Reporter or Editor Tennessee Bureau Chief
Chalkbeat, the nonprofit news organization covering educational change efforts in the communities where improvement matters most, is seeking a seasoned journalist with management experience to serve as our Tennessee bureau chief.
The bureau chief will lead our Tennessee bureau’s coverage, with a focus on bottom-up reporting on the debate around how to create educational equity. This is a “player-coach” role, meaning you’ll be balancing both management of staff and your own reporting. You will oversee a strong team of three reporters, and be responsible for guiding our coverage decisions and priorities, working with reporters and senior editors to help shape stories on the front end so they connect to the important story Chalkbeat is telling across the country. (You may pinch-hit on editing when one of our ace story editors is out, too.) You’ll contribute to our reporting efforts by covering Memphis schools, including education storylines that arise out of Shelby County Schools and the state-run Achievement School District. You’ll also serve as Chalkbeat’s public face in Memphis, working with our experienced leadership to build a local community strategy and representing 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 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 Tennessee. And you’re not afraid to call officials to task when warranted.
What background and skills do you have?
- Strong track record in journalism, preferably in digital, with experience on public policy issues
- Familiarity with Tennessee, ideally locally in Memphis, and experience covering the news here
- Proven strategies for building an effective team. Experience managing direct reports preferred.
- Experience managing budgets and other administrative duties preferred
- Experience working in a CMS, preferably WordPress
- Stellar news judgment
- Strong interpersonal skills with a knack for working with curious reporters and skeptical editors
- Passion for education is a must; knowledge of education is a strong plus, but not required
This is a full-time position with benefits, based in Memphis. Chalkbeat offers a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and a generous benefits package, including a paid winter recess from Dec. 26-31.
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 five 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.