Posted: May 10, 2022

This American Life is looking to hire two editors. The position requires a background in creating narrative journalism in the style of our program. We’re looking for someone who excels at bringing a story from the seeds of an idea to a final edit: at helping a reporter or producer find an original angle and figure out who to interview and what questions to ask. They need to be skilled at listening to tape and structuring stories, at signposting ideas and managing emotions and character arcs and pacing of a story. They must be able to edit the wording in scripts and cut audio. ProTools experience is a plus.

The editor we’re hiring will edit and manage three or four staff producers/reporters. So in addition to editorial experience we’re looking for someone with strong people management skills, who’s versed in how to give feedback and who has no problem receiving it.

We’re a staff that’s actively incorporating race equity into every stage of our story process; we want someone with demonstrated experience taking into account racial and gender equity in editorial and management decisions.

Since our entire story process is driven by the taste, observations and interests of our staff, we believe that having a diverse staff is the only way to effectively document the reality of life in this country with the proper nuance and perspective. A more diverse group of people putting together the show makes us better at every stage of the editorial process, from story selection to line editing. Ideally we’d like to hire someone who has experience conceiving and editing stories about race and identity, who can edit stories about communities of color with knowledge and nuance. We strongly encourage people of all backgrounds, races, genders, and abilities to apply.

What we’re looking for:

  • Extensive editing experience, including top-level thinking about how to approach a topic, strategic thinking about who to interview and how to best use reporting time, plus experience at structuring difficult stories with character arcs and scenes and bigger ideas that need to be hit. Line editing experience is vital as well. Experience working with fact-checkers would be helpful; our fact-checkers essentially re-report all our stories.
  • Demonstrated experience doing journalism like the stories on our show. This means narrative journalism, stories that unfold with a plot and emotion and humor, with relatable, surprising, three-dimensional characters.
  • A strong interest in collaboration. This American Life is a very collaborative workplace. You must be a strong communicator, meaning you’re both smart and kind with your words.
  • The ability to meet deadlines and plan strategically in the midst of a creative process. You should be skilled at balancing priorities, quality, and deadlines.
  • At least three years producing radio journalism or podcasts, preferably for a nationally distributed show.
  • Ability to think about big picture approaches to covering issues and ideas, while also executing the many small details and tasks involved in getting out stories.

This American Life is a home for narrative reporting; its stories are organized around plot. They have emotional arcs, strong central characters, surprising twists, funny moments and original ideas. The show has been on the air since 1995, has won every major award for journalistic excellence, and is hugely popular, with 5.3 million radio listeners and podcast downloads each week. We’d prefer our new editors to work out of the This American Life office in New York City, but doing the job remotely is possible.

To apply, please send your cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Please put “Editor” and your name in the subject line. Please include links to work samples in your cover letter. In stories that you did not report but edited, it’d be helpful if you’d tell us in a few sentences about a few of the decisions you made and directions you gave as editor.

If we decide to move forward with your application, we’ll ask you to do a phone interview with one of our senior editors. We hope to do that by the end of June. If you move onto the next step, you'll participate in an editing exercise and meet with a few members of our team, including our host and executive producer Ira Glass.