Early Childhood Education Reporter
This reporter will focus on challenges and solutions around early childhood education in Fort Worth, including topics around parent engagement, daycare, kindergarten preparedness and gaps in elementary education in our public school systems, with a particular focus on reading.
The position will primarily target the Fort Worth Independent School District, in which only 36 percent of third grade students are reading at grade level, a statistic that raises serious questions about the future prosperity of our children.
This reporter will focus on raising community awareness about the challenges related to early childhood education (birth through third grade), while also focusing on solutions and highlighting the programs, agencies and people who are invested in — and raising hope about — improvement in early childhood education in our community. The reporter’s work will hold those institutions and the community accountable for improvement while also celebrating success.
This reporter will provide deeply reported stories focused on topics related to challenges, opportunities and solutions in early childhood education and shorter features on those invested in improvements.
The reporter’s work will help make the community aware of opportunities to engage, and the reporter will help arrange and participate in community engagement events such as listening tours, panel discussions and forums with stakeholders in our education systems. These events will be virtual and eventually in person when it is safe.
This position is designed for a reporter who understands public education systems and has a track record of presenting issues in a way that connects with broad audiences. A bachelor’s degree in journalism, two years of experience covering education, and Spanish fluency are preferred.
Here’s what else you need to know:
Fort Worth is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, adding about 20,000 people a year. Businesses such as Lockheed Martin are growing, and companies such as Stanley Black& Decker and Amazon are moving operations to the city.
But as Fort Worth grows, its public school system — with about 84,000 students — faces many challenges, including a shrinking enrollment as new residents opt for the higher-performing school districts on the city’s edges. The Fort Worth Independent School District earned a C rating from the state after the 2018-19 school year. While it showed improvement over each of the prior two years, it lags behind state averages in many key areas.
A strong public school system is a must if Fort Worth is to thrive as it grows. This is not only an education issue, but a workforce issue (an estimated 14,000 job opportunities were available at Fort Worth ISD’s student hiring fair in 2019), an economic development issue and a tax base issue. It is also an assurance that all residents have the opportunity to be lifted as our city and county prosper.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram plays a crucial role in raising awareness and promoting citizen engagement around the challenges and opportunities faced by our public school system and specifically early childhood education. We believe that improvement in education begins with an informed citizenry.
-Bachelor's Degree in Journalism or related field and two years of experience in a digital-first environment preferred.
- Spanish language fluency 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.