PBS is a private, nonprofit corporation, founded in 1969, whose members are America’s public TV stations -- noncommercial, educational licensees that operate 350 PBS member stations.
The Public Editor is the public’s direct connection to PBS when questions arise regarding broadcast and digital programming that appears on PBS. The Public Editor will examine matters of editorial integrity, journalism, and production practice. (S)he will offer an objective perspective when responding to complaints or questions. The position is independent from PBS, and reports directly to the organization’s President & CEO.
Public media has a complex system of production responsibilities that is dependent on many sources: independent producers, member stations, and PBS itself. The Public Editor will ensure that the ultimate consumer — the broadcast or digital viewer — is well-served by the content and presentation of PBS programming with respect to issues of disclosure, fairness, and accuracy. (S)he will review the public’s inquiries and complaints about broadcast and online content, determine an appropriate response, and serve as an impartial arbiter.
Essential duties will include, but are not limited to:
- Serve as independent observer and representative of viewers, playing no internal role at PBS, through assessing and publicly reporting on PBS’ adherence to journalistic ethics and standards.
- Develop, communicate, and uphold the highest standards of editorial integrity and journalistic ethics; hold PBS accountable to its own published editorial standards and policies.
- Connect PBS’ audience to PBS, providing a forum for audience viewpoints and serving as an impartial arbiter on behalf of the public. This includes reviewing the public’s inquiries and complaints about broadcast and online content; determining appropriate, objective responses and ensuring that responses are sent in a timely matter; and based on public response, independently determine if other content should be examined.
- Research, write, edit and publish online Public Editor columns regarding findings on specific issues, responses to viewer comments, and matters of journalistic ethics and standards, particularly those pertaining to content found on PBS programs, websites, applications, etc.; clearly maintain independence so as not to speak as a spokesperson for PBS.
- Attend public television conferences; maintain outside relationships with other organizations in matters related to journalistic integrity.
- Track and analyze the Public Editor’s website statistics, including preparing monthly reports
Requirements for success:
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field
- 10 years of newsroom/academic journalism experience, ideally at the national level,
- Significant experience with digital media, including experience in web publishing and using web analytics software
- Experience vetting, editing, and reviewing stories and/or programming on a wide range of issues
- An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered
- Proven track record of journalistic excellence and the highest standards of professional ethics and personal integrity
- Demonstrated record of strong leadership, and exceptional record/reputation for journalistic ethics and personal integrity
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Diplomatic, thoughtful temperament that will earn the respect and trust of the public and the PBS staff
- Consistently demonstrates respect for inclusion, diversity, and ethics
- Strong organizational skills with the ability to manage overlapping deadlines
- Ability to handle conflict situations and pressure
- Ability to utilize web publishing and analytics software
- Media-savvy about broadcast, online, mobile and social media, with a strong understanding of how different digital platforms are being used to consume content
- Ability to stay current in requisite skills, especially in the digital space
- Understanding of the public media system
PBS is an Equal Opportunity Employer of Minorities, Women, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities
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