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Friday, January 22, 2021

We’re hiring for Winter 2021

The Western Front

Hi everyone!

I’m Izzie Lund, and I will be The Western Front’s winter quarter editor-in-chief. My managing editor, Kaleigh Carroll, and I are thrilled for winter quarter and already have some ideas for how we can improve the publication’s coverage and role in the community. In order to do that, we will need a creative and ambitious editing team who are dedicated to helping The Front produce ethical, accurate and engaging news that serves our community. 

The Front is a publication committed to hiring and supporting people with diverse experiences, and I want to encourage everyone even remotely interested in working for us to apply. Prior editing and journalism experience will help you in your position, but is not required. If you are willing to learn and passionate about improving the publication, I would love to see your application! We are looking for candidates who can get their reporting teams organized in the first week and get up to speed with AP and Western Front style by the second week. This may seem daunting if you don’t have experience, but many first-time editors have come in without this experience and been successful.

We will use Slack and AirTable to coordinate our communication, teams and editing, but will train people in how to use it after they are hired. Most editors will be expected to attend editors’ meetings (time TBD) and team meetings at 3:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. These meetings will be held on Zoom. Editorial training will be on Jan. 4 from noon to 5 p.m. If you apply for an editing position, you must be available for training that day. 

Interviews will be scheduled with times to be determined depending on applications submitted. Applications will be anonymized and forwarded to the winter editors, Izzie Lund and Kaleigh Carroll, who are responsible for hiring staff. We use anonymity to reduce implicit bias in our hiring process. We will also be using this rubric to choose our candidates after interviews. More information on how to apply can be found at the end of this document.

I am looking to fill the following editor positions (pay rate is the 2021 minimum wage: $13.69/hour): 

Section editors 

These positions are available for credit OR for pay. I highly recommend taking these positions for credit if you can; the way The Front’s class is structured, you’ll be leading a team of in-class reporters and they need your guidance, which can be difficult to arrange if you’re not in class. While we strongly encourage you to take these jobs for credit if you can, we also want to make it clear that this will not be a factor in our hiring process and will not impact your chances at getting the job. 

City news (12 hours per week): 

This editor will be responsible for a city news beat team in class (hence the suggestion to take the position for credit), with the goal of building a group of specialized reporters who are intimately familiar with this beat. This position will focus on covering breaking news, Bellingham’s government systems — such as City Council, County Council, court watch and court dates — as well as community organizations, the Bellingham School District, local environmental stories and stories related to the Nooksack and Lummi nations. To lead reporting teams effectively while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational, leadership and collaboration skills. Job responsibilities include hosting biweekly meetings for the city news team, being available to answer questions from reporters and doing the first round of article edits on assigned slot days. This editor needs to be able to quickly edit and publish breaking news and briefs.

Campus news (12 hours per week): 

This editor will be responsible for a campus news beat team in class (hence the suggestion to take the position for credit), with the goal of building a group of specialized reporters who are intimately familiar with this beat. This editor will be expected to be on top of stories regarding Western’s administration, the faculty union and senate, Board of Trustees, AS government and breaking news on campus (i.e. Western Alerts). The idea is to build familiarity with the faculty senate and various committees as well as the main players in administrative policy and those who influence day-to-day life at Western, as well as student and faculty research. To lead reporting teams effectively while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational, leadership and collaboration skills. Job responsibilities include hosting biweekly meetings for the campus news team, being available to answer questions from reporters and doing the first round of article edits on assigned slot days. This editor needs to be able to quickly edit and publish breaking news and briefs. 

Curiosity desk: Bellingham (12 hours per week): 

This editor will be responsible for a city curiosity beat team in class (hence the suggestion to take the position for credit), with the goal of building a group of specialized reporters who are intimately familiar with this beat. The curiosities editor will be in charge of delegating and editing stories having to do with the art, music and culture scene in Bellingham. This includes keeping up with new business openings, local event calendars, covering the local art and music scene and cultural activities in Bellingham, as well as local residents with interesting stories to tell. Stories that fall under this beat will include profiles, long-form features, events coverage and all interesting stories in Bellingham and Whatcom County that aren’t hard news. To lead reporting teams effectively while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational, leadership and collaboration skills. Job responsibilities include hosting biweekly meetings for the city curiosity team, being available to answer questions from reporters and doing the first round of article edits on assigned slot days.

Curiosity desk: Campus (12 hours per week): 

This editor will be responsible for a campus curiosity beat team in class (hence the suggestion to take the position for credit), with the goal of building a group of specialized reporters who are intimately familiar with this beat. This editor will handle events on campus and stories related to student life (i.e. student-run events, club events, visitor presenters, etc.) as well as all interesting campus stories that aren’t hard news. This editor will look for stories that demonstrate what

Western students are involved in and highlight the unique cultures around campus. This position requires outreach to underserved groups on campus. To lead reporting teams effectively while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational, leadership and collaboration skills. Job responsibilities include hosting biweekly meetings for the campus curiosity team, being available to answer questions from reporters and doing the first round of article edits on assigned slot days.

Sports (12 hours per week): 

This editor will be responsible for a sports beat team in class (hence the suggestion to take the position for credit), with the goal of building a group of specialized reporters who are intimately familiar with this beat. The sports editor will need to have familiarity with contacts within the Athletic department and will assign stories ranging from game coverage to sports fundraisers, intramural sports and athlete profiles. To lead reporting teams effectively while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational, leadership and collaboration skills. Job responsibilities include hosting biweekly meetings for the sports team, being available to answer questions from reporters and doing the first round of article edits on assigned slot days.

Opinion (5 hours per week): 

The opinions editor is responsible for writing an original opinion piece that represents the Front’s official position on issues that affect students and the community each week, requiring them to have critical thinking skills and a flexible writing style. The subjects for those editorials and the positions taken must be approved by the EIC and ME, who are the other two members of the Western Front’s editorial board. This editor needs to attend biweekly editor meetings. In addition, the opinions editor will lead a smaller team of reporters to produce researched and reported opinion pieces each week. These could be thematic or individually developed. To lead reporting teams effectively while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational, leadership and collaboration skills. Job responsibilities include hosting biweekly meetings for the opinions team, being available to answer questions from reporters and doing the first round of article edits on assigned slot days. The opinions editor will also be responsible for reaching out to departments, clubs and community organizations to solicit letters to the editor. Candidates for opinions editor will need to submit a cover letter, resume and three samples of work to odonove@wwu.edu by Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 11:59 p.m. Two of these clips must be op-eds or persuasive essays with a call to action. More information about applications can be found at the end of this document. 

Other Editor Positions

Social media/Online (12 hours per week): 

The online editor is responsible for making sure there is plenty of new content on our social media (we use Hootsuite to manage our FB, Twitter and Instagram accounts) every day. This requires them to be in touch with section editors, and know which content is ready to go online, to think about how to present stories to spark engagement/conversation on specific platforms, and an understanding of basic concepts of digital strategy like A/B testing. (We recommend this free course from The Poynter Institute.) To effectively run The Western Front’s social media while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational, creative and collaboration skills. This editor will publish tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts, manage the social media calendar and keep track of data analytics for the website. We want to be able to add multimedia elements to our stories, so having design and graphics skills and ideas for improving the website are strongly recommended! You will receive training on all aspects of your job.

Copy (2) (8 hours per week):

Copy editors are the last line of defense before publishing and need to have a strong understanding of AP and Western Front style as well as strong fact-checking skills. These editors will edit and fact-check stories as they come in every day. These editors must be available to edit stories as they become ready to post online. The copy editors will publish content on our website once it is ready. 

Photo (12 hours per week): 

The photo editor is responsible for managing photographers and coordinating photo needs with both reporters and editors. They must be comfortable with photo editing software and posting high-resolution photos to WordPress and the FacShare folder. The photo editor will manage The Front’s archived photos. To coordinate effectively with the staff photographer while still functioning as a part of the newsroom team, candidates should be able to demonstrate clear organizational and collaboration skills. Strong photography and video skills are required. Strong candidates will also be comfortable with creating more visual presentations that are not just photography, such as infographics, timelines, etc. Candidates for photo editor will need to submit a cover letter, resume and five to 10 samples of work to odonove@wwu.edu by Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 11:59 p.m. More information about applications can be found at the end of this document. 

Other positions 

**These may only be taken for pay!**

Illustrator (1) (4 hours per week):

This is a freelance-style position. Illustrators will coordinate with the photo editor, editor-in-chief and managing editor about visual needs each week, and draw visuals to accompany select stories on our website. Candidates for illustrator will need to submit a cover letter, resume and five to 10 samples of work to odonove@wwu.edu by Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 11:59 p.m. More information about applications can be found at the end of this document. 

If you are interested in any of these positions, please send a combined Word Document (.doc) or PDF that includes a short cover letter, resume, and either three examples of your work OR a statement of editorial experience and your point of view on team leadership to odonove@wwu.edu by Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 11:59 p.m. If you are a photographer or illustrator candidate, please submit a cover letter, resume and five to 10 work samples. If you are applying to be the opinions editor, please submit at least two op-eds or persuasive essays that include a call to action. Applications will be anonymized and forwarded to the winter editors, Izzie Lund and Kaleigh Carroll, who are responsible for hiring staff. We use anonymity to reduce implicit bias in our hiring process. We will also be using this rubric to choose our candidates after interviews.

Please include in your cover letter which position you are interested in and whether you would prefer to edit for pay or credit. Please include only one role in your cover letter, but if you are interested in multiple positions you can list your other choices in the body of the email you send to odonove@wwu.edu with ONE file that contains your entire application, including cover letter. We will also ask you at the end of your interview if you are interested in other roles besides the one you applied for.

Candidates should expect to take a diagnostic editing test (which will be more extensive for those applying for the copy editor positions), and be prepared to explain the four principles of the SPJ Code of Ethics. Please read the SPJ Code of Ethics and The Western Front Style Guide prior to your interview. 

Please email me at izzielund.westernfront@gmail.com if you have any questions! I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish this winter.

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