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Current Openings Apply

Position: Date Posted 21 March 2013
Program Officer, Media and Justice Application Deadline Until Filled
Location New York, USA

Summary Description

The Ford Foundation is seeking a Program Officer to lead its Media and Justice initiative, part of the Foundation’s Freedom of Expression unit.

The Ford Foundation’s Media and Justice initiative supports high-quality news content that reaches large and influential audiences and illuminates issues of social justice. The Media and Justice Program Officer will be responsible for designing and administering a portfolio of grants that supports a broad array of journalism to inform the public on issues of social justice. Rapid changes in the media business have threatened the ability of news organizations to pursue important coverage of complex social issues. This initiative recognizes the vital role that principled journalism plays in our democracy’s civic discourse – helping to drive accountability and fairness, and bringing attention to under-covered and difficult issues.

The Ford Foundation has played a historic role in supporting public service media – a commitment that goes back many decades. The Program Officer in charge of this portfolio must understand the long-term aims of this grant-making, and be prepared to represent the work – internally and externally – with conviction and diplomacy. He or she will evaluate proposals with a balanced touch, maintaining the focus of the Foundation’s work while making strategic judgments that craft an effective portfolio.

The Program Officer will maintain close working relationships with existing and potential grantees; identify potential new grantees; review and respond to proposals; recommend and monitor grants; and evaluate and analyze results. The Program Officer will manage a diverse portfolio of grants, including public broadcasters, traditional news organizations, innovative new models of reporting and newsgathering, and other groups who advance media in the public interest. The Program Officer will work with grantees to insure that the reach and impact of their work is accurately monitored and tracked so that the Foundation and its grantees can understand and learn from the results of the work. The Program Officer will sponsor and participate in discussions and convenings that explore the future of the news media, including the continuing role of journalism as a mechanism of accountability in our democracy; the need to insure accuracy in an increasingly partisan media eco-system; and how best to measure the impact of philanthropy in journalism.

The Media and Justice initiative focuses its grant-making exclusively within the United States. The Program Officer will also be a resource for and team member of the Freedom of Expression unit, and on occasion may partner with the unit’s two other Media initiatives, both of which operate internationally. The Program Officer will also engage in collaborative grant-making with other Foundation initiatives to support principled journalistic content on important matters of public interest.

The position is based at the Ford Foundation’s New York headquarters, and reports to the Director of the Freedom of Expression unit. Some travel, mostly domestic, is anticipated.



  • The Program Officer will be a leader with a successful track record -- either in journalism, news management, philanthropy, or technological innovation. He or she will be equally at ease among traditional media – such as newspapers, television and radio – and newer platforms, including online and mobile. The Program Officer will be a thought-leader with great passion and respect for public service journalism and its ability to inform the public and make productive contributions to the national discourse. The Program Officer will be a person of integrity, an analytic and flexible thinker, unafraid to take risks, and capable of assessing impact clearly. He or she must be well-organized, insuring that the Foundation’s work meets deadlines and moves forward smoothly. The Program Officer will be a team player who listens respectfully, communicates clearly, and collaborates well.

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