Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
In line with its Global Communications Strategy, UNHCR requires the services of highly skilled editors capable of conceiving, commissioning, editing, translating, packaging, publishing and promoting written and multimedia content for publication on its core websites in Arabic, English, French and Spanish and for distribution to media partners. This body of work may include editing press releases and briefing notes, writing explanatory text, drafting op-eds, and producing timely, accurate and compelling news and feature stories that help us lead the narrative on forced displacement, generate empathy and mobilize action.
To do their jobs well, UNHCR’s editors need to cultivate a keen understanding of our target audiences – including the themes and formats that resonate deeply, convey messages effectively and spark quality engagement. They must be vigilant about editorial and journalistic standards, attentive to protection concerns and political sensitivities, and focused on communicating successfully with key demographics. The growing prevalence of digital platforms and mobile devices, and the increasingly visual orientation of our contemporary culture, means that web editors must know how to combine text effectively with photos, videos, graphics and interactive elements and must anticipate how people will experience our website content through social media, on smartphones, etc.
The editors’ functions, working relationships and skills specializations vary depending on language, location, grade, and whether they sit within a country operation, a regional bureau or the Global Communications Service. Some will focus more on commissioning of original content, for example, while others will focus more on translation
All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.
- Support the development of strategic work plan for production and/or translation of content for UNHCR’s global website, seeking to convey and amplify UNHCR’s key messages on priority situations and themes in ways that resonate with target audiences.
- Support the translation and placement of content that first appears English, including prioritization of which content to translate into other language and adjusting tone of voice to suit audiences and platforms.
- Contribute to timely publication of content on global website while maintaining high journalistic and editorial standards, including accuracy and consistency.
- Support the global website and associated translation services necessary for its success are effectively managed year-round.
- Pursue opportunities to partner with language media companies on placement and co-production of content.
- Liaise with relevant colleagues in country operations, bureaux and divisions to clarify factual questions, address protection concerns, weigh political sensitivities and optimize messaging, especially when generating original content.
- Ensure that text is enhanced by video, photos, maps or graphics where appropriate, liaising with relevant colleagues in the Multimedia Content Section.
- Support colleagues managing UNHCR’s social media accounts when requested on different language usage and wording in social media content.
- Play an active role in the ongoing development of the website, liaising with the Digital Engagement Section to improve user journeys, add new content, remove outdated content, and develop new features.
- Commission, write, re-write, edit and/or translate articles and other web content.
- Undertake reporting and interviewing assignments as required.
- Assist with other editing and writing assignments as requested.
- Perform other related duties as required.
Education & Professional Work Experience
Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P3 – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree
Field(s) of Education
Language and Literature;
Political Science; or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Certificates and/or Licenses
Relevant Job Experience
Minimum 6 years of progressively relevant experience in journalism and editing in an international environment, working with networks of writers and commissioning articles. Exceptional writing, translating, and editing skills– not only attentiveness to grammar, syntax, style, and narrative structure, but also a proven aptitude for writing and editing for the digital age. Experience publishing multimedia content with a content management system.
Experience working in communications for a multilingual, international organization. Experience working with designers and developers in a news environment (for example, to build timelines, interactive maps or data visualizations). Familiarity with HTML, search optimization and web analytics. Experience working in a developing country or field location. Good knowledge of the UN, UNHCR, refugees, human rights, and humanitarian issues. Working proficiency in other UN languages an asset.
*CO-Reporting, writing, editing for magazines, newspapers and websites
*CO-Journalism (incl. print, broadcast, photography, video, layout & graphics)
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)
For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.
For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.
All jobs at UNHCR require six core competencies and may also require managerial competencies and/or cross-functional competencies. The six core competencies are listed below.
Teamwork & Collaboration
Commitment to Continuous Learning
Client & Result Orientation
Empowering and Building Trust
Judgement and Decision Making
Innovation and Creativity
All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination, and abuse of power.
As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise.
This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.
Desired Candidate Profile
Demonstrated ability to identify, write, edit, or commission in English and Spanish web stories to be published in unhcr.org and acnur.org.
Consult regularly and coordinate with national staff and key colleagues (including on the Global Service Desk) to identify stories and shape messaging to reflect the broader strategic goals.
Undertake and plan missions throughout the region to produce web stories and ensure well-written captions and scripts of the mission s photos and videos.
Support the communications focal points in the country operations, providing the guidance and the tools they need to write web stories and other external relations materials through one-to-one mentorship and a public information training workshop.
Streamline procedures aimed at ushering content through the established clearance process.
Edit reports, fundraising appeals, pitches, and other external relations documents produced for public audiences.
Support the development of a content strategy for UNHCR Americas, ensuring this is aligned with UNHCR advocacy goals and messaging.
Assist in placing content with news organizations and other external partners, including in local media.
Monitoring coverage of the region by news organizations, staying updated on how the stories are developing, where journalists are working, and how UNHCR can create and share high-impact content.
Sound understanding, knowledge and insight analysis of the political, humanitarian, social, protection and social context and dynamics in the Americas at national and regional level.
Language – Spanish & English is Essential for this position; excellent command of the English and Spanish language, both written and oral and a proven ability to present complex matters to a range of audiences, incl. general public, journalist, partners and donors.
Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):
Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:
To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel
Nature of Position:
Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
The Editor – English reports to the Senior Communications Officer at the Regional Buerau for the Americas in Panama City, Panama. Focusing on displacement issues across Latin America and the Caribbean, the incumbent is expected to identify and write compelling text and multimedia content in English and Spanish for publication on UNHCR’s global web and ACNUR.org and for social media channels. S/he will support the implementation of the Regional Communications strategy in attracting new, diverse, and global audiences to support UNHCR´s advocacy, protection, and fundraising efforts on behalf of the Americas operations.
Within UNHCR, the incumbent will have regular contact with the content team at the Global Communications Service (GSD) at Headquarters and with the communication officers at the operations across the Americas with issues related to UNHCR’s content production and stories development.
In line with its Global Communications Strategy, UNHCR requires the services of highly skilled storytellers who are capable of identifying, researching and writing news stories for publication on its core websites and social media channels and for distribution to media partners. The overarching aim is to produce timely, accurate and compelling stories that help us lead the narrative on forced displacement, generate empathy and mobilize action.
This body of work may include commissioning or editing featured stories for the global websites, traveling to the field to interview testimonies, identifying and writing stories that are in line with communication and operational priorities, producing news, supporting video teams to write and edit scripts, write-edit photo captions for refugees media, edit communications proposals, write op-eds, develop messages for social media and support editing communications documents for external engagement.
Living and Working Conditions:
Panama City is classified ‘A’ Duty Station (Family) and has good infrastructure (health, housing, banking, transportation, telecommunications and recreational facilities) and good supply of goods and services, with no particular health hazards. In terms of security Panama is relatively safe compared to other cities throughout Latin America and it is rated as security level ‘1 minimal’ whereas for Darién Province (border with Colombia) it is security level ‘2 low’. The city is a communication hub and it is possible to fly to all countries of the region with direct flights and it offers good options for travelling in general. UNHCR offices are located in the Canal Zone, in a green area outside the city centre called ‘Ciudad del Saber’ where most of the other UN Agencies are also located, as well as International Schools, NGOs and research centres, etc The cost of living is relatively high for the region (reflected in the post adjustment), especially for housing and health, but it is easy to find accommodation on the private market, including in the area of the office in houses or in the city centre towers in modern apartments. Most of the food is imported except for sea products and some fruits and vegetables. There is a wide range of international schools, several of them offering IB curriculum including some in the office area. In terms of recreational activities, Panama being a hub for the purchasing of goods for neighbouring countries, the city offers a lot of malls and doing shopping and going to malls is a common week end activity. Cultural offer is limited but there is a good offer of restaurants and a dynamic nightlife. Beaches on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are reachable within one hour by car or by boat directly from the city and there are some options for hiking too. There is also a relatively good range of sports activities.
BA: Communication (Required), BA: English Language and Literature, BA: Human Rights, BA: International Relations, BA: Journalism (Required), BA: Political Science
Accountability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Innovation & creativity, Judgement & decision making, Managing resource, Organizational awareness, Political awareness, Teamwork & collaboration, Technological awareness
UNHCR Salary Calculator
Add.2 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 – Part B
This position requires Functional Clearance
How to apply
For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit
The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).
Closing date of receipt of applications: 16 February 2023 (midnight Geneva time)