Investigative Reporter

The Better Government Association is seeking an Investigative Reporter for original, in-depth investigations into fraud, waste and abuse within state and local government. We are seeking a journalist who has produced both long- and short-term enterprise stories, has strong skills in source development and can work well both collaboratively and on their own.

Reports to the director of investigations

Key collaborative relationships: special projects editor, investigative reporters, marketing manager, manager of partnerships and local content

About the role

As a reporter for the BGA, key responsibilities include:

  • Conceive and execute stories with a strong narrative arc and compelling investigative findings that inspire change
  • Help obtain, compile and analyze large and complex data sets
  • Contribute to interactive and graphic elements
  • Pursue public information through a creative and persistent approach to source building and documentation
  • Publish stories with urgency and efficiency, and follow up with energy and tenacity
  • Collaborate with colleagues and media partners with an eye toward mutual respect and professional development
  • Promote BGA journalism through active participation in social media and civic engagement to inform and empower local residents to demand better from their government

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Minimum of four years of experience in investigative or enterprise daily reporting
  • Knowledge and keen interest in state and local government and politics
  • A proven history of exposing corruption or systemic problems in government
  • Excellent writing skills and commitment to accuracy and detail
  • A proven track record of major projects working collaboratively on data analysis, interactive visuals, photos and video
  • Strong communications and organizational skills

There will be candidates who don’t have all these qualifications or possess other skills we haven’t listed. If that’s you, we’d love to hear from you. Please apply and tell us why you think you’d make a great fit at the BGA and why we should hire you.

About the BGA

The BGA produces in-depth investigations focused on the failures of government, with an emphasis on equity, integrity and accountability. Founded in 1923, the BGA currently has an eight-person investigative team, including Pulitzer winners. The BGA also has four other departments: audience engagement, development, operations and policy. The BGA’s policy team — which operates independently of the newsroom — advocates for accountable and transparent government and pursues a legal strategy to defend and expand access to public records and open meetings. We have received a multi-year commitment for new funding that will fuel a major expansion.

In the past few years, the investigative team has revealed:

  • Systemic problems in how Chicago enforces fire safety requirements that created a failed system that resulted in the deaths of 61 people, most of whom were Black and many of whom were children,
  • Major faults at a safety-net hospital on Chicago’s West Side that has spurred a state investigation,
  • Lax oversight for suburban police shootings,
  • Falsehoods in more than 100 public statements by politicians through our partnership with the national fact-checking service PolitiFact,
  • Failures in Chicago’s recycling system,
  • A long history of corruption and mismanagement at O’Hare airport,
  • Breakdowns in supervision that allowed a student with autism to drown in a public school pool,
  • Safety problems at Illinois’ nuclear power plants,
  • Inflated graduation statistics in Chicago’s community college system inflated graduation statistics,
  • Neglected and unsafe elevators in Chicago public housing buildings,
  • Systematic government disinvestment that unfairly affected every aspect of life in one predominantly black Chicago suburb.

We are proud of this work, which has won dozens of national and local awards. We were just named a national finalist by the Online News Association for excellence in collaboration and partnerships for our series with the Chicago Tribune, “The Failures Before the Fires.” We still want to do better, and hope the person who steps into this role will advance that goal and our mission.

Compensation and Benefits

Salary for this full-time position will vary depending on experience and qualifications, but the minimum salary is $60,000. It also includes medical, dental, and vision insurance; comprehensive paid time off package; and a 401(k) with an employer match.

How to Apply

Submit your cover letter, resume and three to five writing samples to jobs@bettergov.org. We will begin reviewing submissions on October 31, 2021 but we will accept and consider applicants while the posting remains on our website.

Questions? Email us at jobs@bettergov.org. Please do not reach out to check on the status of your application before we have contacted you; we will do our best to respond to candidates in a timely manner.

We encourage reporters from traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. The Better Government Association is an equal opportunity employer. We’re committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of inclusion and connectedness for all employees. We welcome the unique contributions that you can bring in terms of education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs.