Wanted: News414 Project Manager to lead innovative news-by-text project in underserved Milwaukee neighborhoods

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News414 is hiring a project manager to lead a public service journalism project that seeks to build connections to underserved Milwaukee neighborhoods, address residents’ most pressing needs and provide them with interactive text messages delivered to their phones.

The project is a collaborative effort of three nonprofit and nonpartisan news organizations — the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS) and Outlier Media. It is supported by the Google News Initiative. 

The newsrooms are joining forces to deliver news to residents of 18 Milwaukee neighborhoods that are underserved by traditional media. Using innovative technology and research techniques, the collaboration will build direct connections between newsrooms and neighborhood residents, investigate the neighborhoods’ most pressing issues and deliver accountability journalism to the residents and the broader public. 

News414 seeks to equip residents with the information they need to better navigate existing systems and to advocate for a better quality of life from their government and elected officials. 

Information — both “news you can use” and in-depth pieces exploring the causes of problems plaguing low-income neighborhoods — will be texted directly to residents’ cell phones. Subscribers to the free texting service will also become crucial sources of news tips and on-the-ground information that may be published on Wisconsin Watch, NNS, and News414. (For more about this model, read this.)

We are also seeking an engagement manager for the project. See details here.

The News414 Project Manager is responsible for coordinating the work of the three partner newsrooms and activities of other key figures, including the News414 Engagement Manager, to keep the project focused, on schedule and on budget.

Position description

The News414 Project Manager will:  

  • Maintain a regular presence in our Milwaukee coverage area and coordinate with the News414 Engagement Manager on events, on-the-ground networking, social media strategy and all other forms of outreach.
  • Serve as a point of contact for the three partner newsrooms, updating the collaboration on the project’s progress and resource needs — and viability of engagement strategies.
  • Manage the News414 budget while ensuring the project hits key milestones and deadlines. 
  • Promptly file required reports with the partner newsrooms and funder.
  • Work with the Engagement Manager to facilitate community conversations and carry out surveys.  
  • Help create an informational needs assessment to guide our reporting in the second half of the year.
  • Serve as the project’s eyes and ears in Milwaukee as it progresses — helping to assess whether our reporting is meeting the needs of our audiences.

This is a full-time contractor position. Some evening and weekend work is necessary.

This position is currently funded through mid-November 2020, and we will assess a potential extension as the project unfolds. 

You should apply if you: 

  • Want to help revitalize local journalism by reinventing it.
  • Care deeply about the city of Milwaukee.
  • Are a thoughtful communicator and avid listener.
  • Are energized by person-to-person interaction.
  • Are able to juggle multiple tasks and adjust strategies as you learn new information. 
  • Thrive when working independently as well as a member of a team.

If you have just some of the skills listed here, or others we failed to list, please consider applying for this position. 

Experience: We are looking for detail- and deadline-oriented candidates with experience managing projects. Successful applicants should be collaborative and have excellent interpersonal communication skills. Preference will be given to candidates with experience working with culturally diverse populations — and a zeal for ensuring that all are provided a voice in our society. The ideal candidate will have a deep knowledge of Milwaukee and its history; connections to community groups and organizations in the neighborhoods; the ability to work with diverse networks; ideas of how to engage and empower community members to participate in the project; and a passion for the role that journalism serves in our democracy. Experience in event planning and a knowledge of best social media practices are preferred.

Location: The News414 Project Manager will be based in Milwaukee and will have the option of working out of the NNS newsroom at Marquette University. 

Expected salary range: $60,000 to $65,000 for approximately nine months of work, commensurate with skills and experience. This is a contractor position that does not include employee benefits.

Deadline: The initial application window will be open until February 7, 2020. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. The new hire would be asked to begin work as soon as feasible.

To apply: Please send a cover letter, resume and a list of references to Andy Hall, the Center’s executive director, at news414@wisconsinwatch.org. If you’d like to chat about the job before applying, contact Andy at ahall@wisconsinwatch.org

About the news organizations

The mission of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is to increase the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy. 

The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service covers 18 diverse neighborhoods in Milwaukee, which News414 will also target. The nonprofit reports on topics such as education, public safety, economic development, health and wellness, environment, recreation, employment, youth development and housing.

Detroit-based Outlier Media identifies, reports and delivers information to empower residents to hold landlords, municipal government and elected officials accountable for long-standing problems in the housing and utilities markets. The nonprofit pioneered a journalism-on-demand text messaging platform that News414 will employ.

The Center, NNS and Outlier Media embrace diversity and inclusiveness in their journalism, training activities, hiring practices and workplace operations. The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, gender and geography all affect point of view. We especially encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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