The State (media company) is hiring a Retail Reporter.
The retail beat on the business team is a critical, high-profile one for The State. It requires both a daily presence as well as enterprise work to help our community understand and make sense of a sector that has an extensive reach and impact throughout the city. The beat needs to connect with readers on multiple levels.
This involves covering everything from openings and closings of shops and restaurants to making sense of the latest moves in Columbia, SC’s ongoing grocery store wars. Identifying customer-impact stories is vital to this beat, from changes at local malls to why food deserts persist in a city with supermarkets seemingly on every other corner.
And this beat entails exploring retail business trends in Columbia that resonate with readers as well as spotting national trends that lend themselves to localizing. All components of the beat involve breaking news, building sources, poring through public databases, uncovering trends and talking to real people.
This reporter should be excited about telling stories along a wide spectrum: stories that break news that’s exclusive to The State; explanatory journalism that tells readers how something works or what it means; analysis that goes deeper behind a current news event; alternative story forms that help readers understand an issue or event; narrative storytelling that’s compelling and engages readers more deeply with our journalism; and watchdog reporting that holds leaders, institutions or systems accountable.
The watchdog component involves using public records requests, data analysis and detailed sourcing and reporting to generate stories. These pieces need to go beyond press releases and meetings to what is driving decisions affecting the community. The job requires the ability to understand our audience and frame stories in a way that highlights what is most important to them.
- Regularly write news and enterprise stories that are clear, accurate, engaging and of high interest and relevance to local readers.
- Work with editors to assure that stories are complete, fair and in context.
- Handle deadline demands on breaking news when appropriate.
- Learn to develop a broad range of sources on the beat and build strong relationships with key people to identify stories relevant to them and important for our broader readership to understand.
- Use audience metrics to determine which stories are resonating with readers and which are not. Work with editors to mine this data for takeaways about how we can build our audience.
- Produce basic video and photos in the field. Work with visuals team to add more sophisticated visuals as a fundamental storytelling tool.
- Write and report on a continuous-news cycle, publishing to digital platforms as well as print.
- Use judgment in determining best digital tools for conveying news to readers in varying circumstances and formats
- Use social networks to seek story ideas, report in real time and connect with the community.
- Participate in training sessions offered and seek out learning opportunities.
Education and knowledge:
- College degree required.
- 2+ years of beat reporting experience in a daily newsroom preferred.
- Prior internships in a daily newsroom preferred.
- Command of grammar, spelling, Observer and AP style, as well as the ability to write clearly.
- Capacity to develop strong news judgment.
- Ability to learn both the art and science of readership and engagement.
- Enthusiasm for learning new skills and technologies.
- Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to take and give constructive criticism.
- Comfort with a job that will be demanding, fast-paced and constantly evolving.
- Skill at developing source networks on a beat.
- Ability to write well-organized news and enterprise stories.
- Knowledge in use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, among others.
- Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues.
- Ability to learn how to obtain, sort and analyze public documents, such as property records and court records.
- Commitment to accurate, ethical journalism.
- Fundamental understanding of research tools.
- Develop ability to evaluate, interpret and analyze issues and trends.
- Develop ability to report, analyze and write with speed.
- Develop ability to write in different styles, voices and formats.
- Reliable transportation
- Valid driver’s license
- Vehicle insurance with at least the minimum insurance coverage required for the state of South Carolina.