Free Press is hiring a
Free Press and Free Press Action work to amplify the voices of people and communities in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what’s actually happening in their communities. We work at the intersection of media and technology to strengthen our democracy.
The national field director for Free Press’ Journalism and Civic Media program is here to win meaningful state policy change in support of a robust civic media environment. With more policymakers searching for solutions to ensure that the public has access to quality news and information, there is a huge opportunity to create real changes to local media systems. The director will oversee a nationally coordinated, multi-state campaign to pass public policies that transform local news and create equitable access to civic information.
The director will be responsible for developing and implementing campaign strategies and tactics; leading, managing and supporting field organizers, campaigners, advocates and consultants; and creating durable power and infrastructure at the local level to secure new policies that strengthen local news and support civic-media models. They will have a deep grasp of how to execute field organizing strategies, equitably build coalitions, manage relationships with lawmakers and staff, and mobilize people to change the hearts and minds of policymakers and the public.
The national field director works in close partnership with the entire Journalism and Civic Media program team and in close coordination with our policy, communications, and advocacy teams to create high-impact campaigns, shape public debates and win policy changes. They coordinate with coalition partners and strategic allies to maximize available resources and build our capacity to challenge well-financed opposition.
The director is responsible for promoting Free Press and the Journalism and Civic Media program and providing thought leadership in the journalism, civic engagement, progressive, and public policy space. This includes speaking with the media, presenting to lawmakers and at conferences, and writing about the program and its learnings.
The national field director reports to the senior director, journalism and civic information. This job requires flexibility in work schedule, generally aligning to the U.S. East Coast hours and is remote within the U.S.; working out of our Washington, DC office is also an option. The position may require evening and weekend work, especially to handle rapid-response needs. Frequent domestic travel, including multi-day trips, is expected.
This is a fixed term two-year position with continuance dependent on funding and other strategic considerations.
Free Press is composed of two separate organizations, Free Press and Free Press Action Fund. Both entities share the same overall mission and employees will have time assigned to one or both entities. This job description refers collectively to the two organizations as “Free Press.”
Direct national field program for civic media: Directs and oversees the development and execution of Free Press’ journalism and civic media field organizing strategy. In consultation with internal and external stakeholders, develops goals, strategies, and tactics for multiple state campaigns.
Campaign staff management: Provide support and guidance for campaign staff on the Journalism and Civic Media team, Free Press colleagues collaborating on campaign efforts, and project consultants. Help set work priorities, roles and responsibilities, and ensure tactical execution. Promote leadership development of staff, give space and support for growth, and work with staff to identify opportunities for professional development and organizational advancement.
Coalition engagement: Represent Free Press in networks and coalitions to advance short- and long-term campaign goals. Identify, analyze, prioritize and pursue opportunities to develop relationships with local and national allies, as well as leaders of key public institutions and policymakers.
Policy tracking and advocacy: Track local, state, and national policies that focus on journalism/local news, and identify opportunities to engage in advocacy campaigns to pass legislation to better serve community information needs. Coordinate and collaborate with Free Press policy team to evaluate legislative language and opportunities.
Leading and learning: Stay up to date on the latest trends in journalism, civic engagement, and public policy, to help inform campaign strategies, coalition-building and to articulate the value of people-power to transform local news. Implement strategies, technologies and best practices by regularly communicating with allies, newsrooms and campaigners, attending conferences and trainings as needed, and reporting back to Free Press program staff. Speak to media and allies about the Journalism and Civic Media program.
Advocacy and lobbying: Promote Free Press’ mission and policy positions through correspondence and meetings with policymakers and staff at the local, state, and federal level. Prepare and/or deliver testimony for legislative and regulatory proceedings, letters for the legislative record and other policy analysis to educate policymaker staff on our issues. Remain compliant with lobbying regulations at all levels.
Communicate policy positions — from highly technical to very general — to a wide range of audiences, including staff and allies, government decision-makers, press, and the general public. Participate in press briefings and assist with press releases and other public communications
Advance race equity: Clearly and consistently articulate an understanding of racial equity and structural racism and the centrality of this analysis to the policy work Free Press does and how we operate. Integrate that knowledge into work projects and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities and decisions on race, class, gender and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.
Cross-team collaboration: Engage, through a consultative approach primarily with policy and campaign staff, to address media and technology policy interventions; contribute to formulation of policy and campaign strategy. Encourage cross-team collaboration and contribute to strategic alignment through communication and engagement with internal teams.
Demonstrated ability to manage details, solve problems, and follow through on assignments with minimal supervision
Must have a commitment to racial equity and experience working with communities of color
Must be able to adapt or modify plans, timelines or processes in response to rapidly changing circumstances and opportunities
Clear communication skills essential; strong public speaking skills desired
Ability to work effectively with people at all levels, including staff, consultants, colleagues, legislators, volunteers, members/constituents, and the general public.
Must be confident, outgoing, courteous, and professional in all written and verbal communications
Demonstrated ability to be entrusted with sensitive information and conduct daily activities with the utmost professionalism and integrity
Must be a creative self-starter, able to work independently and with limited oversight to accomplish agreed upon objectives and to evaluate results
Must be able to remain positive, tactful and composed under pressure
Must be a team player with a low-ego approach to collaboration with both internal and external colleagues
Must be able to develop and maintain relationships with a wide range of external organizations
Must demonstrate excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills
Fluency in Spanish and/or languages other than English is a plus
Must value and respect differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstance
Dedication to Free Press’ mission of fighting for everyone’s rights to connect and communicate, in addition to the overall success of the organization.
Experience and Qualifications:
Covid - 19 Safety:
All Free Press employees must be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or have an approved medical or religious/ethical/moral accommodation.
Free Press is committed to offering competitive pay and generous benefits, including
This position is categorized as a “career level 3 - director” position, in the context of five classifications at Free Press, ranging from coordinator to executive.
The starting salary at Free Press for a national director who meets the above qualifications is $80,000 - $90,000. Starting salary is based on the selected candidate’s qualifications and experience. To counter pay inequality and uphold internal parity, we use a nonnegotiable starting salary system, while benchmarking our pay to competitive markets in the nonprofit sector.
Free Press is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
We value excellence and diversity in our workforce. People of color, women, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, gender-nonconforming and formerly incarcerated individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.
If you meet some of the qualifications above, we encourage you to apply or to reach out for more information. We know groups subjected to systemic oppression– including people of color, women, people from working class backgrounds, and people who identify as LGBTQ – are less likely to apply unless and until they meet every requirement for a job. Therefore, we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other communities who are marginalized.
How to apply:
Complete our online application. Fully answering the application questions is an important part of the application process; 4-5 sentences in response to each question will help us understand your thinking.
Our hiring process includes an initial 20-30 minute interview with one staff person, one or two hour-long interviews with 3-4 staff members, and reference checks after the final interview.
We provide reasonable accommodations for the application, interview, or any other aspect of the employee selection process to applicants with disabilities. Please email email@example.com to request an accommodation.
Applications submitted by January 30, 2024 will be reviewed with priority; applications submitted after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis. This search will remain open until the position is filled. The ideal candidate will be available to begin work in March 2024.