The Desert Sun/desertsun.com in Palm Springs, California, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK, seeks an ambitious and versatile reporter to cover health and homelessness issues. This position is based in the Coachella Valley but leads health care and COVID-19 coverage for 10 Gannett newsrooms across California.
This journalist will join a highly motivated team of reporters who cover a wide variety of topics in a vibrant slice of Southern California that is rich with coverage opportunities. The health care reporter will be expected to identify important stories, break news, and cover fast-moving daily developments at the state and local level. This reporter should have a demonstrated ability to deliver stories quickly on deadline and write authoritatively for local and state as well as national audiences.
Our ideal candidate will not be afraid to dig into the details of legislation or a big data set. At the same time, this reporter needs to be able to connect with humans and find the real-life people who are affected by policy decisions and trends, including some of our community’s most vulnerable people. Developing sources among elected officials, health care leaders and front-line workers, social service providers and others is key. In any given week, our heath reporter might be writing about statewide stay-at-home orders, vaccine rollouts, plans to develop new housing for individuals experiencing homelessness or a fraud scandal at a local healthcare network.
This journalist needs to be facile with numbers and have a knack for synthesizing and explaining complicated topics in accessible ways. We expect a mix of daily news stories and longer narrative and investigative pieces, and we encourage this reporter to experiment with new ways to present information using new technologies and on new platforms. This can include work with data visualization, video, standalone audio, or content specifically oriented to social media.
- Produce a mix of daily, enterprise and in-depth articles that break new ground and are accurate, compelling and revelatory for both digital and print platforms.
- Cultivate sources and keep a pulse on the health care beat in the Coachella Valley and California as a whole.
- Collaborate with journalists at other Gannett newsrooms on stories of regional and national interest.
- Incorporate contemporary digital journalism tools in day-to-day reporting, including basic digital photo and video, social media and other web-based journalism tools.
- Learn and integrate new skills as they become relevant to our mission, in a cross-functional and highly collaborative newsroom.
- This beat will sometimes include evening or weekend work hours.
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing or related field preferred or equivalent combination of education and experience.
- At least three years in journalism, preferably with experience covering health.
- Proficiency navigating regulatory filings, data sets and public records.
- Reliably clear and compelling copy, whether with quick breaking news or in-depth investigations.
- A thirst for stories behind the veneer.
- Competence with digital journalism tools including social media, metrics tools like Google Analytics, internet-based research and digital publishing platforms.
- Experience with data journalism techniques is a major plus.
- Strong grasp of AP style and grammar.
- Valid driver’s license, reliable transportation and minimum liability insurance required in California.
- Fluency in Spanish a plus.
- This role requires a valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and the minimum liability insurance required by state law.
- Employment is contingent on passing a post-offer pre-employment background check and a motor vehicle record check & drug screen (for driving roles only).
We are eager to learn more about you and how you fit this role. When you apply, don’t limit your upload to a resume; show us what you’ve done. To do so, put together a single document file that includes the following, in this order:
1. Your resume – one to two pages.
2. A cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job.
3. Links to 3-6 online samples of your work. Show us what you’ve produced or had a hand in that best reflects what you can do in your desired role.
It is important that these items be assembled into a single document and uploaded in PDF format. Completing these steps will ensure that your application receives the highest consideration.