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Statehouse Investigative Reporter

Job Summary

At a time when many news organizations are freezing salaries or jettisoning jobs, The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California, has a different strategy: We’re expanding our staff. Specifically: We are recruiting for a new investigative reporting team that will work with our Newsroom's current enterprise/watchdog writers to strengthen our commitment to "Big J" public service journalism and better serve our subscribers and readers.

We are seeking an experienced, fire-in-the-belly STATEHOUSE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER to work in California’s Statehouse in Sacramento. We’re not interested in incremental, turn-of-the-screw coverage. Instead, we want revelatory analysis, data-generated and public records-focused content that is both enterprise and investigative. We are placing a specific focus on the agencies, bureaucrats and elected officials who are making decisions that directly affect the taxpayers and constituents of Sonoma County and other parts of Northern California.

We’re the flagship Newsroom of Sonoma Media Investments and the largest news organization between San Francisco and the Oregon border. We have a proud tradition of aggressively covering breaking news and delivering high-end, award-winning enterprise reporting, with an emphasis on strong beat coverage and public service reporting that holds governments accountable to taxpayers. In fact, we won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting; further indication that we swarm news as it happens.

This new STATEHOUSE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER is an important part of our Local News operation. Significant stories unfold daily in Sacramento, but California's Statehouse reporting presence has shrunk. We aim to change that. The ideal reporter will cover a broad array of issues, with a heavy emphasis on source development, public service enterprise and agenda-setting watchdog work. This job entails coverage of the state legislature, statewide agencies and the governor’s office, as well as an assortment of public agencies that influence so many aspects of life in Sonoma County.

We despise "meeting agenda" journalism. That means you must develop a strong network of sources that will enable you to break stories and dig deep on the enterprise-reporting front well before those issues surface in public meetings. You must be a self-starter, intellectually curious and have a strong understanding of how actions inside our state capital in Sacramento influence residents, taxpayers, communities and businesses in Sonoma County.

You also will get the opportunity to collaborate with other members of our Newsroom team on important community issues while also holding local officials and government agencies accountable.

Candidates must bring a deep portfolio of fearless, fair and ambitious work that defends the First Amendment. We’ll be looking for compelling stories that resonate with readers. Apply on our career page at and also send a letter of interest and resume to our editor at

There are lots of reasons to consider this opportunity. The Press Democrat is a financially strong, locally owned newspaper that values original ideas, aggressive reporting, authoritative writing and watchdog coverage that leads to change. We are privately held by Sonoma County-based investors. We are a debt-free organization that is weighing further acquisitions + expansion.

The ideal candidate will have strong multimedia skills, including the use of a smartphone to produce photos and videos, and must be adept in use of social media for news gathering and audience engagement.

Data acquisition, analysis and presentation skills are a plus, as is fluency in Spanish.

We value collaboration, honest conversations about Newsroom culture and diversity and pathways to greater professional and personal development. Our editors are committed to one-on-one coaching and staff development. Our desire is to be the best news organization of our size in the country -- and that only can happen with the recruitment AND retention of highly talented journalists.

We're seeking someone who must:
 Be skilled at reporting, writing and growing your digital audience through social media.
 Be comfortable writing on a wide range of issues.
 Have a proven track record of generating story ideas and delivering high-impact enterprise work.
 Develop and maintain relationships with public figures, officials and individuals across our county and in Sacramento.
 Be able to shoot production-quality photographs and videos.
 Have strong knowledge of AP style and be able to write and edit stories for grammar, spelling, content and libel.
 Excel in social media proficiency.
 Respond to emails, texts and voicemails in a timely manner.

The Press Democrat offers an opportunity to grow your career at our award-winning family of publications at Sonoma Media Investments, with opportunities to contribute to our daily newspaper, website and regional magazine. All have been recognized as among the best in their respective categories, one of the reasons our news products enjoy some of the highest readership rates in California.

This position is based in Sacramento, but you’ll likely also spend time in Santa Rosa, an hour north of San Francisco, where vineyards give way to redwood forests and a scenic Pacific Ocean coastline. The region, home to 500,000 people, is an international destination for tourists and produces some of the best wine, food and beer on the planet. Two colleges, along with thriving tech, farm and government sectors make this region of diverse communities an exciting and dynamic place to be a reporter.

The Press Democrat offers a competitive compensation plan, including medical, dental, vision and life insurance benefits, accident insurance and paid time off. We are committed to a drug- and alcohol-free workplace. Any job offer is conditional upon completion of a background investigation and pre-employment drug testing. This reporting position requires a valid California driver’s license, proof of insurance and reliable transportation.

So, are you the ideal candidate? To be considered, send us:
 Your updated resume and a link to your LinkedIn profile.
 A cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job.
 Links to 3-6 online samples of your work. Show us what you’ve written, produced, or had a hand in that best reflects your writing skills and your best examples of watchdog/enterprise work.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement: SMI is committed to creating a safe work environment for all employees, independent contractors, vendors and guests. All employees are required to submit proof of a COVID-19 vaccine and be subject to booster shots as recommended by the CDC. Medical reasons for not being vaccinated and religious objections will be carefully reviewed to determine if an accommodation can be made.

Sonoma Media Investments is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Organization: The Press Democrat
Location: Santa Rosa CA US
Date Posted: August 27, 2021
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