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24 Sep 2019

Reporter or Editor Chicago Reporter

 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States

Job Description

Chalkbeat, the growing nonprofit news organization telling the story of public education in America, is seeking a reporter to join our Chicago team. 

Chicago currently is home to one of the most compelling public education stories in the nation. There’s a new mayor with a new vision, a schools chief with an eye on what’s happening in classrooms, a teachers union flexing its might, and test scores suggesting that students are on the right track. At the same time, the city’s schools must contend with declining enrollment and with the poverty, segregation, and violence that affects so many communities — and the children living in them. We’re looking for someone who’s excited about paying attention to all of these issues and to telling the stories that readers in Chicago and across the country need to hear.

This position will report to Chalkbeat’s Chicago bureau chief.

Who are you? 

You are a strong beat reporter who believes that good education coverage is critical to the health of Chicago civic life. You’re hungry to break news but also naturally curious about the complexities and nuances of public policy. You’re willing to follow the twists and turns of stories that unfold over time, to ask questions that sometimes don’t have straight answers, and to be thoughtful about how you explain complicated concepts to your audience. You’ve got the ability to write a range of stories, from breaking news to enterprise and long-term projects. You’re a team player who is enthusiastic about helping us connect with readers through events, social media, and newsletters. And you’re eager to visit schools and meet with students and educators.

What background and skills do you have?

  • Experience covering education, government, or public policy
  • Experience writing breaking news
  • 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  
  • Spanish fluency 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 pitching and executing breaking education news stories and helping people understand how they connect to the big picture
  • You’ll develop and report longer-term enterprise projects that capture how public policy decisions impact and connect to schools and families in Chicago. 
  • You’ll communicate and build relationships with readers and key players in the local community through our occasional open office hours and other events, regular morning newsletters, social media posts, and the reporting process.

We work out of an office in Civic Exchange, a civic information hub and co-working space co-founded by Chalkbeat Chicago and seven other tech and media startups.

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 from December 25 – January 1.

About Chalkbeat:

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 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 and where you heard about it to by November 11. Include “Chicago Reporter” in the subject line. 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.

Bureaus: Chicago. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Reporter or Editor.