Code for Africa is the continent’s largest federation of independent civic technology and data journalism laboratories, which build digital democracy solutions giving citizens unfettered access to actionable information that empowers them to make informed decisions and that strengthen civic engagement for improved public governance and accountability.
About the Role
The successful candidate will work with the StoryLab’s managing editor to spearhead CfA’s digital health journalism initiatives, managing collaborative partnerships with CfA newsroom partners and/or its journalism fellows.
This will include steering hard-hitting multimedia journalism in support of CfA’s existing transnational OUTBREAK toolkit for tackling health emergencies, such as Covid-19, ebola, cholera and malaria, as well as journalism in support of long-running newsroom-based data-driven tools on everything from male circumcision Ulwaluko in South Africa, to dodgy doctors in Kenya, ghost hospitals in Nigeria and medicine price scamsters across the continent.
The successful editor will also pioneer new ways to use CfA’s methodology, and solutions journalism approaches, for ‘test tube’ journalism, testing the safety of medicines, foodstuffs, etc, at laboratories, as well as public healthcare journalism that uses CfA’s air/water sensor data, or evidence collected by drones and other robotic technologies.
The role will require creative story conceptualisation and detailed planning, with robust deadline management. The successful candidate must have the ability to efficiently coordinate traditional journalistic research with data/technology support teams. As part of the role, the successful candidate will be working with CfA’s diverse co-production partners including newsrooms across the continent, as well as individual journalist fellows in our WanaData and other community networks.
The health editor will work under the supervision of the StoryLab’s managing editor, with support from the StoryLab’s copy editors, and additional technical and logistic support from CfA’s data, design, technology, drone, sensor and audience engagement teams. The health editor will also regularly collaborate with CfA’s pan-African forensic investigators at the iLAB (which managed Panama Papers and a series of other transnational investigative projects), as well as our network of PesaCheck fact-checkers and mis-/disinformation researchers in 13 African countries.
The successful candidate must have a passion for co-creating solutions-driven reportage, through visual/multimedia storytelling, underpinned by evidence-based investigative analysis.
The candidate must also embrace peer-mentoring, nurturing the field reporters and partners that the StoryLab works with, through collaborative co-production.
Key duties will include supervising all CfA’s health-related storytelling-based deliverables ( including brainstorming editorial ideas and research strategies), briefing/debriefing field reporters, offering feedback that helps shape/improve draft story packages, and helping develop creative briefs for accompanying multimedia content. The teams and projects will be implemented across multiple time zones, with the StoryLab often coordinating efforts by multiple collaborating newsrooms.
The candidate will join our pan-African Knowledge team in one of our primary hubs in Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa. While applicants from these countries will be prioritised, CfA has full-time staff in 21 African countries and is open to exceptional applicants from elsewhere on the continent.
The StoryLab is the virtual newsroom for CfA’s Knowledge initiative, 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 Knowledge team 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 Health Editor will develop CfA’s editorial strategies for tackling major public health issues, building strategic partnerships with major media, identifying and recruiting the best African health reporters as part-time editorial Fellows, and managing the commissioning and production of any resulting health-related data journalism. The Health Editor will also champion CfA flagship health storytelling initiatives, such as its OUTBREAK series on pandemics and other health emergencies.
The successful candidate will work with an agile transnational team of other data analysts, digital designers and data journalists, with additional support from CfA’s software engineering and forensic research teams, in 21 countries across the continent.
You will co-develop an editorial strategy and roadmap for content development for CfA’s health-related products, supported by a team of data analysts and designers.
You will co-develop editorial ‘playbooks’ or guidelines for health reporting, establishing ethical and quality standards, identifying thematic priorities and establishing style guides for content producers.
You will manage day-to-day activities on OUTBREAK projects, including recruiting editorial contributors, commissioning reportage, guiding research / reporting, and vetting the resulting content both before/after copyediting. You will also be responsible for meeting agreed editorial deadlines.
You will proactively conceptualise and launch new health-focused reporting initiatives, in coordination with CfA partner newsrooms and sectoral experts, to give audiences actionable information.
You will coordinate with CfA technical support teams, ranging from multimedia designers and data analysts, to drone/sensor technologists and forensic researchers to provide CfA partner newsrooms and health Fellows with cutting-edge resources for producing award-winning storytelling.
You will, in consultation with your Managing Editor, implement clear and coherent management systems for your editorial projects, based on global best-practise and CfA production standards.
You will proactively co-develop strategies and resources for building institutional knowledge around any new editorial techniques or insights developed during your work, and will proactively share this knowledge with colleagues and partners as part of CfA’s training initiatives
Extensive experience in health and/or scientific journalism.
A track-record for editing or building/managing health journalism projects or initiatives.
Experience at managing an editorial desk/beat, including recruiting and managing networks of multilingual researchers/writers, managing an editorial diary, commissioning stories and briefing reporters, and instilling editorial standards.
An understanding of data-driven reporting or other multimedia storytelling techniques.
An understanding of solutions journalism approaches that produce explanatory storytelling that results in action.
Strong interpersonal communication skills, and demonstrable charismatic leadership skills that help shape young, talented teams of health journalists and data scientists.
An ability to work independently and follow through on assignments with minimal direction.
Demonstrable ability to self-manage, create your own, and wider team timelines and milestones with clear systems/processes.
An understanding of multimedia and digital storytelling techniques, including how best to use data visualisations, including charts, graphs, maps, and social media videos to produce compelling journalism.
A track record for creative problem-solving in fast-paced impact-driven environments, where solutions involve balancing human and technology considerations.
Digital-first workplace skill-sets, including proficiency in collaborative work solutions such as Google Workplace (Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc.), Slack (or equivalents such as Teams, etc), and project management tools like Trello (or equivalents such as AirTable, etc).
Deep experience working across Africa, covering African issues and solutions.
Demonstrable proficiency in data journalism and/or solutions journalism, or other digital visually-driven storytelling (using infographics/social video, etc) or other ‘digital first’ news production.
Previous experience in a similar transnational ‘virtual’ newsroom or traditional wire service/news agency leadership position.
A strong track record for peer-to-peer mentoring of young journalists and newsroom teams, growing networks of journalists with domain/technical expertise.
Language and Location Requirements:
Location: Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa preferred, but open to candidates based elsewhere in Africa
Languages: The primary language for publication / communication will be English
Preferred but not required: Arabic and French, plus major African languages such Amharic, Fulani, Kiswahili, isiZulu, Yoruba, etc
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.
Application Closing Date
30th July, 2021.
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