Magazines

What 'Pacific Standard' wants in a new editor

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Interesting job description for a new features editor at Pacific Standard. I like that they have thought through and committed to writing down, at this level of detail, the desirable traits of a great editor in today's magazine world. Think you can afford to live in Santa Barbara? Good luck on that — I hear the commute from anywhere affordable gets old — but check it out.

Pacific Standard is looking for a brilliant, multi-platform features editor. Candidates should be adept at spotting writing and reporting talent, assigning and framing ambitious story ideas, and shepherding pieces from conceptual conversations to fully realized and impactful narrative journalism. This person also understands the Web and values the velocity of a platform-agnostic magazine.


The editor should have experience overseeing the reporting and writing process of major investigative features (in at least one of our core areas: economics, environment, education, and social justice), the kind which aim to elevate the national conversation or even shift public policy. This means not only making good stories excellent through line-editing, structural fixes, and conceptual comments on drafts, but also closely collaborating with a writer every step of the way, as well as communicating with a research editor, a fact checker, and possibly an attorney when legal issues arise. This person can rescue a lost writer from dead-end reporting or a cloud of fatigue and can find solutions to complicated story problems. The ideal candidate also has a genuine interest in social science and can make complex ideas interesting and compelling to a lay audience, while managing not to alienate experts.

This editor is constantly brimming with ideas and has a list of freelance reporting and writing contacts that they can call upon to execute them. This person also assigns stories at the critical overlap between importance and audience potential. But the ideal candidate doesn't just turn to the same people and subjects; the editor has an open mind about what kinds of elements can make for a good story and can encourage new and diverse writers to deliver them. This person is highly organized, can manage a lean freelance budget, and has the energy to push the magazine onto a rolling print production schedule: This means at least three issues' feature wells are in motion at once.

This person also has the ability to work with a crew of staff writers and a news editor to shape and define a larger beat reporting process, which will allow for the realization and scheduling of feature stories around daily and weekly Web duties. The editor is enthusiastic about running a newsy feature online first and reverse publishing it in print. The ideal candidate can also assign and edit Web-only features during off-weeks in a bi-monthly print schedule.

Most importantly, this person is deeply committed to journalism in the public interest and does not shy away from difficult—even scary—projects. This editor believes they have the necessary skills and experience to oversee and produce National Magazine Award-caliber work like this.

They request that, in addition to resume and cover letter, you include some feature story ideas. "Applications without all of these elements will not be considered."

Here's what Pacific Standard has run recently. Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Jackson was previously the digital editorial director at Outside and an associate editor at the Atlantic.

From the about page:

Pacific Standard covers the nation’s biggest issues in economics, education, the environment, and justice by focusing on what shapes human behavior—on why we do what we do, and why it matters. Through our award-winning publications, we engage thought-leaders and decision-makers with scientific research and vivid storytelling to examine the customs, biases, and galvanizing ideas that shape our lives.


Our publications include a bimonthly print magazine and a dynamic website, PSmag.com. In partnership with our parent organization, the non-profit Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy, Pacific Standard works with national organizations focused on the social and behavioral sciences, bringing public discussions to live audiences.

Our friends at Zócalo Public Square also have a few openings, including for an associate editor. The Hollywood Reporter is advertising for a full-time photo editor, and the Archer School for Girls in Brentwood has just posted an opening for a director of communications and strategic marketing.


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