Business reporter/healthcare and aviation

Editorial Charlotte, NC


The aviation/healthcare beat on the business team is a critical, high-profile one for The Observer. It requires both a daily presence as well as enterprise work to help our community understand and make sense of two crucial areas of the city that touch nearly everyone. The beat needs to connect with readers on multiple levels.

For aviation, this ranges from the impact of the latest parking construction on getting to the airport, to using databases that track ontime arrival rates by airline over a several-year period. A thorough understanding of American Airlines, the dominant operator at the airport, is also key to successfully working this beat.

Healthcare coverage encompasses covering our two major hospital systems, Atrium Health and Novant, as well as healthcare trends impacting the region. The two systems are among the biggest employers in the region, and identifying workplace stories in addition to patient-impact stories is critical.

Both the aviation and healthcare components of the beat involve breaking news, working sources, poring through public databases, uncovering trends and talking to real people. Part of the beat will also include covering Duke Energy.

This reporter should be excited about telling stories along a wide spectrum: stories that break news that’s exclusive to The Observer; 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.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • 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. Beat reporting experience preferred. Prior internships in a daily newsroom required.