Iowa Starting Line will be hiring at least one full-time Issue Beat Reporter for the Iowa Caucus.
This reporter will be assigned two specific policy/issue areas that they will take ownership of for the 2020 Democratic primary. They will cover how certain policies impact real Iowans, the policy proposals that candidates roll out, how the candidates talk about these issues on the campaign trail, and how voters react to candidates’ ideas. The reporter will also occasionally pitch in to Starting Line’s general caucus coverage. This reporter will be part of the Starting Line team as we cover the 2020 Iowa Caucus in a unique, on-the-ground way from a progressive-leaning standpoint.
Our goal is to explore what’s actually happening in Iowa politics and with Iowa voters, including angles that the national news narratives may miss.
We are an independently-run news site with a considerable state and national following, especially among influential activists, elected officials, and reporters.
This job runs from June 2019 through the Iowa Caucus in early February 2020.
• Develop sources with experts and activists within your policy topics, and find everyday Iowans with personal stories of how they are being impacted by specific policies.
• Follow candidates on the campaign trail and report out on how they are framing their message on certain issues and how they respond to voters’ questions. • Interview caucus-goers for a sense of what’s impacting their choice.
• Assist in Starting Line’s coverage of multi-candidate events, including the State Fair, major forums, and the big party fundraiser dinners. • Interview candidates and policy leaders. • Engage on social media to promote and spread Starting Line stories.
• Moderate to significant amount of travel around Iowa. At least one day on the road every week, though usually more.
• Other smaller duties as assigned.
• Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or a similar amount of work experience in a communications field.
• At least one to two years of newsroom and/or reporting work. Significant internship work and college newspaper experience will be considered.
• Some background in or experience with the issue topics you would be assigned (that will be explained more in the interview process).
• Knowledge of Iowa politics – you’ll need to have at the very least a basic familiarity of who the main players and organizations are in the state.
• Very strong understanding of reporting practices, ethics, grammar, style, sourcing, copyediting, and accuracy in quoting.
• Flexibility to work many nights and weekends and take an occasional overnight trip during long candidate campaign swings. Also requires reliable transportation.
• Strong ability to work independently at times and discover interesting, unique Iowa stories on your own in addition to specific assigned stories.
Location Preferably Des Moines, but open to remote work in Iowa.
Pay And Benefits This position will have a very competitive base salary with the experience outlined, and will include paid time off and compensation for travel, among other benefits that will be discussed.
Timeline April: Resume submissions
Late April/Early May: Interviews
Mid May: Hiring June: Job begins (exact date in June TBD)
Application: Email Pat Rynard at IowaStartingLine@gmail.com with:
• Resume • At least three professional references • At least three examples of past reporting work or something similar • Cover letter (the policy areas will be assigned after our hirings, so you may want to mention what issues you’re interested in, but focus mostly on Iowa Caucus coverage as a whole)