Director, Market Research & Strategy

Note: an earlier version of this job posting was titled Director, Local Philanthropy Partnerships.

The American Journalism Project is seeking a Director, Market Research & Strategy to help lead large-scale local news market assessments that consistently lead to some of the largest investments into nonprofit local news in the country. This is a role for an entrepreneurial, collaborative, and creative problem solver. You‘ll bring a track record of working across projects to plan and support sustainable business strategies, and enthusiasm for reshaping the future of local news in the U.S. You’ll also oversee core market research in coordination with consultant partners and work across teams to help build support among local partners and funders for launching new newsrooms. 

Who we are

We are an entrepreneurial team that’s passionate about journalism, civic engagement, and how local news plays a unique role in shaping our democracy. We help build and grow sustainable local news organizations all over the country — through financial investment, venture support, and movement building — that are governed by, sustained by, and look like the public they serve. Since 2019, the American Journalism Project has committed more than $41M of investment in 37 nonprofit news organizations across the United States. Learn about our grantees.

Our team is deeply connected to our mission and supportive of each other’s goals and overall well-being. We aim to be an organization where everyone feels heard, respected, and valued. We are an entirely remote, distributed team and strive to maintain a healthy, fun, and productive workplace, working alongside smart, energetic colleagues who enjoy one another and the work. Meet our full team.

Our values

  • Local First: We know that local journalism must serve and be led by local communities. We make a practice of listening to, and making decisions with – not for – those communities, and connecting them to find strength in each other. 
  • Bold Leadership: We understand the severe economic challenge facing local news and thus democracy, and we embrace a sense of possibility with courage, urgency, and perseverance.
  • Constant Learning: We recognize the unknown in front of us. Therefore, we operate with humility and a commitment to continuous improvement and collaboration.
  • Commitment to Equity: We commit to creating a better, more diverse, and more inclusive news media that advances human and civil rights. We actively fight against injustice and racism, and that starts with doing the work ourselves.
  • Integrity: We accept the responsibility of earning trust every day. We operate with honesty, transparency, dignity, and respect, and without allegiance to party, ideology, profit, or power.

Your team 

The program team invests in local nonprofit news organizations to build their revenue and business operations, partners with communities to launch new organizations, and mentors leaders as they grow and sustain their newsrooms. In this role you will report to a Vice President of Strategy & Startups.

Your impact

Your role will be crucial in our efforts to launch some of the largest local news projects in the country, catalyzed by multi-million dollar investments in the startups that lead to dozens of durable newsroom jobs that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Your role will help materialize a new generation of sustainable, equitable social enterprises that build community, hold power to account, and defend our democracy. Your efforts will culminate in the opportunity to help develop the vision and strategy for startup local news organizations grounded in our research assessment.

The position

Local Philanthropy Partnerships (LPPs): We work with civic leaders, place-based funders, and community foundations to identify and address information gaps in their communities. We provide our partners with a community listening program to determine information needs, ecosystem analyses to understand the trajectory of local news coverage, and market research to determine the potential for financial support of local journalism. We then develop and propose sustainable solutions to meet news and information needs based on our findings. In the last year we have helped launch exceptional nonprofit local news startup organizations such as Signal Cleveland and Houston Landing. We are currently working with partners in Tulsa, Waco, western Michigan, and northwest Arkansas.

You will project manage and deliver our research work (which includes overseeing and packaging the foundational research on a community, the community listening research, and a news ecosystem analyses): 

  • Lead the development of our institutional expertise about a particular market and identify information needs of constituents by drawing insights from large data sets and analyzing existing research and journalism about the places we are examining; 
  • Map existing information landscapes and provide insightful and credible analysis of the current roles and future trajectories of information ecosystem players;
  • Get deeply familiar with the demographics, consumption habits, and information needs of audiences in local news markets and package your findings in externally presentable analysis.

You will also take particular ownership of solution design, including financial projections and revenue analysis: 

  • Ideate creative solutions to critical information needs surfaced from the ground up. 
  • Delve into local market data to scope out the potential of various revenue streams to build a financial model and business plan for each project. 

You will interface with local partners and deliver original thought and analysis on critical elements of LPP deliverables. In some markets, you may serve as the primary point of contact for external partners and funders. 

Movement Building: We position future organizations for maximal success by building substantial launch coalitions of partners and funders:

  • Provide ongoing research of prospects, identifying potential partners and providing the team with detailed analyses of priorities and capacity;
  • Help lead ongoing design of organizational vision and strategic plan by contributing to elements of the plan and participating in team brainstorms as it evolves during the course of conversations with potential partners.

Once we have secured support for projects, you will help transition the work to the startup studio team which will incubate new launches. Our incubation support is customized to fit the needs of each project, but commonly includes organization establishment and governance design, founding team recruitment, organizational visioning and strategic planning,  fundraising and coalition building, and more. 

Background and skills

We know not all strong candidates will have all the skills we list. That’s OK. Research shows that women and people of color are less likely to apply for a position if they don’t meet every skill listed. At the American Journalism Project, we are committed to creating a better, more diverse, and more inclusive news ecosystem, and that starts with doing the work ourselves. So if your past experience doesn’t align perfectly, but you know this is the role for you – please tell us! 

An ideal candidate will have experience in roles that require research and analysis of individual businesses/organizations as well as broader markets and sectors. Experience working in media, management consulting, or venture capital, or similar experience working in the nonprofit sector is preferred but not required. We are also excited about candidates who have experience working with organizations that serve low-wealth communities or build access and capital for BIPOC-led ventures. 

This role is a fit if you are… 

  • A research and analytics-driven strategist with a high capacity for understanding and interpreting nuance. 
  • Collaborative and agile with a consultative and service-oriented mindset; accustomed to working in environments where feedback is liberally given and taken.
  • Intellectually curious, a strategic thinker and an innovative problem-solver, including a proven ability to create and manage organizational change.
  • A person with strong personal responsibility and accountability, results-oriented, adaptable, skilled at situational management (including being able to manage up, laterally, and down).
  • A person with passion for making the country a better, more equitable and just place for its residents by helping to build a new and thriving local news ecosystem across the U.S.

Compensation & benefits

Our total compensation package is competitive in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and we are committed to supporting our team with what they need to show up every day, ready to bolster the local press our democracy deserves.

We benchmark our salaries against similar organizations, and use a scale that considers job complexity and magnitude of responsibility to determine role levels and corresponding base salaries, as well as offer regular opportunities for salary increases. The salary range for this position is $126,606 – $132,937. Read about our benefits here.

Please submit an application through our portal. Download the full job description here.  If you have any questions please feel free to email with “Director, Market Research & Strategy” in the subject line.

Information Session

The American Journalism Project held an information session on March 23 for anyone interested in learning more about this role. Click here or scroll down to watch a recording of the session, where we heard from the hiring manager about the vision for the position and what the hiring process will entail. We also heard from our human resources team about compensation, benefits, and what it’s like to work at AJP.

The American Journalism Project is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. The American Journalism Project encourages people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations, and marital statuses to apply.