Our state government and politics team at The State in Columbia, S.C., is looking for a reporter dedicated to watchdog and investigative journalism.

The investigative reporter will provide fast context to big breaking news stories and also be able to produce quick-turnaround enterprise stories as well as longer-term pieces. This reporter is skilled in obtaining public records and also is comfortable obtaining and analyzing data sets as part of their reporting.

The reporter must have a demonstrated commitment to fairness and accuracy, in fact and in tone, and a strong grounding in journalism ethics. They must have the ability, or strong desire to develop it, to build reader loyalty, engagement and growth around compelling public service journalism.

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.

Skills:

  • Strong story-telling ability and excellent news judgment.
  • Fluency in both the art and science of readership and engagement.
  • Ability to tell stories using a variety of tools and platforms.
  • Enthusiasm for learning new skills and technologies.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including empathy and the ability to take and give constructive criticism.
  • Comfort with a job that will be demanding, fast-paced and constantly evolving.
  • Expert-level skills at developing and maintaining source networks on a beat.
  • Expert-level writing skills in multiple formats – short form, long form, narrative, hard news and features.
  • Expert-level research skills in using digital research tools to find information.
  • Expert-level knowledge of use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, among others.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues in developing and executing long- and short-term projects.
  • Ability to evaluate, analyze and interpret complex documents, records, information and events, e.g., property records and court records, depending on assigned beat. Has extensive background in a wide variety of issues, beats and topics.
  • Commitment to accurate, ethical journalism.

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