Commissioning Editor (closes 26 August)
Title: Commissioning Editor
Reports to: Director of Policy & Advocacy
Location: London (UK) preferred, but remote possible
Working hours: Full time
Grade: C grade – £36,579
Purpose of the job
The purpose of the job is to help Minority Rights Group International (MRG) achieve its strategic objectives through commissioning and editing its publications and other published materials, whether in print or online.
The role is complex, overseeing the publication of approximately 30-40 briefings, reports and online materials a year, including identifying authors and readers, drafting contracts, providing comments on first drafts, compiling readers’ comments, doing the initial editing, bringing in copyeditors and proofreading near-final versions prior to launch.
A key focus is the commissioning and editing of MRG’s flagship annual Minority and Indigenous Trends reports. These are book-length publications, involving approximately 20-25 contributors writing on a different minority- and indigenous-related theme each year.
Another key focus is the production of revisions and updates of our online World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. This web resource receives approximately one million unique visits per year; it is widely used by activists, journalists, researchers, and government and international agency officials. Country entries are regularly cited by asylum lawyers and adjudicators. Our other resources, including our reports and our Peoples under Threat annual online ranking, are widely used and cited as well.
Given this degree of usage, we need to ensure that our materials are as accurate, up to date and comprehensive as possible. As part of our on-going work to combat structural racism, we must also ensure that our materials respect cultural sensitivities and the self-identification of minority, indigenous and other marginalized groups. To assist us in this, we are currently recruiting towards a network of 16 regional advisers who will regularly be contributing updates to the World Directory and providing expertise to the Commissioning Editor and other colleagues.
Main duties and responsibilities
The main responsibilities of the post holder will be:
- Maintain a publications calendar in order to ensure that MRG’s reports and other materials are produced on time and meet the objectives of the organization.
- Commission publications, including the annual Minority and Indigenous Trends reports, other thematic and country briefings, reports, and web materials including the World Directory, Peoples under Threat and online training courses.
- Oversee as well as participate in the editing, copyediting and proofreading of these publications ahead of launch.
- Ensure that the publications meet MRG’s standards, especially defending and promoting respect for minority and indigenous rights.
- Support the evaluation of our publications, by collecting feedback and following up as necessary.
- Liaise with other colleagues to discuss their publications plans and ensure that the publications calendar is up to date. Agree on relevant budgets. Also liaise with the Communications Department to ensure that the publications meet MRG’s communications needs.
- Identify authors with relevant expertise, while ensuring that those with lived experience as members of minority, indigenous and other marginalized communities contribute as much as possible to our publications.
- Commission and review data graphics, such as tables and graphs, when authors need such support.
- Agree contracts, with support from the department Assistant, setting out mutually agreed timeframes for the submission of first and subsequent drafts. Follow up with authors to ensure that deadlines are met and schedules are maintained.
- Identify expert readers. Compile their comments to submit to authors after the initial drafts.
- Edit final drafts before sending to the Director of Policy & Advocacy for review, prior to copy-editing by an external copy editor.
- If necessary, bring external translators on board to translate final drafts into other languages.
- Contribute to the checking of final proofs.
- With the support of the department Assistant, ensure that authors, readers, copyeditors and proofreaders are paid in a timely manner. Manage relevant budgets.
- Document and develop MRG’s house style and terminology, ensuring continuously that we respect and reflect minority and indigenous communities’ right to self-identification.
- Establish and manage a network of authors, copyeditors, proofreaders and translators who can be commissioned for various projects, maintaining records updated in the organization’s CRM database.
- Draft short pieces, such as executive summaries and back cover descriptions for our publications.
- Conduct research and draft updates of the World Directory to supplement the work of the regional advisers.
- Contribute to funding proposals for publications and related projects.
- Support minority and indigenous organizations by providing advice and on occasion editorial support for their own publications.
The postholder is responsible for engaging and liaising with contracted authors, readers, external copyeditors and proofreaders, as well as other resource persons e.g. for data graphics, as needed. The postholder will be supported by a part-time department Assistant.
The Director of Policy & Advocacy is responsible for the overall departmental budget. The postholder is responsible for monitoring the costs of external authors, readers, editors and proofreaders against project budgets, as appropriate.
- Undertake such other tasks as may reasonably be requested by the Director of Policy & Advocacy.
- Personally respect and work towards full implementation of MRG’s Gender and Equal Opportunities Policies in all the work involved in this post.
- Personally support and contribute actively towards anti-racism initiatives within the organization, with a particular focus on ensuring implementation within the postholder’s areas of responsibility.
- Responsible for maintaining confidentiality as the postholder will be entitled to a very high level of access to confidential information pertaining to MRG’s strategies, detailed financial information, and access to sensitive external information which may impact on MRG’s activities.
Education and Knowledge
- Educated to university degree level or a relevant experience in a post involving similar levels of responsibility or skills.
- Good knowledge of human rights, including standards and terminology relating to minority communities and indigenous peoples, and relevant current debates.
- Sound knowledge of international affairs, and in particular minority and indigenous issues across the world.
- Post-graduate studies or qualification in human rights, international relations, media studies or a similar and relevant discipline.
- Training including certification in editing and copyediting.
- At least five years’ experience of editing, including work on longer texts and restructuring as well as detailed line-editing.
- First-hand experience of most or all stages of publication processes, from concept to delivery.
- Proven writing skills.
- At least five years’ experience of researching complex topics. Experience of working in a high-pressure, deadline-driven environment.
- Experience of managing project budgets.
- Personal experience as a member of a marginalized minority or indigenous community.
- Experience of working on minority, indigenous or related issues and with members of minority and indigenous communities.
- At least one year’s experience of action or participatory research methods.
- Experience of multi-media commissioning and editing.
Abilities and Skills
- Excellent communications skills, including fluent written and spoken English.
- Editing and copy-editing skills.
- Generate report/story ideas and turn them into reality.
- Ability to re-organize and re-structure drafts of major reports.
- Ability to prioritize work and meet deadlines.
- Ability to multi-task – working on a range of different reports at once.
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Good problem-solving abilities.
- Ability to stay calm under pressure and to assess and absorb information quickly.
- Ability to negotiate tactfully but firmly to ensure timely delivery by authors, readers and editors.
- Fluent in French and/or Arabic.
- Commitment to the aims and objectives of MRG.
- Enjoy working in a multicultural environment.
- Committed to equal opportunities.
- Wide-ranging interest in international affairs, especially human rights issues and anti-discrimination and equitable development.
How to apply
To apply, please fill out the form below by 21 August 2022.
MRG values diversity. As an organization, minorities, indigenous persons, people with disabilities and people of colour are under-represented in our team and thus we particularly welcome applications from these groups.