Public Safety Reporter

News Charlotte, NC


The Charlotte Observer is hiring a Public Safety Reporter.

The public safety reporter focuses on publishing breaking news urgently, as well as breaking their own exclusive news through aggressive enterprise reporting and strong local sources. They will be adept at 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 local law enforcement agencies accountable. The public safety reporter helps readers understand how crime and policing affect the community. 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 and a strong grounding in journalism ethics. They must have the ability to build reader loyalty, engagement and growth around compelling public service journalism.

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 among local law enforcement and also throughout the community.

This reporter will:

  • Balance breaking daily news with deeper reporting on trends, working with editors and breaking-news reporters to choose the best priorities for the day.
  • Write news and enterprise stories that are clear, accurate, engaging and of high interest and relevance to local readers.
  • 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.
  • Be able to juggle daily, short-term enterprise and long-term enterprise stories.
  • Work with editors to ensure that stories are complete, fair and in context.
  • 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.
  • Use judgment in determining the best digital tools for conveying news to readers in varying circumstances and formats.
  • Collaborate with visual journalists to develop video and still photos that help tell stories effectively.
  • Use social networks to seek story ideas, report in real time and connect with the community.

Education and knowledge:

  • College degree required.
  • 2+ years of beat reporting experience in a daily newsroom preferred.
  • Prior internships in a daily newsroom required.

This reporter will need to have:

  • Command of grammar, spelling, Observer and AP style, as well as the ability to write clearly.
  • Strong news judgment.
  • Fluency in Spanish is preferred.
  • Ability to develop source networks on a beat.
  • Ability to learn both the art and science of readership and engagement.
  • Strong interpersonal and collaborative skills.
  • Commitment to diverse coverage through community engagement and source building.
  • Comfort with a job that will be demanding, fast-paced and constantly evolving.
  • Skill at writing well-organized news and enterprise stories.
  • Knowledge in use of social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • 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.
  • Must have reliable transportation.
  • Must have valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance required (at least minimum insurance required for the state in which the employee works)


McClatchy is committed to providing equal employment opportunity (EEO) for all applicants and employees. McClatchy considers all candidates without regard to basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, medical condition, family care status, pregnancy or physical disability (except where physical fitness is a valid occupational qualification), or any other basis protected by state and federal laws.