Job Description: News Director

Note: As news managers grow in organizational leadership, they may be granted new titles such as “Vice President of News.” See that sample job description here, courtesy of Vermont Public Radio.

A news managers duties are often described with some apportionment of time per duty. The apportionment will vary per employer — with small stations often expecting more time reporting and anchoring and less time for other management. The following example assumes a medium size staff in which the ND is also the primary editor for the staff:

Function

The News Director (ND) leads and manages the planning, production and presentation of news. The ND supervises the news department staff. The ND reports to (the general manager / program director ) and works in cooperation with station leadership and staff to support the station mission.

The ND has responsibility and understanding of news planning, reporting, editing and production. The ND helps define and maintain ethical, editorial, artistic and technical standards for broadcast news programs. The ND assists with news programming decisions and news operations. The ND, as the station’s top news authority, is responsible for the journalistic integrity of all station activities and platforms.

Duties

Editorial Planning, Scheduling, Editing (40%)

The ND directs the activities of the news staff to develop story ideas, track issues and events, select reporters for coverage, schedule stories for publication, and schedule time for interviewing, writing and editing.

The ND serves as a primary editor to insure news reports are produced in an effective, timely and responsible manner.

The ND acts as a proactive liaison to various internal and external constituencies to advance the station’s news programming. These may include the station programming and operations and development staffs. These may also include other appropriate organizations such as NPR, APM, PRI, etc.

Reporting, Anchoring (20%)

The ND is part of the news team and contributes content on a regular basis. The ND may need to anchor newscasts, host talk programs, appear as a program guest, and produce various spots, features, special programs, web content, etc.

Administration of Personnel, Budget, Technology (30%)

The ND helps set goals and monitor performance of news personnel. Personnel management includes recruitment and hiring. The ND manages the news department budget — including annual planning, monthly monitoring and routine handling. The ND helps maintain equipment and information systems vital to news planning, newsgathering, news production and news presentation.

Community Relations and Support (10%)

The ND seeks opportunities to promote public contact to help ascertain public needs, build community engagement and bolster station success. The ND participates in station events and fundraising activities as appropriate.

Other

The ND adheres to deadlines and makes timely and effective decisions in situations requiring prompt attention. The ND is the primary leader during crisis response.

Qualifications

A four-year degree in journalism — or equivalent — required. Minimum three years full-time professional experience in journalism — preferably in a multi-platform news environment. Familiarity with public media news programming standards and values. Successful candidate will possess broad knowledge of local and regional issues. Must have ability to work within a live program environment. Must have experience in broadcast production, web content, news writing and news editing. Must possess effective communication and interpersonal skills. Preferred skills include on-line research, multimedia production, word and spreadsheet processing and operation of light office equipment. Must have excellent memory for details, be able to meet daily deadlines under potentially stressful conditions and deal effectively with multiple competing tasks.