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Hiring Anywhere: What MedCity News looks for in an editor

Hiring Anywhere: What MedCity News looks for in an editor

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The last time Career GPS talked to Chris Seper, CEO of MedCity Media, he told us what he looks for when hiring for a startup. This time around, he's looking for an editor for MedCity News, a website that covers business and innovation in life sciences and health care.

But in MedCity News' new media model, the editor can be based just about anywhere. And Seper says that the successful candidate have a little experience or a lot – he's looking for someone with an energy that matches the innovative nature of his company.

When you cast a net that wide, how exactly do you choose an editor? This week, Seper answers questions about the position and what it will take to be the editor of MedCity News. He answered questions by email, edited here for clarity.

Angilee Shah: We last talked in January. You had just hired a reporter and business development specialist in North Carolina and were looking for a Minnesota bureau chief. How has MedCity News grown since?

Chris Seper: Our North Carolina office has been amazing, and we followed last month by opening an office in Philadelphia. We're now seen consistently by key players as the go-to source for innovation news out of the life sciences and healthcare. Medtronic's new CEO granted us his first interview, for example.

2012 is about growing our management team and continued expansion. We've brought on a top-tier business development executive recently, and will add a product innovation manager and an editor to complete the team by January. We'll add additional reporting, content and business development firepower throughout the year.

Your listing at JournalismJobs says that the new editor will report to the CEO. Is this a brand new position, and how will it change the editorial flow of things?

This is a new position. Currently, the bureau chiefs report directly to me and have a lot of autonomy. That autonomy will remain to an extent, but we'll have a designated leader to provide more support on story ideas, focus on the MedCity mission and style, and help in areas of search engine optimization, and so on. I have a great team of reporters, but it's easy to get isolated alone in a bureau. A full-time editor will give them much needed support I can't provide because of the growth of the business.

You mention "new-media savvy" pretty high up in your listing. Why is this important for an editor?

A modern new media outlet simply writes in a different way than traditional media. And the audiences are often different (general for the traditionals versus laser-targeted for new media). It's like TechCrunch and Business Insider versus a daily newspaper or a city trade pub. So we need an editor that is going to encourage boundary pushing in the areas of writing with attitude, serving the audience, leveraging new media and multimedia to tell the story, and so on. And I don't want to be the one teaching an editor to do that. I want that person coming in with a new media point of view.

The editor can be based anywhere, correct? Will they then be running a virtual newsroom? How does that differ from running a more conventional newsroom?

Our reporters are everywhere: one in North Carolina, another in Philadelphia, another in Minnesota, and so on. So there's no advantage to have an editor in one locale. It allows us to get the best person for the job.

It looks like you're seeking someone with both business and health care coverage experience. Is that accurate?

That is going to be an important factor, but not having one will not exclude a candidate. Several competitive applicants have little in the way of healthcare and life science reporting, but do understand innovation and entrepreneurship and new media.

What makes a good editor? How much experience will the potential applicant need?

I truly believe competitive applicants can have both five years and 35 years of experience (I have already received resumes on both spectrums). It's not about age as it is expertise and point of view. I need an inspirational leader; a kindred spirit on MedCity's mission to serve the life sciences and healthcare innovation community in a provocative and new-media way; someone who is proactive, gutsy and eager to tell a story; someone who is entrepreneurial; someone who is organized, can manage and communicate well.

Will the job go beyond editing the news content generated by bureaus? Will the editor be involved in community blogs and/or sponsored blog posts? Do you envision this editor as being involved with social media properties and distribution of content as well?

The editor will lead the full-time reporters at; help with idea generation, search engine optimization implementation and executing the editorial missions; edit some copy; assign stories to freelancer writers writing for; do some writing; and be one of a five-member management team. The editor won't touch custom [sponsored content, or other writing the company is paid to do] or anything unrelated to the journalism in the company.

So by "new-media savvy" and entrepreneurial you don't really mean that the editor needs to work with social media, multimedia or HTML? You mean that they need to understand search and be able to write and edit for online readers?

No web design. But they will help with thinking about how to use social media to tell stories and make sure we're adhering to search engine optimization.

And of course, I have to ask, can you tell me more about the salary range?

At this point, I want to say we'll be competitive. And that this is a management position that gets equity in the company.

See the full listing for the editor of MedCity News at

Read more about Chris Seper and MedCity News:

Getting the Job: What a startup journalist looks for in new hires

Journalists learn more about blogging, social media tools at AHCJ

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