Local Government Reporter
The local government reporter focuses on covering breaking news urgently, as well as breaking their own news through aggressive enterprise reporting and strong local source networks. This reporter pursues exclusive enterprise stories that are essential to readers, hold leaders and institutions accountable and help readers understand the context of events and decisions that impact their lives.
The reporter must have a demonstrated commitment to fairness and accuracy, in fact and in tone, and a strong grounding in journalism ethics. They must have the ability, or strong desire to develop it, to build reader loyalty and engagement around compelling public service journalism. Reporters are expected to develop a deep understanding of what’s important to readers in Charlotte and North Carolina, and to use that knowledge, as well as digital metrics and social media, to break and report exclusive journalism.
The local government reporter must have the ability to build sources and dig out exclusive stories, as well as the ability to frame, write and promote a story via search and social media to ensure that it reaches and resonates with our readers.
This reporter helps readers understand government and the decisions that affect their lives. They understand what is important to readers and hold government leaders accountable for response and resolution. They should regularly use the North Carolina Public Records Law to find potential stories.
It’s critical that a reporter on this beat builds sources in government and also throughout the community to understand the issues that people care about. While the local government reporter will cover some government meetings, they’re focused on matters of wider interest that impact readers, not on government process. This includes, for now, deep reporting on how the pandemic is playing out in Charlotte and the region.
The local government reporter will:
- Conceive compelling enterprise story ideas, with a clear focus on information that will be of keen interest and relevance to local readers.
- Develop a broad range of sources on the beat.
- Regularly break exclusive stories.
- Be a master of social media – both as a news-gathering tool and as a way to push the news out quickly and build our audience, as well as your own brand.
- Understand audience metrics – which of your stories are resonating with readers and which are not? Working with your editor, regularly mine this data for takeaways about how we can build our audience.
- Shoot basic video and photos in the field. Work with visuals team to add more sophisticated visuals as a fundamental story-telling tool.
- On tight deadlines, write stories that are complete, fair and provide context for readers.
- Write and report on a continuous-news cycle, publishing to digital platforms as well as print.
- Use judgment in determining the best digital tools for conveying news to readers.
- Engage the public: Present events, news coverage and enterprise/public service reporting in a manner in which readers understand the need for action/involvement.
- Use social networks to seek story ideas, report in real time and connect with the community.
A great candidate will have:
- College degree - required.
- Must have reliable transportation.
- Must have valid driver’s license.
- Must have vehicle insurance (at least minimum insurance required for the state in which the employee works).
- 2+ years digital journalism experience preferred.
- Extensive background in journalism, video and online media preferred.
- Creativity and independence in identifying concepts and ideas for news stories that are exclusive to The Observer and relevant to readers.
- Command of grammar, spelling, Observer and AP style, as well as clear skills in story organization and clear writing.
- Strong story-telling ability and excellent news judgment.
- Fluency in both the art and science of readership and engagement.
- Ability to tell stories using a variety of tools and platforms.
- Enthusiasm for learning new skills and technologies.
- Strong interpersonal skills.
- Expert-level skills at developing and maintaining source networks on a beat.
- Skills in using digital research tools to find information.
- Expert-level knowledge in use of social networks.
- Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues in developing and executing long- and short-term projects.
- Fluency in Spanish is highly desirable.
- Ability to evaluate, analyze and interpret documents, records, information and events.
- Ability to spot local, regional or national trends and find ways to make them relevant to Observer readers.
- A commitment to accurate, ethical journalism.
NOTE: With your application, please include a link to your portfolio or samples of your work.
CHeck out what our dedicated reporters are working on: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/