the detour is the story

OA seeks Executive Director and Assistant Editor starting Nov 15.


OA began as a reading series in New York City, inspired by a candid talk the travel writer Pico Iyer gave at Yale in 2013. A community of journalists and travel writers galvanized around the idea that “the detour is the story” and hosted themed storytelling nights, in which writers divulged untold travel tales. Full backstory in this short video.

In spring 2016, OA launched a weekly web column called “Letter to a Stranger," and unfurled the "Behind the Feature" column shortly thereafter. The first print volume of OA stories was released in the summer of 2017, featuring the best of four years of OA storytelling. See here for a look at this 100-page collection.

Off Assignment’s co-founders are now seeking:

  1. an Executive Director to carry forward the project’s grassroots mission
  2. an Assistant Editor to oversee the "Letter to a Stranger" column and solicit new content



The ideal candidate is someone who can:

  • Galvanize others with their passion and vision
  • Manage a far-flung team of editors and volunteers
  • Liaise well with writers and photographers
  • Fundraise among existing patrons and Kickstarter supporters
  • Create a budget & business plan and manage the fiscal inner workings of OA
  • Recognize and shape stellar content, in line with the OA brand
  • Communicate well with the Board of Directors and Advisory Board
  • Grow our digital operation, including our newsletter and podcast
  • Learn quickly and take the helm confidently

Desired experience includes:

  • 2-5 years experience managing a team
  • Significant experience fundraising
  • Experience in publishing, either in print or online
  • Organizational experience in the nonprofit or corporate realm
  • Expertise in the digital realm, including social media and web publishing

The Executive Director role entails:

  • Managing editorial team and curating editorial
  • Developing a strategic plan and business model
  • Reporting to the Board of Directors as well as the Advisory Board
  • Fundraising his/her own salary beyond the first trimester (Nov 15-Feb 15)
  • Cultivating partnerships with colleges, sponsors, and sister publications
  • Overseeing newsletter publication and OA.com

Job Details:

  • 20-25 hour/week commitment
  • $10,000 stipend for the first trimester (Nov 15-March 15). Executive Director will be in charge of fundraising his/her own salary henceforth
  • Executive Director can be located anywhere, but preference may be given to a candidate based in the New York City region, as our Board of Directors and broader community exists there
  • The possibility of office space exists for a NYC-based candidate
  • New Executive Director will overlap for a period of time with current Executive Director so they are fully supported and gain all information necessary to move ahead



The ideal candidate is someone who can:

  • Identify great stories and work with authors to shape them
  • Reach out to diverse writers and cultivate ongoing relationships
  • Create an editorial plan and execute it efficiently and punctually
  • Work well with the Executive Director and extended team

Desired experience includes:

  • Editing and copyediting
  • Managing an editorial production line

Job Details:

  • 10-15 hour/week time commitment
  • Modest monthly stipend - TBD based once Exec Director is in place
  • Possibility of workspace in New York City
  • Assistant Editor can be located anywhere, but preference may be given to a candidate based in the New York City

To Apply

Please send us the following materials to offassignment@gmail.com, with the subject line "APPLICATION":

  • A cover letter that details: 1) your particular interest in the position; 2) the experience that equips you for it; 3) your current work/life situation and how OA would be negotiated with other jobs and responsibilities
  • A current CV

Note: Generic cover letters won’t advance your application. This is a highly unique and impactful role; we need a sense of why you are drawn to this project and what makes you a prime fit.

Application deadline is October 20th. Candidates will be interviewed in late October.

Thanks very much for your interest.


The OA Team

Lately, anytime I need a break from the news, I’ve been getting lost in “Letter to a Stranger,” a column from the travel magazine Off Assignment. Journalists write notes to the most memorable strangers they encountered, but never spoke to. Haunting, and absorbing, the perfect distraction from reality.
— The New York Times "What We're Reading," Jenna Wortham
It’s a platform for reflective travel writing. With travel media getting more and more commercial, it’s nice to have a place where professionals can get into the real stories inherent in a foreign encounter. It’s retro and forward-thinking in the right ways....The Letters to a Stranger section is equally heartwarming and haunting. The Triptionary section makes for a lunch-break laugh.”
— Fathomaway, Best 24 Travel Blogs of 2017