The Head of Digital Strategy (HDS) leads the development of digital and social media strategies for RFE/RL. This role sits on the Editorial Board of RFE/RL and as such will play a significant role in shaping the future priorities and direction of the entire News Division. We are looking for a dynamic, collaborative digital thinker who can help RFE/RL reach and grow audiences across our target geographies with dramatically varying degrees of internet penetration and access. The ideal candidate will have proven leadership experience in a digital media environment with a strong understanding of standards, trends, and innovations in the digital information space. You will be committed to RFE/RL’s mission to inform, connect, and engage with its audiences by providing uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.
The incumbent provides guidance on content produced across digital platforms, including the reporting and editing of text, video, and graphics for social media, web sites, microsites, and emerging platforms. The HDS works closely with the News Division and the Office of the President to achieve maximum coordination on digital strategy and use research data to set growth targets for audience size and engagement. S/he is expected to advise the News Division on proper skill sets and staffing for an increasingly digitized workforce. S/he will lead innovation in the development of new platforms and digital tools and is responsible for staying abreast of the latest trends in digital media in RFE/RL’s highly specific and vulnerable markets.
The HDS leads overall marketing and promotional strategies for social media platforms to ensure that RFE/RL’s strategic goals and objectives are advanced and implemented evenly throughout the company. The HDS coordinates with Technology, Corporate Security, and the head of Internet Security to ensure the protection of RFE/RL’s publishing systems and to respond rapidly and innovatively to site blockages, malware, cyberattacks, and other publication and distribution challenges. The HDS also defines digital priorities and cooperates closely with stakeholders across all divisions to develop and implement needed and approved changes. Together with Marketing & Evaluation and Senior Management in both the News Division and the Office of the President, you will use digital diagnostics to explore areas for potential audience growth as well as streamline output with the aim of advancing RFE/RL’s evolution into a sustainable and nimble digital-first media organization. You will also work on reinforcing RFE/RL’s brand in the digital space across different target countries and platforms.
Are you the right candidate?
The successful candidate will have leadership experience in a digital role within a media organization, with the proven ability to lead new ways of thinking about the 21st-century newsroom. You will have a strong understanding of not only digital tools, but also the information needs and popular ingest paths of audiences in RFE/RL’s target countries, as well as a strong respect for RFE/RL’s news values, and the foresight to anticipate both challenges and opportunities in rapidly evolving markets. Experience in observing budgetary parameters and managing transitions in large multicultural teams will be useful for the incumbent, as well as a vision for implementing accurate performance indicators for digital platforms.
Responsibilities (Managerial & Strategic):
- Develops digital strategies across all RFE/RL social media platforms; actively seeks to improve content quality and delivery methods while remaining mindful of RFE/RL mission to engage, inform, and connect with audiences to promote democratic values.
- Serves as RFE/RL’s primary focal point for external engagement with civil society, the private sector, and partner institutions related to digital strategy and best practices
- Together with News Division, the Office of the President, and senior management, helps set forward-looking programming strategy for RFE/RL target markets, including advising on appropriate staffing and training to ensure maximum digital skill sets across teams.
- Works closely with digital content producers, web, and digital teams across RFE/RL to guide and support their work, increasing staff knowledge and best practices in terms of digital storytelling and customization of content on current and emerging platforms.
- Works with digital technology and development teams to coordinate on News Division programming goals and to ensure all digital development meets highest industry standards.
- Works closely with Training team to develop digital training strategies and on-boarding program for new Prague- and bureau-based staff.
- Ensures proper targeting segmentation and strategies for marketing campaigns are defined. Oversees innovative ways to market content on social media platforms.
- Manages content solutions for special news reports, projects, and microsites. Advises various digital stakeholders during critical breaking news events and other special coverage.
- Leads and mentors innovation projects within digital teams while upholding security of RFE/RL’s content management systems and editorial guidelines.
- Helps provide rapid-reaction coordination on alternate delivery strategies in situations where sites or platforms are blocked.
- Together with brand managers, graphic designers, and technical development teams, develops look and feel of RFE/RL digital properties, including web, social, and mobile.
- Reviews analytic data to identify opportunities and tactics; participates in annual content evaluations and strategy sessions with the aim of setting targets for growth.
- Higher education (Bachelor’s degree) or comparable work experience in communications, digital journalism, internet development, or related field.
- At least seven years of progressive experience in digital journalism production in a global news organization spanning multiple geographies, preferably RFE/RL target regions.
- Experience overseeing editorial planning, writing, editing, and production in western-standard or otherwise independent news organization.
- Team management skills strongly preferred.
- Outstanding understanding of journalistic and editorial processes.
- Strong sense of news judgment, pace, and an eye for detail.
- Excellent communication, negotiation, and leadership skills.
- Demonstrated history of mentoring and training journalists; ability to share knowledge, lead, and motivate teams.
- Creative thinking; ability to generate and execute new ideas and concepts.
- Proven track record of producing creative, innovative news content for the web.
- Practical working knowledge of digital media technology and command of digital operations and workflow.
- Demonstrated leadership, strategic vision, and understanding of tactical planning, setting short- and long-term plans with defined goals, roles, priorities, and timelines.
- Knowledge of digital and social media analytics, understanding of KPIs, audience stats, competitive landscape, SEO and HTML.
- Understanding of visual graphics, including infographics and video production, a plus.
- Broad knowledge – acquired through study, research, writing, travel, or other relevant experience -- of RFE/RL geographies, political, economic, and social situations in the broadcast area and internationally.
- Excellent writing and exceptional ability to identify content for social/digital media dissemination.
- Ability to adapt to and work effectively within a variety of situations, with diverse personalities and teams. Flexibility entails: understanding and appreciating different and opposing perspectives on an issue; adapting one’s approach as the requirements of a situation change; and changing or easily accepting changes in one’s own organization or job requirements.
- Demonstrated project management and teambuilding skills, with the ability to persuade and inspire others.
- First-language level proficiency in English
- Proficiency in Russian or other RFE/RL target language strongly preferred
Should you be interested in this position please apply by submitting your CV and a cover letter in English.