Positions in: pan-African

Do you want to shape cutting-edge digital storytelling across the continent?

Code for Africa (CfA) has an immediate vacancy for a full-time Managing Editor to steer its new pan-African StoryLab, which co-produces hard-hitting and award-winning multimedia storytelling in partnership with leading African newsrooms and other global media.

The role would preferably be based at any of CfA’s StoryLab’s primary hubs in Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa. CfA has full-time staff in 21 African countries, and is therefore also open to exceptional applicants from elsewhere on the continent.

Candidates must have demonstrable experience in leading high-impact newsrooms, with visionary agenda-setting and robust technical news production skills, and proven success at shaping creative editorial initiatives. 

Candidates with a track-record for identifying and nurturing emerging storytellers will have an advantage.

The role will be for an English-speaking managing editor. Proficiency in local African languages and any additional international languages, such as Arabic/French, will be a plus.

The StoryLab is the virtual newsroom for CfA’s Data Academy, which spearheads digital storytelling initiatives and data journalism training partnerships. It also includes CfA communities such as the WanaData women data science/storytelling network, the africanDRONE civic drone community and the sensors.AFRICA sensor journalism initiative, with a network of more than 50 partner newsrooms and 30 partner universities across Africa. The Data Academy is also the custodian of other major CfA public infrastructures, such as the continent’s largest open data portal, openAFRICA, and Africa’s largest census data portal, HURUMap.

The StoryLab will be supported by CfA’s larger pan-African network of full-time data analysts, digital designers and newsroom mentors/trainers, with additional support from CfA’s software engineering and forensic research teams in 21 countries across the continent.

Required minimum requirements include:

  • Demonstrable newsroom leadership skills honed during at least seven years in a mainstream media or equivalent digital publishing environment.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills and demonstrable aptitude for nurturing young talent, and drawing out the best in emerging voices.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills which will help set benchmarks for world-class editorial standards.
  • Robust critical thinking and creative solution aptitudes, with strong research and investigative skills.
  • Proven track-record for creative problem solving in fast-paced and impact-driven environments, where solutions involve balancing human and technology considerations.
  • Demonstrable ability to self-manage, creating your own as well as wider team timelines and milestones with clear systems/processes.
  • A solid understanding of journalistic production systems and workflow methodologies, including how to integrate multimedia and digital storytelling techniques, built around actionable information, to create compelling storytelling.
  • Digital workplace skill sets, including proficiency in collaborative work solutions such as Google Drive (Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc.), Slack (or equivalents such as Teams), and project management tools like Trello (or equivalents).

Preferred candidates who are able to demonstrate the following will have an advantage:

  • Experience managing/working with transnational teams, across multiple time zones, with diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Proficiency in data-driven or investigative journalism, and/or visual (infographic/social media video) storytelling or other multi-platform news production.
  • A strong track record for peer-to-peer mentoring of young journalists and newsroom teams.
  • Working knowledge of at least one major regional African language, such as Amharic, Fulani, Swahili, Yoruba, etc.

Language and Location Requirements:

  • Location: Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa preferred, but open to candidates based elsewhere in Africa 
  • Languages: English primary language
  • Preferred but not required: Arabic and French, plus major African languages such Fulani, Kiswahili, isiZulu, Yoruba, etc

About the Role:

The successful candidate will work with CfA’s executive committee (ExCo) to transform the organisation’s existing editorial resources into a centralised virtual StoryLab newsroom, to drive pioneering digital journalism projects across the continent.

While the StoryLab will focus on digital and data-driven multimedia reportage, the managing editor’s core ‘superpowers’ will be compelling storytelling and high-impact journalism, as well as building and managing winning teams, rather than just digital expertise. CfA has a strong technical team to support the data/digital aspects of the StoryLab’s mission.

The managing editor’s core team will include a digital-savvy deputy editor, at least two full-time copyeditors, and a number of veteran ‘beat’ or topic editors managing thematic desks focused on everything from health emergencies and gender inequality, to religious extremism and state capture, as well as our ‘Dominion’ portfolio of climate and land-focused projects.

Collaborative field reporting will be undertaken by CfA’s network of 50+ mainstream newsroom partners across the continent, our affiliated innovation partners such as the Oxpeckers Centre and InfoNile, as well as selected journalism fellows from CfA’s WanaData network of 450+ women data scientists/storytellers. The resulting stories will be published by networks of African and global media partners, including major European and North American media. 

Journalism projects will be underpinning by sophisticated data/digital resources, such as CfA’s OUTBREAK toolkit for tackling health emergencies, or by support from its in-house investigative forensic research lab, its network of fact-checkers in 13 African countries or its AI/machine learning research team at CivicSignal.

The role will require a combination of editorial agenda/vision-setting skills and charisma, as well as robust journalistic storytelling talent, and strong people/systems management skills to ensure that all the moving pieces sync into polished story packages, on deadline and within budget. 

The successful candidate will need to be a culture fit with CfA, and must have a passion for co-creating solutions-driven products, through visual/multimedia storytelling that offers audiences actionable insights or information, underpinned by evidence-based investigative analysis. The candidate must also embrace peer-mentoring, nurturing both their team and partners through collaborative co-production

Key performance indicators will include setting and maintaining international-level editorial standards; growing an award-winning multidisciplinary editorial team; meeting editorial targets and production deadlines; mentoring and growing a pan-African network of reporting partners/journalists. 

Responsibilities Your daily responsibilities will include:

  • You will, in consultation with CfA’s ExCo and with the support of its ManCom, transform the organisation’s disparate editorial resources into a centralised virtual newsroom, as the StoryLab.
  • You will grow and forge the existing full-time core team of editors and copyeditors into a dynamic newsroom that produces international award-winning content.
  • You will steer development of a strategic editorial roadmap for the StoryLab, identifying issues and countries for prioritised attention and suggesting storytelling techniques and partners for amplifying our impact.
  • You will shape CfA’s editorial standards, setting product benchmarks and quality guidelines, as well as creating editorial policies and playbooks.
  • You will help set and then achieve editorial targets, will establish production schedules and will help ensure the StoryLab delivers on project deadlines, at agreed quality standards, while meeting partner and audience expectations within the agreed budgets/resources. 
  • You will champion adherence to the StoryLab’s editorial standards and methodologies within CfA, and externally with partners and in industry fora, in the pursuit of editorial excellence.
  • You will embrace CfA’s philosophy of solutions-driven actionable information, and will ensure the accuracy, relevance and quality of the StoryLab’s content.
  • You will set the tone and pace for peer-mentoring CfA’s storytelling partners, in the WanaData network of 450+ women data scientists/journalists and our network of 50+ newsroom partners. 

What We Offer:

  • A competitive salary, subject to experience, with opportunities for performance-based growth, both in terms of career path and public stature.
  • A dynamic workplace, with a transnational team, occasional international travel, and generous vacation benefits.
  • Ongoing opportunities to learn new cutting-edge skills and techniques/technologies to future-proof yourself in a rapidly evolving industry.
  • A chance to shine on a global stage, writing for international audiences and interacting with colleagues around the world.

How to apply:

Please fill in this form: 30 June 2022

About Us:

Code for Africa (CfA) is the continent’s largest network of indigenous African civic technology and investigative data journalism laboratories, with over 70 staff in 19 countries, who build digital democracy solutions that are intended to give citizens unfettered access to actionable information that empowers them to make informed decisions and that strengthen civic engagement for improved public governance and accountability.

This includes building infrastructure such as the continent’s largest open data portal, open.AFRICA, and largest open source civic software portal, commons.AFRICA, as well as the largest repository of investigative document-based evidence, source.AFRICA, as well as incubating initiatives as diverse as the africanDRONE network that gives citizens their own ‘eyes in the sky’, the PesaCheck fact-checking initiative in 12 African countries, and the sensors.AFRICA remote-sensing citizen science initiative to combat air/water pollution.

CfA also incubates the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR), as an association of the continent’s best investigative newsrooms, ranging from large traditional mainstream media to smaller specialist units. ANCIR member newsrooms investigate crooked politicians, organised crime and big business. The iLAB is ANCIR’s in-house digital forensic unit, with teams in east, south and west Africa. ANCIR uses its resources to strengthen newsrooms’ own internal capacity, by providing access to the world’s best whistleblower encryption and investigative semantic analysis technologies, as well as skills development, and seed grants for cross-border collaboration.

At CfA, we don’t just accept differences – we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products and our community. CfA is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know. 

To all recruitment agencies: CfA does not accept agency resumes. Please do not forward resumes to our employment application line, CfA employees or any other CfA contact. CfA is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes.