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‘What Works’ Unit Manager

Status: Open

  • Employment

Organisation: International Fund for Public Interest Media

Deadline: Ongoing

Location: Paris, France or Africa and the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, or Latin America and the Caribbean (Remote)

The International Fund for Public Interest Media is seeking an outstanding individual to support the Director of What Works. The ideal candidate will bring a deep technical understanding of monitoring, evaluation, and learning and knowledge of independent media or another sector in the international development sphere.

The Challenge

Around the world, public interest media face fundamentally challenging conditions, from deteriorating business models because of declining revenue to the worrying rise of government crackdowns on journalists. In particular, the evolution of digital advertising has severely hampered traditional funding models for journalism. These existential challenges were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic which, for many communities, represented a “media extinction event.

Public interest media is particularly endangered in low- and middle-income countries, where media infrastructure is most fragile and audience engagement has decoupled from advertising revenue. As news outlets struggle to stay afloat, media ecosystems begin to collapse — an outcome linked to increased corruption, conflict, violent extremism, and human-caused disasters like famines and epidemics. Now more than ever, public interest media is a key pillar of democracy, good governance, and sustainable development.

A  feasibility study conducted by BBC Media Action showed that an International Fund for Public Interest Media would be an effective vehicle for bolstering public interest media, especially in low- and middle-income regions in the next decade or two, until new business models can be developed to address challenges faced by both individual news outlets and entire media ecosystems. The International Fund has received extensive political support and seed funding, including at the December 2021 Summit for Democracy, organized by President Biden, and at the November 2022 Paris Peace Forum, where it announced an agreement with the French government to establish its headquarters in Paris with a status akin to an International Organization.

The What Works Unit

The What Works Unit is a central component of the International Fund’s long-term strategy. Its core purpose will be to identify and disseminate information about 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 developing a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that is both systematic and flexible, with the aim of capturing and sharing learning and impact from across the International Fund’s portfolio, investing in key pieces of research and knowledge resources, and organizing convenings and other opportunities for learnings to be shared between the International Fund and other information ecosystem actors, including media organizations in the International Fund’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 as well as on analyzing learnings over the short, medium, and long term. It is especially focused on adding value through (a) understanding which systemic approaches hold 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

Reporting to the Director of What Works, the What Works Unit Manager will support the building of the International Fund’s learning and research portfolio. In particular, the successful candidate will:

  • Develop a deep understanding of the International Fund’s monitoring, evaluation, and learning plans as they continue to evolve;
  • Work with regional teams to develop monitoring, evaluation, and learning frameworks at the regional level and across the International Fund’s impact goals, as well as for individual grantees
  • Commission and evaluate research that allows the International Fund to robustly measure its impact;
  • Proactively tell the story of the International Fund’s portfolio through producing concise, high-quality reports, articles, and case studies that incorporate complex and nuanced social, political, and economic analysis;
  • Support the Director of What Works and the Executive Group to evaluate the International Fund’s own activities as a funder against its strategic objectives;
  • Contribute significantly to donor reporting around the International Fund’s learnings and programmatic activities (note that a different team will lead donor reporting submissions);
  • Support the International Fund’s research activities, including scoping and preparing proposals for additional research funds that could be used for audience research, market research, and the sector’s learning agenda;
  • Support the Director of What Works in engaging with and convening the media and media development sector to share learnings from experiments in media viability at both an outlet and a systems level;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to working as part of a team, the humility to learn from others, and the confidence to experiment and innovate toward a long-term vision.

Desired Profile

  • 5+ years of relevant experience in monitoring, evaluation, and learning in media development or a field closely related to it;
  • Strong track record in designing a range of research methodologies including surveys and questionnaires, conducting interviews, and commissioning research partners to collect data;
  • Excellent knowledge of qualitative and quantitative data collection and evaluation techniques and frameworks and in identifying key performance indicators (KPIs);
  • Familiarity with audience research protocols;
  • Experience working on projects and with teams in low- and middle- income countries;
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues across a range of time zones and functional areas;
  • Proficiency in data management tools and systems and ability to manage and maintain complex datasets, ensuring data security and integrity;
  • Experience managing a complex research and learning portfolio and proven capability in interpreting and communicating research findings;
  • Outstanding network within the MEL field and up-to-date knowledge in best practices in MEL methodologies and tools;
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills, particularly through writing narrative case studies and summarizing research findings in a compelling manner;
  • Ability to manage partnerships with a variety of global stakeholders, in particular media organizations, but also media development actors, technology companies, civil society organizations, and governments;
  • Excellent attention to detail and strong project management skills for planning and executing MEL activities, including setting timelines, allocating resources, and coordinating with team members;


  • A postgraduate degree in a field relevant to the International Fund would be an asset.


  • The International Fund’s working language is English. Knowledge of French and Spanish would be 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. Only applications submitted via the BambooHR applicant portal will be reviewed.

Learn more here and apply.

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