The neighborhood reporters will be a critical part of the newsroom’s beat reporting team, which will include reporters focused on education, government, and economics. In this role, they will have the opportunity to cover specific neighborhoods as their beat, chosen in collaboration with the Indiana Local News Initiative’s leadership team.
Neighborhood reporters will take on an innovative assignment, getting to know the communities in their coverage area intimately. They will become experts in the histories, current issues, and people who live there. As this assignment will take reporters into the places they are covering, it requires a curious and empathetic journalist excited to take the lead in getting to know as many residents as they can.
The reporters in this role will mine their communities for story ideas, identifying possible assignments based on the needs of the residents they’re in communication with. They will also elevate the voices, questions, and concerns of people in their coverage area to the rest of the newsroom; help get answers to quick turnaround questions and work with editors, reporters, researchers, and others in the newsroom to respond to story ideas.
Responsibilities & Priorities
- Proactively identify high-impact stories that include investigations but also highlight solutions, actionable information and neighborhood-level trends.
- Cover key stories relentlessly, regardless of whether news cycles have passed.
- Produce a range of short- and long-term stories, and be excited to work in alternative story formats (including briefs, oral histories, slide shows, video reels) that will increase reach and accessibility to information.
- Follow leads from Indianapolis residents and be responsive to their questions and inquiries, prioritizing their needs in story development.
- Build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders to stay informed about and receive tips on newsworthy events and trends.
- Working with the editor, ensure beat priorities reflect community information needs and include diverse perspectives in the reporting.
- Work with the Indy Documenters assignment editor to identify relevant public meetings or make other assignments that can help with reporting.
- Have an urgency to be responsive to community information needs; and an ability to be first on breaking news.
You’re a good fit if you have some of these skill sets:
- You’re eager to make your mark on your beat and to work in a high metabolism newsroom
- Demonstrated commitment to local, public service journalism
- Strong understanding and knowledge of Indianapolis neighborhoods and communities and respect for the knowledge community members can bring to the newsroom
- Experience in community organizing, community development, urban studies or another related field
- An ability to be a supportive part of a team of reporters
- Stellar news judgment and editorial skills
- Strong communication and writing skills
- Experience telling stories on multiple platforms using audio, social media and/or video
- Ability to work under deadline and prioritize work
- Flexible and entrepreneurial spirit—you can thrive in a startup environment where you are expected to learn as you go and think outside the box
- Ability to work evenings as needed
- Interpersonal/communications skills – willing to negotiate and talk through issues in an honest and clear manner
- Ability to maintain confidence when working with sensitive information
- Ability to interact effectively with a diverse group of individuals internal and external to the newsroom
- Team player – help others and is supportive of a growth mindset, have the ability to see opportunity even in the midst of challenges
Salary levels will be commensurate with experience, starting at: $55,000 (early-career reporters); $65,000 (mid-career reporters); $80,000 (senior reporters)
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