Vacancy for Head of West Africa Languages at BBC World Service

The BBC, is the leading international broadcaster
in Africa reaching a weekly audience of more than 100 million on
Radio, TV, Digital (language sites and, Mobile and
Social Media. We broadcast to Africa in English, Hausa, Somali,
French, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Kiswahili & Arabic.
We are
committed to broadcasting to and from the continent in a style that
meets the demands of our growing audience and as well as our
language services, our presence in the region is also defined by
our bureaux, special correspondents and bilingual reporters.
We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Head of West Africa Languages
Job Reference: BBC/TP/83016/21695
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Business Unit News: W2020
Contract Type: Permanent – Full Time
Division: World Service Group, Languages
Reports to: Regional Editor, BBC Africa
The Role

  • The BBC World Service is expanding its multimedia operations in
    Africa by doubling the number of language services from six to 12 and
    investing in modern TV and Digital production facilities.
  • This role will be part of BBC Africa’s senior management. Based
    in Lagos, the post holder will line manage language service editors as
    well as TV and Digital Video teams working at various offices in the
  • They will also undertake other leadership responsibilities as required by the BBC Africa Regional Editor.
  • Three of the new language services, Igbo, Pidgin and Yoruba will
    serve our audiences in Nigeria where the BBC already broadcasts in
  • The BBC is looking for a creative and progressive leader to
    coordinate and oversee all editorial activities in Nigeria and across
    French speaking Africa.


  • The BBC World Service remains the leading international
    broadcaster in Africa, reaching a weekly audience of more than 100
    million across all platforms and Social Media.
  • Africa’s media landscape is changing. It is one of the fastest
    developing news markets in the world with mobile technology transforming
    lives, internet connectivity increasing, the radio market remaining
    relatively strong and Television migrating from analogue to Digital.
  • The new investment by the BBC World Service in Africa aims to
    increase its reach and impact among audiences by targeting the
    continent’s young, aspiring middle class and women.
  • It will also offer African broadcasters a range of formal
    training and development schemes, including mentoring and journalism
    training weeks.

Main Duties

  • Provide dynamic, thoughtful and inspiring editorial leadership
    and managerial direction to WS Languages and programmes serving
    audiences in Nigeria and Francophone Africa.
  • Line manage all West Africa Language Service editors in Lagos, Abuja, Dakar and London.
  • Jointly line manage TV and Digital video production teams in the region.
  • In close coordination with the Regional Editor BBC Africa to
    provide strategic leadership of the BBC as a whole in the region,
    ensuring that this is done in accordance with World Service Group
    strategic priorities and demonstrating value for money.
  • Work with language service editors and programme editors to
    ensure content is produced to the highest editorial, production and
    brand standards.
  • Act as editorial reference point for Language Services and programmes in the region.
  • Recruit, retain and develop staff in line with equal opportunities and diversity policies.
  • Effectively manage conflict whenever it arises and deal with performance, capability and conduct issues whenever necessary.
  • Apply editorial performance review of the Language Services in the various locations against specific business objectives.
  • Manage staff in the region with full awareness of duty of care in high risk areas.
  • Investigate and engage in editorial and commercial partnerships with external partners.
  • Work closely with the Head of Newsgathering in Africa for
    matters relating to news coverage, commissioning and deployment in West
  • To lead from an editorial perspective the annual budget process
    for each service in collaboration with the Regional Editor BBC Africa.
  • Work closely with Business Development, International Bureau
    Management team, HR, Audience & Insights, Marketing, Technical, High
    Risk representatives for the region.
  • To act as a facilitator of change, making sure best practices are shared between language teams.
  • Lead the team in the creation of a collaborative working
    environment which maximises the efficient use of staff and resources and
    develops the necessary skills base of the team, and following BBC
    procedures and standards.
  • To lead the Languages appraisal process in the region including BBC Afrique staff in Dakar and those of BBC Hausa in London.
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Required Skills, Knowledge & Experience

  • Fluent spoken and written English. Knowledge of Hausa, French, Pidgin, Yoruba or Igbo is desirable but not mandatory.
  • A track record of success in a senior editorial role with proven experience over a range of output across platforms
  • Knowledge and understanding of the digital market in Nigeria and
    other key parts of West Africa. Proven senior experience of journalism
    in the digital field and with strong digital production skills and the
    ability to spot gaps in the market to develop opportunities for the
  • Experience of producing and coordinating high impact original journalism.
  • Experience of leading a sizeable team through change, e.g. platform changes, acquiring new skills, supervision etc.
  • Experience of managing budgets and the commitment to achieving the most efficient and cost effective use of resources.
  • Ability to motivate and develop editorial staff to make innovative and imaginative programmes.
  • Ability to make major decisions with authority and under
    pressure and to identify, prioritise and interpret key stories of the
  • Experience of selecting, developing and leading managerial and programme staff from different backgrounds
  • A sound knowledge of production and distribution processes,
    techniques and technology, and how emerging technology can most
    effectively be harnessed for the benefit of the audience.
  • Experience in managing conflict and dealing with performance management, capability and conduct issues.
  • Ability to manage resources, staff, technical facilities and
    budgets, in order to make challenging programmes in the most cost
    effective manner.


  • Business Management: Is able to understand commercial
    imperatives and trading relationships, appropriately applies business
    principles in terms of costs, the market and added value.
  • Strategic Thinking: Can identify a vision along with the plan
    which need to be implemented to meet the end goal. Evaluates situations,
    decisions, issues, etc in the short, medium and longer-term
  • Decision Making: Is ready and able to take initiative, originate action and be responsible for the consequences of decisions.
  • Influencing Others: Presents sound and well-reasoned arguments
    to convince others. Draws from a range of strategies to persuade people
    in a way that results in agreement or behaviour change.
  • Developing talent and diversity: Coaches others to build on
    strengths and improve on weakness, gives and listens to regular, honest
    feedback, grows the BBC’s new leaders, recruits and develops talent
    from a diverse range of backgrounds, connects with people from all
    parts of society.
  • Managing performance: Sets challenging team and individual,
    shares clear expectations about required performance levels, rewards
    success and addresses performance issues quickly and fairly, treats team
    members with honesty, respect and compassion
  • Leadership: Ability to create a vision and inspire others to realise it irrespective of circumstance.
  • Editorial Judgement: Makes the right editorial and policy
    decisions based upon a clear understanding of the BBC’s distinctive news
    agenda, the requirements of news and current affairs coverage as well
    as those of the programme departments.
  • Creative thinking: Translates news and current affairs into high
    quality programming through a detailed understanding of the
    requirements of the broadcast media and possession of the necessary
    writing, directing and reporting skills.
  • Living the BBC Values: Sets high standards for the world’s most
    trusted broadcaster, demonstrates a passionate commitment to the BBC’s
    brand values.
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How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply 

Application Deadline: 11th June, 2017.

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