Cleveland Documenters Civic Reporter Application

Neighborhood Connections is seeking a dogged Civic Reporter to do accountability reporting on local government as part of our Cleveland Documenters team. Accountability journalism includes investigative reporting, fact-checking and digging into public data. 

Consider applying if:

  • You want to be a “civic translator” who produces local news and information that promotes civic engagement and makes accountability accessible to everyday people;
  • You have a passion for digging into and researching public documents and getting answers to some of the most pressing questions facing local communities;
  • You are not satisfied with the status quo in Cleveland and are ready to do something about it.
  • You like to ask tough questions and are not easily intimidated by those with powerful positions. You are excited by the idea of producing “A Guide to Cleveland City Council: How does City Council work?” and doing the kind of tenacious reporting that makes a difference in the lives of Cleveland residents.

Cleveland Documenters trains and pays residents to document dozens of local government meetings each month via notes, live-tweeting and other digital formats. City Bureau’s Documenters.org collects and displays this documentation along with minutes, agendas, transcripts and other official records from local government agencies. The app also shows the times, dates and locations of public meetings in Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit.

Cleveland Documenters’ Civic Reporter will:

  • Review and edit Cleveland Documenters content;
  • Curate information from the document database;
  • Create multimedia explainers about how local government works so people can understand what they can do to leverage power in public meetings; 
  • Report on issues related to local government and editorial content published via Documenters.org and its partner organizations. 
  • Work to translate what government decisions mean for individual residents by engaging in ongoing dialog with residents and including public comment in stories

The Civic Reporter will work with Neighborhood Connections staff and the Cleveland Documenters Field Coordinator. Staff and reporter will build and maintain relationships with local media so that reporting reaches a broad audience. The reporter will have the opportunity to be mentored by veteran journalists. 

Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Original reporting on local government with focus on accountability journalism, which includes investigative reporting, fact-checking and digging into public data. 
  • Requesting public records, and then analyzing and translating those official governmental records to make them relevant to everyday people
  • Curation of documentation and Documenters content
  • Creation of social media content based on original reporting and Documenters.org content
  • Regular communication with Documenters staff and partner organizations

Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Have experience creating journalistic content, preferably text-based and/or audio or video
  • Be determined, persistent, organized, precise, and detail-oriented
  • Be a fast and clear communicator
  • Enjoy challenges and learn quickly
  • Have excellent time-management skills

We also expect applicants to have several but not all of the following:

  • Experience or a strong interest in Cleveland’s local government
  • Experience working in a newsroom 
  • Sharp research and curatorial skills
  • A comprehensive understanding of Cleveland’s civic ecosystem
  • Relationships and experience in Cleveland’s neighborhoods 
  • Daily news-consumption habits
  • A strong desire to do local news differently

Schedule

This is a full-time contract position starting in January of 2021 and ending on December 31, 2021. The Civic Reporter will work an average of 40 hours per week. Hours for this position can be worked remotely. 

Timeline

Applications for the Cleveland Documenters Civic Reporter will close at noon (ET) on Monday, December 7, 2020. Selected applicants will be interviewed via phone by Cleveland Documenters team, and finalists will participate in an online interview the week of January 4, 2021 with the goal to choose a final candidate by January 11, 2021.

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