We’re looking for a reporter to cover voting in Pennsylvania.
Votebeat, the nonprofit news organization created by Chalkbeat to cover local election administration and voting access, is seeking a passionate journalist to serve as our Pennsylvania reporter in partnership with Spotlight PA.
This is a pivotal time to cover voting in Pennsylvania, a state that saw one of the closest presidential elections of 2020 followed by a flood of lawsuits and unfounded claims of voter fraud, ongoing efforts to investigate the election, and legislation attempting to change the ways Pennsylvanians will vote. Votebeat will cover Republican lawmakers’ investigation of the 2020 vote and constitutional amendments to restrict voting; extremists’ efforts to take over local positions overseeing the next elections; and local administrators’ conducting of 2022’s contentious primary and general elections, many based on redrawn districts.
You will dive deep into the details of election administration and synthesize those facts into accurate, nuanced takeaways. Your journalism will inform the debate around voting and make an impact by spotlighting problems in elections and the politicization of voting, and by pointing toward solutions. Because the decision-making and preparations for elections are constantly ongoing, we treat this coverage as a year-round beat.
You will be responsible for reporting and writing stories — in close collaboration with your Votebeat and Spotlight editors — focused on voting access, election security, voting disinformation, and the disputes and lawsuits over election processes and results, including breaking news during the primary and general elections. At other times you will report on voting data, election tech, reform advocacy, and election policy changes. You also will serve as Votebeat’s public face in the community, working closely with our network team to cultivate reader engagement and represent the organization at public events.
This position can be based anywhere in Pennsylvania, primarily working at home and communicating remotely with the rest of the staffs. If based in Philadelphia, the reporter would have access to Chalkbeat’s office space there. The reporter will report to Votebeat’s editor in chief and will work closely with our partners at Spotlight PA, the statewide investigative reporting collaboration. Your work will appear on both websites as well as in distribution to Spotlight’s local media partners.
Who are you?
You are committed to local journalism and respect the transformative power of a good story. You’re a self-starter who is hungry to break news, eager to understand and inform vital public policy debates, and enthusiastic about creating new models for sustainable journalism. You’re a strong beat reporter who can develop reliable sources and find overlooked stories. You have the ability to write a range of stories, from breaking news to enterprise and long-term projects.
Most importantly, you can serve as a guide for our readers — election administrators, policymakers, voting advocates, and voters themselves — in explaining how elections work in Pennsylvania. And you’re not afraid to call officials to task when warranted.
What background and skills do you have?
- Experience covering elections, government, public policy, or legal affairs
- Knowledge of Pennsylvania elections, local demographics, and political culture
- Experience with building sources and generating story ideas
- Comfort or experience working with data, research, and reports
- The ability to write clearly, cleanly, and on deadline for quick-take, daily, and longer-form stories
- Autonomous work habits, including proactive initiative and diligent task management while working remotely
- Team-oriented mindset with a generous spirit toward supporting your colleagues
- Interest in or experience with reader engagement, including finding creative ways to connect with a diverse set of readers
- A firm grasp of AP style and proper grammar
- The ability to accept feedback and use it to grow
- A passion for political participation and civic health in Pennsylvania
- Ability to report in a language other than English is a plus
Not all candidates will check all of the requirements listed above, and that’s OK — we still want to hear from you. We especially encourage candidates from communities that traditionally have been underrepresented in journalism and especially in leadership positions.
This is a full-time position with benefits. Votebeat offers a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and a generous benefits package, including a paid one-week recess. Our virtual newsroom features daily interaction, social Slack channels, personal development sessions, and team exercise and meditation get-togethers.
This is a role covered by the CBA with the WGAE.
Our organization is committed to antiracism, and our staff is taking part in ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work.
To apply, complete the online form at the bottom of this page.
Votebeat is the nonprofit news organization created by Chalkbeat, originally as a pop-up newsroom in 2020 and now relaunching as a permanent network. We are committed to providing local coverage about how elections work and holding public officials accountable for fair access to the ballot box. Read more about our mission, vision, and values.
About Spotlight PA:
Spotlight PA is a nationally award-winning independent newsroom covering Pennsylvania’s Capitol and urgent statewide issues. The mission of Spotlight PA is simple: to hold powerful private and public forces to account by producing journalism that gets results and serves the public good. Spotlight PA has the largest collaborative network of its kind in the United States, with stories shared across 79 partner newsrooms, allowing our journalism to reach Pennsylvanians in all corners.