Vermont State Government Accountability Reporter

Burlington, VT, USA Req #24598
Monday, July 25, 2022
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The Burlington Free Press seeks an enterprising reporter committed to government transparency and accountability with the ability to dig below the day-to-day happenings in the Statehouse to unearth stories the significantly increase readers understanding of how government actions affect their lives and empower them to demand accountability of public officials.

The focus of the Vermont State Government Accountability Reporter, based in Burlington, is state government including the Legislature, statewide elected officials, and state agencies through the lens of the impact of their action on Chittenden County residents. This is not a traditional “Statehouse” beat, but one that foregoes the blow-by-blow of legislative coverage in favor of stories that focuses on the impact of Vermont state government’s decisions and actions on the lives of Vermonters, with particular attention to those who live and work in Chittenden County. While based in Burlington, this reporter should expect to spend significant time in the state capital of Montpelier. Our target audiences, increasingly diverse, benefit from relevant and compelling reporting. Being

inclusive in our sourcing and in our consideration of the impact of government activity is a vital part of this reporter’s mission.


Job Details:

  • This reporter focuses on how state government shapes and changes communities and lives, including but not limited to matters of public health, public safety, good governance, public spending and taxes and economic-development strategies and investment. Such reporting empowers state residents to navigate their lives and to raise questions about the effectiveness of state leaders.
  • This reporter will be committed to increasing the Free Press’ reach in under-served communities through relationship-building and different delivery methods for our content. Becoming more trusted and more reflective of the affected communities through inclusion of neighborhood voices and through authenticity in storytelling is a crucial aspect of this coverage.
  • This job generates the content the organization needs to build digital readership and subscriptions and to be perceived as a reliable and relevant source of reporting on the impact of state government reporting.

Typical Job Duties:

  • Researches, reports, writes, and helps create compelling text and multimedia journalism about how Vermont state government touches Vermonters’ lives with a focus on Chittenden County.
  • Provides thoughtful analysis of complex issues that answers the “how” and “why” questions regarding government actions and their impact.
  • Pays special attention to the issues and trending topics impacting diverse segments of Vermont’s population. Displays cultural competency in navigating coverage.
  • Works with Free Press editors to shape storytelling to meet audience needs and interests on every platform.
  • Develops relationships with sources in Montpelier and around the state, including diverse officials, residents and experts, to provide unique insight into the impact of state government decisions and actions on readers and communities.
  • Makes it a mission to inform and engage readers through immediacy, enterprise reporting and riveting storytelling.
  • Acts as a public ambassador through social media, video presentations and some community outreach.
  • Collaborates with editors and digital producers to provide all the appropriate elements for stories (ie: photos, videos and graphics). Captures basic photos and video as needed.
  •  Uses independent judgment in day-to-day activities; demonstrated success in selecting methods and techniques for obtaining solutions.
  • Normally receives instructions on routine work, detailed instruction on new projects and assignments.
  • Researches, reports and writes news articles for publication.
  • Recognizes newsworthy events and trends and understands how to connect with our audience on multiple platforms.
  • Understands the standards and ethics around newsgathering and can execute most of its primary forms at a commendable level, including source interviews, use of public records, data analysis and primary and secondary source research.
  • Has developed enough topical knowledge to provide thoughtful analysis of complex issues. Understands good storytelling and successfully develops ideas.
  • Can write news stories and more complex enterprise pieces with minimal guidance.
  • Can execute on special projects by working closely with editors.


Knowledge and Skills: 

  • Social media skills and some video production knowledge required.
  • Data reporting knowledge and experience helpful. Database skills/Microsoft Excel skills preferred. (Data training will be part of successful candidate’s onboarding steps.)
  • Exceptional core journalism skills, particularly reporting and writing.
  • Deep understanding of the questions the audience seeks answered in our journalism.
  • Self-motivation and self-direction.
  • Effective communicator; able to get along with diverse personalities.
  • Able to multi-task and excel under intense deadline pressure in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Knows how to use time effectively in an always-on workday.
  • Works collaboratively within a cross-functional environment.
  • Must embrace peer-to-peer feedback and training.
  • Applies innovative, creative thinking to support the company’s goals.


Required Work Experience, Training, and Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism or equivalent in experience and education, or college degree in related field.
  • 3-5 years of reporting experience, which could include freelancing, internships and college publication work.


We are eager to learn more about you and how you fit this role. When you apply, don’t limit your upload to a resume; show us what you’ve done. To do so, put together a single document file that includes the following, in this order:

  • Your resume – one to two pages.
  • A cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job.
  • Links to 3-6online samples of your work. Show us what you’ve produced or had a hand in that best reflects what you can do in your desired role.

It is important that these items be assembled into a single document and uploaded in PDF format. Completing these steps will ensure that your application receives the highest consideration.
 
#Content 
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Other details

  • Job Family Frontline Journalists
  • Job Function Consumer
  • Pay Type Hourly
Location on Google Maps
  • Burlington, VT, USA