Senior Writer (Education News, Policy, Enterprise)

Location
Washington D.C. (Flexible)
Salary
Competitive
Posted
Dec 16, 2019
Metro Area
Washington
Duration
Full Time

Opportunity: Senior Writer, Education News (Politics, Policy, Enterprise)

The Senior Writer will be a leader in our smart, spirited, award-winning team. The writer will head our education coverage of Congress, federal policy and think tanks, as well as our regular spotlighting of elections (federal, state and local), statehouses and the Supreme Court. As part of the senior leadership team at The74Million.org, this writer will help brainstorm coverage of breaking education headlines, pitch broader enterprise features and serve as a key contributor to three of The 74’s core franchises — EDlection (focusing on key education-related elections and ballot initiatives), Big Picture (focusing on education research) and The 74 Interview (focusing on in-depth Q&As with major education newsmakers). 

The 74’s Senior Writers source, report and write the newsroom’s most impactful education coverage, working across the organization’s breaking news, enterprise, longform and investigative efforts while straddling multiple beats and topic areas. Senior Writers at The 74 are given wide latitude to define and steer beats, develop sources, manage their time, and chase stories of greater impact and consequence. They are masters of giving local news events the context, scope, and broader storylines that make them resonate with a national audience. They excel at finding the hidden gem in a major report, offering smart takes that allow us to zig where others zag. They are also flexible enough to pivot when needed, assisting the editing team on key breaking news events that may fall beyond their core coverage areas. 

Successful Senior Writers have experience in newsrooms writing about education issues for national audiences and are committed to both the reporting chase and to perfecting their writing craft. They are self-starters comfortable in an entrepreneurial environment, detail-oriented reporters able to juggle beat development, daily deadlines, and larger projects, and effective team members in both collaborating with fellow senior staffers and mentoring junior colleagues. They have a wealth of digital skills, including using social media as a sourcing tool, and are eager to play a role in the daily online discussion surrounding education news and policy. 


What you can expect to do:
 

  • Reporting & Writing 
     
    • Partner with editors in identifying key storylines / issues / news events to track and background on an annual basis
       
    • Be a thought partner for breaking news events and what / how to cover for 74 readers
       
    • Collaborate with point editor in pursuing projects that stretch, develop, and improve reporting, writing, and interviewing skills
       
  • Senior Leadership
     
    • Produce anywhere from 3-12 articles a month, depending on scope of projects
       
    • Steer coverage of Congress, pending legislation and existing federal policy
       
    • Serve as point person on the Supreme Court and prominent think tanks
       
    • Oversee coverage of elections (federal, state and local), and ballot initiatives
       
    • Develop and write a mix of enterprise features and longform deep dives through the year
       
    • Pitch, chase, report breaking news where needed
       
    • Reliably pace projects and meet deadlines 
       
    • Translate important (but occasionally wonky) policy debates surrounding school equity, innovation, and accountability for a mainstream audience.
       

       

  • Beat Ownership
     
    • Become an expert and authority in coverage areas and serve as an active source of ideas 
       
    • Develop, manage, and control pacing of beat note in partnership with editing team
       
    • Develop and manage key source relationships to foster new ideas, angles, exclusives (canvassing via phone, flaks, conferences, coffees, etc.)
       
    • Scour mainstream, trade, and social media to identify beat and story trends
       
    • Be an engaged, communicative, and transparent partner with editor in discussing pitches, assignments, projects in motion, and promotional needs
       
    • Work with editors to regularly redraw coverage areas and redefine beat priorities  

       

 

What we’re after:

 

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, public policy, or other related field
     
  • At least two to seven years of experience as a reporter, with special weight given to reporting on Congress, education issues, public policy, or schools
     
  • Demonstrated ability in overseeing a beat involving both daily and longform angles/pitches
     
  • Exceptional communication and time management skills
     
  • Outstanding organizational skills and high attention to detail; excellent written and oral communication skills
     
  • Ability to manage ambiguity and multiple priorities inherent in an entrepreneurial environment
     
  • Proactive problem solver who demonstrates initiative
     
  • Ability to self-direct and prioritize among competing goals, as well as route feedback to editors to flag problems and improve processes
     
  • Strong work ethic coupled with an enthusiastic and passionate approach to the work
     
  • Commitment to the idea that strong, credible journalism is vital to the health of our democratic institutions; commitment to the mission of educational equity
     
  • Models The 74’s values and editorial mission at all times
     
  • Professionalism, collegiality, and diplomacy
     
  • Strong follow-up and follow-through skills, with a focus on final, published pieces.

     

Job Type: Full-Time

Salary: Competitive

Location: Washington, D.C. preferred (but open to considering qualified candidates in other regions)

Benefits: Health, Dental, Vision, Retirement Plan (and Partial Match), Generous PTO 

 

About The 74

The 74 Media is a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America. In the United States, less than half of our students can read or do math at grade-level, yet most education coverage and debate fails to focus on the kids who are being left behind, the barriers to increasing student achievement, and what’s working for students and families. Our mission is to lead an honest, fact-based conversation about how to give America’s 74 million children under the age of 18 the education they deserve. 

In 2018, our coverage reached 1 in 10 Americans. The 74’s newsroom consists of 15 editors, reporters and videographers along with a network of a dozen standing contributors. In addition to daily editorial coverage of the news, we also publish a robust opinion page and are known for longform enterprise features, in-depth investigations, short-form documentaries and informational explainers. Beyond the newsroom, we have published multiple books, launched numerous microsites targeting specific topic areas, and hosted/moderated more than 100 education events across the country. 

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