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Statehouse editor/reporter

Job Summary

Wisconsin Watch is seeking an investigative editor/reporter to focus on the Wisconsin state Legislature, governor’s office, state agencies and Supreme Court in a deeply polarized state where democracy itself is in peril.

This position is ideal for a journalist who knows how to navigate bureaucracies to uncover the effects of state legislation, policies and laws on the lives of diverse people in Wisconsin. The coverage will amplify the voices of underserved residents and expose efforts to weaken democracy in the state through government secrecy, power grabs, disinformation and other strategies.

This editor/reporter will help launch and lead Wisconsin Watch’s new statehouse bureau, which will include supervising a full-time investigative reporter and a Report for America corps member. Partnerships with other Wisconsin news organizations, built upon more than a decade of collaboration, will provide the editor/reporter with insights to inform and increase the impact of our journalism.

Wisconsin Watch 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, disability 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 Black, Indigenous and people of color, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities.

Start date for the position is negotiable, although we would love to have someone in place by August 2022. Salary is $70,000 to $80,000, commensurate with skills and experience.

Wisconsin Watch is the news outlet of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit with offices at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, roughly 1 mile from the state Capitol.

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 inequitable and failing systems, puts findings into regional and national contexts and explores potential solutions. We aim to spark impact that improves people’s lives and holds power to account.

Wisconsin Watch also trains diverse groups of current and future investigative journalists and entrepreneurs 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.

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 editor/reporter will:

  • Work with the managing editor, deputy managing editor and multimedia editor to strategize, frame, report and write news stories.
  • Manage and edit two other statehouse reporters (listed above).
  • Develop sources in state government and in diverse communities, including urban and rural, and engage members of the public in identifying and exploring unjust or broken systems, attempts to dissuade voting or mislead residents and potential solutions to problems.
  • Collaborate with journalists at for-profit and nonprofit news organizations in Wisconsin and across the nation.

Location: The reporter will be located in the state capital of Madison, with occasional travel throughout Wisconsin. Some evening and weekend work may be necessary. Like many organizations, we’re sometimes working from home until COVID-19 conditions improve, and we take precautions when in-person reporting is necessary — such as at the Capitol. The vaccination rate on the UW-Madison campus is roughly 95%.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will be able to report and edit complex stories and visualize related multimedia elements while meeting deadlines. The candidate also will be comfortable working with experienced as well as early-career journalists. This role will have some managerial and supervisory responsibilities.

Bonus skills:

  • Ability to analyze and visually present data.
  • Familiarity with Wisconsin, its history and its politics.
  • Multimedia skills including photography, audio, video and editing.
  • Spanish-language proficiency.

Expected salary range: $70,000 to $80,000 a year, commensurate with skills and experience.

Benefits: Generous vacation (five weeks) and holiday time (six days of your choosing), paid sick days, paid family and caregiver leave, subsidized medical and dental premiums, $200/year transportation allowance and self-funded 403(b) retirement plan.

Deadline: The initial application window will be open until the position is filled.

The Center’s news staff is led by an executive director who is responsible for the news and business operations, a managing editor who runs the daily news activities, a deputy managing editor who edits, manages reporters and facilitates cross-newsroom collaborations, and a digital and multimedia director who is responsible for the website and our multimedia content and operations. We have reporters in Madison and Milwaukee and soon in western Wisconsin.

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 partnership with the Associated Press.

In 2021, Wisconsin Watch produced 74 stories that were published or cited by more than 360 news outlets in Wisconsin and 33 states, Washington D.C., and 13 countries, reaching an estimated audience of more than 60 million.

Wisconsin Watch has won dozens of national, regional and state awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists and finalist awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Local Independent Online News Association and The Eppys as well as regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for a short documentary and a series on hospitals collecting overdue medical bills from their patients during the pandemic.

We’re a flexible, fun workplace that still manages to do important work.

And we’re a rapidly growing organization, chosen last year to receive a $1.4 million investment from the American Journalism Project to support our efforts with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and our joint News414 service to reshape the local news ecosystem across Wisconsin. We also are teaming up with five other news organizations in the NEW (Northeast Wisconsin) News Lab to strengthen local news, a pillar of our democracy.

Details

Organization: Wisconsin Watch
Location: Madison WI US
Date Posted: May 2, 2022
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