Jackson Free Press Hiring New Reporter: How to Apply

Regardless of party, a truly free press can neither care about nor devote its energy to partisanship in any form, including making stories only about two partisan "sides." Truth, justice and solutions must be at the core of journalism. File Photo

Regardless of party, a truly free press can neither care about nor devote its energy to partisanship in any form, including making stories only about two partisan "sides." Truth, justice and solutions must be at the core of journalism. File Photo

The Jackson Free Press is hiring a new Mississippi reporter. We offer a high-quality journalism environment, impactful work, supportive team members, good editing, national exposure, and a chance to improve your existing skills with feedback and professional direction. The right candidate will bring journalistic training and skills; demonstrable time- and project-management habits; a proven work and performance ethic; a positive and friendly attitude; a daily learning mindset that no one is too good to get better; and a passion for what it takes to do great journalism.

Here is the full job description:

News Reporter: Jackson Free Press

The Jackson Free Press is taking resumes for a reporter based in Jackson, Mississippi, the state's capital city. The successful candidate will be responsible for covering municipal government, politics, community concerns, criminal justice and related issues for the Jackson Free Press. Intense interest in local and state issues is vital. Must be interested in more than the horse race of politics—and have the energy to dig out the “why” and the “how.” We are seeking a candidate who loves reporting for story and data and is a great narrative writer, or who has the desire to become the best writer possible and get far beyond the inverted pyramid.

Who is the right candidate? Someone who has the passion to tell the truth no matter what and who is willing to dig deep into documents, as well as interview as many people as necessary to tell a complete, compelling story. You need to be self-directed and focused, but still be an enthusiastic part of a larger editorial team. You also need to be multi-media-savvy, with a desire and ability to use all social-media tools possible to get the story out; experience with video a plus, although not required. Must enjoy fast-paced job with little down time during the work day and have a fire in your belly for great journalism and shoe-leather reporting.

You must already know how to manage your time and projects well when you arrive for the job, as well as avoid procrastination, be willing and able to block focused time to balance and complete multiple projects, and be an enthusiastic team player who also works well alone without constant supervision. We want to help you bring out your full journalistic potential, win awards and make a difference with your work, but cannot train you in the basics of coming to work, communicating with team members, having a job or making deadlines. Those skills need to have been developed in educational or previous job environments before you work at the Jackson Free Press.

With a keen eye toward breaking news, in-depth reported features and explanatory reporting, this person will write two to four short news stories per week for the JFP daily newsletter and one to two enterprising news features (800 to 1,500 words) for publication in the print magazine edition, which publishes every other week. This person would also contribute in-depth, long-form (3,000- to 5,000-word) cover stories, which range from extended Q&As with newsmakers to data-driven reported narratives every six to eight weeks.

In summary, we're looking for a curious, persistent, organized, disciplined and grounded reporter with a positive attitude and spirit and who enjoys working with and being accountable to a passionate, diverse, multi-generational team. No prima donnas; you must want to learn from and interact positively with those around you daily and leave personal drama at the door. (None of us are qualified therapists.) The ideal candidate has at least one year of relevant reporting experience or is a recent journalism graduate with strong demonstrated writing and reporting skills, work ethic and time/focus habits, and good references on those requirements. The start date on this position depends on finding the right person to fill it.

Specific requirements include:

• Interest in reporting on issues in the Deep South and a desire to improve communities through high-impact, solutions-oriented journalism

• Burning desire to learn and improve skills daily and learn from team members

• A sense of urgency about news, the need for context and high standards

• Excellent organizational, time-management and communication skills

• The ability to work under tight deadlines and manage multiple projects

• Proactive reporting that enables both draft and final deadlines to be met

• Comfort representing the Jackson Free Press in the community, including at neighborhood events, and networking with community members of all ages and backgrounds

• Developing story ideas and working independently

• Access to an automobile, a valid driver's license and insurance

• Willingness to work in a systems-driven environment with source logging and other shared tools

• Having fun and active participation in a collaborative team environment

The following skills are a plus:

• Experience working with content management systems

• Knowledge of SEO and understanding of online analytics

• Training in data reporting, computer-assisted reporting

• Skills in video, audio, photography and various multimedia tools

Note: We also may hire one or more shorter-term interns to help with this beat until we find the right permanent candidate. If you're interested in the position or a part- or full-time internship, email a cover letter, resume and your three best journalism samples (links or PDFs) to donna@jacksonfreepress.com.


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