The RequirementsAlabama Media Group is seeking a well-rounded reporter with a history of success in digital media and the skill and experience needed to cover both court and public safety stories. You'll need technical knowledge of the law, deep understanding of the court and emergency response systems, and the ability to cultivate strong professional relationships. On any given day, there are dozens of court filings, and the relationships you build can help you manage the volume and capture and report on the stories important to your audience. Whether you're an industry veteran enthused by the digital platform and excited about transforming your career for the future, or someone who is new in your career but enjoying attention from writing an engaging blog, this role could be the perfect fit.
To be a successful Courts / Public Safety Reporter Reporter, you will need:
- A bachelor's degree in Journalism, Communications or related field (preferred), or a combination of education and/or experience including a strong track record of writing success.
- A minimum of two years of journalism experience with a proven ability in reporting and writing. You should be able to use a broad set of tools to tell stories and engage the audience.
- Specific experience covering the criminal / civil court system and / or public safety.
- Proven experience building, maintaining and engaging an active audience.
- The ability to work independently under deadline pressure and prioritize tasks appropriately.
- Demonstrated reporting, writing and organizational skills.
- Solid understanding of news writing, journalistic ethics and story structure.
- Experience with search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
- Comfort working in breaking-news situations including understanding the standards and philosophy of real-time news.
- A demonstrated ability to capitalize on high-value topics by engaging audiences with frequency and urgency.
- An understanding of the methods and tools used to deliver content across a variety of platforms such as Moveable Type CMS, SCC Budgeting and Archiving System, Smartphones, etc.
- An understanding the imperatives of multiple platforms -- print, mobile, Internet, etc.
- A mastery of social media and digital interaction; experience using social media to source and promote content is highly preferred.
- The ability to leverage relationships with sources to deliver content that differentiates the organization from its competitors.
- The drive and ability to work independently and remotely.
- The ability to work a flexible schedule, as needed, to provide 24/7/365 media coverage.
- The ability to travel on occasion and to come into the office for a meeting or training approximately once per month.
- Posting photographs and/or short videos to the web and other internal production systems.
- Remote web reporting using laptops and smart phones.
The RoleYou will report and produce news stories on high-value court cases and topics as well as law enforcement, firefighting, investigations, and public policy regarding policing. With regard to court topics, you'll provide insightful writing on relevant subject matter including case filings, background, trial detail, etc. On the public safety side, you’ll listen to your scanner, be connected in the community as well as to police, sheriff, and fire departments, and always be ready to respond to what you hear. It’s crucial that you’re adept at writing breaking news stories, but you should also be able to identify and cover non-emergency stories. It will be your mission to develop ideas and interesting ways to cover all court and public safety topics, and then identify related stories to maintain interest.
The reality of news in the digital age is that it is instant. With a tech-savvy audience reading daily news on multiple platforms, you'll need to bring this beat into the era of modern journalism. In other words, you'll be accountable for meeting audience demand for immediacy, depth and engagement. You'll directly interact with your readership through social media and other digital outlets, and post compelling, accurate, and thought-provoking copy in real-time.
Specifically, you will:
- Gather information and write journalistically sound news elements for use in all existing and future media platforms. Your stories should be balanced and factual, timely and topical, and well-sourced and contextually correct.
- Learn and employ all techniques for effective digital reporting and posting across all platforms.
- Frequently and incrementally post throughout the day.
- Engage in story aggregation and topical link-posting.
- Monitor and engage in reader-comment streams; elevate comments into new posts when appropriate.
- Interact on social media platforms via story shares, objective commentary, topic promotion and the Alabama Media Group's content initiatives.
- Effectively employ various means of monitoring audience interest and competitors' posting on your topic, including setting up Google alerts, Twitter and RSS feeds.
- Maintain operational communication with the editor and production center, when appropriate.
- Learn and understand audience-traffic-tracking systems and analytical reports.
- Build and maintain relationships with other reporters, and work as a team when required.
Because this is a real-time world, you must be quick on your feet and strong with grammar and self-editing. You'll also need to be highly ethical because you don't want to put anything out there that isn't true. You will have a producer to talk to and collaborate with as necessary, but you will be field-based, without a desk or office, so being independent is key.
Note: this description is intended to give you a general overview of the position and is not an exhaustive listing of duties and responsibilities.
Keys to SuccessTo excel in this role, you will be a driven, dynamic reporter and writer with the ability to deliver a high volume of content every day. You should be able to proactively identify stories in your assigned area and respond quickly, keeping the quality of content consistent and engaging. Nothing of interest to the audience should be missed. Because we are an online, daily operation, you will also need to be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. You should be someone who excels and thrives under pressure and can produce quality work regardless of the deadline you're under.
Additionally, to be an outstanding reporter, you will be autonomous and enjoy working independently. In this role, you'll be choosing your content topics and posting your own articles online, helping lead our audience, and ensuring our products contain the most relevant up-to-the-minute information. You'll need to be at ease in a self-directed environment and eager to hit the ground running.