Santa Rosa Press Democrat seeks a business columnist

January 19, 2022

Posted by Chris Roush

The Press Democrat, a Northern California multimedia newsroom that is the largest between San Francisco and Portland, has an immediate opening for a business columnist focused on regional economic trends, local employers and issues confronting workers in white-collar offices and our agricultural fields.

We’re the flagship newsroom of Sonoma Media Investments, a privately held Santa Rosa-based media company owned by local investors. That means we have no debt, no Wall Street obligations and no obstacles to meaningful journalism that fairly and fearlessly tackles local economic issues in California’s Wine Country.

This role offers a unique, analytical voice focused on Sonoma County’s diverse economy — telling the story of entrepreneurs, innovators, grape growers, winery operators and business owners big and small. Our labor force of about 240,000 provides a wide range of stories from worker safety, hiring practices, workplace equity and employment statistics told against the backdrop of a post-pandemic economy. The successful candidate will have the ability to balance breaking news, deep-dive enterprise and watchdog work while tailoring complex stories to everyday readers. We seek someone who can find fascinating business stories that affect all facets of life in Wine Country.

The ideal candidate is not intimidated by complex economic data, has a proven ability to decipher trends and is comfortable talking with union members and CEOs. We’re seeking someone eager to be an innovator on all platforms, using digital analytics and creative storytelling to serve existing readers and reach new ones. You should be a self-starter who understands and is adept with social media. Comfortable taking photos and videos? That’s a plus. So, too, is data acquisition, a portfolio that includes investigative work and fluency in Spanish.

The Press Democrat is a proud news organization that works collaboratively with several publications and digital sites owned by Sonoma Media Investments. We offer hands-on coaching, seasoned editors, talented co-workers and the opportunity to immediately contribute in a significant way. We have a tradition of pursuing and publishing ambitious, award-winning journalism (including a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news) in Santa Rosa, a newsy and beautiful corner of California 75 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the heart of Sonoma County’s Wine Country.

We’re seeking someone with a track record for versatility and developing sources, while being hungry to take your overall game to the next level. We’ll provide coaching and feedback, with a commitment to help you do the best work of your career. A new executive editor arrived last March and shared his commitment to fair and fearless journalism. Here’s his vision about where we’re headed as a news organization: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/opinion/green-heres-what-you-can-expect-from-me/

You also can learn more about our team in this collection of columns written by our reporters, photographers, digital producers and editors: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/topics/?t=behind_the_byline

We offer more than just a great workplace. You’ll report and analyze the economy of Sonoma County, one of the most beautiful corners of the West, where vineyards and wineries are nestled in between groves of redwoods with the Pacific Ocean just minutes away.

• At least three years of daily journalism experience; the ability to conceive and deliver meaningful enterprise; breaking news chops are essential, as is experience with cultivating sources and using public records requests to advance reporting.
• Demonstrated ability to write sharp, clean copy, including headlines and nut graphs that distill why a story needs to be read and shared online. Understanding not only what happened but what it means is critical.
• Digital storytelling experience is critical, and any candidate should have an intense curiosity for how news is consumed, shared, and searched for in the digital space.
• Comfort working on digital deadlines in a 24/7 news cycle, and the drive to beat competitors on a regular basis.

Interested? Complete the application on this link and also send your resume, cover letter, and 7-10 clips — including a mix of columns (if any), enterprise/feature stories, examples of your best storytelling and an example of how you covered a breaking story — to our executive editor, rick.green@pressdemocrat.com

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