About the role
Youth Communication is looking for an experienced writer and editor to help teenagers—most of them New York City public high school students of color—write true stories about their experiences. The stories are designed to engage and inspire their peers and inform the work adults do with young people in schools and other youth-centered settings. Our writers write about everything from experiencing homelessness to mending a relationship with a friend and from the loss of a pet to advocating for racial and gender justice in their schools. The editor must have deep compassion for young people, especially those from communities whose stories have been systemically silenced. They must share our strong belief in the power of storytelling to effect change for the writer and their readers.
The Senior Editor will work closely with writers on memoir-style stories and occasional reported essays and interviews. The editor listens closely to each writer to help identify the story they want to write. Then, the editor helps the teen as they write multiple drafts, often over several weeks or even months, in pursuit of a true story that will move and inform YC’s national audiences, which include middle and high school students, educators, decision-makers, and others who are interested in young people, culturally responsive education, antiracism in youth spaces, and social justice.
The stories appear in two digital magazines, our general high school publication, YouthComm Magazine, and Represent, which is written by youth in foster care. Though all Youth Communication editors work with writers from both magazines, this editor will have principal responsibility for working with writers for our high school magazine. The stories also appear in our social and emotional learning curricula used by schools and afterschool organizations across the nation, as well as professional development for educators on culturally responsive education.
A strong cadidate will have excellent developmental, structural, and copyediting skills, as well as the ability to lead adolescent writers through a process of reflection, writing, and rewriting until each teen completes a story that meets the writer’s goals. The role also requires the ability to build and maintain strong and productive relationships with several teen writers of diverse backgrounds and life experiences. When we ask teens what makes a good editor, among other qualifications, they say that an editor should be a good listener, understanding, and humble.
We have two writing programs: (1) the summer writing workshop, which is a 6-week, cohort-based writing workshop where the writers engage in field trips, group activities, and one-on-one work with their editor, and (2) the school year program, where writers come to the office to work one-on-one with their editor two days a week for two hours each day.
The Senior Editor will collaborate heavily with peer editors, program staff, and others inside and outside the organization. They will be joining a team of writers, editors, and educators committed to learning and self-reflection, creating healing spaces for young people of color, maintaining rewarding work-life balance, and being a part of a community at work.
About Youth Communication
Youth Communication provides powerful, teen-written stories and professional development to help educators and youth workers connect with the teens they serve and build their social and emotional competencies and literacy skills. Our professional development and curricula are based entirely on true stories written by teens in YC’s intensive writing workshops. That makes YC’s programs and services exceptionally engaging and uniquely culturally responsive to students who are furthest from opportunity.
Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Work one-on-one with six to eight teen writers at a time to complete true, personal stories that are accurate and well-reasoned, as well as occasional reported essays and interviews throughout the year (Editors on average work with 20 teens, producing about 30 stories per year).
- Build relationships based on trust and understanding with teen writers from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
- Lead and encourage writers through writing multiple drafts of their stories until they write a story that they feel reflects their experience and meets their goals.
- Work collaboratively with fellow editors to problem solve, discuss writer challenges, advise on strategies to elicit authentic stories, determine when a story is finished, and otherwise support fellow writers.
- Co-lead the six-week summer writing workshop, which includes:
- creating and teaching lessons that help engage the teen writers
- assisting fellow editors in day-to-day workshop management, such as reading and selecting applications, scheduling, and arranging visits from guests
- working with up to 5 writers to produce one or two stories each by the end of the workshop
- Cultivate and maintain relationships with schools and agencies that frequently refer writers to our programs.
- Identify new opportunities and sources for recruiting writers to the program.
- Collaborate with other editors and staff on writer application and selection process.
- Teach relevant writing lessons to teen writers individually and in small or large groups, including lessons on writing descriptively, structuring stories, using active voice, and developing a theme.
- Use organizational structures and tools (e.g., story database, project management systems) to track and manage the story process from conception to publication.
- Engage in ongoing reading, learning, and professional development to keep abreast of issues facing teens, including the experiences of vulnerable populations and those from communities with whom the editor is unfamiliar.
- Post completed stories on the website and other possibly related tasks, to be determined.
- Working hours are typically Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with some weeknight evenings and Saturdays.
Other responsibilities include:
- Provide teens support and referrals to experts for issues that arise in the teens’ lives, such as college admissions, scholarship opportunities, legal issues, etc.
- Respond sensitively to teens’ mental health concerns and make referrals when appropriate.
- Identify the needs of publishing partners such as Chalkbeat, The Imprint, and The Nation to propose stories they might reprint.
- Perform other editorial duties from time to time, such as maintaining an organizational style sheet, making updates to the editor’s manual, and proofreading YC documents and publications.
- Collaborate across teams and departments to use teen stories to meet organizational goals, representing the writers’ interests and protecting the integrity of their stories
- 3+ years of writing and editing experience, with published writing samples.
- Demonstrated ability to edit personal narratives and/or other texts on multiple levels—developmental, structural, line editing, and proofreading, as well as fact checking.
- Significant experience building relationships with teens from a variety of racial and gender identities, sexual orientations, nationalities and who have different abilities and disabilities, immigration stories, and special circumstances (e.g., in foster care, experiencing homelessness).
- Excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Experience using style guides (e.g., AP, in-house style guides) to edit written text.
- Strong computer skills, including fluency operating a variety of videoconferencing platforms, navigating databases, and using the collaborative function of word processing and other documents.
- Demonstrated ability to work on a highly collaborative team to meet departmental and organizational goals.
- Desire to learn and grow in an organization that is expanding its reach and impact.
- A commitment to anti-racism and creating sustainable and inclusive communities for all adolescents
Salary range: $60,000-70,000
Benefits: Youth Communication offers competitive benefits that include medical insurance, dental and vision coverage, flex spending, and a 403(b) retirement plan. Employees contribute 15% toward their medical coverage. We offer a generous vacation package of 15 days along with 11 paid holidays.
The office has been operating on a hybrid model with a mix of work-from-home/in-person.
How to Apply
All applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, and three published writing samples to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that applicants will not proceed to the next step if they have not followed the application instructions.
Equal Employment Opportunities
YC’s mission is to elevate the voices and center the experiences of NYC teens. Through cultivating and disseminating their stories in magazines, curriculum and professional development, we engender more supportive environments for young people who are most disconnected from opportunity, develop their own sense of agency, and cultivate more belonging among youth-centered communities. Furthermore, our direct and indirect youth development work primarily impacts young people of color. We are much better able to serve those young people when our staff reflects their experiences and identities.
With this in mind, Youth Communication recognizes the importance of diversity and strives to recruit, retain, and develop the talents of a team that reflects the rich diversity of the young people we serve.
At Youth Communication, diversity encompasses not only race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, but also age, educational background, class, and cultural and political perspectives. Youth Communication is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates and applications will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. YC is committed to a culture of inclusivity on every level of the organization. We welcome a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints; encourage initiative; and recognize the contributions of all our employees.
Read more about what to expect during the hiring process on our website: