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Opportunity Description
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News Reporter, Crime
NY - Syracuse

Opportunity Snapshot

This position offers you the opportunity to showcase your drive, creativity and innovation in crime reporting, reaching beyond the police and courts to capture the point of view of victims, the accused and other players. You'll cover crime and safety stories throughout Central New York, posting frequently to the website and incrementally throughout the day, covering breaking news and developing enterprise pieces. You will join an exciting initiative that is redefining digital journalism in Central New York. We've created a forward-thinking workspace with state-of-the-art tools for nimble digital and mobile journalism, to help you optimize your impact. You'll enjoy the best of both worlds: the excitement and energy of a new initiative and the stability and resources of an established industry leader.

Syracuse is the economic and educational hub of Central New York, with Syracuse University right here and Cornell, Colgate and other top schools nearby -- ideal if you're considering continuing your education. Here you'll enjoy the stimulating environment of a college town as well as other great amenities. In fact, Syracuse was ranked 4th on Forbes' 2010 list of Top Ten Places to Raise a Family, and 8th on CareerBliss.com's 2012 list of Happiest Cities for Work in the US.

Syracuse Media Group is a digitally focused news and information company serving Central New York. Syracuse Media Group publishes and operates an extensive portfolio of digital and print products featuring comprehensive in-depth content from Central New York's largest news organization. Syracuse Media Group's flagship brands are syracuse.com, the leading website in the region, and The Post-Standard newspaper, which has served the community since 1829.

Syracuse Media Group is a part of Advance Local, one of the largest media groups in the U.S. reaching more than 40 million consumers through its 12 local news and information websites that rank #1 among local media in their respective markets, and more than 30 newspapers. Our affiliated websites and newspapers are well known for their award-winning journalism. Advance Local is part of Advance Publications, along with Condé Nast and American City Business Journals.

The Requirements

To be a good fit for this opportunity you will have:
  • Solid experience in digital journalism, including a track record of success in crime reporting. Quick question for you - click here
  • Proven experience building, maintaining and engaging an active audience.
  • Demonstrated reporting, writing and organizational skills.
  • Solid understanding of news writing, journalistic ethics and story structure.
  • Experience with search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
  • A demonstrated ability to capitalize on high-value topics by engaging audiences frequently and with urgency.
  • An understanding of the methods and tools used to deliver content across a variety of platforms.
  • An understanding the imperatives of multiple platforms -- print, mobile, Internet, etc.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to interact effectively with users and readers.
  • The ability to leverage relationships with sources to deliver content that differentiates the organization from its competitors.
  • The ability to work independently and remotely under deadline pressure and prioritize tasks appropriately.
  • A bachelor's degree, preferably in journalism, communications or other relevant field, or the equivalent combination of education and experience.
You'll also need to be willing and able to work a flexible schedule, including nights and weekends, and to travel occasionally.

The Role

You will report and produce news stories on high-value topics about and around law enforcement, firefighting, investigations and public policy regarding policing. You’ll listen to your scanner, be connected in the community as well as to police, sheriff and fire departments and always be ready to respond to what you hear. You'll know people in emergency management and understand plans and responses. It’s crucial that you’re adept at writing breaking news stories, but you should also be able to identify and cover non-emergency stories.

It will be your mission to develop ideas and interesting ways to cover all public safety topics, and then identify related stories to maintain interest. We're not looking for someone to be a "pal" to police, but for a professional who can bring a balanced, objective approach. You'll also need to be innovative in developing sources.

More specifically, you will:
  • Gather information and write journalistically sound news for use in all existing and future media platforms. Your stories should be balanced and factual, timely and topical, and well-sourced and contextually correct. 
  • Learn and employ all techniques for effective digital reporting across all platforms.
  • Frequently and incrementally post to the Web throughout the day.
  • Engage in story aggregation and topical link-posting.
  • Monitor and engage in reader comment streams; elevate comments into new posts when appropriate.
  • Interact on social-media platforms by using story shares and objective commentary to promote the news organization’s content initiatives.
  • Effectively employ various means of monitoring audience interest and competitors' posting on your topic, including setting up Google alerts, Twitter and RSS feeds.
  • Maintain operational communication with the editor and production center, when appropriate.
  • Learn and understand audience traffic tracking systems and analytical reports.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with other reporters, creating mutually beneficial partnerships, and working as a team when needed.
Note: this description is intended to give you a general overview of the position and is not an exhaustive listing of duties and responsibilities.

Keys to Success

To excel in this role, you will be a driven, dynamic reporter and writer with the ability to deliver a high volume of content every day. You'll need to be assertive about going where the stories are breaking and getting into the thick of it. That will require confidence and resilience so you are not easily intimidated by police or agitated bystanders. At the same time, you'll need the interpersonal skills to interview people who may be in extreme circumstances.

You'll need to be able to proactively identify stories and respond quickly, keeping the quality of content consistent and engaging. More than just being comfortable in a fast-paced environment, you should be the kind of person who thrives under pressure and can produce quality work regardless of the deadline.

Additionally, in order to be an outstanding reporter, you will be autonomous and enjoy working independently. You will have a great deal of autonomy in this role, from choosing your content topics to posting your own articles online -- so you should be at ease in a self-directed environment and eager to hit the ground running and make an impact right off the bat.
Syracuse Media Group offers a comprehensive benefits program that includes: medical, prescription drug, and dental benefits; a 401(k) Plan; life insurance and disability plans and commuter accounts.

Syracuse Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, physical or mental impairment, sexual orientation or any other category protected under federal, state or local law.

Syracuse Media Group endeavors to make syracuse.com accessible to any and all users. If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact thawkins@dtoolbox.com.
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Resume Supplement
Please take a few minutes to answer questions about your background and expertise specific to the News Reporter, Crime position.

Question Yes No Comment
Do you have a minimum of 1 year of experience working as a reporter covering a criminal justice related beat? (Crime, Courts, Cops, Government)
Are you legally authorized to work permanently in the United States for any employer without requiring a visa transfer or sponsorship?
Do you have a VERIFIABLE Bachelors or higher degree?
Do you live within a realistic commutable distance to Syracuse, NY?
Are you available to work a flexible schedule that may include some nights and weekends?
Will you be able to provide at least 3 writing samples from recent projects?
Item Experience Comment
Within the last 5 years, what role did the following play in your job:
Please rate your expertise and comfort in using new media (digital media, social media, all things digital).
In your reporting experience, what role did the following play in your job: Finding the stories through police, courts, victims, and witnesses?
Video Questions  
If you have a webcam set up, you can take this opportunity to record your answer to the following question.
You will be able to view and re-record your answer as many times as you like.
This is your time to shine- please share why you would be an amazing crime reporter?
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