Senior Reporter — Justice, Incarceration and Gun Violence: Gulf States Newsroom
The Gulf States Newsroom — a collaboration among public radio stations in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, plus NPR — is hiring a tenacious and empathetic journalist to report powerful stories about the profound impacts of the criminal legal system on our local communities. We’re looking for an investigator who can uncover and tell compelling stories about how incarceration and gun violence affect those communities.
Gulf South states were among the top five in the U.S. for gun rates in 2021, and crime continues to be a major concern for residents. We need a journalist who can go beyond these statistics to reveal the real human experiences behind them. Whose lives are touched by this violence and what are the long-lasting implications?
Our region has some of the harshest sentencing laws and the highest rates of incarceration in the country. Prisons in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are each under investigation by the Department of Justice for various violations. We need a journalist who can explore who is affected by state violence, the impact of federal intervention and how these issues intersect with race, poverty and systemic bias.
This reporter will probe beyond crime statistics and law enforcement narratives to focus on communities at the heart of these issues. You will spotlight the reform efforts underway and the stakeholders striving to change these bleak narratives. Your stories will illuminate the human impact of the criminal legal system, elevate the voices that often go unheard and spark conversations that can drive change.
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Annual Salary Range: $57,000-$66,000 (+ $15,000 for health care, fringe benefits)
Position open until filled, review of applications begins August 30
Who We Are: The Gulf States Newsroom is a partnership between WWNO in New Orleans and WRKF in Baton Rouge, WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama, Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson, and NPR. We’re working together as a regional newsroom to plan coverage, share resources and add reporting power in a story-rich region where too many local news outlets have disappeared. It’s part of NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network, an initiative designed to better connect NPR with local member stations to tell the story of the whole country from everywhere in the country. Check out our stories here.
About the Role: This reporter will join a team of award-winning editors and regional reporters whose beats include wealth and poverty, environmental justice and health equity. The reporter will occasionally pitch in on local coverage of their beat and breaking news and will have the opportunity to file for NPR.
We are seeking a self-starter who can:
- Center people over policy and cover trends and patterns in the three states
- Push beyond crime statistics and law enforcement narratives
- Cultivate connections with sources and researchers to stay on top of current events on the beat
- Work collaboratively with other regional, local and national reporters and editors
We want someone who enjoys working as part of a team and is comfortable in an environment where local, regional and national needs may necessitate different approaches to storytelling. We’re seeking a journalist who listens and communicates well. Training is part of the mission of GSN and opportunities for professional development are built into this role.
In an effort to streamline business operations, GSN is moving to employ all team members through a single entity. This reporter will be based in New Orleans, Louisiana and employed by WBHM, the lead station of the collaborative based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), as a full-time, 04 Irregular Employee. These employees are not eligible for UAB health benefits or privileges of employment. In lieu of that, out-of-state employees have an additional $15,000 included in their annual base salary, paid out monthly. The employee can accrue time off and will work with the manager on a schedule for paid vacation days (15), personal days (3) and sick days (10). Travel across the region is part of the job and the reporter will be reimbursed for lodging, mileage, food, etc.
- Pitch, plan, report and produce audio and digital feature stories to air/publish locally, regionally and often nationally.
- Develop a robust network of sources that reflect the diversity of the region.
- Report local and regional news spots as assigned by the Gulf States Newsroom Managing Editor.
- Occasionally travel to report stories across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
- Participate in regular meetings with the NPR criminal justice topic team.
- Collaborate with editors and show staff at local stations to shape on-air two-way discussions.
- Take photos for digital stories.
- Use social media to share work and develop contacts.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
- Required Qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience.
- A total of at least five years of reporting and/or producing experience.
- Ability to stay organized and meet deadlines for long and quick-turn assignments.
- Experience with audio editing software and audio field reporting.
- Prior experience covering criminal justice or public safety.
- Experience with public records requests and data reporting.
- Familiarity with the Gulf States region.
- Ability to speak a language besides English.