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Date Submitted: January 1, 2024
Job Title: News Director
Station: Aspen Public Radio
Location: Aspen, CO
Deadline to Apply: 2/29/24
Salary Range: $84,000

Job Description:

NEWS DIRECTOR

The Aspen Public Radio News Director is the leader and chief editor of Aspen Public Radio’s newsroom, overseeing news staff and output of news on all platforms. Coverage areas include local governments, arts & culture, education, climate and the environment, public lands, the resort economy, affordable housing, equity and the wealth gap, immigration, and so much more.

We seek a sharp, curious, hard-working, team-oriented person who is excited by new media ideas and the power of radio, ready to lead the growth of an evolving organization.

See below for more information about Aspen Public Radio’s history and current news strategy.

Primary Functions

News Strategy: Sets strategic priorities and goals for the local news operation to serve the public, including topics and beats, distribution platform, and geographic coverage priorities. Ensures all Aspen Public Radio news content is accurate, engaging, ethical, and produced with the highest standards of professional journalism.

Editor: Assigns and edits reporters on a daily basis, overseeing the quality of news content from features and series to spots and breaking news; works with this team of broadcast journalists to develop coverage plans; serves as the final say over what story ideas should be pursued.

Management: Possesses strong leadership skills, including the ability to lead an effective team by teaching, training, and developing the skills of newsroom journalists, as well as executing the vision for the news department. The news director will effectively communicate, be an active listener who can readily adapt to and champion change, with a commitment to cultivate and advance diversity and inclusion, develop and manage collaborative partnerships, set goals, hold team members responsible, and achieve data-driven results.

Community Engagement: Works with station leadership on developing and executing regular, meaningful, and engaging ways to hear from our listeners and others throughout our listening area about issues of concern; demonstrates curiosity about the diverse communities of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys and has a willingness to pursue stories that elevate community voices; leads live broadcasts, coverage of breaking news events, participates in emergency preparedness efforts, and works on the production of community events such as town hall meetings, debates, community forums, listening sessions, etc. 

Duties

  • Coach and mentor an award-winning team of broadcast journalists, encouraging professional development
  • Switch seamlessly between editing radio and web copy on a daily basis, ensuring that advice is consistent among reporters while maintaining standards of ethics as well as journalistic and technical quality
  • Provide constructive, clear edits with “writing for the ear” top of mind for radio stories; prioritize live reads and conversational tone for radio copy and give feedback on all stories in a timely fashion before broadcast or digital publication
  • Create, maintain and execute coverage plans for developing and breaking news
  • Take initiative and demonstrate leadership on special reporting series and projects from idea to execution with a collaborative vision
  • Develop and oversee the editorial focus of the newsroom in collaboration with the news team, demonstrating respect and curiosity for the diverse story opportunities of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys
  • Participate in rotating production shifts, including evenings and weekends
  • Develop (with station leadership) and oversee the execution of a content distribution strategy to include broadcast, digital, podcast, and social media, addressing local, regional, and national audiences
  • Support the news team as they regularly pitch and execute stories for regional and national reach; cultivate relationships with relevant editors and producers
  • Strategize with partners such as the Mountain West News Bureau, KUNC’s Water Desk, Rocky Mountain Community Radio, and Aspen Journalism to pursue collaborative projects and stories with a wider reach
  • Attend major station events, regularly participate in on-air membership drives, and support grant writing/reporting as needed
  • Represent the news team at board meetings and author presentations, as needed
  • Serve as a substitute anchor on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as needed
  • Manage freelancers and interns, as needed
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications

  • At least two years of team management and editorial experience
  • At least two years of audio news production and reporting
  • Leadership, management, training and collaboration skills
  • Strong news gathering skills and in-depth knowledge of journalism ethics and practices
  • Strong time management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds and commitment to advancing equity and inclusion

Preferred Qualifications

  • Deep understanding of the purpose and mission of public broadcasting
  • On-air radio experience, preferably in public media
  • Spanish language skills
  • Knowledge of Colorado’s Western Slope and issues in the Mountain West
  • Content collaboration experience
  • Understanding of and use of metrics in decision-making

Station Description
Aspen Public Radio, founded in 1981, has been serving Aspen and the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys on the Western Slope of Colorado for the last forty years. Today the broadcast is a 24/7 news and information service, and a proud NPR member station, with programming from American Public Media, PRX, and WNYC bringing daily in-depth coverage and analysis of national and global issues to our remarkable community.

Approximately 18,000 listeners tune in on the radio each week, in addition to those who enjoy the station through its online live stream, staying connected to Aspen from wherever they are in the world. The station’s presentation of national and international news and analysis is complemented by an award-winning team of four local broadcast journalists, who bring live local news to the airwaves from 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. every weekday. The team is fully cross-trained to report, produce, edit, and anchor, and in the last eight months, every reporter has filed stories nationally with NPR Newscasts, Morning Edition, Here & Now, or All Things Considered — sharing pressing issues and uplifting experiences from our community with a national audience. You can read more about the team here.

Community partnerships are an important part of Aspen Public Radio’s service as well, allowing for the station to feature live broadcasts from iconic events such as the World Cup alpine ski races, Food & Wine Classic, Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, Aspen Security Forum, and more, alongside growing a digital collection of community content captured at public programs throughout the region. Producing community events is also an important way the station contributes to the vibrant culture of Aspen, Colorado.

Local and regional collaborations with peer media organizations have also strengthened the quality of our news service, broadcasting content from the Rocky Mountain Community Radio network, Mountain West News Bureau, and others. Aspen Public Radio is also a founding member of the Spanish News Collaboration, a dynamic, grant-funded local news coalition working to improve the consistency and accessibility of local news and information in Spanish. You can read more about our bilingual efforts here.

To Apply
Please send a cover letter, resume, three examples of your audio work along with several examples of work which demonstrates your editing ability, and three references to jobs@aspenpublicradio.org with “News Director” in the subject line. No phone calls, please.

This is a full-time salaried office position, reporting to the Executive Director, requiring availability for weekend, daytime, and evening reporting/supervising/events responsibilities.

Full-year residence within the broadcast footprint of Aspen Public Radio is required. A criminal history background check will be required for finalists under consideration for this position. If hired, you will be required to complete the federal Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 form.

The position is based at our Aspen, CO studios, with a salary of $84,000 annually. Aspen Public Radio offers full-time staff a variety of benefits, including 100% employer-paid health, vision, and dental insurance for the employee, 403(b) match after the first year of employment, access to life/disability/pet insurance, and generous paid vacation time along with annual volunteer time off (VTO) days for community involvement. Ski pass and RFTA Rapid Bus Transit seasonal pass financing available, and access to shared staff passes to world-class local events such as the Aspen Ideas Festival and Aspen Security Forum, Aspen Film festivals, Aspen Words literary events, the annual Food & Wine Classic, Aspen Music Festival and School summer and winter performances, and more. Relocation support available.

Position will remain open until filled.

 

Send required application materials to: jobs@aspenpublicradio.org
Address application materials to: Breeze Richardson