Public Safety Reporter

Editorial Charlotte, NC


The public safety reporter focuses on publishing breaking news urgently, as well as breaking news himself or herself through aggressive enterprise reporting and strong local sources. He or she will be a master of the quick-turnaround enterprise piece, whether it’s telling a crime victim’s story, scrutinizing a new police policy through records requests, or breaking exclusive news on an unsolved case by cultivating sources. The public safety reporter will aggressively request public records to help hold police accountable.

This reporter pursues enterprise stories that are essential to readers, hold leaders and institutions accountable and help readers understand how crime affects the community.  

The reporter must have a demonstrated commitment to fairness and accuracy, in fact and in tone, and a strong grounding in journalism ethics. He or she must have the ability, or strong desire to develop it, to build reader loyalty, engagement and growth around compelling public service journalism. Reporters are expected to develop a deep understanding of what’s important to readers in Charlotte and North Carolina, and to use that knowledge, as well as digital metrics and social media, to break and report exclusive journalism.

The public safety reporter helps readers understand how crime and policing affect the community. They understand what is important to readers and hold government leaders accountable for response and resolution. This beat reporter will regularly use the North Carolina Public Records Law to find potential stories. It’s critical that the reporter on this beat build sources in the police department and also throughout the community.

 Duties and responsibilities: 

  • Conceive compelling enterprise story ideas, with a clear focus on information that will be of keen interest and relevance to local readers.
  • Develop broad range of sources on beat.
  • Be a master of social media – both as a news-gathering tool and as a way to push the news out quickly and build our audience, as well as your own brand.
  • Understand audience metrics – which of your stories are resonating with readers and which are not? Working with your editor, regularly 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 story-telling tool.
  • On tight deadlines, write stories that are complete, fair and provide context for readers.
  • 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.
  • Regularly enhance stories with third-party video, embedded tweets and links to related Observer stories. 
  • Engage the public: Present events, news coverage and enterprise/public service reporting in a manner in which readers understand the need for action/involvement.
  • Use social networks to seek story ideas, report in real time and connect with the community.
  • Meet departmental goals: Help formulate goals and actively seek to meet them.
  • Participate in training sessions offered and seek out learning opportunities to keep skills updated in a continuously evolving industry.

Education and knowledge: College degree required. At least two years of digital journalism experience preferred. Background in journalism, video and online media preferred.