Program Manager

Program · Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Department Program
Employment Type Fixed Term
Minimum Experience Experienced
Compensation $62,000 - 67,000 DOE

Job Title: Program Manager

Position Status: Full-time, salaried, exempt.  This is a 1 year fixed term position, with continuation dependent on funding and other strategic considerations.

Work Location: Philadelphia remote home office

Posting Date: January 13,  2022

Position Summary:
Free Press works to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what’s actually happening in their communities. We work at the intersection of media and technology to strengthen our democracy.

Free Press has expanded the News Voices program into Philadelphia, focusing on a collaborative newsroom accountability project that aims to replace prevailing media narratives of the criminal legal system with complex stories about trauma, safety, crime and criminal justice. Free Press works in coalition with several community based organizations in Philadelphia, leading the organizing work with newsroom leaders, journalists, academics, and community members to work together to understand the harm perpetuated by harmful media narratives and co-creating solutions to improve media coverage and representation.  

The Shift the Narrative project builds on Free Press’ place-based work in New Jersey and North Carolina, that fosters long-term change in local media by transforming the relationships between newsrooms and communities, building trust between them, and creating pathways for journalists and community members to work together to reshape local news. 

The program manager plays a key role in an ambitious project that will reimagine and reinvent the way newsrooms approach crime reporting to better center the needs and perspectives of Philadelphia’s communities. The program manager will organize with journalists and storytellers to end the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality in news coverage, and lift up narratives that better represent the community. They will build power with city residents, local leaders, and journalists to create new norms and culture about the “crime beat” that center the perspectives of city residents and challenges the influence law enforcement has in local reporting.

The position is based in Philadelphia to ensure that the program manager can engage deeply with the communities we’re working in while maintaining connections with the national scope of Free Press’ work. 

The program manager reports to the News Voices director and works closely with the rest of the News Voices team. This job requires a flexible schedule, including evening and weekend work. Frequent travel throughout the city and occasional domestic travel are required, once the national COVID emergency ends. 

Free Press comprises two separate corporate entities, Free Press and Free Press Action Fund. Both entities share the same overall mission and employees. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name "Free Press".

Primary Responsibilities:

Project launch and strategy: In coordination with project partners, work with Free Press staff to develop strategy and goals, evaluation metrics and process, map stakeholders and allies, choose target communities and news outlets, and create a detailed timeline with methodologies and roles. Lead on implementation of strategy and outreach. Work in collaboration with key project partners, develop relationships with potential partners and allies, work with journalists to unpack and reconceptualize media coverage of the criminal legal system, manage public forums and other events, and coordinate community and newsroom outreach. 

Build network of community members and journalist allies: Lead engagement with Philadelphia community members, including Free Press members, community-based organizations, journalists and community leaders. Build relationships with organizations and media outlets that are based in or serve target neighborhoods. In coordination with partners, survey journalists, community-based organizations and neighborhood residents on their perspectives on crime coverage in the city, through written and online surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews. 

Host community discussions and workshops: Host community conversations, both small and large in scale, about crime coverage that bring together reporters and residents to strengthen relationships, discuss community information needs, gather untold stories and perspectives, and explore ways to make local news reporters more accessible. Design and conduct workshops with journalists on community engagement and crime reporting, and with residents on building relationships with journalists and lifting up local perspectives in news coverage. Facilitate best practice guides, workshops and collaborative projects based on the needs and assets of local communities, and that prioritizes racial, gender and economic justice. 

Member engagement: Collaborate with the News Voices director and other staff to develop local and national member-engagement strategies, campaign actions and events, recruit and manage volunteers and expand our membership base through public engagement.

Coordinate collaborations and new coverage strategies: Guide launch of 2-3 newsroom-community journalism collaborations, depending on direction newsrooms and residents wish to take. Develop strategies to incentivize the media to report on crime and criminal justice in ways that better meet people’s information needs and dispel misconceptions about city neighborhoods.

Consult with national leaders: Consult with experts, organizations and journalists outside Philadelphia to develop best practices around crime and criminal justice reporting. In coordination with partners, develop plans to bring lessons learned outside of the city, including video calls and in-person meetings, for experts to talk about their work and experience with both community organizations and local newsrooms.

Lead and learn: Stay up to date on the latest trends in journalism and campaign strategies and articulate the value of using community engagement and organizing to strengthen relationships between newsrooms and communities. Implement strategies, technologies and best practices by regularly communicating with allies, newsrooms and campaigners, attending conferences and training as needed and reporting back to Free Press program staff. Speak to media and allies about the News Voices project. 

Advance race equity: Free Press is a multiracial organization committed to advancing race equity in our work, which includes being explicit about the impact of media and technology issues on communities of color and building alliances with racial-justice organizations. Clearly and consistently articulate an understanding of racial equity and structural racism and the centrality of this analysis to the work Free Press does and how we operate. Integrate that knowledge into work projects and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities and decisions on race, class, gender and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.

Personal Attributes:

  • Must have a commitment to racial equity and experience working with communities of color.
  • Must be able to work both independently and collaboratively with internal and external colleagues and allied organizations.
  • Must be able to address challenges and seize opportunities as they arise.
  • Must be a team player with a low-ego approach to collaboration.
  • Must have a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstance.
  • Must have a strong work ethic, with a sense of urgency and ability to work under tight deadlines.
  • Must have experience telecommuting or working virtually, and working with an off-site manager, or comparable work experience that demonstrates an ability to succeed in an off-site work situation.
  • Must be able to remain positive, tactful and composed under pressure.
  • Must be able to handle changes in work priorities with ease.
  • Must be able to flex schedule to meet work demands (ex. early mornings, after hours when appropriate)
  • A great sense of humor, humility and flexibility are musts.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • No minimum education is required; a bachelor's degree may be an indicator of capacity for this position
  • 3+ years of directly relevant experience in a nonprofit public interest organization or similar setting is required
  • Experience leading successful organizing efforts and/or experience working as a journalist, with a combination of online and/or offline organizing, rapid-response work, volunteer engagement, political advocacy, coalition building, training and reporting
  • Experience working with diverse communities
  • Strong interest in media and technology issues and demonstrated experience working on those or similar issues
  • Experience in community storytelling and/or familiarity with trends in journalism and press freedom
  • Experience working on public education, community engagement or other similar campaign-organizing or political education work  
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience writing email alerts, blog posts and other web content for campaigns and organizational outreach
  • Attention to detail, flexibility and demonstrated capacity to operate in a fast-paced environment


Free Press is committed to offering competitive pay and generous benefits, including group medical insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, retirement benefits, health-reimbursement accounts and paid family leave. Annual paid time off is a total of nine weeks, including vacation, health-care leave and holidays.

If this position is remote, and not located in our Washington, DC office, we provide a remote work stipend. All positions receive a cell phone stipend, a computer and other needed equipment and furniture as applicable. 

This position is categorized as a tier two position, in the context of five possible functional classifications at Free Press, ranging from coordinator (tier one) to executive (tier five). 

The starting salary at Free Press for a program manager who meets the above qualifications is $62,000-$67,000.  Starting salary is based on the selected candidate’s qualifications and experience. To counter pay inequality and uphold internal parity, we use a nonnegotiable starting salary system, while benchmarking our pay to highly competitive markets in the nonprofit sector.

How to apply:

Complete our online application at the link. Fully answering the application questions is an important part of the application process; 4-5 sentences in response to each question will help us understand your thinking.

Please add "" to your contact list so you won't miss any emails from us regarding the application.

Free Press Is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

We value excellence and diversity in our workforce. People of color, women, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, gender-nonconforming and formerly incarcerated individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

If you meet some of the qualifications above, we encourage you to apply or to reach out for more information. We know groups subjected to systemic oppression– including people of color, women, people from working class backgrounds, and people who identify as LGBTQ – are less likely to apply unless and until they meet every requirement for a job. Therefore, we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other communities who are marginalized.

We provide reasonable accommodations for the application, interview, or any other aspect of the employee selection process to applicants with disabilities. Please email to request an accommodation.

Key dates:

This position was posted on January 13, 2022. We encourage early applications and will begin our screening process on January 31, 2022. This search will remain open until the position is filled. The ideal candidate will be available to begin work in February 2022.

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  • Location
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Department
  • Employment Type
    Fixed Term
  • Minimum Experience
  • Compensation
    $62,000 - 67,000 DOE