The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service is once again among the news organizations selected as a Report for America host newsroom partner.
We will join an expanding network of some 220 newsrooms benefiting from the support of this nonprofit program.
Through this partnership, we will expand our reporting on neighborhood and community groups by hiring a community engagement reporter who will collaborate with residents to identify their needs; create resource-laden stories to meet those needs; write stories that offer solutions to their challenges; and will make elected leaders accountable through rigorous watchdog reporting.
This reporter will cover grassroots neighborhood-focused groups and the nonprofits that serve our communities.
We seek to put readers in the driver’s seat in helping us create and shape coverage they feel is important. To do this, we will take advantage of News414, where we use text messaging to find out what information readers want in order to give them what they need—in real time. The project, which we run in collaboration with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, received $234,000 in support from the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge in 2020 – one of only 34 projects in North America. Since then, we have expanded our efforts and now reach Spanish-speaking residents by translating our articles and hiring bilingual “ambassadors” who go to community events to listen to residents and then connect them with our reporters.
This reporter will also monitor data from social service providers to identify community needs that should be addressed by creating resource lists that help residents navigate their challenges. For example, in the beginning of the pandemic, we noticed that we were getting texts from readers looking for places where they could get free food as were social service providers. In response, we compiled a list of food pantries, which we regularly update, and we created a “food insecurity” beat.
The community engagement solutions journalism reporter will help lead newsroom efforts to respond quickly to such trends and work with editors and reporters in both the NNS newsroom and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism to make sure the topics get the coverage they deserve.
If you are interested in applying, go here to read about the position, including salary and benefits, and to submit your application.
The application deadline is Jan. 30.
Report for America is a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues and communities. It is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit media organization, and is structured to harness the skills and idealism of an emerging group of journalists plus the creative spirit of local news organizations—like ours.
Report for America is a two-year program (with an option for three) that delivers a wide range of benefits to its corps members. Beyond paying up to half of the journalists’ salaries, it provides ongoing training and mentorship by leading journalists, peer networking and memberships to select professional organizations.
Please contact the Report for America Recruitment team if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org