Michigan State Education Policy Reporter
at Chalkbeat (View all jobs)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Chalkbeat, the growing nonprofit news organization telling the story of education in America, is seeking a reporter to cover education policy in Michigan as part of our Detroit team. The beat will have a particular focus on education equity issues.
This position, which will require regular travel to Lansing, has been created in partnership with Bridge Michigan, a nonprofit news organization of statewide in-depth news and analysis. The position will report to Chalkbeat’s Detroit Bureau Chief and will work out of Chalkbeat’s office in Midtown Detroit and Bridge Michigan’s Lansing office, with regular reporting trips around the state. Stories will appear in both Chalkbeat and Bridge.
Michigan schools are at the center of a national conversation about urban education. Extreme poverty, decades of disinvestment, and a robust system of school choice have taken a toll on schools in Detroit, Flint, and other Michigan cities where academic and financial struggles have had profound effects on students. The state of Michigan has made numerous attempts to improve schools across the state, briefly experimenting with a state-run recovery district in Detroit and appointing emergency managers to run districts on the brink of bankruptcy. Most recently, the state has launched an effort to make Michigan a top 10 state academically, as well as prioritized efforts to intervene in the worst performing schools in the state. Meanwhile, as concerns have mounted about student performance on state and national exams, the current pandemic has brought a host of new challenges to Michigan schools. These issues are expected to continue to be a major focus in coming years as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, clashes on education issues with a Republican-controlled legislature.
Who are you?
You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power of a good story. You’re a self-starter who is hungry to break news, eager to understand and inform vital public policy debates, and enthusiastic about creating new models for sustainable journalism. You’re a strong beat reporter who can develop reliable sources and beat the competition. You’ve got the ability to write a range of stories, from breaking news to enterprise and long-term projects. Most importantly, you can serve as a guide for our readers — school personnel, education insiders, parents, students, and curious citizens — in explaining how schools work.
What background and skills do you have?:
- At least 3-5 years of experience covering education, government, or public policy
- Familiarity and experience with social media
- Comfort or experience working with data, research, and reports
- Interest in or experience with reader engagement, including finding creative ways to connect with a diverse set of readers and use those efforts to inform our reporting
- Knowledge of early childhood education, K-12 education, pathways to college, and state and city policy and finance
- Experience with building sources and generating story ideas
- The ability to write clearly, cleanly, and on deadline for quick-take, daily, and longer-form stories
Note: We know that many strong candidates will not have all the skills we list. That’s OK. What else do you bring to the table? Please tell us!
What will you be responsible for?
- You’ll cover breaking news and enterprise stories about Michigan’s state government including the governor, legislature and state board of education.
- You'll conceive and execute stories that help people understand how breaking news connects to the big picture, and how public policy decisions impact and connect to the people and institutions in Michigan.
- You’ll visit schools and classrooms around the state on reporting trips to see how policy decisions are playing out for children and their teachers.
- You’ll work closely and collaborate with reporters and staff at Bridge.
- You’ll communicate and build relationships with readers and key players in the local community through our regular morning newsletters, social media posts, and the reporting process.
We offer a flexible work environment, with access to shared office space in Detroit and Lansing and the ability to work from home when appropriate.
This is a full-time position with benefits. Chalkbeat offers a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and a generous benefits package, including a paid winter recess from December 26-31.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education. We are mission-driven journalists who believe that an independent local press is vital to ensuring that education improves. Currently in seven locations and growing, we seek to provide deep local coverage of education policy and practice that informs decisions and actions, leading to better schools. Read more about our mission and values.
Chalkbeat is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. Chalkbeat encourages people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations and marital statuses to apply.
Bridge Michigan is Michigan's leading and largest nonprofit, online publisher of in-depth news and analysis about state politics, public policy, education, the state economy, the environment, and other topics of statewide interest. Bridge is a four-time Michigan Newspaper of the Year.
The Center is an equal opportunity employer. We pledge equal opportunity for all our employees and applicants. Consequently, all individual employment decisions will be based on the individual’s qualifications, performance, and effort. The Center does not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability/handicap, height, weight, marital status, familial status, veteran status, or citizenship. The Center will, however, hire only those individuals who are legally authorized to work in the United States.