Water Reporter - CalMatters - California

Water Reporter - CalMatters - California

Do you thrive on stories that combine human impact, industry demands, stakeholder politics, changing climate and raw nature? Then you may be the first water reporter at CalMatters.

As demonstrated by California’s historic drought this year, water is one of the state’s top policy priorities. We will see major change in coming years as policymakers navigate a thicket of interest groups to rebuild the state’s plumbing in a way that reflects a new understanding about where, when and how much water will fall on the state. Billions of infrastructure dollars are expected to be spent on tunnels and reservoirs. Agriculture, which uses 80% of the state’s water supply, will see major change in crop selection, technology and regulation. Meanwhile, cities compete for reliable water sources and rural areas struggle with shortages and polluted sources. And one out of every 75 California homes is without clean running water. 

This reporter will be an expert on water, understanding the myriad stakeholders, what they want and how they are in conflict or agreement. The reporter will travel throughout the state to learn about and understand issues with groundwater, snowpack, shrinking rivers, desalination and conservation measures. There will be in-depth explanatory or narrative stories as well as news analysis about the what and why behind key decisions. 

This position could be based in many California locations with the understanding that expertise on water policymaking in Sacramento is essential.

Responsibilities include:

  • Report and write stories in a variety of formats including in-depth longform, smart enterprise and short timely news. 
  • Develop solid sources within federal and state water projects, large water districts, authorities for agricultural/urban/rural use, environmental groups and water rights attorneys. 
  • Work independently as well as collaborate with other members of the CalMatters environment team.
  • Contribute project ideas that create understanding about the personalities and the stakes involved in major decisions and what they mean for Californians. 
  • Collect research from think tanks, universities and advocacy groups about climate predictions, species trends, new technologies and water use.
  • Be a watchdog who holds lawmakers and agencies accountable. Relatedly, look for success stories and those advocating solutions. 
  • Participate in public events and appear on radio, television and social media platforms.
  • Contribute to the story production process including creating data graphics and using SEO best practices.


  • At least three years of professional journalism experience

These would be a plus:

  • Experience or familiarity with California water policy
  • The ability to report and write in both Spanish and English
  • Experience with data analysis and data journalism

We are an expanding and collaborative newsroom, successfully forging a new model for sustainable, intelligent, nonprofit journalism. We’re committed to diversity and especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply. If you’re interested, please provide a resume, a cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job, and links to at least six online samples of your work. Write to [email protected] with the job title in the subject line.

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