Visiting Digital News Producer

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, IL

Illinois Public Media has an opportunity for a Visiting Digital News Producer to lead the creation and execution of a digital-first news strategy for Illinois Newsroom, an exciting new multi-station public media journalism collaboration funded by the partner stations and major grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and McCormick Foundation. The producer plays both a leadership role in shaping and guiding digital-first content strategy and a hands-on producer role in creating stories and visuals for web and social.

Visiting Digital News Producer
Illinois Public Media
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This is a job for: A creative, community-focused digital journalist looking to lead innovative storytelling. You're an expert and advocate for web, social and mobile in the newsroom and want to bring your diverse experiences, talents and ideas to an ambitious new team. You have excellent news judgment, understand the role and importance of great local journalism, and have a strong sense of how local, regional and national news intersect. You love finding new ways to tell and share stories and want to experiment and innovate with the full support of managers and editors. You're relentlessly curious and an active part of your community.

The station: Illinois Public Media has a deep history of serving our community through journalism and engagement. We're financially strong, growing and focusing even more on high-quality journalism. And it's an important moment in Illinois for the kind of journalism that explores the issues that affect people's lives, focuses on potential solutions and holds public officials accountable. Our newsroom includes a team of reporters, hosts, editors and producers who serve local and regional audiences. That includes The 21st, a statewide talk show, and a core group of journalists who support the Illinois Newsroom collaboration. We're based at the flagship campus of the University of Illinois in a vibrant micro-urban area and see ourselves as supporting dynamic, thriving communities informed and inspired by public media.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Oversees the Illinois Newsroom digital platforms, including news website and social channels and distribution to partner stations; demonstrates understanding of the issues facing the communities served by Illinois Newsroom and works with editorial team to guide coverage of those issues across digital and social platforms, reflecting the issue's complexity and diversity of perspectives.

2. With the support of editorial, engagement, marketing and digital teams, investigates and implements strategies to bring digital communities into the editorial process and increase digital engagement for Illinois Newsroom stories. Also investigates and experiments with new ideas on how to best produce and distribute community-focused content that engages audiences on web, social and mobile.

3. Works both as a hands-on collaborator and as a coach/trainer to increase the capacity of reporters to conceive and create stories that best meet the audience's needs. Creates web-only news stories and content, including maps, infographics and other data visualizations. Edits stories, photographs, graphics, videos, audio and other news content for digital platforms that provide depth and context on topics relevant to the region.

4. Offers input on the big picture social media priorities as well as the language for regular updates (statuses, links, photos, etc) for Illinois Newsroom in alignment with project and partner station goals. Helps determine appropriate metrics for audience, in terms of reach, usage and impact.

5. Creates processes to ensure that the website and social channels are updated appropriately and content is distributed to partner stations. Determines needs for rights clearances and permissions for acquired material. Acquires and files permissions and clearances.

6. Ensures the quality, accuracy and editorial voice of content across digital platforms. Makes sure that all materials produced meet the highest standards of journalism, including standards of accuracy, fairness, objectivity and balance.

7. Identifies opportunities that new technology creates for the news process and coordinates with news team to adopt and integrate new technology and practices into the everyday news process. Identifies ongoing training and skills development needs for the team. Collaborates with technology and digital teams on needs and resource requirements for digital news gathering, publishing and distribution.

8. Actively uses Twitter, Facebook and other social media to engage digital audiences and to rapidly share news and information while adhering to the journalistic and ethical standards of public media.

9. Keeps up-to-date on issues in a variety of local and regional topics and actively participates in the community and digital engagement processes as one method of determining stories and sources.

10. Participates in pledge drive trainings and as pledge talent during fund drives. Participates in marketing activities, community engagement projects and other audience Public Media, including interacting with audiences on our social media platforms.

Education Required: Bachelor's degree


1. At least two (2) years of experience in news reporting, writing, editing or producing news on digital platforms.
2. Experience with news writing, copy editing and ability to distill longer form journalism into great headlines and enticing social media conversations.
3. Experience using social media to engage audiences.
4. Experience and knowledge of standard newsroom practices.
5. Experience meeting frequent deadlines and managing multiple assignments.

1. Familiarity with database journalism and data visualization tools.
2. Experience training and mentoring staff and interns.
3. Proficiency in reading, analyzing and interpreting web and social media metrics.
4. Experience with search engine optimization.
5. HTML, CSS skills and multimedia production experience.

Training, Licenses or Certifications:

1. Ability to create and edit digital content using Adobe and other tools and post content through various website CMS2.Skilled at HTML, CSS, and multimedia production, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office software, Google Docs and Sheets.

Knowledge Requirements:

1. Extensive knowledge of local, regional and national current events and issues.
2. Ability to write accurately, clearly and concisely for broadcast and web.
3. Knowledge of existing and emerging technologies affecting digital journalism, including web, mobile and social media and a desire to experiment with new ways of reaching audiences.
4. Ability to take initiative and work with minimal amount of direct supervision.
5. Strong news judgement, experience maintaining high journalistic standards under deadline pressure and ability to make independent decisions.
6. Familiarity with libel rules, social media policies and best practices and the codes of ethics adopted by NPR and Illinois Public Media.

1. Bilingual (English/Spanish or English/French)

Application Procedures:
To ensure full consideration, complete applications must be submitted by April 6, 2018. The committee may begin reviewing applications before the close date but no decision will be made until after the close date. Please create your candidate profile at and upload a cover letter describing qualifications for the position, current resume and the names and contact information for three professional references.

For further information regarding application procedures, you may contact Annetta Allison (217) 265-7648 or

This is a full-time, 12-month academic professional appointment with a start date as soon as possible after the closing date. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or criminal conviction history. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (

Link to online job announcement

Closing Date