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Community Voices/Opinion Editor

Reports to: CEO

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Lookout Santa Cruz seeks a thoughtful, energetic and fair-minded editor for a soon-to-be-launched Community Voices/Opinion section.

As we enter our second wave of growth in Santa Cruz County and begin planning expansion beyond, we’re fully embracing our role as a community leader. Our new Community Voices section, to be launched in late summer, both acts on the long-standing role of good local newspapers and makes great use of a multi-media local digital platform in expanding what both community voices and opinion can do to address the diverse issues of the 2020s. We believe democracy starts at home. Our Community Voices work will break new ground, in what we cover, how we do that and how widely we cast a net for voices, many seldom heard in the traditional press.

We know that an updating of traditional Op-Ed and Opinion functions will be a key part of the Lookout model going forward, in Santa Cruz County and beyond.

The Community Voices Editor brings a passion for local news and community journalism, and Lookout’s revival of it, and understands that democracy starts locally and can be bettered by a steady flow of fresh thinking and solutions-oriented voices, solicited from leading community members. The role requires deep and wide daily engagement with community leaders, throughout Santa Cruz County, with a particular eye to inclusion of voices, by gender, ethnicity and age, often not heard in local media. Those voices will include student voices, building on the rollout of Lookout’s Student’s Engagement program countywide, The Community Voices Editor will both actively solicit and edit Voices pieces, and shorter contemporary “letters to the editor.”

In addition, the editor will work with leadership to develop Lookout’s own Opinion function strategy and plan, buttressing our community betterment and democracy-affirming charter.

Important to this position, as with all Lookout roles, an understanding and embrace of the digital tools of the day in creation (here, audio and video, over time, as well as text) and in distribution are fundamental.

Editorial excellence, diversity, and imagination are the hallmarks of Lookout, and serve as the foundation for this position.

What You’ll Be Doing

The Community Voices Editor:

  • Creates first strategic plan for Lookout Community Voices, with a focus on imaginative community betterment solutions, and a set of policies to match, evolving into a significant part of Lookout’s playbook.
  • Becomes a community leader, matching up Lookout’s solutions-oriented journalism with incisive community Voices, in numerous evolving forms.
  • Reaches out to community leaders throughout Santa Cruz County, including those traditionally underrepresented, both in one-to-one sessions and convening larger groups for engagement. Leads and co-leads weekly “Lookout Listens!” sessions, small group discussions with community groups and others about topics relevant to Lookout readers.
  • Solicits and edits community Voices. Leads creation of a weekly Community Voices newsletter.
  • With leadership, strategizes Lookout’s own Opinion position and practice.
  • Embraces responsibility to incorporate diversity into the fabric and coverage priorities of Lookout.
  • Works collaboratively with the First Amendment Coalition, implementing and advocating Access Democracy open meeting/open records/accountability journalism work.
  • Works actively with the whole Lookout team on incorporating audience-enhancing, audience-interacting digital tools of the day and applies learnings on audience analytics.
  • Communicates Lookout’s story and mission internally, and externally to evolving partners, both local and national.
  • Optimizes the value of content partners’ (national and local) Voices work.
  • May writes on community issues.

Your Experience & Skills

  • Rock-solid journalism judgment, intuition and taste, with significant editing experience demonstrating ability to work well both with people and ideas.
  • A strong viewpoint on how local media can and should support community betterment.
  • Superior organizational and collaborative abilities, with excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated history of fairness.
  • A strong sense of social media’s multiplying power and how it can best be used for a local news and commerce model.
  • Familiarity with and knowledge of local, regional and state issues a plus.
  • Bilingual skills a plus

Benefits and Application

Community Voices/Opinion Editor is a full-time Lookout Local employee. We offer competitive employee benefits with Lookout’s for-profit, public benefit company.

Lookout Local is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: Commensurate with experience.

Please apply, with cover letter, resume to jobs@lookoutlocal.com.

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