Local Government Reporter
The Role

The government reporter is a critical part of the newsroom's beat reporting team, which will include reporters focused on education, health, and economics. They will be responsible for delivering powerful news and accountability reporting on all the ways that local government shapes the lives of Indianapolis residents. 

We are seeking an ambitious reporter who’s excited to deliver a steady stream of impactful news and enterprise. The government reporter will have the opportunity to break news, uncover government malfeasance, and craft elegant explanatory pieces — sometimes in the same week. The ideal candidate is creative, enterprising and relentless in their pursuit of the truth. They are excited to identify new ways to help Indianapolis residents understand policies and politics and driven to create content that will appeal to a wide audience, particularly in communities historically underserved by mainstream news media. 

This reporter will be part of a team led by the Managing Editor, News. They will also work closely with the Managing Editor, Innovation, and Community Journalism Director, who runs the Indy Documenters, to shape a government beat that reflects community interests.

The Newsroom

The decision to launch this yet-to-be-named Indianapolis newsroom followed an information needs assessment conducted by the American Journalism Project, which found that many Indiana residents do not feel they have adequate, relevant, and accessible information about their communities and the decisions that impact their daily lives.

The innovative 25-person Indianapolis news organization will fill these critical gaps by hiring experienced journalists with deep ties to Indianapolis communities, reporting on the local issues that residents care most about, including government, housing, jobs, education, health, and local arts and culture, with the highest standards of editorial integrity and independence, and distributed over a variety of platforms designed to broaden storytelling formats and engage a wide range of audiences.

The new organization’s top priority will be to earn the trust of the communities it serves through two-way relationships and an innovative community-led reporting model; these efforts will augment newsroom coverage and aid in story development. It will feature a community bureau, staffed by people experienced in journalism and community engagement, who will recruit, train, pay, and mentor residents to collaborate on gathering information for their communities. These community reporting efforts will help drive newsroom coverage, aid in story development, and hold the newsroom accountable for being responsive to community needs.

The newsroom will also provide information without barriers. Coverage will be distributed across multiple formats and platforms, without paywalls or subscription requirements, to broaden storytelling formats and engage a wide range of audiences, no matter their literacy level, language or Internet access.

Responsibilities & Priorities
  • Proactively identify high-impact stories that include investigations but also highlight solutions, actionable information and neighborhood-level trends
  • Cover key stories relentlessly, regardless of whether news cycles have passed
  • Produce a range of short- and long-term stories, and be excited to work in alternative story formats (including briefs, oral histories, slide shows, video reels) that will increase reach and accessibility to information
  • Follow leads from Indianapolis residents and be responsive to their questions and inquiries, prioritizing their needs in story development
  • Build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders to stay informed about and receive tips on newsworthy events and trends
  • Working with the editor, ensure beat priorities reflect community information needs and include diverse perspectives in the reporting
  • Work with the Indy Documenters assignment editor to identify relevant public meetings or make other assignments that can help with reporting
  • Have an urgency to be responsive to community information needs; and an ability to be first on breaking news

You’re a good fit if you have some of these skill sets:

  • You’re eager to make your mark on your beat and to work in a high metabolism newsroom
  • Flexible and entrepreneurial spirit—you can thrive in a startup environment where you are expected to learn as you go and think outside the box
  • Demonstrated commitment to local, public service journalism
  • 2+ years of experience in a beat reporting job, with a packet of clips that highlight your ability to break news and hold the powerful to account
  • An ability to be a supportive part of a team of reporters
  • Stellar news judgment and editorial skills
  • Strong communication and writing skills
  • Experience telling stories on multiple platforms using audio, social media and/or video
  • Ability to work under deadline and prioritize work
  • Ability to work evenings as needed
  • Interpersonal/communications skills - willing to negotiate and talk through issues in an honest and clear manner
  • Ability to maintain confidence when working with sensitive information
  • Ability to interact effectively with a diverse group of individuals internal and external to the newsroom
  • Team player - help others and is supportive Practice a growth mindset, have the ability to see opportunity even in the midst of challenges  

Compensation and Benefits
  • Full-time role with benefits
  • Salary levels will be commensurate with experience, starting at: $55,000 (early-career reporters); $65,000 (mid-career reporters); $80,000 (senior reporters)

We’re committed to building an inclusive organization that represents the people and communities we serve. We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities. The Indiana Local News Initiative is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. We encourage people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations, and marital statuses to apply.

What to expect in the hiring process

We hope to fill this role as soon as possible, though the hiring process can typically take from a few weeks to a few months. We will do our best to communicate with you about timing expectations throughout the process.Candidates who advance to later rounds of this process can expect several interviews, including with a panel of community members. Semi-finalists will be asked to complete a written assignment designed to help us understand your thinking and approach to the role, and you will be offered an optional prep session to ask any questions that will help you put your best foot forward in this process. We aim to truly get to know you, to help you fully understand the role you’re applying for.

Apply using the form below