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26 Jun 2019

Reporter or Editor Detroit Bureau Chief

 Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States

Job Description

We’re looking for the next leader of our Detroit team. 

Chalkbeat, the nonprofit news organization covering educational change efforts in the communities where improvement matters most, is seeking a seasoned journalist to serve as our Detroit bureau chief. 

Detroit’s schools are at the center of a national conversation about urban education. Extreme poverty, decades of disinvestment, and a robust system of school choice engineered in part by Betsy DeVos before she became U.S. education secretary all have taken a toll on Detroit schools, which routinely post the lowest test scores in the nation. At the same time, the school board, superintendent, and motivated community groups are trying to position Detroit schools for a turnaround. Chalkbeat Detroit dives deep to explore the challenges and complexities of such efforts — telling stories from early childhood through high school — at a pivotal time. 

The bureau chief will lead that coverage, with a focus on the debate around how to create educational equity. You will oversee a team of two reporters and be responsible for story budgets, readership growth, and impact, working to shape and edit stories so they connect to the important story Chalkbeat is telling across the country. You will serve as Chalkbeat’s public face in Detroit, working with our experienced leadership and engagement team to build a local community strategy, maintain news partnerships, and represent the organization at public events. Finally, you’ll oversee the bureau’s budget and office with support from Chalkbeat’s central network. 

This position will report to one of Chalkbeat’s two Managing Editors for Local News.

Who are you?

You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power of a good story, both as a reporter and as an editor. You’re hungry to break news, eager to understand and inform vital public policy debates, and enthusiastic about creating new models for sustainable journalism. You find coaching reporters energizing, from helping them connect the dots across several incremental stories to instructing them in the fine art of source-building. You get the urgency of making strong coverage decisions quickly, know how to balance quick news hits with enterprise work, and have experience planning longer-term investigative projects. While you love being on the ground and in the community, you’re also inspired by the idea of collaborating with colleagues across the Chalkbeat network to learn and share best practices and get the support you need to lead your team to greatness. You can serve as a guide for our readers — teachers, education insiders, parents, students, and curious citizens — in explaining how the schools in the city work. And you’re not afraid to call leaders to task when warranted.  

What background and skills do you have?

  • 7+ years’ experience in journalism, preferably in digital, with a focus on public policy issues
  • Experience covering Detroit and/or Michigan preferred
  • Breaking news metabolism and decisiveness under pressure
  • Proven strategies for building an effective team and experience managing direct reports
  • Strong interpersonal skills with a knack for working with curious reporters and skeptical editors
  • Stellar news judgment
  • Experience managing budgets and other administrative duties preferred
  • Passion for education is a must; knowledge of education is a strong plus, but not required

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!

We offer a flexible work environment, with shared office space in midtown Detroit and the ability to work from home when appropriate.

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 26-31.

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 email the following to, with “Detroit Bureau Chief” in the subject line by July 15, 2019:
  • Links to five relevant clips (as reporter or editor)
  • Resume 
  • Cover letter explaining your interest in the position and one story idea about Detroit schools that you’d like to see covered 
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: Detroit. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Reporter or Editor.