Date PostedSeptember 1, 2023
Offered Salary$75000 - $95000 / year
Expiration dateSeptember 30, 2023
Title: Africa Initiative Manager
Reports to: Director of Partnerships and Fellowships
Position type: full-time, exempt
Duration: October or November 2023 – February 28th, 2025 (possibility for extension depending on funding)
Location: Nigeria or Kenya
Applications due: September 14, 2023
Interviews: September 25th – September 29th, 2023
Start Date: at the latest by November 6th, 2023
Background: The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), a U.S.-based nonprofit with international reach, is leading a global shift in how people understand and shape the world by focusing reporting on responses to problems and what we can learn from their successes and failures. Research shows that when news reveals what’s working (or promising), it elevates the tone of public discourse, making it less divisive and more constructive, allows communities to see better options, and builds agency and hope. This leads to meaningful change. Key elements of solutions journalism include: interrogating a response and how it works, showing evidence of effectiveness, discussing limitations, and surfacing insights to spur innovation.
Over 47,000 journalists have been trained and are using SJN’s tools, in 40 countries. SJN’s searchable database, the Solutions Story Tracker, has a selection of solutions stories from 1,900 news organizations.
We’re looking for a skilled journalist-entrepreneur to lead SJN’s ongoing Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative in Nigeria and Kenya. This role is currently funded through Feb 28, 2025. An extension is possible, depending on funding.
Since 2016, SJN has been forging relationships with news organizations and journalists across Africa, seeding high quality solutions-focused reporting on various topics and communities, with an emphasis on health and development issues. This work is part of a larger effort by SJN to change journalism worldwide.
The Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative launched two years ago with the goal of helping partners on the ground to establish two regional hubs that could teach local reporters, producers, and editors to learn how to create credible, evidence based stories that highlight not just problems, but how communities are responding to them as well. These hub partners – Science Africa and Nigeria Health Watch – have become resource centers for solutions journalism in their regions, helping to ensure that the solutions practice and framework has touched every part of the “journalism value chain” in their regions: journalism education, newsroom production, journalist associations, audiences, sources and even critics.
Both partners have made significant progress, and both are ready and wanting support to do more. The person in this role would provide them that support, and would also work to identify additional partners interested in becoming hubs for solutions journalism training in their regions.
Building on prior work, the Africa Initiative Manager will support these partners with the goals they have outlined for the next 18 months, and identify additional potential regional partners in Kenya and Nigeria. The Africa Initiative Manager will also co-manage local solutions journalism reporting projects and fellows, help steward activities connecting the coverage, and seed professional and civic networks that promote learning and sharing of best practices across geographies.
The Africa Initiative Manager will:
- Work with our existing partners, Science Africa and Nigeria Health Watch to:
- help ensure the partners have the support they need to meet their goals for improving the quality of solutions journalism in their regions.
- develop trainings on issues such as climate change (including climate adaptations in Africa), gender violence prevention, public health for gender good, innovations in global health led by researchers and experts in Africa, and more.
- Increase the number of certified solutions journalism trainers in Africa.
- Draw on SJN resources, staff and network – as well as their own expertise – to provide coaching, training and support to the partners on an ongoing basis to help them achieve their goals.
- Identify two or more organizations with the potential to become hubs for solutions journalism in Africa.
- Introduce, train and advance the solutions approach using SJN’s training resources to build awareness and adoption.
- Work with organizational partners and SJN to support reporting projects that yield high-impact solutions stories and help to shift journalistic practice.
- Represent SJN at influential convenings, including talks, conferences and summits.
- Host and manage virtual or in‐person local and regional gatherings and webinars.
- Co-manage sub‐grants for news organizations and fellows.
- Prepare reports with support from the SJN development team.
- Work with the SJN finance team to ensure all expenditures are within budget and approved as necessary.
You’re a strong candidate if you:
- Value honesty and transparency and are a champion of quality independent journalism.
- Are an advocate of equity, justice, and inclusion.
- Are a very strong oral and written communicator
- Have a minimum of 3–5 years of significant journalism experience in Nigeria and/or Kenya
- Currently residing in either Nigeria or Kenya – residency in one of the focus countries is required for the duration of the position.
- Have project management skills and are organized, disciplined, focused. You know how to function effectively with multiple moving parts and with diverse partners.
- Are skilled at connecting with people and building deeper relationships.
- Are a self-starter with the ability to lead projects and take the initiative in supporting the content development processAre able to work well alone as well as in a collaborative team environment.
- Are familiar with and have connections to the Nigerian and Kenyan news ecosystems.
Additional desired skills include:
- Experience reporting for international news organizations
- Solutions journalism reporting experience
Does this sound like your calling? We hope so: We’re an energetic, ambitious, and fun bunch, and we want great people to join us.
Equity, Justice, Diversity and Inclusion at SJN means a workplace where individual differences are recognized, appreciated, respected and responded to in ways that fully develop and utilize each person’s talents and strengths. Diversity of perspective, identity, and experience is important to us. We want to reflect and serve the whole of society. As a result, we encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds to seek employment, and we make all employment decisions without regard to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or any other factors protected by federal, state or local law. To request reasonable accommodation, contact Jenn Thompson, [email protected]
SJN Application & Hiring Process FAQ
Q: Where’s the best place to learn more about the Solutions Journalism Network and the work that you do?
A: Start with this “brief but spectacular” videomade for PBS and featuring David Bornstein, one of SJN’s co-founders. Check out the SJN website, new research on how audiences respond to solutions journalism, our most recent survey of our newsroom partners and this study on how solutions journalism can lead to increased revenue.
Q: Where do I submit my cover letter?
A: The SJN application does not include a cover letter. Instead, we ask a series of questions that we hope will provide the opportunity for you to share your thoughts. All applicants respond to the same questions, which removes the guesswork of a cover letter and enables you to focus on the things we’re most interested in knowing about your qualifications for this role. (note: after the application questions, you will see a final box that says “ADDITIONAL INFORMATION” and the preview text says “add a cover letter or anything else you want to share”. Please do not upload a cover letter here. If you have additional information that you would like to share with us that you didn’t include in your application responses you can use this space to do so.
Q: What happens after I submit my application?
A: Once the application period closes, a team of SJN staffers will review all of the applications and contact candidates who move to the next stage of the process, which will include 1-2 rounds of interviews and, possibly, an additional (brief) assignment.