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Director of What Works Unit

Status: Closed

  • Employment

Organisation: International Fund for Public Interest Media

Deadline: 18/10/2023

Location: Paris, France or in one of IFPIM's focus regions

The International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM) is seeking an outstanding individual to lead learning for the organization. The ideal candidate will bring a deep understanding of the media development sector and deep networks in the media viability space.

Location: Preference for Paris, France or in one of IFPIM’s focus regions

The What Works Unit

The What Works Unit is a central component of IFPIM’s long-term strategy. Its core purpose will be to identify and disseminate approaches that can strengthen the economic resilience of independent media ecosystems and contribute to achieving higher public value for a diverse set of audiences. It will do so primarily by capturing and sharing learnings from IFPIM’s portfolio, investing in key pieces of research and knowledge resources, and convening opportunities for learnings to be shared between IFPIM and other information ecosystem actors, including media organizations in IFPIM’s focus regions.

The What Works Unit is meant to be rapid and agile in its learning focused on feeding practical guidance to both funders (itself and others) and media organizations in its focus regions, and capable of generating analysis from learnings over the short, medium, and long term. It is especially focused on adding value through (a) understanding which systemic approaches hold the most promise in creating a long-term enabling economic environment for public interest media and (b) facilitating the sharing of learnings between media organizations so that promising approaches and strategies can be adopted at scale.

The Role

The Director of the What Works Unit will lead IFPIM’s learning and research portfolio. The successful candidate will combine:

  • a deep understanding of the challenges of media development.
  • a record of leadership and imagination in responding to those challenges.
  • a proficiency and capacity to lead and develop a clear strategic approach to research and learning across IFPIM’s learning portfolios.
  • have excellent networks and contacts across the media development and related sectors sufficient to ensure that IFPIM’s work learns from, complements, and informs the best innovation and learning elsewhere in the sector and especially in IFPIM’s focus geographies.

The candidate will also need to show a commitment to and reputation for working as part of a team, the humility to learn from others and the confidence to experiment and innovate toward a long-term vision.

The Director of the What Works Unit will be responsible for:

  • The development of an agile, adaptive learning and evaluation architecture capable of rapidly learning from IFPIM grants across all our geographies, in collaboration with IFPIM’s Regional Directors.
  • Coaching and supporting IFPIM grantees in the development of their learning tools and frameworks and facilitating knowledge sharing between grantees.
  • Developing and publishing IFPIM’s point of view on key challenges facing the sector and the solutions that could address these.
  • Developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with academic and other research-focused institutions focusing entirely or in part on issues about public interest media.
  • Engaging and convening the media and media development sector to share learnings around experiments in media viability at both a media outlet level and a systemic level.
  • Evaluating IFPIM’s activities as a funder against its strategic objectives.
  • Led IFPIM’s research activities, including scoping and raising funds for a research budget that could be used for audience research, market research and the sector’s learning agenda.
  • Contributing to donor reporting around IFPIM’s learnings and programmatic activities (note that a different team will lead donor reporting submissions).
  • Actively contributing to the strategy, resource mobilization, and institutional development of IFPIM by sitting on its Executive Group.

The Director will report to the CEO and will have the opportunity to hire at least one direct report.

Candidate profile 

Required experience:

  • Minimum 7+ years of relevant experience in media development or a field closely related to it;
  • Proven capacity to commission and manage a complex research and learning portfolio and proven capability in interpreting and communicating research findings;
  • Outstanding network and ability to network across multiple media development and other relevant areas with a particularly strong network in the geographies focused on by IFPIM;
  • Ability to command credibility, respect and attention and to communicate with a diversity of policy, donor, media and media development audiences;
  • Strong commitment to public interest journalism;
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues in other regional centres and headquarters;
  • Entrepreneurial mindset, with a willingness to contribute to the creation of a new institution and to operate in contexts with possible high levels of uncertainty.
  • Ability to develop and manage partnerships with a variety of stakeholders globally, in particular media organizations, but also media development actors, technology companies, civil society organizations and governments.


Postgraduate degree in a field relevant to IFPIM


The working language of IFPIM will be English. IFPIM HQ will be physically located in Paris and French is strongly desirable. Additional languages are an asset.

Contact Information

Please submit your CV and a short cover letter explaining (with examples) why you are a suitable candidate via the Bamboo HR applicant portal.

Please note that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Apply here.

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