We are looking for a dynamic newsroom leader for what could be a career-defining role: founding editor of a nonprofit investigative newsroom that produces journalism informing the people who live and work in the state of Pennsylvania. The mission of Spotlight PA and its dozen-person newsroom is to hold powerful private and public forces to account – businesses, politicians, special interests across society – by producing journalism that leads to change that serves the public good.
The challenge couldn’t be more urgent. Across the country, statehouse news corps have been drastically depleted at a time when powerful special interests and dark-money-driven initiatives seek friendly legislation or regulatory relief from state lawmakers. The Philadelphia Inquirer, for instance, not so long ago had four reporters in Harrisburg covering state government in the nation’s sixth most populous state. It now has one.
This exciting news initiative will be powered in part by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the LNP Media Group, which will provide reporting muscle to tackle these tasks. In addition, an initial three-year commitment of significant nonprofit funding will enable the editor to hire half a dozen staffers to join four veteran, well-sourced Harrisburg journalists from these three outlets. The new hires will bring added data reporting and investigative reporting skills. Spotlight PA will also collaborate with students and professional staff at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication, under the direction of Aron Pilhofer, the James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation.
We are looking for a proven leader who can manage investigative projects in a way that combines data analysis and strong storytelling to shed light on wrongdoing and spur change. The editor of Spotlight PA will need to work collaboratively with the partnering newsrooms. A primary task of the editor will be to guide coverage and pursue accountability stories that Pennsylvania media outlets have overlooked or didn’t recognize because of diminished resources -- stories that may take weeks or longer to produce but are unavailable anywhere else in the state and would captivate a statewide audience. The team will also join in on the impossible-to-ignore breaking news stories that demand deeper reporting.
The partner organizations have made a significant commitment to forming and launching this initiative and seek candidates eager to be part of a groundbreaking venture. We fully expect Spotlight PA -- much like nonprofit newsrooms ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Center for Public Integrity -- to be a longstanding provider of public-benefit journalism.
Your job will include but not be limited to:
- Overseeing half a dozen reporters, two data reporters, a development manager and a technology manager.
- Working in collaboration with the partner newsrooms to execute stories that can take a variety of forms, from breaking news to deeply reported enterprise to major months-long investigations to data-centric alternative story forms.
- Establishing a vision for the Harrisburg-based enterprise and ability to shape the new endeavor.
The ideal candidate will have:
- A journalism track record of landing revelatory stories about the intersection of government, money and power.
- The ability to create a coverage plan that is ambitious and purposeful, and tells stories in a variety of ways on multiple platforms.
- Significant management experience.
- The ability to edit effectively and quickly.
- And the experience and desire to collaborate with other newsrooms.
Please include the following application materials in a single document:
- A cover letter detailing any experience you’ve had with collaborations between newsrooms, examples of your best work and what role you played in elevating the projects, and your thoughts on one or more regional or statewide investigative projects you think Spotlight PA should do and what tactics you would apply to execute them.
- A current resume.
- Links to relevant projects/clips.
The job is full time, includes benefits, and will be based in Harrisburg. We are committed to diversity and building an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds and ages. Everyone is encouraged to apply, including women, LGBTQ people, people of color and people with disabilities.
If you have further questions, Inquirer deputy managing editor Jim Neff can be reached by email at email@example.com.