Assistant Business Editor
Reports to: Editor in Chief
Oversees: assistant business editor, 10-12 reporters and columnists, and two copy editors
Mission: The mission of the San Francisco Chronicle business department is to provide the region's most accurate and comprehensive news coverage of the entrepreneurial San Francisco Bay Area, explaining to a mass market readership how this unique business spirit impacts and influences all aspects of the city, lifestyles and business. The Chronicle's editors and reporters are expected to be the region's foremost experts on the entrepreneurial vigor that keeps the region on the edge of the world's innovations. The newsroom has two overall goals: to do journalism that changes our community and to earn new readers.
Emphasis: The department should be organized and directed so that news is broken online, followed up with authoritative analysis both online and in print. Primary coverage pillars include the shared economy, data and privacy, wealth and philanthropy, emerging businesses, tech culture and entrepreneurism, and the economy. Coverage should lean toward innovations, personalities and major trends -- in other words, how business affects the Bay Area. While this focus is regional in scope, it should never be parochial.
Our journalism should not be impenetrable to regular readers; rather, it should inform readers about the economic engines that power the Bay Area, California and, to the extent relevant, the nation and world. Whenever possible, the priority is to reach a local DMA in order to better serve local readers.
Expectations: The department is expected to contribute an average of one story a day for the front page and above the fold of SFChronicle.com, including Sunday in print and the late week/Monday digital push. Appropriate stories will be sweeping and provide adequate context to appeal to new readers as well as longstanding ones.
Reporters and editors will be held accountable for their productivity. This includes the number of stories but especially the quality of that work. With few exceptions, reporters are expected to have a near daily online presence and also produce an average of three printable stories a week, at least one of which should be of A1 caliber. They are all expected to blog, tweet, use Facebook and be familiar with other social media, depending on their beat. They should meet at least one new source a week and be invested in promoting their personal brands. They must work collaboratively with design, photo and web producers well in advance of publication. They should always be looking for their next major investigation or enterprise project.
And above all, they must regularly scoop the competition.
This department must pursue excellence in all things and become a must-read for people who want to have a finger on the pulse of the Bay Area.
The editor is expected to be constantly evolve the group's coverage to meet with the changing business landscape. This includes adding and rethinking features. The editor is the ultimate leader of the department, responsible for its successes and aggressively looking for ways to improve it. It is required that they embrace this leadership role while also encouraging a collaborative, peer-to-peer environment. Communication with the Managing Editor of Digital, other editors, online producers and the production departments is a requirement and key to success.
The reporters are also expected to produce enterprise on their beats. Individual reporters must be given clear, written expectations on what they cover, how they deal content on multiple platforms, and how they will execute major investigations/enterprise. The expectations must be a combination of measurable analytics and subjective goals that together should measure the quality of the journalism produced.
Reporters should be given monthly progress reports in addition to daily feedback. This feedback should be fair and constructive in order to maintain a collaborative and journalistically ambitious workplace. Consistent feedback is essential to keeping happy employees and improving the performance of poor ones.
Work flow: The work day begins before 8:30 a.m., except when business conditions require changes. There should be at least one business editor in the newsroom through the close of the section and the end of the traditional work day to ensure any late-breaking news is covered. Appropriate staffing is up to the editors' discretion.
Stories, particularly those with A-1 or homepage potential, must be listed on the Google calendar as far in advance as possible. The editor must be prepared to discuss coverage plans at the morning and afternoon news meetings as well as periodic enterprise meetings.
The editor has ultimate responsibility for story quality, scheduling, and performance management. It is a senior-level editing job that periodically includes department-level editor meetings.
Success: The editor will be successful if they encourage and expect world-class journalism that rarely, if ever, follows the competition. This includes investigative pieces, regular news scoops and conceptual trend scoops that make the Chronicle's digital and print products must-reads.
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