TAKEAWAY: The job ad comes as a surprise. The description of the job even a greater surprise: the US newspaper, Star Tribune, of Minneapolis, is looking for a tablet editor. ALSO: New book on editing/design for a multimedia world.
The surprise comes because I am told repeatedly that US newspapers are NOT quite so interested in tablet editions, not yet anyway.
So how happy I was to see this advertisement. It is also approrpriate that I spent most of my morning Wednesday here in Beirut, at An Nahar, working exclusively on what will be the newspaper’s first iPad edition, supposedly the first for an Arabic language daily. Part of our morning workshop was to create a profile for the person who will be editor of the iPad edition.
In my thinking, the editor should be someone who is well versed in storytelling, but who also understands digital platforms, and who will come prepare to make good story choices that are specific to the tablet edition, while reviewing the content of the printed daily and online editions for stories with possibilities, but not necessarily someone who will simply be a copy processor.
And, I added, this person must be visually oriented, and should be paired off with a good photo/video editor.
The job in Minneapolis
Here are segments of that Minneapolis Star Tribune ad:
The Star Tribune is looking for a sophisticated editor with excellent news judgment, experience in creating and launching news projects, and an intrinsic knowledge of the web to join our news staff as we launch a Tablet newspaper. We’re looking for someone who is entrepreneurial by nature, and who is comfortable and confident making decisions on his or her own. This person will work with the executive editor and the digital team to set the final guidelines for our Tablet newspaper, and will lead the day-to-day decision making about what content to create and display in the Tablet newspaper. He or she will also coordinate with content specialists across departments on decisions regarding local news, business, sports, features, etc.
Words I like in the profile the Star Tribune execs have drafted: sophisticated, intrinsic knowledge of the web (which I would change to digital), comfortable in making decisions.
Here is where the real profile emerges, in my view:
Must have 10 years of journalism experience, preferably with five in a leadership role. Must have demonstrated experience conceiving and creating new content and new projects, and working across digital platforms. Must have ability to work collaboratively with reporters, editors, copy editors, photographers and digital producers.
For those interested in applying:
Finally, unless a newspaper wants to simply do an e-reader edition, the hiring of a dedicated tablet edition editor is the key to success here. I am delighted to see the Star Tribune getting ready to hire theirs.