Higher Education Reporter
Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville, TN, USA

Tennessee, USA Req #17426

Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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Higher Education Reporter

We’re seeking a reporter who understands that storytelling starts with people, not institutions. It’s the students, faculty, staff and administrators who are the living expression of a school, and their stories are what connect the institution with the community.

Knoxville is rich in higher education options, anchored by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, which is unique among large land-grant research universities because of its deep connections with the world-renowned Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

We’re interested in reporting and storytelling that speaks to everyone who has a stake in our region’s higher ed system, from the student navigating schooling as the pandemic lingers and job prospects stutter to the millions of people whose livelihoods and lives themselves depend on the technological leaps driven by university research and development.

It’s critical to connect higher ed, particularly the University of Tennessee, to the day-to-day of people’s lives. It’s vital to tie international and national events to our university, and from our university to the nation and world.

Our higher ed reporter will be an expert at bringing to light the intersection of research, instruction, development and culture driven by Tennessee’s flagship university and the system it belongs to. Knoxville and East Tennessee are home to one of the biggest research centers in the world, on a scale of Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle, and the region’s best-kept secret is ready to be told by the right journalist.

We require a reporter skilled at finding out what people are talking about, and finding the sharpest angle to connect with readers. Depth, accuracy and authenticity are vital, as is a deep need to own a beat.

There is some classic urgency reporting required: fast-developing stories on the beat are often the foundation for enterprise. But the focus is on exclusive, original reporting built through deep source-building.

Here are some nuts and bolts: It’s a Monday through Friday gig barring major breaking news; social media fluency is a core requirement; it’s expected you’re comfortable working with journalists at all levels across our local, regional and national network.

Typical Job Duties

• Creates storytelling that accurately informs, engages and enlightens our audience.

• Explores and reports on higher education in Knoxville and Tennessee with a focus on connecting with our audience’s passions.

• Works toward becoming the community’s leading voice on growth and development with a focus on major employers.

• Demonstrates clear concise writing skills and an emphasis on “why this is important to me.”

• Understands that people love to read about where they’re from and how it’s viewed from home and from outside.

• Works with our content strategist and audience analyst to evaluate what’s working and what’s not and develops ongoing plans to better satisfy audience needs.

• Collaborates with our content team to provide all appropriate elements for stories (i.e. photos, videos and graphics). Captures basic photos and video as needed.

• Promotes personal brand, the brands of colleagues and the institutional brand.

• Provides great customer service, helping readers find answers and solutions.

• Performs other duties as necessary.


• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in experience and education.

• Record of excellence in reporting.

• Strong news judgment.

• Outstanding research skills and ability to build extensive contacts.

• Ability to create trust within your niche community.

• Knowledge of AP style.

• SEO proficiency.

• Excellent communication skills.

• Passion about news and content that will work well with audiences on social platforms.

• Expertise using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to enhance reporting and promote stories.

• Knowledge of reporting ethics and sourcing.

• Ability to collaborate well with others and to work within geographically separated teams on the biggest stories.

• Must be willing to travel on short notice to cover breaking news events.

• Valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and the minimum liability insurance required by state law.

Life in Knoxville

Knoxville combines the best of urban and outdoors life in one of the most beautiful settings in America, on the banks of the Tennessee River and in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. The city is home to the University of Tennessee, which adds even more energy to a dynamic city that hosts internationally recognized chefs, a thriving independent retail scene, world-class outdoors venues, including the renowned urban wilderness, and the elite athletics of the Southeastern Conference. It’s also home to the critically acclaimed Big Ears music festival created by Bonnaroo founder Ashley Capps, who lives here and helps nurture a thriving original music scene that draws artists from across the globe. And the cost of living will blow you away — it’s one of the country’s more affordable urban areas in a state with no income tax.

Gannett Co., Inc. is a proud equal opportunity employer. We are a drug free, EEO employer committed to a diverse workforce. We will consider all qualified candidates regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity, family responsibilities, disability, education, political affiliation, or veteran status.


Other details: Job Family: Frontline journalists         Job Function: Consumer         Pay Type: Hourly

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