Chalkbeat, the growing nonprofit news organization telling the story of education in America, is seeking a reporter to join our Detroit team.
Detroit’s schools for years have been at the center of a national conversation about improving urban education and addressing inequities. Extreme poverty, decades of disinvestment, and a robust system of school choice all have shaped Detroit schools. The district is more than three years into a turnaround effort aimed at stabilizing finances and boosting academic achievement. While the district made small gains in achievement prior to the pandemic, student scores on a rigorous national exam have been the worst in the nation for a decade. Chalkbeat Detroit has been at the forefront of exploring the challenges and complexities of such turnaround efforts — telling stories from early childhood through high school — at a pivotal time. This now includes writing about how the pandemic will affect Detroit schools in the short and long term.
This position is based in Detroit and will report to Chalkbeat’s Detroit bureau chief.
Who are you?
You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power of a good story. You’re a self-starter who is hungry to break news, eager to understand and inform vital public policy debates, and enthusiastic about creating new models for sustainable journalism. You’re a strong beat reporter who can develop reliable sources and beat the competition. You’ve got the ability to write a range of stories, from breaking news to enterprise and long-term projects. Most importantly, you can serve as a guide for our readers—school personnel, education insiders, parents, students, and curious citizens—in explaining how schools in the city work. And you’re not afraid to call its leaders to task when warranted.
We’re looking for an ambitious reporter who can hit the ground running on a beat. We are open to hiring a veteran reporter or an up-and-coming journalist with a few years of experience.
What background and skills do you have?:
- Experience covering education, government, or public policy
- Familiarity and experience with social media
- Comfort or experience working with data, research, and reports
- Interest in or experience with reader engagement, including finding creative ways to connect with a diverse set of readers and use those efforts to inform our reporting
- Knowledge of early childhood education, K-12 education, pathways to college, and state and city policy issues
- Experience with building sources and generating story ideas
- The ability to write clearly, cleanly, and on deadline for quick-take, daily and longer-form stories
- A firm grasp of AP style and proper grammar
- The ability to accept feedback and use it to grow
- A passion for education and the future of Detroit and its children
- Ability to report in a language other than English is a plus
Note: We know that many strong candidates will not have all the skills we list. That’s OK. What else do you bring to the table? Please tell us!
What will you be responsible for?
- You’ll be responsible for conceiving and executing stories that help people understand how breaking news connects to the big picture, and how public policy decisions impact and connect to the people and institutions in Detroit.
- You’ll collaborate with our data/visuals team as Chalkbeat comes up with innovative ways to present news and distribute stories.
- You’ll communicate and build relationships with readers and key players in the local community through our regular morning newsletters, social media posts, and the reporting process.
We offer a flexible work environment, with shared office space in midtown Detroit and the ability to work from home when appropriate. (We are working remotely now during the pandemic).
This is a full-time position with benefits. Chalkbeat offers a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and a generous benefits package, including a paid winter recess.
Chalkbeat is the nonprofit news organization committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education. We are mission-driven journalists who believe that an independent local press is vital to ensuring that education improves. Currently in seven locations and growing, we seek to provide deep local coverage of education policy and practice that informs decisions and actions, leading to better schools. Read more about our mission and values.
How to Apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application. You will be asked to send links to five clips that best exemplify your work, a PDF of your resume, and a cover letter explaining your interest in the position. Chalkbeat is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. Chalkbeat encourages people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations and marital statuses to apply.
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