Newsroom Leadership Programme at The Slice Tower Hamlets

Want to be the Editor of The Slice Tower Hamlets overseeing our four news outlets including our flagship title Roman Road LDN? Fast-track your career in journalism with this highly-regarded 15-month intensive advanced journalism leadership programme. Start as an Editorial Assistant trainee, progress to Deputy Editor and leave as Editor.

Start date: Tuesday 3rd September 2024
Application deadline: 9pm Thursday 8th August 2024

Local magazine Roman Road LDN

Editorship skills

Gain experience in commissioning and editing articles and managing in-house team members and citizen journalists.

Content strategy & SEO

Learn about onpage seo, website optimisation, data analytics and developing a strategy to grow audiences.

Long-form writing

Deepen your skills in long-form writing including interviews, opinion, reviews, and long-form research features

About the role

Finding stories

  • Visit a plethora of tiny community groups, many with people with English as a second language and most of whom have no online presence eg email is often not an option and stories have to be found in person.
  • Build relationships with local charities, campaigners, pressure groups, and social enterprises to report on their work
  • Pound the pavements to visit local shops, businesses and community centres
  • Speak to strangers on the street to gather public opinion and get the view of the everyday person
  • Immerse yourself in social media – we find a lot of stories on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Next Door

Creating content

  • Interview people, from the local shop owners and ‘local celebrities’, to marginalised people who are sharing personal and sometimes difficult experiences such as mental health, injustice or discrimination
  • Write articles in a range of styles, from factual news to human interest stories and light listicles
  • Edit work from our contributors
  • Manage and build our content calendar ensuring we meet our content strategy and create timely content
  • Source and manage our reader competitions
  • Produce our weekly newsletter using Mailchimp

Social media management

  • Optimise and share our content across social media networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Manage our online communities, starting conversations, responding to comments and moderating the Facebook groups we manage
  • Create unique photographic content for social media platform
  • Come up with ideas for and help manage our social media collaborations with other titles/brands/bloggers to extend reach
  • Develop our video and audio content

Optimising content

  • Oversee production and quality control of the website, applying best practice on page SEO
  • Build a network of reciprocated links
  • Help repurpose and refresh evergreen and cornerstone content
  • Use analytical tools to track performance of web content, newsletters and social channels and work with the editor to make improvements and inform strategy
  • Analysise our data to create monthly performance reports for every platform (website and social media platforms)

Skills required

  • A passion for local community! You will be able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and have the drive to seek out stories from hard-to-reach groups
  • A people person – you will need to be a people person, able to strike up conversations with strangers and build trust and empathy with people from diverse backgrounds
  • A head for seo. You will also need to be comfortable dealing with data, optimising content, understanding hashtags, cross-linking, alt tags for images, writing metadata and building powerful URLs
  • An eye for visuals. We create inspiring images that elicit pride and empathy. You’ll have an eye for Instagram worthy posts.
  • Be an ideas person We are helping develop a new model of sustainable community journalism that no wonder else has done. You will need to keep abreast of what others are doing and be willing to try new things.

About the programme

This 15-month programme is designed for people at the beginning of their journalism career who are interested in attaining senior journalism jobs such as Senior Writer, Features Editor or Editor.

Duration

The programme is 15 months long, starting in September and ending in December of the following year.

Months 1-3 (Sept, Oct, Nov)

The programme starts with a three-month traineeship and review period that acts as a handover from the previous alumna and an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the area and Social Streets’ systems and workflow. Your title will be Editorial Assistant Intern. During this three-month traineeship, you’ll be working a four-day week from Tuesday to Friday.

Months 4-10 (Jan to July)

Following a successful review, you will be promoted to Deputy Editor where you will work closely with Editor-in-Chief Tabitha Stapely on more advanced journalism skills and training including commissioning, editing, SEO, content strategy and reporting. From this point on, you’ll be working a five-day week on PAYE.

Month 11 (Aug)

August break. Offices close for three weeks.

Months 12-15 (Sep, Oct, Nov)

On return from our summer break you will be promoted to Editor. During the final three months, you will be responsible for training the next incumbent, providing you with hands-on experience of managing and nurturing the new recruit.

Pay Structure

The three-month training is paid at £50 per day. During the following 12 months, you will move onto a PAYE salary and receive the equivalent of the London Living Wage for 2024 with holiday and sick pay. However, £3,000 of this overall salary is payable upon completion of the programme.

Working arrangements

Five days per week. Mondays are worked remotely to review learning.

The hours are 9am to 5.30pm. Occasionally, you will be expected to attend evening and weekend commitments.

The office is based in Bow, London. Monday is remote and Tuesday to Friday is office-based.

Case studies

I knew that Social Streets had a great reputation for doing ‘proper’ journalism – its model of community journalism means you have to go out there and make genuine and lasting links with people who could give you the stories and insights into what really mattered to those living there. Tower Hamlets is a very overlooked patch (and mainstream media usually puts it in a negative light e.g. knifecrime, gangs etc) but it is a hugely interesting area in terms of its social and political history and how that feed into the issues, challenges and opportunities it faces today.

One of the best things about the role is that because it’s a small team you have oversight of all areas of the publication – social media, analysing monthly stats, immediate news stories, longer form features… you are the newsroom! Also the variety of stories and the scope to explore your own ideas is something you wouldn’t get on larger publications . On any given day, I would write about an interesting historical aspect of the neighbourhood, to attending a local protest and getting sources and quotes for the article then and there. I loved building close and trusting relationships with sources in a small patch and getting to know the area so well – something that wouldn’t be possible in a wfh role.

FAQs

Do you offer other training opportunities?
Yes, we have a fully educational editorial floor including two to four-week unpaid work placements, three-month paid internships and the six-month part-time Community Journalism Course, which is free to Tower Hamlets residents.

What are you looking for?
When you apply it would be helpful if you could demonstrate the following:

A proven ability to write fluently and at speed
A determination to seek out stories that mainstream media overlooks
An interest in local journalism as an industry
An interest in social enterprises and our mission

What is the application process?
Round 1 – 15-20 minute video call interview. Opportunity to speak to a previous employee.

Round 2 – Preparation work and meeting in person.

Round 3 – Final interview for the last three candidates.

Are you office based?
Yes, we are office-based. This is a requirement of the programme as we are reporting on the local community and need to pound the pavements daily. The programme will require to work in the office four days a week. Mondays are worked remotely.

How much annual leave do I get?
Six weeks of paid leave. A journalist’s life can lead to burn-out and we think it’s important to have a ‘reset’ every year, which is why the office closes for three weeks in August, continental style. This is like a mini-sabbatical allowing people to do something amazing whether that’s being with the family or going for a long trip.

The August break accounts for three weeks of your annual leave. The office also closes for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New’s Year Day and the days in between Christmas and New Year amounting to on average seven or eight days of paid leave. Moving onto spring, Good Friday and Easter Monday are both paid leave allowing for a four-day break. This brings us to about five weeks of paid leave. Remaining bank holidays form part of your paid leave.