The banking beat on the business team is a critical, high-profile one for The Charlotte Observer. 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 in the city. The beat needs to connect with readers on multiple levels.
This involves covering some of the nation’s biggest banks in the second-largest U.S. banking center, which is home to a Federal Reserve branch, Bank of America and Wells Fargo's largest employment hub. Truist (the new entity being formed by BB&T and SunTrust, which will have its headquarters in Charlotte) will also be a key part of the beat. The banks are among the biggest employers in the region, and identifying workplace stories in addition to customer-impact stories is vital.
The beat requires monitoring the banks’ securities filings (including compensation disclosures), banking regulators’ actions, court filings, quarterly earnings and changes that affect customers or employees. It also requires getting to understand the working conditions and practices at local banks.
In addition to banking, this beat entails exploring business trends in Charlotte, including the impact of federal laws on local employers; outsourcing, automation and offshoring of jobs; and wage and benefit changes affecting employees in the metro area.
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 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.