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Underscore.news + Indian Country Today Beat Reporter

Underscore.news + Indian Country Today Beat Reporter

In journalism, few issues are more troublesome than invisibility—not being seen or heard. The great majority of Americans get their news and information from media, which is why amplifying the voices of Alaska Natives and American Indians in legacy and rural media is critical. This reporting position will not only cover current events but write about context and history, sovereignty, treaty rights and the power and culture in Indigenous communities. Oregon is a big state with little more than 4 million people. We are looking for a reporter to identify stories about Indigenous communities and amplify them through writing and, at times, in partnership with video and radio reporting. Is this the job for you? 

About Indian Country Today (ICT) + Underscore.news 

Underscore.news is a nonprofit reporting team based in Portland, Oregon, which got its start in 2019 as an investigative reporting team. In the past two years, Underscore’s reporting has been focused primarily on Indian Country and the impact of COVID. Our mission is to produce collaborative journalism framed by justice to promote civic engagement and a fair-minded society. 

We are a digital-first publication that shares our work close to home in Oregon and in the Pacific Northwest and nationally. Our Indian Country reporting is intended to deliver more visibility for underreported Indigenous communities and to strengthen journalism in Oregon and, by extension, the Pacific Northwest. Underscore.news is part of a growing, public service journalism movement that is publicly funded. Our small staff belies our reach and ability to specialize and report with agility. 

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit, multimedia news enterprise. Our digital platform covers the Indigenous world, including American Indians and Alaska Natives. ICT is also a public media broadcast carried via public television stations, including FNX: First Nations Experience and Arizona PBS World channel. 

ICT covers tribes and Native people throughout the Americas. 

ICT is an independent news organization owned by IndiJ Public Media, an Arizona nonprofit company that sustains itself with funding from members, donors, foundations, and supporters. We also sell advertising in a variety of formats. 

The Job 

Are you interested in writing stories of all types — long form, enterprise, in-depth, spot coverage — about Indian Country? Are you able to identify a good story and bring it to life with words? Are you vested to learn from tribal leaders and tribal citizens alike on issues in Indigenous communities? Are you willing and interested to listen closely and learn from the communities you’ll cover? If so, this is the job for you. 

In this shared reporting position, you’ll report daily news and enterprise stories for ICT and enterprise and longer-form stories for Underscore.news. Areas of daily reporting will include making extra phone calls for wire stories, writing breaking news stories, and/or reporting on a spot story while pulling back the lens to look at the bigger picture. 

You may write a single enterprise story or a reporting series that focuses on reservations, urban Native people, tribal government and national issues relevant to Oregon. For Underscore.news, you’ll be required to produce no less than one story per week that can range from general interest “slice of life” coverage, such as social distancing powwows to the economic hit to casinos as a result of COVID-19. You’ll write in-depth stories, produce strengths-based and solutions-focused reporting — coverage that includes historical context, sovereignty, treaty rights. 

And, for at least for the foreseeable future, you’ll document how Indigenous communities are recovering from COVID. Your reporting will be shared with Oregon tribal, rural and statewide news, regionally and nationally. You’ll cover Indigenous communities around Oregon, primarily, with smaller percentage reporting in Washington State, California, and British Columbia. 

This role is a fit if you … 

  • Seek out scoops and embrace enterprise reporting. 
  • Are committed to building relationships with Native American communities and know how to build and engage a representative source list. 
  • Can work independently but are an enthusiastic collaborator. 
  • Are as comfortable writing news briefs as magazine-length investigative stories. 
  • Strive for accuracy and truth in reporting.
  • Are a skilled writer and storyteller. 
  • Have a working knowledge of data reporting and enthusiasm for finding stories buried within reports. 
  • Can relate Indian Country to the well-being of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. 
  • Are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion — throughout your work and as it relates to your beat. 
  • Enjoy engaging with readers and responding to their tips. 
  • Can spot trends and understand how they will play out. 
  • Can explain complicated issues clearly and simply. 
  • Can see the big picture in ways that perhaps government and business do not. 

Responsibilities 

  • Writing multiple stories each month for both publications. 
  • Pitching ideas that result in ground-breaking stories. 
  • Working collaboratively with editors and fellow reporters. 
  • Cultivating diverse and representative sources. 
  • Working with the editing team to ensure stories are accurate and fair. 
  • Meeting deadlines set by you and your supervising editor. 
  • Effectively and professionally communicating verbally and in writing with colleagues, sources and readers. 
  • Listening intently to others and valuing others' opinions. 
  • Communicating openly and promptly sharing information and ideas with others throughout the organization. 

Location: Portland, Oregon 

Start date: August 9, 2021

End date: March 8, 2022

The Underscore.news team is working semi-remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic with a preference for meeting no less than one day a week in the office. Our office is based in the Central Eastside Industrial District of Portland, Oregon, 20 minutes from the Columbia River Gorge, 1.5 hours from the Oregon coast, and 2.5 hours from Seattle. Portland has excellent mass transit as well as walking and running trails in the largest city park in the U.S., which is helpful because it is also a food mecca. 

How to apply: Please upload a resume and up to three samples of your work and answer a series of questions using this form. We use resumes primarily as a summary and will focus our attention on responses to our questions. Application deadline is Sunday, July 11, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EST.

Please note: We recognize there are great candidates who may not fit the description above or who have important skills and experiences we haven’t thought of. If that sounds like you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us more about yourself. ICT and UM are committed to constantly improving our organizations, in part by better reflecting the communities we serve. We are dedicated to creating an inclusive workplace for all people. We especially encourage members of communities that are traditionally underrepresented — and misrepresented — in media to apply to join our team, including Black, Indigenous and people of color; women; LGBTQIA people, and differently abled people.

Compensation and benefits:

  • Full-time, competitive salary with benefits.
  • Salary: $60,000-$70,000 annual salary + generous fringe benefits, depending on experience. This 32-week limited-term staff position is grant funded with the intention of extending it beyond March 8, 2022.
  • Flexible work schedule. Some weekend and evening hours will be required.

Contact information:

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, ICT, Managing Editor
jbennett-begaye@indiancountrytoday.com

Jackleen de La Harpe, Underscore.news, Executive Director
harpe@underscore.news