Staff Writer

Voice of San Diego (San Diego, California)

Posted 3 weeks ago

SUMMARY:  Voice of San Diego is seeking a reporter to investigate and explain environmental, land use and water quality issues in the San Diego region. San Diego is at a crossroads with growth, and major upcoming decisions will define the region for decades. The region is also wrestling with many water-related questions, from the crisis of border sewage to the effort to recycle water and manage sea-level rise in coastal enclaves. Unincorporated areas are weighing contentious development plans. The region faces overwhelming risk of major wildfires every year at increasing frequency. And there are many stories we don’t know about involving environmental issues of inequity and injustice. Come help us find them.  

We run a pioneering nonprofit news organization that stands for, among other principles, a “high-quality education for all kids.” It’s our belief that accountability journalism is a necessary piece of infrastructure of a well-functioning city. Yet even in this large city, San Diego, and this diverse region, there are far too few journalists focused on schools, youths and inequality in educational systems. This writer would need to build a knowledge base rapidly and over time maintain several investigations. Along the way, we expect shorter-term explanatory work and analysis stories, and biweekly newsletters with items of interest and updates to ongoing storylines.

Voice of San Diego has been an innovative investigative, nonprofit news organization for more than 14 years. Our writers have the freedom and responsibility to tackle the biggest issues we come across. We believe San Diego is strong enough to face its most uncomfortable and intractable problems. But we also seek to educate, enlighten and entertain readers who care about San Diego’s future and seek an excellent and just government.

See our Guidelines for New Reporters for more about our unique approach.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Write stories on topics assigned and/or approved by the Managing Editor.
  • Write and assist with daily, weekly and biweekly newsletters.
  • Meet regularly with editors to discuss priorities, updates, potential stories and deadlines.
  • Check reference materials such as books, news files, and public records including criminal and civil court files for additional relevant facts.
  • Form concepts for feature stories.
  • Respond to breaking news developments.
  • Be able to work unscheduled overtime and have a high energy level to keep up with the fast pace of this occupation.
  • Take photographs or request photographic support to improve story coverage.
  • Write copy on a computer.
  • Follow all company and department policies and procedures.
  • Develop and maintain productive, informative and respectful relationships that support the achievement of Voice of San Diego’s mission statement.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES:  None.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements following this paragraph are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, communications or a related/equivalent degree is required;
  • Two years of reporting/writing/editing experience at a newspaper; 
  • Must have a strong command of spelling, grammar and punctuation;
  • Must have advanced writing, editing and communication skills; write clearly and concisely; be accurate and unbiased; be curious and creative;
  • Must have initiative and persistence to investigate records and to interview and probe unremittingly; develop and interview sources for stories;
  • Must be able to schedule effectively to meet deadlines;
  • Must possess extreme attention to detail and accuracy; organizational skills, advanced internet and data researching skills and an understanding of how to write and publish for the Web.

COMPETENCIES:

  • Judgment –   Displays willingness to make decisions; exhibits sound and accurate judgment.  Supports and explains reasoning for judgment;
    • Professionalism – Approaches others in a tactful manner; reacts well under pressure; follows through on commitments.
    • Attendance/Punctuality – Is consistently at work and on time; ensures work responsibilities are covered when absent; arrives at meetings and appointments on time.
    • Dependability – Follows instructions, responds to management direction; takes responsibility for own actions; keeps commitments; commits to long hours of work when necessary to reach goals.
    • Initiative – Looks for and takes advantage of opportunities.
    • Organizational support – Follows policies and procedures; completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; supports organization’s goals and values.

Send applications (cover letter, resume, and three writing samples) to VOSD_HR@voiceofsandiego.org.

LANGUAGE SKILLS:  Ability to read and interpret all forms of news (print newspapers, online publications, magazines, etc.), general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations.  Advanced writing, editing and communication skills; must write clearly and concisely; be accurate and unbiased.  Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups or individuals required.  Must be able to communicate with individuals who have differing educational backgrounds and cultural norms.

COMPUTER SKILLS:  Typing ability on a computer is essential.  A good command of MS Office applications, keyboarding, email applications and other computer skills required. 

MATHEMATICAL SKILLS:  Basic mathematical skills such as the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals.  Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs.

REASONING ABILITY:  Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out detailed instructions furnished in written, oral or diagram form.  Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.

CERTIFICATES, LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS:  Current driver’s license and automobile insurance in order to drive to and cover news assignments.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS:  The physical demands described herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, stand, walk, talk or hear.  The employee is frequently required to use hands to type on a computer keyboard as well as finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; sit; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; bend, lift and climb stairs while carrying supplies or equipment.  The employee is occasionally required to taste and/or smell.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus.

The employee frequently sits for long periods of time at a desk in an office.  The employee may be required to stand for over an hour and observe meetings, people and events.  The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 20 pounds.

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