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School Accountability and Culture Reporter

Sacramento Bee
Sacramento, CA Full-time
Posted on September 13, 2018

The Sacramento Bee has an immediate opening for a School Accountability and Culture reporter.  This is a Reporter II position.  Forget the traditional education beat. We’re looking for a reporter who will cover issues, concerns, and news that matters to anyone who is raising and educating a child. 

Forget the traditional education beat. We’re looking for a reporter who will cover issues, concerns, and news that matters to anyone who is raising and educating a child.

This is a beat with accountability at its core – how is the school system preparing our children?  And it is also a beat about people – what is the best way for our family to raise our kids?

With a growing and changing population, and more than a half million students moving through school systems in Sacramento’s four-county region, families turn to us to find answers simple and complex, from program-specific funding at my local school to a rundown of the many choices I have when it comes to sending my kids to a school that best meets with their education needs.

Sacramento families juggle the pressures of work, commutes, finances and what can be the overwhelming burden of choice in securing what they want for their children. Public school? Charter school? Home school? This position would provide information that will help parents understand what to do.

It fundamentally remains a news reporting role, which means we will report with urgency on the education front and dig deep into conflicts that arise between officials, parents and students. Schools here have dealt with deep racial issues, conflicts over abortion and concerns about how gender matters are addressed. All emanated from the schools and landed in the living rooms of parents trying to understand and direct their kids’ futures. These are the stories for a reporter to capture – to hear the voices of the community and its officials, to bridge that gap between them and to provide accountability with respect to the official response.

The position is based in Sacramento and would be responsible for covering districts within the four-county region.

Minimum requirements:

  • At least three years of professional journalism experience. Strong writing and reporting skills and excellent news judgment
  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism or relevant field
  • Unwavering commitment to accurate, ethical journalism
  • Demonstrated ability to use social media platforms to reach and engage with audiences
  • Demonstrated ability to access and analyze public records, ranging from census information to campaign finance data, property records and salary information
  • Demonstrated ability to tell stories using a variety of tools and platforms, including capturing and editing video and in data/graphics
  • Demonstrated ability to learn new skills and technologies, including content management systems; social media platforms; video editing software; Omniture, Chartbeat, CrowdTangle and other analytics tools; and any emerging storytelling tools and platforms
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including empathy and the ability to take and give constructive criticism. The new workflows require constant conversations between reporters and editors and between reporters and their audience as a story evolves
  • Demonstrated ability to work comfortably in a job that will be fast-paced, data-driven, shaped constantly by feedback and experimentation and always evolving