Chalkbeat, the nonprofit news organization covering educational change efforts in the communities where improvement matters most, is seeking a skilled early career reporter in the city of Detroit.
Detroit’s schools are at the center of a national conversation about urban education. A robust system of school choice, engineered in part by Betsy DeVos before she became U.S. education secretary, has thrust the city’s education landscape into chaos. Low test scores have made the city a national symbol of educational crisis. And extreme poverty deepens the challenges. But at the same time, Detroit’s schools have the potential to see change as a new school board and new superintendent take control of the district, which has been freed from the debts of the old Detroit Public Schools. And community groups are also exploring new ways to address the needs of the city’s youngest children.
This reporter will cover these dynamics at a pivotal moment for the city. You’ll primarily be responsible for conceiving and executing daily 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 Detroit. You’ll also lead our early childhood education coverage and cover English language learners, special education, and other issues facing students. You’ll collaborate with our product team as Chalkbeat comes up with innovative ways to present news and distribute stories. Finally, you’ll communicate and build relationships with readers and key players in the local community through our weekly newsletter, social media and the reporting process.
Who are you?
You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power a good story can wield. 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 investigative projects. Most important, you can serve as a guide for our readers—school personnel, education insiders, parents, students, and curious citizens—in explaining how the city works. And you’re not afraid to call its leaders to task when warranted.
What background and skills do you have?
- At least three years of reporting experience, preferably in digital, with a focus on public policy issues
- Experience working in a CMS, preferably WordPress
- Background in data journalism and visual production is a plus
- Passion for education and the future of Detroit and its children is a must
- Knowledge of early childhood education, K-12 education, pathways to college, and state and city policy issues are strong pluses, but not required
This position can be based from a home office in the Detroit area or from our shared office space in Midtown Detroit.
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 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.
How to Apply
Please send links to five relevant clips, a PDF of your resume and a cover letter explaining your interest in the position and where you heard about it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “Detroit Reporter” in the subject line. 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.