Communication Specialist; Commissioning Editor – Photography (Temporary Appointment), Division of Global Communication and Advocacy, NY, 117851

Job organizational context

This position resides within the Global Content Strategy (GCS) section as part of the Division of Global Communication and Advocacy (DGCA) and directly reports to the Head of Multimedia. The Multimedia team is responsible for high quality professional production and design of photography and video communications assets. These assets are featured across UNICEF’s global digital channels including, global social media channels, external digital media outlets and traditional media channels, as well as in flagship publications.  The unit is also responsible for providing normative guidance and technical advice to country offices, regional offices and national committees in the commissioning, production, and ethical use of multimedia content.

Purpose for the job

Under the general guidance of the Head of Multimedia, the Commissioning Editor – Photography  is responsible for leading the day-to-day operations of the photography team, coordinating content with the video unit, and commissioning and coordination of collaborative content production projects with country offices. This includes generating creative multiplatform content ideas; planning and assigning photo content production; overseeing budgets and contracts; commissioning engaging photography materials for our audiences and platforms; overseeing production schedules and editorial calendars; and supervising staff and freelancers, as part of effective content strategy and communication in support of child rights. The Commissioning Editor – Photography also leads on the development and promotion of normative guidance on multimedia production in UNICEF, child safeguarding in multimedia content, diversity of representation, and more.

The Commissioning Editor’s primary technical responsibility is in photography with additional support and coordination on video as required.

The Commissioning Editor is responsible for:

  • Conceiving innovative and creative ideas in the commissioning, acquisition, dissemination and use of photography and other content products for UNICEF HQ
  • Working closely across HQ divisions and country offices to identify engaging stories to deliver on content strategies for UNICEF’s communication and advocacy priorities
  • Planning, commission, and producing collaborative (HQ and Country Offices)content production projects to deliver on priorities, ensuring that they are completed on time and to a high level of creativity and quality
  • Leading content coordination during global emergency response communication, in close collaboration with PFP, Regional Offices and Country Offices, in a “follow-the-sun” approach to content production
  • Providing support and advice to other UNICEF offices worldwide for their multimedia acquisitions and use;
  • Creating, implementing and disseminating policies, guidelines and technical requirements for the acquisition and use of multimedia assets by UNICEF, and their use by external media and UNICEF partners, in line with child rights, international/national laws and the highest editorial standards;
  • Promoting the development of partnerships with international photo professionals and related visual multimedia professionals, channels, institutions, agencies and corporations;
  • Undertaking or coordinating HQ photo assignments as required.
  • Coordinating photo production with video production for an integrated approach to content creation as required by campaigns, advocacy aims or platform opportunities.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

Role Responsibility

The work in this position is diverse and the incumbent is responsible for generating and developing creative ideas, working closely with media, social media and advocacy teams across all platforms while ensuring that division communication priorities and content strategy are aligned.  The role requires someone to inspire and engage in-house and independent photographers by articulating UNICEF communication, campaign and advocacy priorities in the creation and development of ideas that meet our audiences’ needs. By providing creative leadership in the development of photography and other multimedia assets, the role is expected to encourage risk taking and innovation whilst maintaining expertise in identifying trends and opportunities for outstanding content.

Drive the creation, conceptualization and commissioning of professional quality photography and coordinating content from field offices (45%)

Support section operations in the development of audience relevant multimedia products, including:

  • Consulting with UNICEF stakeholders and policy-makers (communication and other specialists globally); with internal users of UNICEF content, including in HQ, regional, national and National Committee offices; and with external users including UN and other programme partners, international media, etc. to define priority areas for programme, campaign and emergency coverage; 
  • Acquire content globally to address these needs, coordinating with relevant field and other offices, drawing from a consistently updated roster of qualified development/journalist professional photographers based around the world;
  • Produce, edit and supervise the researching/writing of photo captions, ensuring accuracy and descriptions in line with UNICEF policies;
  • Oversee the timely dissemination of UNICEF photographs to maximize their broadest appropriate use in support of child rights and UNICEF priorities, including via UNICEF platforms and in other major international/national media and social media channels.
  • Implement decisions on content creation and usage based on content strategy considerations and coordination

Create/update/maintain and promote UNICEF multimedia guidelines (20%)

  • Create and update as needed comprehensive guidelines on UNICEF multimedia assets – and related visual media – policies, rights negotiations and technical procedures/requirements and advocate for their broadest practice within UNICEF and externally, as appropriate;
  • Build partnerships with international development/journalism photographers and related visual media and/or academic agencies, channels, institutions and corporations;

Support HQ photo assignments and related work (25%):

  • Oversee HQ and OED requests for photo support, hiring of freelancers for these assignments as required, including arranging all briefings, logistics, contacts, access, etc. 
  • Ensure complete follow-up of these assignments, including the timely editing, captioning and completion of selected image acquisitions for sharing with the division or other colleagues or external partners and for their global distribution.

Manage the HQ photography team (10%)

Manage UNICEF HQ photo team and ensure that all required administrative, financial and personnel policies are adhered to and that UNICEF resources are cost-effectively deployed.


HQ-based post, with possible travel as required

RESPONSIBILITY FOR WORK OF OTHERS: (Indicate the number, title and level for whose work the post is responsible.)

Title                                                                              Level           Number       

 Photo writer and Editor                                                P-2                    107079


(a)           Describe the type of decisions regularly made and the impact of those decisions.


               Ongoing decision-making in working with all forms of multimedia, especially photography, traditional and digital, acquiring and disseminating photographs, while creating and promoting photo- and video-related policies, daily work impacts UNICEF’s identity, credibility and effectiveness as a global advocate/defender of children/women and their rights. Decisions relating to the quality of these products, their timeliness and influence on decisions and choices of field offices, National Committees and other users of UNICEF photograph worldwide, as well as media and partner perceptions of UNICEF. Completing photography assignments, coverage quality affects the impact and effectiveness of UNICEF’s advocacy work.


(b)           Describe the type of recommendations regularly made and why these are important.


               Policies and guidelines on the use of photography developed and implemented by the incumbent promotes visual literacy throughout the organization and the substantive use of visual communication, adding to the effectiveness of UNICEF’s advocacy, programming and fundraising globally. Guidelines are critical to the appropriate use of imagery vis-à-vis children’s/women’s rights, especially in controversial, highly visible or sensitive areas, and to UNICEF’s reputational risk management 


  1. Describe the most damaging error(s) that could be made in the work and the consequences they would have.


             Given the highly visible nature of the work, involuntary error or ill-advised recommendations by the incumbent can result in lost advocacy and fundraising opportunities, misconceived public perceptions on child issues, and damage to the organization’s image and credibility. 


INDEPENDENCE ( Describe the degree of direction or management guidance the post receives from the immediate supervisor, e.g., post acts under minimal supervision, exercises judgement, takes initiative, etc.)


             The incumbent is required to continuously exercise judgement and initiative in creative, policy and administrative areas with minimal supervision and considerable latitude.  Expected to make recommendations to best promote and disseminate visuals globally, as well as advise on final productions.



(a)           Indicate which guidelines are required for performing the duties of the post (rules, regulations, policies, procedures, practices, precedents, manuals, instructions, etc.)


Executive Directives

Executive Board and other policy documents 

General administrative and financial guidelines

Human resources policies

UN/UNICEF Policy Papers

UNICEF communication policies and strategies, as periodically updated

Brand policies, as periodically updated

UNICEF style book, as periodically updated

Ethical Guidelines on Reporting on Children

UNICEF photography and multimedia policies, as periodically updated


(b)           Describe the extent to which interpretation of, and deviation from, existing guidelines is permitted and the authority to propose or establish new guidelines.


            Creation of policy and guidelines for photography and video are important functions of the post, subject to the approval of the Section Chief. Interpretation of other guidelines Is vital, to maximize artistic and aesthetic qualities of products and their cost-effective production, within the framework of UNICEF communication and fundraising policy and objectives.



 Indicate the purpose and level of contacts both inside and outside UNICEF for the work to be accomplished.


TITLE                                                         PURPOSE                                                      FREQUENCY

 a) Internal                            


GCA staff                                                   Consult/Advise/Recommend                          Frequent


b) External           


Professional Photographers                 Consult/Advise/Recommend                          Frequent

Commissioning Editors                       Consult/Advise/Recommend                          Frequent

Photo Agencies/Forums/Editors          Consult/Advise/Recommend                           Frequent            

Media/Photo counterparts in              Consult/Advise/Recommend                           Frequent

UN, NGOS & other partner



Multimedia producers                           Consult/Advise/Recommend                          Occasional

 Competencies and level of proficiency required

Core Values

  • Commitment
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Integrity


Core competencies

  • Communication [III]
  • Working with People  [II]
  • Drive for Results  [II]

Functional Competencies:

  • Leading and supervising [I]
  • Formulating Strategies and Concepts [II]
  • Relating and Networking [II]  
  • Persuading and Influencing [II]
  • Applying Technical Expertise [II] 
  • Entrepreneurial Thinking [II]

Recruitment Qualifications


Advanced university degree in communications strategy, digital engagement, journalism, photojournalism, media  and at least 5  years of experience.

OTHER SKILLS AND ATTRIBUTES (Indicate what other skills and attributes required, such as computer knowledge, management or communication skills, negotiating or training ability, etc.)

  • Ability to express clearly and concisely ideas and concepts in written and oral form.
  • Proven background commissioning content production assignments across multiple digital platforms with a mind to the needs of various audiences and stakeholders
  • Ability to provide creative leadership to the development process, encouraging risk taking and innovation while identifying trends and opportunities for outstanding content
  • Proven ability to network and manage relationships with partners.
  • Strong interpersonal communication and negotiating skills.
  • Proven ability to conceptualise, plan and execute creative multimedia production ideas as well as transfer knowledge and skills.
  • Knowledge of current theories and practices regarding digital platforms and social media,
  • Ability to gather and act on relevant data and research on the role of digital media and reaching targeted audiences with advocacy objectives.
  • Knowledge and ability to use standard office computer systems; core photo equipment/hardware/software and related evolving technologies.
  • Knowledge of international development issues and of UNICEF priority areas.
  • Ability to exercise good judgment under pressure. 
  • Ability to handle multiple assignments with competing deadlines. Able to work under pressure and to meet tight deadlines.

Flexibility to take on assignments at short notice.


  • At least 5 years progressive experience (preferably within an international context) in creating and commissioning professional photography and other content, particularly in developing countries.
  • Background in photojournalism, journalism, and experience in the creation and commissioning of content assets for digital platforms and marketing requirements.
  • Background in content strategy and using multimedia assets to reach specific KPI,  drive communication and advocacy objectives across social media platforms, and reach target audiences
  • Comprehensive knowledge of up-to-date content production workflow processes and of the application of multimedia assets in a range of media, including news outlets, web and social media sites, multimedia products, print publications and exhibitions.
  • Up-to-date experience in strategic communication efforts that utilize photography to advocate for positive social change, preferably in an international context, in a rapidly evolving multimedia and multi-platform communication environment.
  • Demonstrated track record of commissioning successful content based on a thorough understanding of genres and audience needs.
  • Outstanding editorial judgement and passion for storytelling, along with the ability to enable creativity and innovation with supervisees and freelancers.

Knowledge and proven track record in use of DAM systems.

Language requirements: 

Fluency in spoken and written English is required.  Knowledge of another UN language is an asset.

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