The Mississippi Free Press, an award-winning nonprofit digital newsroom with national impact run by the nonprofit Mississippi Journalism and Education Group, is seeking a full-time state reporter to join our diverse team.
The state reporter should live in or be willing to relocate to the Jackson metro area and can work on a hybrid basis, splitting time between our downtown Jackson office and home. This reporter will be responsible for producing multiple stories a week and must be able to manage a combination of quick turn-around breaking news stories and longer-term investigative and solutions projects. They will join the team for weekly editorial scrums in person or via Zoom to plan assignments for the week and to brainstorm ideas.
The state reporter will identify and report news stories on a variety of topics. They will work with the news editor to pitch, identify and pursue story assignments, collaborate with the creative director on selecting photography, art, and multimedia for stories, and work with the digital editor on posting stories and promoting them across various social-media networks. In some cases, the reporter will also be expected to shoot and provide photos when covering events on the ground.
The state reporter will attend press conferences and other events, particularly in the capital city, and report on location at the Mississippi Capitol Building most days during the legislative session (the legislative session usually runs from January through March). In some years, this may include a short special session lasting days or weeks after the regular session ends if the governor calls one. Interest in covering the legislative process and a willingness to learn, adapt and sometimes work long hours when the Legislature runs late into the night is vital for performing this position well.
The state reporter should have good reporting skills, be familiar with, or willing to quickly learn, AP Style, and have at least one to three years’ experience reporting and writing news stories for substance, readability, accuracy, fairness, sensitivity, storytelling and context. We are seeking a reporter who can (or wants to learn to) write compelling narratives that tell readers not only the facts of a story, but that communicate why they should care about a story on a human level.
The state reporter will be under the direct supervision of Mississippi Free Press News Editor Ashton Pittman. This job will include learning opportunities to grow journalistic skills, as we encourage our reporters to hone their craft with classes, webinars, mentorships and peer-training opportunities. Reporters at the Mississippi Free Press who do excellent work will, at times, encounter opportunities to share and discuss their work with other state and national news outlets, including occasional television and radio interviews.
Primary responsibilities include:
- Daily reporting work with two to four written published stories per week, including short news, quick-turn-around breaking news, in-depth stories and investigative projects
- Working with editors to pitch and identify stories to pursue and make requested changes or additions to stories
- Reporting on important events in the capital city, including the annual legislative session and any special sessions
- Planning and executing daily reporting work, including researching, conducting interviews, making public records requests and writing
- Managing work on short-term, medium-term and long-term reporting projects
- Holding powerful people and institutions accountable with contextual, fair, fact-based reporting
- Identifying problems and interviewing experts and community leaders about potential solutions
- At least 1-3 years experience reporting and writing news copy
- An understanding of basic journalistic ethics and standards
- Familiarity with using social-media platforms to share stories and content to reach and grow our audience
Knowledge/experience (or willingness to learn) desired:
- Familiarity using Google Drive and Google Docs to write stories and collaborate with editors
- Narrative writing techniques
- Knowledge of AP Style
- Using WordPress to post and update stories
- Willingness to speak or appear in public, virtually or on various media formats (TV, radio, podcasts, et al.) to discuss and promote reported work in order to reach a wider audience
- Use of communications and project-management systems like Basecamp, GroupMe, Highrise, Google Drive, Zoom and more to make work more efficient for the full team and to support healthy work-life balance for all
- Basic photography skills for shooting photos at events, whether with a smartphone, a DSLR, mirrorless or other style of camera, along with the ability to shoot video
- Fluency (or competency) in languages spoken by various Mississippi communities, such as Spanish
- Experience working with diverse communities to bring their stories to light
Salary: The salary range for the state reporter begins at $40,000 and will be based on prior experience and skill set.
Send resume and cover letter to News Editor Ashton Pittman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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