editorial leaders. The two-year program will engage 100 fellows (“Fellows”) in small cohorts with a customized curriculum of onsite and virtual training and activities, supported by ongoing mentoring and coaching, to improve the knowledge and expertise of public media editors (the “Initiative”).

CPB conducted an assessment of editorial leadership capacity in 2017 that identified a need for editors with a broader range of skills than currently exist. Today’s rapidly changing media environment requires editors who know how to work across platforms; hire and retain reporters of differing backgrounds and perspectives; employ data in reporting; manage budgets; develop partnerships; and imbue their newsrooms with a deep knowledge of editorial standards and practices. This Initiative will provide training in these areas and will also create relationships among the Fellows that will better connect public media newsrooms and advance editorial collaboration. According to data collected by CPB, more than 400 of the public media system’s approximately 3000 journalists are in editorial leadership roles. As more stations build newsroom capacity, and initiatives such as the CPB-funded Regional Journalism Collaborations create new editor positions, this Initiative will play an important role in ensuring that our newsrooms can produce the high quality, innovative journalism that underpins an engaged, informed civil society. Stronger editors make for better journalism.

The purposes of the Initiative are:
• To build the leadership skills of accomplished journalists who are promoted into editorial management positions;
• To support institutional evolution and accelerate change in public media newsrooms to better meet the information needs of our communities;
• To increase the number of candidates capable of taking on editorial leadership roles;
• To create mutually supportive cohorts for public media editorial leaders; and,
• To establish ongoing training, coaching, and support.

Please download the Request for Proposals below for detailed information, including application requirements.
PDF icon Request for Proposals408.84 KB

Questions from Potential Respondents, with CPB Answers:

FAQ Topic: 

If the grantee is providing lunch for the group one day, but not dinner, how much should we budget per participant for them to receive for “per diem” for the remainder of their meals (dinner) not provided by the grantee? And same if only dinner is provided, but not lunch.

CPB’s approach is a meal that is part of the project activity should be a separate budget line item. Per diem should be treated as a separate expense for appropriate individuals associated with the project to the extent expenses are agreed to in the final project budget.

Is it acceptable to hyperlink to additional materials in the Technical Proposal?


April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Should the proposal equally stress public radio and public TV?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: We do envision this as a training initiative for public radio as well as television. We realize that public radio has more newsrooms and more journalists. Many stations have great video producers as well as people who are participating in CPB funded collaborations at public TV stations and joint licensees. CPB sees a lot of creative work happening around short video and digital online video that CPB thinks is important. CPB wants to support additional training and skills in those areas.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Should activities be restricted within FY19 and FY20, or can there be a ramp-up and marketing time at the beginning, then 2 years of training/mentoring the 100 participants and cohorts?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: We built in a ramp-up period in our timeline in the RFP. In your proposal, you can certainly put forth a timeline that you think best suits the needs that we’re trying to address.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Have stations expressed concerns that they don’t have the people in these leadership roles they need, or does that analysis come from CPB? In other words, is it driven from below?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: It’s absolutely driven from below. Stations have been very supportive of the Initiative. Anyone who is hiring for a news director, or chief content officer or an editor to lead any kind of collaboration, all we hear is how difficult it is to hire someone who is qualified for these positions. Just looking at the numbers of journalists in public media, about 3,000 across the system, we estimate there are several hundred who are in editorial leadership roles. CPB believes there is a good number of potential candidates in that pool, plus those who are not currently in these types of positions who aspire to be editorial leaders.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Should potential coaches, mentors, and outside evaluators be identified by name in the grant proposal?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: Yes. As referenced in the RFP, Applicants must identify the evaluator and CPB needs to approve the evaluator before we will get into the grant contracting phase. Potential coaches and mentors should also be identified as part of the Applicant’s team. The cost proposal will need to include rates and number of hours for all personnel.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Given the unique environment of the public media workplace, what guidance might be provided to help create successful candidates specifically attractive to public media?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: There will be some self-sorting for people who want to work in public media. The organization executing this Initiative is also responsible for finding out how to locate the right applicants for the Initiative.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Are you bringing people into the program who aren’t a part of public media? If so, how do you see that working with recruitment and who pays for those candidates to attend?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: We are looking to bring people into the Initiative who aren’t a part of the public media world. We recognize that all the people we may need may not be in the public media sector. If there are people outside public media who aspire to work in public media, they should apply.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Are you looking for any journalism training?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: Yes, we are in terms of multi-platform editing which came out of our assessment. If you’re primarily an editor of audio, it will be great to have some basic training of video or digital editing. We’d also like to reinforce training around ethics and standards as it is critical to the success of public media, even if it’s a refresher course for some people. I would refer you to the section of the RFP where we outline areas of focus for training.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Please talk more about the budget expectations — and the potential range of CPB’s investment.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: This is a competitive solicitation thus we are not disclosing the amount budgeted for this project by CPB. We understand that we are asking for a scope of work that includes a variety of elements. As such, cost will not be the sole factor that we consider in the review of applications, but it does make up 30% of our evaluation criteria. You are expected to create a budget that you believe produces the best results at the most appropriate cost.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Can you elaborate on the ideal attendee? I ask because the range of needs don’t always intersect—a team leader needing better raw editing skills may not have an interest in managing collaborations, budgets, etc. They may simply want to make reporters better.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: We’re looking for a combination of editing skills and managerial skills. If someone is looking for additional training in honing editorial skills, they can likely find that in various places around the country. What we’ve seen less of, is this very specific combination of editorial and managerial skills available on a wide-scale in public media. The ideal candidate would have a good grasp of editorial skills but not as much experience with management. Ideally, someone who has worked in a newsroom, had some reporting experience but is looking to take on a leadership role and would like that jump-start to their career in public media.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Can you talk about the timeline for the Initiative — does CPB expect everything to take place within a two-year timeframe, or can it span a longer time period to encompass robust training for all the cohorts?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: We’ve imagined this project in a 2-year timeframe, that is the basis we are starting from. We’ll have to determine if the project is a success and cost-effective, and if there is a need for additional training.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: How do you see “editorial leadership” differing from other types of leadership?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: It will be a combination of journalism knowledge as well as managerial skills which we identified as a gap in the public media system.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Do you expect to see in the budget in-kind contributions?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: We expect that CPB will be the primary funder if not the sole-funder of this Initiative. CPB won’t turn away in-kind contributions should applicants be able to make those but it’s not something required for this application. We do not expect to see grantee “in-kind” contributions on this project. Salaries are reimbursable as a project expense.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: Do you allow overhead costs directly related to the project?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: Organizations that have a federal rate for indirect or overhead are free to use it. Alternatively, CPB has a policy that usually applies to grants, but that can be used for this project as well. It identifies a long list of types of expenses that can be included in the calculation of an overhead rate. You can follow the CPB policy if you don’t have a federal rate or in lieu of the federal rate.

April 16, 2018 Webinar Question: How much involvement will CPB have in identifying possible candidates to participate in the Editor Leadership Development Initiative? How much input will member stations have?

April 16, 2018 Webinar Answer: We have heard from a lot of people about the need for editors and editorial training in public media. As stated in the RFP, it is up to the organization running the Initiative to solicit applications and get the word out on the Initiative, as well as encourage people to apply for it.

If an applicant submits a proposal that explicitly involves one or more third party partners, will you confirm that CPB’s competitive bidding rules will not apply to the participation of such partner(s)?

CPB’s competitive bidding rules would not apply. If the third party is truly a “partner,” that party would ordinarily be a party to CPB’s grant agreement and CPB would not expect the applicant to have undertaken any competitive process with respect to that third party. If the third party is not a party to CPB’s grant agreement, CPB would regard that party as the grant equivalent of a subcontractor, and CPB expects grantees to follow their own procurement processes in connection with those third-party services.

Will CPB treat the application as the intellectual property of applicants?

Yes, submission of a proposal does not transfer ownership of any intellectual property to CPB. However, the terms of CPB RFP’s provide that the submission of a proposal grants a license to CPB to copy the proposal materials in order to facilitate CPB’s review and consideration of RFP responses. The RFP also provides that CPB is indemnified against any infringement claims by the party submitting the proposal. CPB is not required to return any submitted proposal materials to any party.

If an applicant raises funds from other sources or commits its own funds, does the existence or amount of non-CPB funding reduce CPB’s intellectual property interest in the resulting research and materials created, developed, or produced pursuant to or as a result of this project? With respect to any CPB intellectual property interest in the funded research and materials, will the applicant and/or its third-party partner(s) retain all rights in any pre-existing materials or materials created, developed, compiled, or produced outside of this project?

A grantee’s use of its own funds in connection with a project does not ordinarily reduce or affect CPB’s intellectual property rights in a project funded by CPB. With respect to pre-existing materials developed outside a funded project, CPB ordinarily requires the grantee to represent that it has a license to use such materials in the funded project and that any other party’s rights in such pre-existing materials will not conflict with CPB’s rights under the CPB grant agreement.

CPB’s online submission form for this RFP includes a field for “Revenue Raised.” Is it CPB’s expectation that applicants will raise funds from other sources? Or that applicants will identify additional revenues to allocate to the initiative, beyond CPB’s commitment?

CPB expects to be a 100% funder of the Initiative.

What range or level of administrative (or G&A) fee will CPB allow in project budgets? For example, is a 15% fee allowable, with substantiation for how it is calculated and what it covers?

CPB does not have any particular limitations on the amount of administrative expenses permitted under CPB grants. CPB grantees may use their federal rates or follow the methodology set out in CPB’s Indirect Rate Policy (https://www.cpb.org/sites/default/files/Indirect-Cost-Guidelines-3-20-2014-revisions.pdf). As suggested, a 15% fee would be allowable if substantiated in accordance with CPB’s Guidelines for Indirect Costs.

It would be helpful to understand what range or level of funding CPB is planning to commit to this initiative – what amount/s have you allocated for the initiative in your FY18-FY19-FY20 business plans?

Since this is a competitive solicitation, we are not disclosing the amount we have budgeted for the project.

Does the assessment tool need to be developed prior to the proposal submission?

Yes, the Assessment Tool should be a part of the proposal. CPB expects the Assessment Tool will be refined as the Initiative is implemented.

Will CPB share the underlying assessment and data report that helped to inform the RFP/initiative? That information would be useful in shaping the curriculum design and training formats.

CPB would like to get original thinking for the Initiative. Further, much of what was in the underlying assessment is in the RFP.

In this bullet from CPB’s RFP (in the Program Design, Training section on page 2) “- editorial integrity and best practices”: is “best practices” referring to all editorial best practices OR best practices for media ethics?

All editorial best practices.

The RFP calls for the training curriculum to cover “multiplatform editing.” Are we to assume this includes audio, digital, photo, video, and social media platforms? Is there weight or priority given to any of these specific skills? In particular, is there an emphasis on video, or television skills?

The Initiative training is intended for all platforms and media, including audio, television, digital, photo, video, and social media platforms.

Given the greater number of functioning newsrooms in public radio stations, can we assume that training editorial leaders in television skills will not be a high priority?

The Initiative training is intended for all platforms, including television.

Is the training intended to develop editorial leadership in both public radio and public television newsrooms?

Yes, the Initiative is intended to develop editorial leadership in public radio and public television stations.

If a media organization/s is selected to conduct the training, can journalists from that organization apply to participate in the training or do applicants have to come from elsewhere?

Yes, journalists from the successful Applicant’s organization can apply to participate in the training.

Will CPB identify and provide contact information for the applicant pool, or will the selected vendor be responsible for developing the target audience?

As noted in the RFP, the successful Applicant will design and develop the application and selection process for the Fellows, including a list of criteria for selection. CPB will be part of the selection process.

Is there a preference for training existing journalistic talent in public media – and should they already be in (or entering) editorial leadership positions – or a preference for attracting and developing new talent?

The Initiative is intended to build the leadership skills of accomplished journalists and to attract and develop new talent. However, CPB’s preference will be for existing talent in public media.

Does CPB envision that applicants for the training may come from both public media and journalism organizations outside of public media?

CPB expects that applicants for the training will come from both public media and journalism organizations outside of public media. CPB envisions the Initiative will attract applicants who want to work in public media journalism.

What time is the April 16 webinar?

Currently the webinar is scheduled for April 16 at 1:30 ET.

One of our development writers is working on the CPB proposal with me and the project team. Should she have separate access to your grants management system or can she use my logon and password?

There is only one logon and password per organization and/or company.