Director of News and Public Affairs - Illinois Public Media

June 27, 2019

We’re looking for a dynamic leader for our award-winning local and regional news teams. This is an exciting opportunity to work in a creative environment at a growing public media organization in the heart of the Midwest.

The Director of News and Public Affairs for Illinois Public Media (WILL AM-FM-TV) is the strategic leader and chief editor of an ambitious team of journalists. The News and Public Affairs Director will manage the local newsroom and coordinate efforts with our station’s regional reporting collaboration, Illinois Newsroom, and statewide talk show, The 21st.

Illinois Public Media’s energetic team values high-quality audio and digital storytelling and building meaningful relationships with our audiences and community. We are a highly collaborative newsroom and organization, so candidates should highlight their ability to give and take feedback, support their colleagues, and participate in public-facing newsroom initiatives. The twin cities of Champaign and Urbana are a vibrant micro-urban center that benefits from the diverse local and international community of the University of Illinois. If Illinois Public Media sounds like a good fit for you, please apply.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Day-to-day News Operations:

  • Guide the strategy and tactics of Illinois Public Media’s news and public affairs programming to inform and educate the public.
  • Supervise and manage job performance of direct reports, including editors, reporters, producers and program hosts.
  • Conduct air-checks of on-air work as needed.
  • Research current events and issues, and oversee planning and assignments for day-to-day news coverage.
  • Lead content meetings with representatives of news, talk programs, engagement, video production, programming and digital.
  • Assign and edit local news and feature stories.
  • Draft weekly work schedules for news and public affairs staff.
  • Direct IPM's response to and coverage of crises.

Cross-Departmental Planning and Strategy:

  • Plan and execute longer-term, in-depth initiatives involving Engagement, Content and other IPM departments as part of a coordinated effort to ascertain and cover issues.
  • Supervise and work closely with the Illinois Newsroom editor to plan in-depth, multi-platform content for regional and national distribution.
  • Supervise The 21st talk show, guiding its continued growth and success.
  • Coordinate with other content partners, including Side Effects, Illinois public radio stations, CU Citizens Access, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, and others on high-profile joint initiatives.
  • Coordinate IPM's efforts to distribute news and public affairs content across multi-platforms.
  • Coordinate efforts to distribute content through regional and national partnerships.
  • Coordinate on awards submissions and other proof of performance.
  • Communicate with listeners on story inquiries and tips as appropriate.

Outreach and Administrative Responsibilities:

  • Represent Illinois Public Media at speaking events, television appearances and other events.
  • Participate in fundraising activities, including on-air pitching during pledge drives, major giving pitches, and marketing activities on behalf of Illinois Public Media.
  • Complete quarterly issues reports and list of sources and guests as required.
  • Evaluate and approve purchases of newsgathering and editing equipment for staff.
  • Represent WILL/IPM to professional organizations, including PRNDI and INBA.
  • Ensure a successful internship program in cooperation with the College of Media and/or Parkland College.
  • Assist in budget planning, including identification and pursuit of funding for department initiatives, and manage spending according to the budget.

Position Requirements and Qualifications:


Required: Bachelor degree
Preferred: Bachelors or Master degree in journalism, communications or related field


Required: At least five years reporting experience. Previous managerial experience in a newsroom setting. Knowledge of/experience in audio production and editing. Experience writing for digital platforms, with active Twitter and Facebook presence.

Preferred: Experience in public media newsrooms

Training, Licenses or Certifications:

Required: Competency required in use of field recording equipment, digital audio editing equipment, web publishing platform and social media best practices.

Preferred: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Excellent writing/editing skills required.
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects/priorities, often on deadline.
  • Sound news judgment and ability to generate and edit factual, error-free copy quickly in breaking news situations.
  • Strong content editing/proofreading skills, including knowledge of AP style.
  • Ability to connect with and maintain relationships with diverse communities and staff.
  • Ability to meet strict deadlines.
  • Ability to work well with colleagues, partners and the public.
  • Extensive knowledge of journalistic ethics and libel laws.
  • Ability to abide by journalistic standards set by Public Radio News Directors Inc., the Radio-Television-Digital News Association and the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.
  • Must display abilities with digital editing, social media and online media.
  • Extensive familiarity with world, national, regional and local issues.
  • Familiarity with radio formats, public radio core values, program schedules and timing.
  • Ability to connect local, regional and national current events and issues in ways that are relevant to the audience.
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely for broadcast and web.
  • Ability to learn and comply with FCC rules, emergency alert system requirements, and severe weather coverage policies.
  • Ability to produce video content.

Application Procedures:

To ensure full consideration, complete applications must be submitted by July 22, 2019. 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. (