Reporter or Editor Tennessee Reporter
Chalkbeat, the growing nonprofit news organization telling the story of education in America, is seeking a reporter to join our Tennessee team.
This is a critical time to cover schools in Tennessee, which is known nationally for its efforts to reform education policy and practice. The public education landscape in the state includes schools run by county and municipal districts, the state, and nonprofit organizations. With the multiple entities involved, different educational philosophies sometimes collide. This creates a dynamic environment, rich with opportunities for high-impact stories. The fate of high-poverty schools in 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. These issues are set against a backdrop of historic civil rights battles that reverberate into the present day.
This position is based in Memphis and will report to Chalkbeat’s Tennessee bureau chief.
Who are you?
You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power of a good story. You’re a self-starter who is hungry to break news, eager to understand and inform vital public policy debates, and enthusiastic about creating new models for sustainable journalism. You’re a strong beat reporter who can develop reliable sources and beat the competition. You’ve got the ability to write a range of stories, from breaking news to enterprise and long-term projects. Most importantly, you can serve as a guide for our readers—school personnel, education insiders, parents, students, and curious citizens—in explaining how schools in the city work. And you’re not afraid to call its leaders to task when warranted.
We’re looking for an ambitious reporter who can hit the ground running on a beat and who can understand the nuances of Memphis.
What background and skills do you have?:
- Experience covering education, government, or public policy
- 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
- A firm grasp of AP style and proper grammar
- The ability to accept feedback and use it to grow
- A passion for education and the future of Memphis and its children
- Ability to report in a language other than English 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 conceiving and executing stories that help people understand how breaking news connects to the big picture, and how public policy decisions impact and connect to the people and institutions in Memphis.
- You’ll collaborate with our data/visuals team as Chalkbeat comes up with innovative ways to present news and distribute stories.
- You’ll communicate and build relationships with readers and key players in the local community through our regular morning newsletters, social media posts, and the reporting process.
We offer a flexible work environment, with shared office space in midtown Memphis and the ability to work from home when appropriate. (We are working remotely now during the pandemic).
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.
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.