Charlotte Observer seeks growth and development reporter
The growth and development reporter covers a critical, high-profile beat for The Charlotte Observer – one that demands competitive, breaking news coverage as well as exclusive, high-end enterprise that helps our audience understand and make sense of the changes around them in this rapidly growing city.
The beat needs to connect multiple communities, from millennials looking to rent a condo uptown to long-time residents concerned about the latest trends in their area and what the next tower to change the skyline will be. It involves breaking news, working sources, pouring through public databases, uncovering trends and talking to real people.
Each day, Charlotte adds about 50 new people, bringing an increased demand for housing, retail, schools and other development. That growth creates opportunities but also significant challenges for the city, such as a lack of affordable housing. There is a major accountability component to the beat, through public records requests, data analysis and detailed sourcing and reporting. Stories need to go beyond press releases and zoning board meetings to what is driving the decisions that affect the community.
The job requires the ability to understand our audience and frame stories in a way that highlights what is most important and essential to them. Don’t just tell them that in a tight real estate market, Charlotte’s home prices are expected to rise faster than the national average – explain the significance of the trend, what’s driving it and what it means for homeowners and buyers. This reporter needs to be adept at using tools such as analytics and social media to help understand the topics that appeal to our readers.
Duties and responsibilities:
- Regularly write news and enterprise stories that are clear, accurate, engaging and of high interest and relevance to local readers.
- Develop sources that go beyond government and company officials and include regular people who will be impacted by these decisions.
- Be able to juggle daily, short-term enterprise and long-term enterprise stories.
- Work with editors to assure that stories are complete, fair and in context.
- Handle deadline demands on breaking news when appropriate.
- Use audience metrics to determine which stories are resonating with readers and which are not. Work with editors to mine this data for takeaways about how we can build our audience.
- Produce basic video and photos in the field. Work with the visuals team to add more sophisticated visuals as a fundamental storytelling tool.
- Write and report on a continuous-news cycle, publishing to digital platforms as well as print.
- Use judgment in determining best digital tools for conveying news to readers in varying circumstances and formats
- Use social networks to seek story ideas, report in real time and connect with the community.
- Participate in training sessions offered and seek out learning opportunities.
Education and knowledge: College degree required. Prior internships in a daily newsroom required.
- Command of grammar, spelling, Observer and AP style, as well as ability to write clearly.
- Capacity to develop strong news judgment.
- Ability to learn both the art and science of readership and engagement.
- Enthusiasm for learning new skills and technologies.
- Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to take and give constructive criticism.
- Comfort with a job that will be demanding, fast-paced and constantly evolving.
- Basic skills at developing source networks on a beat.
- Basic skills at writing well-organized news and enterprise stories.
- Knowledge in use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, among others.
- Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues.
- Fluency in Spanish is highly desirable.
- Ability to learn how to obtain, sort and analyze public documents, such as property records and court records.
- Commitment to accurate, ethical journalism.
- Fundamental understanding of research tools.
- Develop ability to evaluate, interpret and analyze issues and trends.
- Develop ability to report, analyze and write with speed.
- Develop ability to write in different styles, voices and formats.
Send letter, resume and 6-10 links for your best work to Metro Editor Ronnie Glassberg at email@example.com