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Opportunity Description
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Copy Desk Chief
AL - Birmingham
Opportunity Snapshot

This role is an opportunity to expand your career beyond copy editing as you become a coach for other copy editors, and have a true voice in the final newspaper product. As Copy Desk Chief you’ll do hands-on editing, and also help supervise the copy editing staff who work on stories for a breadth of products including four newspapers, magazines and special sections, to ensure they are accurate and correct. Quick question for you - click here If you want to be a part of helping to create the future of journalism, to work for a new type of media organization with a truly collaborative environment, and to be a coach and mentor to others, then this role could be just right for you.

Alabama Media Group is a digitally-focused news and information company that combines quality journalism from The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, Mobile's Press-Register and The Mississippi Press with up-to-the-minute access of AL.com. Alabama Media Group provides innovative ways to inform, connect and empower the people of Alabama in the communities we serve.

Alabama Media Group is a part of Advance Local, one of the largest media groups in the U.S. reaching more than 40 million consumers through its 12 local news and information websites that rank #1 among local media in their respective markets, and more than 30 newspapers. Our affiliated websites and newspapers are well known for their award-winning journalism. Advance Local is part of Advance Publications, along with Condé Nast and American City Business Journals.

The Requirements

To be a good fit for this opportunity you will have:
  • A bachelor’s degree in journalism or a relevant combination of education and experience
  • Experience in copy editing in a newsroom (preferred) or other publication
  • A strong understanding of AP style
  • Excellent grammar and spelling skills, with exceptional attention to detail
  • The ability to write creative, eye-catching headlines
  • The ability to balance efficient and accurate editing with a quick turnaround time
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • The ability to multi-task and work within daily deadlines
  • Strong computer and word processing skills; knowledge of InDesign and/or InCopy is a strong plus Quick question for you - click here
Preferred, but not required:
  • Advanced skill with social media, such as blogging and familiarity with social networking sites, are a plus
  • Strong visual skills with an eye for design would also be a big plus

The Role

As Copy Desk Chief you will be responsible for supervising the work of copy editors as they take stories that were originally published online and prepare them for our newspapers and other products by cleaning up the copy and making key corrections. Though you won’t read every single story before they go to press, you will give final looks to the most delicate stories to ensure they are accurate, journalistically sound, follow style guidelines, and have correct grammar and spelling.

You will often find yourself writing headlines, and will be asked to check proofs of graphics and pages. Though it won’t be a big part of your job, you should also have an understanding of pagination so you can do it if needed. You may also occasionally be asked to post news content to AL.com or make corrections and clean up copy online. Quick question for you - click here

When leading the copy editing staff, you will be responsible for scheduling, managing of assignments and duties, and helping to coach the staff to improve their skills. You will also be in charge of answering standards questions for all of our properties as they arise.

Some of your specific responsibilities will include:
  • Leading and managing copy editing staff to ensure work is thorough, accurate, timely and fair, and reflects the core values of the newspaper while adhering to the principles of journalistic ethics and good news judgment.
  • Communicating with staffers and other departments in a timely, effective manner.
  • Setting assignment of duties as well as handling selected administrative functions, including employee performance development, training and coaching.
  • Quickly reading and editing stories for grammar and style, and teaching those skills to the staff.
  • Questioning ambiguity, unclear copy and jargon, and noting holes in stories such as missing information, unanswered questions or other journalistic problems that require a line editor's attention.
  • Managing and updating the newspaper's style guidelines.
  • Proofreading pages and graphics for accuracy, style consistency and common sense.
  • Meeting production deadlines and actively driving timely newsroom workflow.
  • Handling customer requests and complaints in a prompt, courteous and professional manner.
  • Representing the newspaper in the community in a professional manner as well as in personal and professional settings.
Note: this description is intended to give you a general overview of the position and is not an exhaustive listing of duties and responsibilities.

Keys to Success

This role will have you doing some hands-on work as well as some coaching of others doing similar work. To excel, you’ll need to have a broad knowledge base over a variety of subjects as you may be dealing with sports, features, news, and more.

You’ll also need to be a wonderful coach, able to see where help is needed and to provide it. This is a new environment that is going to be very collaborative, so you’ll also need to be a forward-thinker and a self-starter, with the open mind and flexibility to jump on board with our new way of thinking about journalism.

If you are ready to join a new type of work environment, you’re able to run with a mix of non-traditional stories for a new type of product and a new way of putting it together, and you’re ready to collaborate with curators, designers, and cross-functional team members, then we want to hear from you.
Alabama Media Group offers a comprehensive benefits program that includes: medical, prescription drug, and dental benefits; a 401(k) Plan; life insurance and disability plans and commuter accounts.

Alabama Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, physical or mental impairment, sexual orientation or any other category protected under federal, state or local law.

Alabama Media Group endeavors to make AL.com accessible to any and all users. If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact thawkins@dtoolbox.com.
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Resume Supplement
Please take a few minutes to answer questions about your background and expertise specific to the Copy Desk Chief position.

Question Yes No Comment
During my professional experience in newspapers, magazines, or other print publications, I have always adhered to AP writing style.
Do you currently live within a reasonable and realistic commuting distance from Birmingham, AL?
Do you have a VERIFIABLE Bachelors or higher degree?
Are you legally authorized to work permanently in the United States for any employer without requiring a VISA transfer or VISA sponsorship?
Question / Choice Comment
Do you have experience as a copy desk chief or editorial lead?
Do you have experience with both print and digital media?
How would you rate your skills with the Adobe Creative Suite - including InDesign and InCopy?
Video Questions  
If you have a webcam set up, you can take this opportunity to record your answer to the following question.
You will be able to view and re-record your answer as many times as you like.
Please share your thoughts on the strategy of blending traditional print media with digital media.
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