Location: Remote, within 6 hours of UTC+0 time zone required.
Application Deadline: Open until filled.
Role Summary: We are seeking an entrepreneurial individual to lead a game-changing legal defense organization protecting investigative reporters worldwide against legal harassment from corrupt government officials, organized crime, and other nefarious actors.
About Reporters Shield
Legal harassment, particularly SLAPP suits (“Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation”), has long been used by the rich and powerful to intimidate journalists, human rights defenders, and independent media. SLAPPs are on the rise and impose a significant burden on those targeted. Reporters Shield is a new global program that aims to defend investigative reporting against such harassment by covering the costs of lawyers to defend cases and respond to threats and by offering pre-publication review in high-risk circumstances. Its ultimate goals are deterring bad actors from waging these suits and strengthening the field of investigative reporting.
Reporters Shield was developed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Cyrus Vance Center for International Justice. It is set up as a membership organization open for all media organizations that publish on issues of public interest and who engage in investigative reporting. Its design draws on lessons learned by journalists at OCCRP, who have had dozens of SLAPP lawsuits brought against them and their collaborators. Work on Reporters Shield started in 2021, and in 2023, it was registered in the United States as an organization with a global remit. During its startup phase, it has been incubated by OCCRP and led by Peter Noorlander as its Startup Director. As Reporters Shield matures, the Board of Directors is searching for an Executive Director to lead the organization as of January 2024.
The ideal candidate is someone who has the organizational and entrepreneurial skills as well as experience to further establish Reporters Shield and fulfill its mission of protecting investigative reporting. Reporters Shield is an ambitious organization and the Executive Director should be as well. If you believe that person is you, please apply now!
The Executive Director will lead the continuing development of Reporters Shield as a game-changing legal defense organization to protect investigative reporters worldwide from legal harassment. They will guide Reporters Shield’s strategic development and overall direction, ensuring that it grows its membership in all countries where SLAPPs are a concern. The Executive Director will maintain a strong working relationship with the Vance Center for International Justice and its lawyers’ networks, and with Reporters Shield members and potential members.
The successful candidate will need to demonstrate significant senior management experience, ideally in a non-profit or public service organization. They will have strong interpersonal skills and robust financial management capabilities, and be able to develop and implement an agile business plan. They need not come from a background of journalism or media law, but they should have strong affinity with investigative journalism and a passion for the mission of Reporters Shield. They should have a collaborative and inspiring leadership style, and be able to develop strong working relationships with journalists, lawyers, and finance professionals. There is a strong ambassadorial aspect to the role. The successful candidate will need to be able to represent Reporters Shield internationally, across borders and cultures, and to audiences ranging from journalists to lawyers and donors. Fluent written and spoken English is essential, and knowledge of other languages spoken across countries and regions where Reporters Shield operates will be an asset.
The successful candidate must be in a time zone that is within 6 hours of UTC+0 or be willing to shift their working hours to have regular meetings with team members who are based within 6 hours of UTC+0. Reporters Shield members are located around the world and from time to time, there may be a need to join a call or online meeting outside of what would be regarded as traditional working hours.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Leadership and Strategy
- Lead the Reporters Shield staff team.
- Develop, implement, and lead the review of organizational strategy and business plans.
- Lead membership expansion in all countries and regions where Reporters Shield is needed.
- Ensure that Reporters Shield continues to respond to its members’ legal needs.
- Initiate and cultivate relationships with partner organizations.
- Represent Reporters Shield internationally to its different stakeholders.
- Lead development of the staff team, establishing a culture of collaborative working across borders to ensure effective cooperation.
- Ensure that Reporters Shield has the staff and resources it requires to meet its targets, including appropriate IT and other systems.
- Maintain a strong, transparent, and effective working relationship with the Board of Directors and Reporters Shield advisors.
- Maintain a strong, transparent, and effective working relationship with the Vance Center for International Justice and its lawyers’ networks.
- Ensure Reporters Shield’s accountability to its members and donors.
- Ensure that Reporters Shield meets its targets and milestones, for donors as well as targets set internally.
- Ensure that Reporters Shield operates within the parameters set by its 501c3 status. Finance and Resource Mobilization.
- Lead on resource mobilization to ensure organizational sustainability and growth.
- Oversee the development of fundraising strategy.
- Set budget priorities and ensure that they are met.
- Oversee the implementation and ongoing refinement of Reporters Shield’s monitoring, evaluation, and learning strategy.
The role is global so the ideal candidate must be willing to travel regularly. At times, this may involve travel and work on weekends or during evenings.
- Ability to listen, but also to lead and make decisions.
- Top-notch communication and collaboration skills when working with colleagues and members from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds.
- Strong affinity with investigative journalism, and ability to develop working relationships with journalists, lawyers, and finance professionals.
- Timeliness, accuracy, thoroughness, and attention to detail in their work.
- Highly organized.
Skills and Experience
- Senior management experience, ideally in a non-profit or a public service organization.
- Financial and legal literacy.
- Experience with organizational development and/or business development.
- Excellent IT skills, including ability to work with different cloud-based office suites and databases and to quickly learn to work with new tools.
- Experience working in, or with organizations and people from, countries and regions in the world other than their own.
- Ability to practice digital security.
- Proficiency in English.
- Excellent writing and editing skills.
- Proficiency in languages other than English spoken across countries and regions where Reporters Shield operates will be an asset.
- Experience working in start-ups or small teams.
- Fundraising experience.
What’s In It For You?
- Competitive compensation with ongoing recognition of success.
- Leading, and taking credit for, an innovative organization that is at the forefront of protecting investigative journalism worldwide.
- Being able to work from home.
- Leading a small and friendly team.
To apply, please email your CV as well as a Cover Letter explaining why you would be the best candidate to lead Reporters Shield to jobs[at]occrp.org
All applications must be submitted in English. Incomplete applications will not be considered. We regret that the high number of applicants greatly exceeds our capacity to respond to each person. We apologize that we will not be able to reply to any unsuccessful applicants and are unable to sponsor work visas. Reporters Shield staff are hosted by the Journalism Development Network, Inc. As an equal opportunity employer, JDN values having a diverse workforce and strives to maintain an inclusive and equitable workplace. We do not discriminate against any person based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, medical conditions, family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristics. If you are a qualified applicant requiring assistance or an accommodation to complete any step of the application process, please contact info[at]reporters-shield.org