Editor I, NPR Music

Washington, D.C.

2 weeks ago

Job Details Description OVERVIEW

A thriving, mission-driven multimedia organization, NPR produces award-winning news, information, and music programming in partnership with hundreds of independent public radio stations across the nation. The NPR audience values information, creativity, curiosity, and social responsibility – and our employees do too. We are innovators and leaders in diverse fields, from journalism and digital media to IT and development. Every day, our employees and member stations touch the lives of millions worldwide.

Across our organization, we’re building a workplace where collaboration is essential, diverse voices are heard, and inclusion is the key to our success.


NPR Music is looking for an experienced editor to help guide our coverage of hip-hop and R&B. The employee in this position will play a key role in NPR’s coverage of these genres across a range of formats including written criticism and reporting, radio and podcasting and playlist and Tiny Desk curation. We are looking for a journalist who knows what makes a story effective in any of these platforms and how to match an idea to the form for which it is the best fit. The editor will work closely alongside NPR Music’s team of editors and writers to maintain high journalistic ethics and factual accuracy. They will help to plan and coordinate coverage, pitch and take pitches from staff, build relationships with freelance writers and report and write stories for the web, radio, social media and other platforms.

The ideal candidate has a deep personal relationship with and historical knowledge of hip-hop and R&B as well as an acute curiosity about how these genres have shifted – and continue to evolve. It is essential to approach these genres not simply as styles of music but as a complex and many-faceted embodiment of culture. We are looking for a journalist with their eyes and ears on the ways in which Black music underscores, embodies or succumbs to dynamics of race and structural inequity within politics, economics, gender, industry, colonialism, technology and other landscapes of power. This editor will help us find what’s next, and will help us bring artists’ voices to a large platform alongside musicians from many other genres and styles. We are looking for someone who knows their own taste but can look beyond it to tell thoughtful, compelling stories about artists whose voices reflect urgent issues for themselves and their communities, large or small, and their moment.

We are looking for someone who has an inclusive approach to their work, is committed to finding and featuring voices that reflect a range of perspectives and experiences and has the confidence and judgment to approach difficult subjects with sensitivity and an open ear. Ability to collaborate and clearly communicate is required as the editor will partner with colleagues across the organization and act as a mentor to more junior staff. The editor will work alongside experts in other genres across NPR Music to support ongoing coverage as well as special editorial and curatorial packages. The job requires a 40-hour per week commitment that includes occasional evenings and some holidays.

  • Share responsibility for editorial integrity of NPR Music’s coverage of hip-hop and R&B
  • Collaborate with a team of editors, writers and producers on planning and story development
  • Think strategically about NPR’s hip-hop and R&B coverage and contribute to group discussions and provide input for longer-term decisions
  • Think strategically about audience development and help to execute a strategy
  • Ensure editorial and technical quality of each story
  • Take pitches, make assignments and set deadlines in coordination with senior leadership
  • Edit and publish stories of different types across platforms with minimal supervision
  • Coordinate, plan and execute assignments in partnership with the team to ensure deadlines are met
  • Help to create and maintain team workflow processes with minimal supervision
  • Mentor junior staff
  • Guide and assist team in organizing and focusing stories throughout the reporting, writing, editing and fact checking processes
  • Provide constructive critiques of stories by staff and contributors in group settings
  • Ensure that all materials produced meet NPR program standards and practices


You are a highly knowledgeable and experienced journalist, a follower of hip-hop and R&B who understands the genres’ histories and tracks their many paths forward. You think about Black music’s cultural capital and its place in the world, but also as a culture in itself, not merely a set of genres. You are interested in the way sounds shift and evolve, but also the way a song or a scene can amplify the realities of an artist’s life. You want to document the voices of these artists and also carry forward the conversations they ignite. You are a confident and experienced decision-maker and a creative thinker who loves collaborating with other ambitious journalists and knows how to balance the need to meet a deadline with the imperative to tell a thoughtful, insightful and illuminating story clearly.



Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience


Minimum of 3-5 years experience writing and/or editing, preferably journalism with a national audience Thorough knowledge of hip-hop and R&B music and culture, including awareness of the mainstream music industry and artists and trends within smaller scene Familiarity and comfort pitching and assessing story ideas Demonstrated ability to exercise solid, independent news judgment Ability to meet tight deadlines and balance multiple assignments, including short-turnaround and long-lead pieces Demonstrated experience working on a team with highly creative, driven professionals Experience maintaining high journalistic ethics and standards under deadline pressure, including standards of impartiality, balance and fairness Proven ability to consistently work well with others, demonstrating respect for the diverse constituencies at NPR and within the public radio system


Experience working in cross-platform media Reporting experience Strong decision-making Critical thinking skills Attention to detail Resilience Results driven Manages complexity

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NPR is an Equal Opportunity Employer. NPR is committed to being an inclusive workplace that welcomes diverse and unique perspectives, all working toward the same goal – to create a more informed public. Qualified applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, age, religion, religious belief, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, lactation, and reproductive health decisions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, transgender status, gender non-conforming status, intersex status, sexual stereotypes, nationality, citizenship status, personal appearance, marital status, family status, family responsibilities, military status, veteran status, mental and physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, genetic characteristics of yourself or a family member, political views and affiliation, unemployment status, protective order status, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or any other basis prohibited under applicable law.