Head of Emerging Markets

The American Journalism Project is seeking an outstanding coalition-builder and strategist to oversee large-scale, complex efforts to transform local news in markets across the country through our Local Philanthropy Partnerships program. The successful candidate will build a coalition of local partners in each market and lead a process to research market needs, design strategic and sustainable philanthropic interventions, and rally philanthropists, foundations, and civic leaders to invest in their market’s local news sector. Over the last four years, this program has resulted in the investment of over $62M of new local philanthropic capital into sustainable, high-impact plans to bolster local news ecosystems via the launch of new startups and investment in existing local media providers.

The successful candidate for the Head of Emerging markets position will have the strategic acumen, entrepreneurial leadership, and operating knowledge to manage intensive research initiatives, guide programmatic visioning processes, develop sound multi-year business plans, forge new coalitions with community leaders, and build funding partnerships to meet ambitious annual revenue targets. Success requires a broad skill set including the ability to assess and provide recommendations regarding the health of local news ecosystems, demonstrated expertise in coalition-building, business planning skill, and the ability to take end-to-end ownership over executing complex projects. 

We believe a trusted source of verified information forms the connective tissue that brings communities together, facilitates collaboration, and is critical for developing thriving, civically-engaged communities. The American Journalism Project aims to catalyze a movement of nonprofit local news enterprises that rallies our country’s next generation of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and community leaders around this vital cause. We encourage all people who are passionate about the mission and the work and have the requisite skills and knowledge to apply.


Who we are

We’re a small but entrepreneurial team working to re-shape the future of local news in our country. We’re 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. Learn about our grantees. 

AJP has raised over $175 million for the cause so far, and aims to catalyze enough investment in nonprofit local news to create a $2 billion sector by 2040, full of thriving, equitable, public service-oriented newsrooms that increase civic engagement and make communities work better for their residents.

Our team is deeply connected to our mission and supportive of each others’ 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 Head of Emerging Markets will have a leadership position on AJP’s program team. Led by AJP’s Chief Investment Officer, the program team works with philanthropists and nonprofit news leaders to advance a thriving, sustainable local news field. You can read a more detailed overview of our program areas in this blog post written by our CEO a year ago to help explain our program workstreams.

The Head of Emerging Markets will report to the Chief Investment Officer and oversee a team of 1-2 staff members and numerous retained consultants, and will work closely with our VP of Local Partnerships and our Startup Studio team. The Head of Emerging Markets will also draw on support from and collaborate with numerous teams across our organization.

This role will also collaborate on a continuous basis with our local philanthropic partners as well as the management teams of the startups in our incubation program.


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 offering regular opportunities for salary increases. The salary range for this position is $189,520 – $208,472. Read about our benefits here.


Impact of the role

The Head of Emerging Markets position will be crucial in our efforts to launch some of the largest local news projects in the country, catalyzed by multi-million dollar investments that lead to dozens of sustainable newsroom jobs that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. This role will help materialize a new generation of sustainable, equitable social enterprises that defend our democracy, hold power to account, and build community. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to help develop the vision and strategy for the  local news initiatives grounded in our research assessment.


The position 

The Head of Emerging Markets will serve as the leader of our Local Philanthropy Partnerships program, which specializes in conducting market assessments that involve community listening programs 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 speak with thousands of local residents as part of our market assessment. We then propose creative solutions based on our findings, which sometimes involves conceptualizing a startup newsroom to serve that market as well as proposing philanthropic investment in existing media. This work is done in collaboration with local partners in the form of place-based foundations, civic leaders, and community stakeholders. Key elements of the role include: 

  • Leading a project team to deliver rigorous, locally rooted market analyses across our foundational research, community listening, information landscape, and financial modeling workstreams;
  • Identifying gaps in community information needs and lead creative visioning processes that result in community-driven, innovative approaches to local news;
  • Taking the lead on developing relationships with institutional philanthropy and potential major donors to cultivate six-, seven-, and even eight-figure financial commitments to launch new local news initiatives and meet annual project-based fundraising targets;
  • Project scoping and management across complicated, interdependent workflows that ensure high quality and on time deliverables; 
  • Interfacing with local partners and present the work of your team to stakeholders;
  • Management of large-scale project budgets and contracts;
  • We are a fully virtual team. However, travel is needed to achieve the overall objectives of this role (approximately 1-2 trips a month for 1-2 nights each).


Who you are

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! 

This role might be a fit if you are:

  • Entrepreneurial: We are building a nimble and entrepreneurial organization so we are looking for people who thrive in a startup environment and where you’re required to think outside the box. You bring the scrappiness required to help build organizations from scratch.
  • Strategic leader: You thrive at understanding and navigating through complexity and setting clear strategy and prioritization. You love to see a complex problem, and to come up with and fully own execution of a clear solution.
  • Collaborative and agile: You love working with people and bring that energy to meetings. You excel at collaborating across teams without direct authority. You see fundraising as a team sport and leverage others appropriately. You bring others into your thinking on how to advance next steps with potential financial supporters. 
  • Thrive on feedback: As part of your collaborative nature, you bring others into your work for their feedback. You understand that a team approach makes your work stronger, and you don’t shy away from hearing and incorporating solid advice, whether from your manager, your peers, your direct reports, or external partners. This learning orientation means you love to try something, learn from it, and do it better the next time. We encourage risk-taking and constant learning is one of our values.
  • Goal and mission oriented: You live and breathe our overall Fund goals and your annual fundraising target in the startup markets where we work. You manage against personal goals consistently but you also think holistically about how we are bringing in new support. You work with urgency. 
  • End to end ownership: You see your projects through and you take full responsibility for achieving high-quality outcomes, without waiting to be directed.
  • Excellent communicator: You excel at written and verbal communications. You are able to effectively communicate strategy and distill impact in a way that can inspire external stakeholders. 
  • Analytically minded: You are comfortable working in Excel and drawing insights from large data sets. You have a demonstrated ability to lead nuanced research efforts that authentically identify local information needs and assess the current information ecosystems strength in doing so. 
  • Systems-thinker and pattern-spotter: Our goals are cross organizational and very little can be accomplished without the input and collaboration of others. You love working across teams, spotting patterns, and facilitating processes that enable effective collaboration.
  • Committed to equity: You bring experience of managing across lines of difference. You’ve worked with organizations led by BIPOC and/or nonprofits that have a track record of serving diverse communities and bring a fluency that has been shaped by those experiences.

We believe there are many paths that could make you a great candidate for this multifaceted role. We expect candidates will have significant experience in related positions, but are eager to hear from all candidates who would thrive in this role, including, but not limited to, those who have:

  • Held senior leadership roles in newsrooms and/or the business side of the media industry
  • Worked in management or other roles involving strategic business planning, such as management consulting
  • Served as a successful leader in a nonprofit organization
  • Excelled in a variety of roles in a media company or nonprofit organization
  • Managed research teams such as in academia or market research


What to expect in the hiring process

Our approach to hiring is to create a consistent and transparent process for all candidates. We hope to fill this role as soon as possible, though the hiring process can typically take from a few weeks to several months. We will do our best to communicate with you about timing expectations throughout the process.

Candidates who advance to later rounds of this process can expect multiple interviews with members of our hiring committee. Semi-finalists will be asked to complete a hiring exercise designed to help us understand your thinking and approach to the role, and you will be offered an optional prep session to ask any questions that will help you put your best foot forward in this process. We aim to truly get to know you, to help you fully understand the role you’re applying for, and to get to know your prospective team.

Please submit an application through our link. Download the full job description here. If you have any questions please feel free to email careers@theajp.org with “Head of Emerging Markets” in the subject line.


Information session

We held a webinar-style information session about this role on Monday, June 24. View this session to hear directly about the role from the hiring manager and other key staff at AJP, and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.

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.