The Fort Worth Star-Telegram seeks an education reporter who will cover the beat with an eye toward problems, challenges, success stories and solutions that are key to the future of the nation’s 13th largest city and its surrounding region. This is not a traditional education reporter whose agenda is driven by meetings and incremental stories. It is a reporter in touch with the issues people care about that are touched by the school systems in and around Fort Worth. It is a reporter intent on covering the people of the Fort Worth region and what matters to them. It is about education, but it is also about taxes, about the challenges of growth, about workforce preparedness and economic development. This reporter will hold educational systems accountable with watchdog reporting and will explain to readers how school systems are helping or hurting them. Candidates must have the urgency to be first and best in a crowded media marketplace; a track record of growing a digital audience using a keen understanding of what’s important to readers; skill in the use of reader analytics; and a constant awareness of what people are sharing and talking about on social media.
At The Star-Telegram, the reader comes first, last and always. Serving readers in a crowded media marketplace means becoming the best and most relevant source of journalism that matters to them -- and ensuring that our work reaches them, wherever they are. This will require a keen understanding of what’s important to local readers, developed through reporting on and familiarity with the region; through the extensive use of reader analytics such as social media referrals and time spent on a story; and through a constant awareness of what people are sharing and talking about on social media.
It will require not just the ability to build sources and ferret out facts, but also a talent for framing, writing, shooting, producing and promoting a story via search and social media to ensure that it reaches and resonates with our readers. It will require a demonstrated commitment to change -- to constantly adapting to the ever-evolving ways in which readers seek out and interact with journalism. And it will require enthusiastic participation in ongoing conversations about what’s working and what’s not -- and an equally enthusiastic commitment to adapting accordingly.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
There is an accountability element that comes with this beat. We’ll use public records requests, data analysis and in-depth reporting to help our audience make sense of our schools, their challenges and how they affect not only students and parents but the community as a whole. This reporter will bring an insatiable curiosity, will write with authority when appropriate and will share his or her work (stories, video, interactives, etc) across multiple platforms and outlets. Sourcing will go beyond officials to those regular people invested and impacted by what happens, or doesn’t happen, in our educational systems.
Video will be a priority and the ability to tell a story independent of words – using it and other alt story forms – is critical. Social distribution channels must be used effectively. A review of metrics and what can be learned from them will be part of this reporter’s regular routine.
-Bachelor's Degree in Journalism or related field and two years of experience in a digital-first environment preferred
-Strong writing and reporting skills and excellent news judgment
-Unwavering commitment to accurate, ethical journalism
-Fluency in the science of readership and engagement, including an understanding of metrics/analytics programs including Chartbeat, Crowdtangle and Omniture and development of story ideas derived from data.
-Understanding of SEO and other optimization opportunities and a demonstrated ability to learn new skills in social and digital.
-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.
-Understanding of open records law and ability to file, manage and oversee requests pertinent to beat work.
-Ability to engage with readers and develop sources on social media platforms including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
-Ability to develop breadth and variety of sources.
-Ability to understand audience lenses and correctly identify audience for selected stories.
-Ability to work on both daily and enterprise stories concurrently, delivering both with consistency.
-Ability to meet deadlines.
-Ability to capture video and edit it (using phone).
-Ability to work collaboratively on projects ranging from podcasts to video to enterprise stories. We will work comfortably in a job that will be fast-paced, data-driven, shaped constantly by feedback and experimentation and always evolving
Please send six to eight examples of your best work.