Investigations Editor opening at Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

The team at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism includes experienced professional journalists, mid-career fellows and student reporters. Seen here, clockwise from left, managing editor Dee J. Hall conducts an interview with a former inmate; fellow Alexandra Hall interviews a Mexican worker on a dairy farm; multimedia editor Coburn Dukehart makes photos on assignment; and reporting intern Alexandra Arriaga interviews the family of a prisoner held in solitary confinement.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is seeking an Investigations Editor who is passionate about holding power to account while helping to transform our news organization into an enduring institution.

Our new colleague will be skilled at editing but also adept at reporting stories independently or as part of a team, inspiring and training student and professional journalists alike, while engaging the public in our work.

After a decade of success, we’re growing to better fulfill our mission — to increase the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy.

The Investigations Editor, a newly created position, will be a newsroom leader, reporting directly to the managing editor while producing stories for Wisconsin Watch, our news outlet, and working closely with our five-member staff to shape the Center’s future. The Investigations Editor will be based in the Center’s office in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Center is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on government accountability and quality of life issues of importance to the people of Wisconsin. Our multimedia journalism digs into undercovered issues, documents broken and failing systems, puts findings into regional and national context, and explores potential solutions. The Center also trains current and future investigative journalists through workshops, internships and fellowships, mentoring, and collaborations with journalism classes and news organizations. And we share information about journalistic practices, ethics and impact with the public.

Wisconsin Watch’s reports are published at WisconsinWatch.org and content is made available at no charge to news organizations through our own distribution system plus a nationwide partnership with the Associated Press.

Since our launch in 2009, Wisconsin Watch has produced more than 350 major news reports that have been cited, published or broadcast by more than 800 newspapers, radio and TV stations and news websites in Wisconsin and nationwide. The estimated audience over that time exceeds 82.5 million people.

In our first 10 years, we have won dozens of national, regional and state awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, Associated Press Media Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists and finalist awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, as well as a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for a short documentary.

We are looking for an experienced investigative journalist who will conduct investigations independently or as part of a team and will edit reports produced by staff, student interns and fellows, freelancers and collaborating news organizations. The editor will also assist with:

  • Management of interns and fellows
  • Editing and fact-checking of stories
  • Public records requests
  • Collaborative projects with journalistic partners and other organizations
  • Conceptualizing and/or creating data analyses and visualizations
  • Conceptualizing multimedia elements including audio, video, photography and graphics
  • Public engagement
  • Mentoring and training of student journalists and journalists from other newsrooms

If you have just some of the skills listed below, or others we failed to list, please consider applying for this position. We are a small, nimble organization that makes best use of, and is dedicated to developing the skills of, our staff.

We’re looking for some combination of the following:

High-priority skills:

  • Experience in high-quality, high-impact news reporting and/or editing. A minimum of seven to 10 years of experience desired.
  • Bulletproofing your work. We use a fact-checking system, and we’re obsessive about accuracy.
  • Interpersonal skills, like flexibility, kindness and a sense of humor, suited for working in small teams on intense projects.
  • Supervisory experience or temperament. We often work with student journalists, who bring great energy into the newsroom but who must be carefully managed for complex projects.
  • Experience in conceiving and producing ambitious multimedia investigative news projects.
  • A sense of mission that aligns with our guiding values: Expose wrongdoing. Protect the vulnerable. Explore solutions.

Bonus skills:

  • Data analysis and visualization.
  • Website management and posting. Familiarity with WordPress.
  • Photography, videography and/or audio gathering and editing skills.
  • Fluency in Spanish.

Expected salary range: $55,000-$70,000, commensurate with skills and experience.

Benefits: Five weeks paid vacation, subsidized medical and dental benefits, sick days, family leave and self-funded 403(b) retirement plan.

Deadline: The initial application window will be open until Sept. 30, 2019. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Perks of working at the Center include reporting in a state with astonishingly divided politics that is often in the national spotlight.

Recent examples of our investigations’ impact include:

  • Our Failure at the Faucet series was instrumental in raising the issue of drinking water contamination to a top state priority.
  • The Wisconsin Humanities Council is using our documentary, Los Lecheros, as a catalyst for community immigration discussions.
  • Four days after Wisconsin Watch and the Chicago Sun-Times published a joint report on labor exploitation of immigrants — which was picked up or mentioned 76 times by 65 outlets in 20 states and the District of Columbia and seen more than 922,700 times — the U.S. Department of Labor announced an education and enforcement initiative.
  • After our election integrity series was published — picked up or mentioned 145 times by 85 outlets in 18 states and the District of Columbia and seen nearly 2.5 million times — the Wisconsin Elections Commission corrected a security gap in the state’s voting systems. By a unanimous vote, commissioners revised the policy for biennial voting-machine audits to help detect and correct potentially hacked results.

The staff includes an executive director who is responsible for the news and business operations, an associate director who runs the daily business activities, a managing editor who runs the daily news activities, a digital and multimedia director who is responsible for the website and our multimedia content and operations, and a membership project manager who guides our efforts to engage the public. We also have investigative reporting and public engagement and marketing interns, a radio reporting fellow paid by Wisconsin Public Radio, a Report for America corps member who is managing a new criminal justice reporting project, and skilled volunteers.

We’re a flexible, fun workplace that still manages to do hard-core work. It’s not unusual for homemade baked goods or guacamole to show up at the “world headquarters” in Vilas Hall.

Also, it’s awfully nice here in Madison, where we are routinely ranked among America’s most livable cities. The bike paths are numerous, the traffic is manageable, housing is relatively affordable with good public schools, plentiful farm produce and a city and countryside that are postcard pretty. Our office bar is the famed Memorial Union Terrace, overlooking Lake Mendota.

To apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, a list of references and examples of your work to Executive Director Andy Hall at ahall@wisconsinwatch.org. If you’d like to chat about the job before applying, contact Andy via email.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism embraces diversity and inclusiveness in its journalism, training activities, hiring practices and workplace operations. The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, gender and geography all affect point of view. Reflecting these differences in our reporting leads to better, more-nuanced stories and a better-informed community.

Wisconsin law bars employers from discrimination on the basis of: age, ancestry, arrest record, color, conviction record, creed, disability, genetic testing, honesty testing, marital status, military service, national origin, pregnancy or childbirth, race, sex, sexual orientation, use or nonuse of lawful products off the employer’s premises during non-working hours. Employees may not be harassed in the workplace based on their protected status or retaliated against for filing a complaint, for assisting with a complaint or for opposing discrimination in the workplace.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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