Code for Africa (CfA) has an immediate vacancy for a full-time Managing Editor to steer its new pan-African StoryLab, which co-produces hard-hitting and award-winning multimedia storytelling in partnership with leading African newsrooms and other global media.

The role would preferably be based at any of CfA’s StoryLab’s primary hubs in Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa. CfA has full-time staff in 21 African countries, and is therefore also open to exceptional applicants from elsewhere on the continent.

Candidates must have demonstrable experience in leading high-impact newsrooms, with visionary agenda-setting and robust technical news production skills, and proven success at shaping creative editorial initiatives.

Candidates with a track-record for identifying and nurturing emerging storytellers will have an advantage.

The role will be for an English-speaking managing editor. Proficiency in local African languages and any additional international languages, such as Arabic/French, will be a plus.

The StoryLab is the virtual newsroom for CfA’s Data Academy, which spearheads digital storytelling initiatives and data journalism training partnerships. It also includes CfA communities such as the WanaDatawomen 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 Data Academy 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 StoryLab will be supported by CfA’s larger pan-African network of full-time data analysts, digital designers and newsroom mentors/trainers, with additional support from CfA’s software engineering and forensic research teams in 21 countries across the continent.

Required minimum requirements include:

  • Demonstrable newsroom leadership skills honed during at least seven years in a mainstream media or equivalent digital publishing environment.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills and demonstrable aptitude for nurturing young talent, and drawing out the best in emerging voices.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills which will help set benchmarks for world-class editorial standards.
  • Robust critical thinking and creative solution aptitudes, with strong research and investigative skills.
  • Proven track-record for creative problem solving in fast-paced and impact-driven environments, where solutions involve balancing human and technology considerations.
  • Demonstrable ability to self-manage, creating your own as well as wider team timelines and milestones with clear systems/processes.
  • A solid understanding of journalistic production systems and workflow methodologies, including how to integrate multimedia and digital storytelling techniques, built around actionable information, to create compelling storytelling.
  • Digital workplace skill sets, including proficiency in collaborative work solutions such as Google Drive (Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc.), Slack (or equivalents such as Teams), and project management tools like Trello (or equivalents).

The successful candidate will work with CfA’s executive committee (ExCo) to transform the organisation’s existing editorial resources into a centralised virtual StoryLab newsroom, to drive pioneering digital journalism projects across the continent.

While the StoryLab will focus on digital and data-driven multimedia reportage, the managing editor’s core ‘superpowers’ will be compelling storytelling and high-impact journalism, as well as building and managing winning teams, rather than just digital expertise. CfA has a strong technical team to support the data/digital aspects of the StoryLab’s mission.

The managing editor’s core team will include a digital-savvy deputy editor, at least two full-time copyeditors, and a number of veteran ‘beat’ or topic editors managing thematic desks focused on everything from health emergencies and gender inequality, to religious extremism and state capture, as well as our ‘Dominion’ portfolio of climate and land-focused projects.

Collaborative field reporting will be undertaken by CfA’s network of 50+ mainstream newsroom partners across the continent, our affiliated innovation partners such as the Oxpeckers Centre and InfoNile, as well as selected journalism fellows from CfA’s WanaData network of 450+ women data scientists/storytellers. The resulting stories will be published by networks of African and global media partners, including major European and North American media.

Journalism projects will be underpinning by sophisticated data/digital resources, such as CfA’s OUTBREAK toolkit for tackling health emergencies, or by support from its in-house investigative forensic research lab, its network of fact-checkers in 13 African countries or its AI/machine learning research team at CivicSignal.

The role will require a combination of editorial agenda/vision-setting skills and charisma, as well as robust journalistic storytelling talent, and strong people/systems management skills to ensure that all the moving pieces sync into polished story packages, on deadline and within budget.

The successful candidate will need to be a culture fit with CfA, and must have a passion for co-creating solutions-driven products, through visual/multimedia storytelling that offers audiences actionable insights or information, underpinned by evidence-based investigative analysis. The candidate must also embrace peer-mentoring, nurturing both their team and partners through collaborative co-production

Key performance indicators will include setting and maintaining international-level editorial standards; growing an award-winning multidisciplinary editorial team; meeting editorial targets and production deadlines; mentoring and growing a pan-African network of reporting partners/journalists.

Find more details here.