Blue Ridge Public Radio
Position: News Director
Date: January 2023
Blue Ridge Public Radio is an independent, nonprofit news and media organization producing award-winning journalism, podcasts and events in service to 650,000 people across 14 Appalachian counties in Western North Carolina. We create journalism that informs, inspires, connects, and reflects the people and places of Western North Carolina.
BPR is an anchor of, and an established collaborator in, the Western North Carolina news ecosystem and is the largest NPR affiliate in the region.
We believe that local journalism is critical for expanding and sustaining a civil society and we seek to be the essential, independent source of news and cultural content that gives Western North Carolinians a deeper understanding of one another and the world.
Our newly renovated, state-of-the-art studios are in downtown Asheville, a city in the heart of the beautiful Appalachian and Smoky Mountains. Regularly included as one of the most desirable places to live in the country, Asheville offers a vibrant local food scene, incredibly diverse live-music landscape, and endless outdoor recreation.
We are seeking a collaborative, journalism leader to join our team as News Director. You’ll lead a team of hosts, reporters, freelancers and interns to leverage audience centric tactics to develop local, accountability journalism that responds to community information needs with context, nuance and people-centered storytelling. You’ll support inclusive engagement and solutions journalism practices and continue to build partnerships with media organizations across the state.
The News Director supervises approximately four full-time news positions, is a member of the Senior Leadership Team, and reports to BPR’s CEO and General Manager.
The qualifications below are an example of skills that are key to this position. We welcome the opportunity to learn about other skills and experience levels that would make this a mutual fit. We are open to providing radio host and audio training to candidates who bring strong journalism management skills from another medium.
We’re looking for candidates with:
• Five (5) or more years of editorial leadership experience, with at least three (3) years in news management or applicable expertise.
• Three (3) or more years of practice in digital journalism that targets audience with targeted content.
• Three (3) or more years demonstrated experience editing short and long-form stories on radio and digital platforms from beats covering politics and science, to education and the arts.
• Demonstrated news judgement, ethics and creative approaches to storytelling.
• Proven excellence in interpersonal communication skills.
• Excellent leadership, communication, and organizational skills.
• Experience with and commitment to the work of diversity, equity and inclusion in content, staff and community partnerships.
• Critical thinking skills that support thought leadership.
• Experience in and passionate about coaching and mentoring others.
• Capacity to balance day-to-day coverage demands, with longer-term planning and strategy.
• On-air experience or a willingness to learn.
• An ability to thrive in a deadline-driven environment where attention to detail and accuracy is key.
• Professionalism: punctual, reliable, and willing to occasionally work weekend and evening hours.
In this role, you will:
• Lead (40%)
o Set strategic priorities and performance goals aligned to targeting audience with targeted content on multiple platforms.
o Implement the strategic plan for news content.
o Serve as the primary keeper and champion of BPR’s editorial integrity and independence standards.
o Serve as primary news editor, with responsibility for ensuring all news content is accurate, ethical, engaging, and aligned to the NPR Code Ethics for Journalists.
• Manage (20%)
o Structure department to meet news and information needs of the audience.
o Manage news department staff of approximately four as well as contributors, including providing feedback and annual performance reviews.
o Recruit and hire news positions and make budgeting recommendations to supervisor on personnel decisions.
o Work with supervisor to create news budget and manage it throughout the year.
• Plan and implement coverage (25%)
o Set BPR’s news agenda; plan daily and long-range news coverage (including crises and breaking news situations) on all platforms and oversee BPR’s local news projects.
o Report as needed.
• Coordinate engagement in the community and lead collaboration in news (15%)
o Works with relevant staff to create opportunities to solicit feedback and reflect community input on news coverage priorities.
o Works with relevant staff to identify and build news-related partnerships and collaborations with other media and/or with community organizations.
o Oversee and/or directly manages BPR's participation in such collaborations.
o Collaborates with NPR and other national outlets on news coverage as appropriate.
What we’ll provide:
• Investment in your professional growth through coaching, training and professional development.
• A design-thinking, collaborative environment where risk, innovation and growth is fostered.
• A commitment to continue and build our diversity, equity and inclusion work in content, staffing, board representation, and community partnerships.
• State of the art broadcast facility completely remodeled in 2020.
Location: This is a site-based position working out of the BPR studios in downtown Asheville, NC.
Compensation and benefits:
Salary range is $80,000-$95,000 per year based on experience. In addition to salary and Worker’s Compensation Insurance, BPR offers a compensation package that includes the following benefits:
• Employer Paid Health Insurance (BPR pays 80%, 20% pre-tax employee contribution)
• Vision and Dental coverage (BPR pays 80%, 20% pre-tax employee contribution)
• 403(b) Retirement Plan Match up to 5% after 90 days
• Smart/Mobile Phone Stipend
• Short-Term Disability
• Long-Term Disability
• Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
• 12 days Paid Vacation in Year One, 17 days in Years 2-5 and 20 days for Years 6+
• 10 days of Sick Leave per year
• 11 Paid Holidays per year
This job posting is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change or new ones may be assigned at any time with or without notice.
How to apply:
To apply for the Blue Ridge Public Radio News Director position, please fill out an application here!
Equal Employment Opportunity: Blue Ridge Public Radio is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any kind. All employment decisions at Blue Ridge Public Radio are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion or belief, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, family or parental status, national origin, age, disability, military or veteran status, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Blue Ridge Public Radio is actively working to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at all levels of its operations – internally and externally - and is committed to equitable policies and practices. We strongly encourage members of traditionally under-served and under-represented communities to apply to our open positions.
Please apply here!