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SILICON PRAIRIE NEWS BUSINESS LEAD REPORTER

The Flatwater Free Press is hiring a creative, entrepreneurial, audience-focused reporter to lead coverage and strategy for a new kind of business reporting. We’re looking for someone who knows how to work a beat and build a network of sources in Nebraska’s emerging business community. Someone with a nose for news. Someone as capable of turning a solid daily scoop as they are tackling complex issues that require serious depth. Someone who knows how to build a brand, with the backbone, news sense and vision to make it happen. 

If hired, you will break news of a promising medical tech startup’s Series A and also dig into a scandal involving a local company. You will be as free to investigate state agencies involved with our tech ecosystem as you will to profile a software engineer working remotely from a small town for a ubiquitous Big Tech firm. 

You will share news through several distribution channels under both the Flatwater Free Press and Silicon Prairie News brands. You will report, produce and grow a newsletter with news, information and perspective at least once a week. You will report and write 8-12 investigative or feature stories a year that will run on the Flatwater Free Press, Nebraska’s first independent, statewide nonprofit newsroom, which distributes stories to media outlets across Nebraska and the country. In addition, you will manage social media accounts that already reach tens of thousands. 

This job is a rare opportunity. On the one hand, you’ll be handed the keys to almost all editorial aspects of Silicon Prairie News – a trusted regional brand that’s primarily focused on startups to this point – with a circle of well-placed sources ready and willing to work with you on Day One. At the same time, you will be joining a new and quickly growing media organization with a stable of experienced reporters and editors. The result is a chance to build something bold, but with the camaraderie and guidance of others committed to the larger mission of creating the news ecosystem Nebraska deserves.

An ideal candidate must excel in cultivating source relationships to consistently deliver valuable business news, ethically and accurately. Your beat will be business in Nebraska – all of it – with special attention toward our tech/startup/entrepreneurial ecosystem. You will aim to cover what others don’t, and further our goal of collaborating with Nebraska’s legacy media. You should have experience in and a willingness to experiment with new media, as well as an interest in supporting and learning from an experienced journalistic enterprise.

The Silicon Prairie News reporter will report directly to Flatwater Free Press editor Matthew Hansen, and work as a full member of our newsroom. While our existing newsroom is based in Omaha, we are open to a remote or hybrid role for a person elsewhere in the state.

The person in this role can expect to spend roughly 80% of work time reporting for the newsletter, for a longer Flatwater Free Press story, or breaking news on social media. 20% time will be spent on strategy, with the expectation that you will be creative about growing our definition of journalism to better serve the audience. That could include partnering with other organizations on content opportunities, creating calendars, planning events, spearheading content partnerships, etc. 

Expected Responsibilities

  • Report and produce a newsletter, at least once a week, that includes both original content and curated news from across Nebraska.
  • File at least one larger enterprise story no less than every six weeks. These could include features, investigations, explainers, trend pieces, etc. These stories should appeal to a mass audience. They would run on the Flatwater Free Press and be distributed to media partners. 
  • Work closely with Flatwater Free Press staff to execute overall editorial strategy, through websites, newsletters, social media and the like.
  • Grow and support an audience of local technologists and entrepreneurs. You will develop deep insight into how the Nebraska tech economy works and grows.
  • Attend and speak at relevant events to raise awareness of our work, as well as build your own stature as a well-sourced reporter.
  • Contribute to social media engagement, including live tweeting, community Facebook groups, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram and whatever interests you or the future holds.

Qualifications

The position is ideal for someone passionate about beat reporting and source development. Bonus points for being inspired by technology and our efforts to build a sustainable model for impactful local journalism. We consider journalism a public service – indeed, we view that as the justification for our nonprofit designation. As such, you must have a drive to be the most connected person in Nebraska’s tech and entrepreneurship community.

Candidates should likely possess the following qualifications:

  • A few years of reporting experience
  • Exceptional collaboration and communication skills
  • A hunger to be the best-sourced reporter on a beat
  • Empathy to ask the “why” of our coverage, supporting our mission to make a community better, smarter and more engaged
  • Interest in local and niche communities and serving them with journalism
  • An understanding of online content management systems and social media applications is required; experience with WordPress is desirable
  • Knowledge of and interest in local and national tech, entrepreneurship and innovation communities

Other Information

  • Salary: $55,000 to $70,000, depending on experience
  • Benefits: Position includes health insurance, including primary care, vision and dental
  • Retirement: Position includes a 401k plan, including a company match of 3% of salary

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Feb 17

Investigative reporter

We’re looking for someone to find the hidden stories. A truth teller. A digger. A reporter committed to holding truth to power, with the drive and ability to go deeper. A reporter who wants to expose inequities. Who wants to hold institutions accountable. A person committed to journalism that matters. 

The bulk of this reporter’s stories will come from in and around the metro Omaha area, pop. (nearly) 1 million, Nebraska’s largest city and a place teeming with stories begging to be told. The reporter will be based at our headquarters in downtown Omaha, and will be expected to find and develop important tales from every corner of the metro by weaving together data, documents, anecdotes and good ol’ fashioned notebook reporting.

You should have clips that demonstrate your ability to do this – ideally clips that expose bad actors, right wrongs and tell intensely human stories. Commitment to our mission matters more than exact beats or previous expertise. Whether you consider yourself a government watchdog, environmental expert, data sleuth, document wrangler, legislative whiz, narrative writer and/or an expert in all the myriad flavors of everyday grift, you’d bring something worthwhile to our 5-person – soon to be 10-person – team that is already making a serious splash.

We seek out, and have hired reporters, across the experience spectrum. The role — and the organization itself — will and does adapt to the fantastic journalist we bring on board.

If this sounds like a place you’d thrive, we want to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to apply.

We are dedicated to building a newsroom that reflects the people we cover. We are committed to diversity and building an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds and ages. Our first official policy enshrined journalistic independence and integrity. Our second committed us to representing everyone in our work and deeds. We especially encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. That is not just something our HR department told us to write. We believe in it. We relish following through.

What can you expect?

Time. You won’t need to be at the school board meeting. You won’t have to cover sentencings or car accidents or press conferences — unless you think it’s part of a larger story. We don’t react to news. We advance it. The Flatwater Free Press publishes 2-4 stories a week, with some coming from freelancers. Our full-time reporters have the time to report and tell a story in all its nuance, with an expected output of roughly 20-30 stories a year.

Support. The entire organization, from the board to the reporters, is made up of people who love journalism and love Nebraska. We will go to the mat to fight for records, take on or simply block that abusive jerk on Twitter, and work by your side to get that lede just so. (We know this because we have already done each of these things.

We also understand that this work has a toll. We support our staff as full humans.

Creativity. This is a relatively new venture, and part of the fun is making it what we want it to be. Our reporters are full partners in that effort. Want to build a cool interactive graphic? Start a podcast? Write a comic book? Want to do something no one’s ever tried before? Great! We’ll get you the tools and support to make it happen. We experiment often and fail quickly in reflecting our staff’s passions.

What will you get from us?

Pay. $50-75,000 per year, depending on experience.

Benefits. Health, dental, vision, with the company shouldering 80% of costs for the employee and all dependents.

Vacation. Four weeks, with an additional office-wide shutdown during the holiday season.

A Chance to Tell In-Depth Stories. We don’t publish daily, and thus you won’t ever be expected to fill a news hole. If you thrive in the 24/7 news cycle, and want to churn out quick hits, this job is not for you. If depth is your game, Flatwater Free Press is our name.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Feb 17.

About the Flatwater Free Press

The Flatwater Free Press, a project of the Nebraska Journalism Trust, has quickly become a go-to source for investigative journalism and deep, meaningful storytelling. 

At FFP, we believe we’re living up to our tagline: “Important stories, well told.”

We’re a 501c3 that seeks an equal mix of stories that reflect border-to-border, statewide issues; those from the state’s major metros of Omaha and Lincoln; those from small towns and rural places; and those of traditionally underserved communities.

The Flatwater Free Press, Nebraska’s first independent statewide nonprofit newsroom, has grown an impressive following after publishing for 16 months. Our website and weekly newsletter draw tens of thousands of eyeballs. Most of the state’s daily newspapers, TV station websites and radio station websites run our stories. We have also partnered with several of the state’s largest news organizations on projects. 

It adds up to this: On average, FFP stories reach 400,000 Nebraskans.

We’re developing a national reach, too. FFP stories have been published by a wide variety of news sources, including Civil Eats, the Huffington Post, Indian Country Today and USA Today.

Thanks to large grants and more than 1,400 individual donors, we’re financially sustainable. 

We’re also growing: A bigger office, a bigger staff and many big plans for 2023 and beyond.

QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? CONCERNS? DEBATES?

…or just don’t want to wrestle with a form? Contact Matt Wynn at mwynn@flatwaterfreepress.org.