Wisconsin Watch is seeking an investigative reporter to examine the coronavirus crisis, voter suppression and disinformation, and other key issues in Wisconsin — a politically divided state that may shape the outcome of the presidential election.

This one-year, limited term position is ideal for a relentless investigative reporter. Start date for the position is negotiable.

The reporter will help lead fact-checked investigative reporting projects, often in collaboration with other news outlets. Ongoing projects include Outbreak Wisconsin, which chronicles people’s journeys through the pandemic, exposes failing systems and explores solutions; Narrow Margin, our investigation of voter suppression, disinformation and voting system integrity in Wisconsin’s 2020 election; and News414, which connects underserved Milwaukee neighborhoods with journalists who address their information needs via a free texting service.

Wisconsin Watch is the news outlet of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Like many organizations, we’re working from home until conditions improve.

Our mission is “to increase the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy.”

Our multimedia journalism digs into undercovered issues, documents broken and failing systems, puts findings into regional and national contexts and explores potential solutions. We aim for impact that improves people’s lives and holds power to account.

The Center also trains current and future investigative journalists through workshops, internships and fellowships, mentoring and collaborations with journalism classes and news organizations. And we share information about journalistic practices, ethics and impact with the public.

The Center’s guiding values: Protect the vulnerable. Expose wrongdoing. Explore solutions.

If you have just some of the skills listed below, or others we failed to list, please consider applying for this position, especially if you are a candidate whose experience includes working with diverse members of the public. We are a nimble organization that strives to make the best use of the skills of our staff, and is dedicated to developing them.

Responsibilities

The reporter will:

  • Work with the managing editor, investigations editor and multimedia editor to strategize, frame, report and write news stories.
  • Develop sources and report in diverse communities, including urban and rural, and engage members of the public in identifying breakdowns in systems, attempts to dissuade or mislead residents and explorations of potential solutions to problems.
  • Cultivate collegial and productive relationships with other news organizations.
  • Work with student-journalists, including in a classroom setting or online learning environment, and early-career journalists working as interns and fellows for Wisconsin Watch.

Location: The reporter will ideally be located in or near Madison or Milwaukee and should expect to travel regularly throughout Wisconsin — to the extent that conditions allow — and perhaps on occasion to other states. Journalists based in other Wisconsin communities also will be considered for this position. Some evening and weekend work is necessary.

Qualifications: At least three years of experience in reporting and writing news. The ideal candidate will be able to report and complete complex stories and visualize related multimedia elements while meeting deadlines. The candidate also will be comfortable working with college students to help them report and write stories.

Bonus skills: 

  • Be able to analyze data and develop sources using our customized version of the Wisconsin voter database and other datasets.
  • Familiarity with Wisconsin, its history and its politics.
  • Multimedia skills including photography, audio, video and editing.
  • Spanish-language proficiency.

Expected salary range: $55,000 to $65,000 a year, commensurate with skills and experience.

Benefits: Five weeks of paid vacation, subsidized medical and dental benefits, transportation benefits, sick days.

Deadline: The initial application window will be open until May 15, 2020. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Center’s staff includes an executive director who is responsible for the news and business operations, an associate director who runs the daily business activities, a managing editor who runs the daily news activities, an investigations editor who edits, manages fellows and interns and facilitates cross-newsroom collaborations, a digital and multimedia director who is responsible for the website and our multimedia content and operations, a development director who leads revenue-generation efforts, a membership manager who guides efforts to expand our community of supporters, and an engagement manager who leads efforts to interact with the public.

We also have investigative reporting and public engagement and marketing interns, including one reporter based in Milwaukee with the News414 project, a radio reporting fellow paid by Wisconsin Public Radio, a Report for America corps member who is managing a criminal justice reporting project, a reporting fellow paid by the Cap Times, and skilled volunteers.

Wisconsin Watch’s reports are published at WisconsinWatch.org, and content is made available at no charge to the public and to news organizations through our own distribution system plus a nationwide partnership with the Associated Press.

A successful candidate should understand the Center’s role in the news environment and share a commitment to its mission and values.

At the Center, we are proud of, and continuing to increase, the distribution of our investigations. Since our launch in 2009, we have produced nearly 380 major news reports that have been cited, published or broadcast by more than 890 newspapers, radio and TV stations and news websites in Wisconsin and nationwide reaching an estimated audience of nearly 99 million. In 2019, we shared 46 investigative reports with more than 220 news organizations — more than half of them located in Wisconsin. During the pandemic, the audience on our website is triple the normal size.

The Center has won dozens of national, regional and state awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, Associated Press Media Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists and finalist awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, as well as a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for a short documentary.

We’re a flexible, fun workplace that still manages to do hard-core work. It’s not unusual for homemade baked goods or guacamole to show up at the “world headquarters” in UW-Madison’s Vilas Communications Hall.

To apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, up to five reporting/writing samples and a list of references to Managing Editor Dee J. Hall at [email protected]. If you’d like to chat about the job before applying, contact Dee via email.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism embraces diversity and inclusiveness in our journalism, training activities, hiring practices and workplace operations. The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, sexual orientation, gender and geography all affect point of view. Reflecting these differences in our reporting leads to better, more-nuanced stories and a better-informed community.

We especially encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

We look forward to hearing from you!