Reporter or Editor Philadelphia Bureau Chief
Chalkbeat, the nonprofit news organization covering the effort to improve schools for the almost 30 million children in America who live near or below the poverty line, is seeking a seasoned journalist to serve as our first Philadelphia bureau chief.
This is an exciting moment to help launch our bureau in Philadelphia,a result of The Philadelphia Public School Notebook (the Notebook) joining forces with Chalkbeat. The past year has seen an onslaught of news carrying profound implications for students and families in one of the nation’s largest school districts. Most immediately, the district is grappling with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and how to educate its 200,000 students in the coming school year. The district, like many in the wake of unrest around police killings of Black Americans, is reimagining its school police force. District leaders are also continuing to navigate the 2018 return to city control after decades under state takeover. Chalkbeat wants to be at the forefront of these and other stories, breaking news and providing smart analysis of the implications on policy and politics.
The bureau chief role at Chalkbeat is unique, blending reporting, editing, people management, community engagement, and team building. You will guide our coverage decisions and priorities in Philadelphia, starting with your own reporting and overseeing one senior reporter. You will work with the reporter and senior editors to help shape stories on the front end so they connect to the important story of educational equity Chalkbeat is telling across the country. (You may pinch-hit on editing when one of our ace story editors is out, too.) You’ll also serve as Chalkbeat’s public face, working with our central engagement team to build a local community strategy, establish news partnerships, and represent the organization in the community. Finally, you’ll oversee the bureau’s budget and office with support from Chalkbeat’s central network.
Who are you?
You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power a good story can wield. 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 are devoted to elevating the voices of historically marginalized communities. You can balance quick news hits with enterprise work and have experience planning longer-term 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 — school personnel, education insiders, parents, students, and curious citizens — in explaining how education works in your bureau’s location. And you’re not afraid to call officials 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
- 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
- Entrepreneurial spirit and interest in building a sustainable local newsroom
- Experience managing budgets and other administrative duties preferred
- Passion for education is a must; knowledge of education is a strong plus, but not required
This is a full-time position with benefits. Chalkbeat offers a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and a generous benefits package, including a retirement plan and a paid recess between Christmas and New Year’s in addition to vacation time.
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 eight 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.
We are dedicated to improving our newsroom, in part by better reflecting the people we cover. (Here is a breakdown of our staff.) We are committed to diversity and building an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds and ages. And we are taking steps to meet that commitment. We especially encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.