Reporter or Editor Tennessee Bureau Chief
We’re looking for the next leader of our Tennessee team.
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 an experienced journalist and manager to serve as our Tennessee bureau chief. The position is based in Memphis.
As bureau chief, you will oversee a two-reporter team as well as contribute your own reporting. This is a critical time to cover schools in Tennessee, which is known nationally for its efforts to reform education policy and practice. The fate of high-poverty schools exiting a state-run improvement district, a Republican push to expand school vouchers, and the coronavirus pandemic’s unprecedented disruption of student learning all loom large.
The bureau chief is Chalkbeat Tennessee’s journalistic guiding light, responsible for setting our coverage agenda with an eye toward making an impact, spotlighting inequities, and pointing toward solutions. You will work with reporters and senior network editors to shape stories on the front end, collaborate with a story editor who is responsible for editing Tennessee copy, and serve as an extra set of eyes when it’s warranted, especially on high-value work. You also will serve as Chalkbeat’s public face in the community, working closely with our experienced network team to build a local strategy, maintain news partnerships, and represent the organization at public events. Finally, you’ll oversee the bureau’s budget and office — when we’re able to return to the office — with support from Chalkbeat’s finance and operations teams.
Who are you?
You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power of a good story. You’re energized by coaching reporters, from helping them connect the dots and see the big picture to instructing them in the art of source-building. You can balance quick-turn news stories with enterprise work and have experience planning longer-term projects. You’re inspired by the idea of collaborating with colleagues across Chalkbeat to learn and share best practices and get the support you need to lead your team to greatness. You value reader engagement in identifying and executing stories. You can serve as a guide for our readers—school personnel, education insiders, parents, students, and curious citizens—in explaining how education works in Tennessee. 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
- Proven strategies for building an effective team and experience managing direct reports
- Excellent news judgment
- Breaking news metabolism and decisiveness
- Ability to produce ambitious, agenda-setting enterprise journalism
- Strong interpersonal skills, demonstrating empathy and understanding while being unafraid to have tough conversations when needed
- Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a manager and an editor
- Experience managing budgets and other administrative duties preferred
- Passion for education and Chalkbeat’s mission is a must; knowledge of education is a strong plus, but not required
Not all candidates will check all of the requirements listed above, and that’s OK — we still want to hear from you. We especially encourage candidates from communities that traditionally have been underrepresented in journalism and especially in leadership positions.
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 and a retirement plan.
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 furthering equity in education. With journalists in eight bureaus across the country and a national reporting team, 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.
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.