City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. Credit: Pete Rosos

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The Oaklandside is growing its newsroom!

We’re looking for a senior reporter who will dig deep into what’s happening at City Hall and in the criminal justice system, help all Oaklanders better understand the way local government impacts their lives, and let them know how to get involved when big decisions about our city’s future are being made.

Your reporting will pull back the curtain on how local levers of power—elected officials, city and county departments, community organizers, voters, the criminal justice system, watchdog agencies, and much more—push and pull to shape what’s possible in Oakland.

You’ll be our newsroom’s first reporter dedicated to covering local government and policing full-time, building on the great work we’ve begun on this beat, like our knock-your-socks-off visual investigation into what really happened during a police crackdown on protestors last summer and a recent in-depth look at a fledgling city department dedicated to preventing violence.

Now, with a mayoral election looming, major political shifts on City Council, and huge questions about the future of public safety and how the city will grapple with COVID recovery, it’s a perfect time to join our award-winning eight-person newsroom and turbocharge our reporting on these crucial issues.

You’ll cut through the jargon and officialese that’s often used in City Hall and the courts, and you will pitch ideas aimed at helping far more Oaklanders follow along with big stories and participate in public forums. Your reporting will tackle complex and nuanced stories, and your work will be accessible to all readers, not just self-described news junkies or politics watchers. 

You’ll report a mix of breaking news, in-depth features and investigations, and service-oriented stories that are doggedly dedicated to making the ins and outs of local government more transparent and accountable. You’ll experiment with ways to reach and learn from community members beyond publishing at oaklandside.org, like live forums, text campaigns, any wholly original ways of meeting people where they’re at.

The salary for this position is $75,000 to $85,000, depending on experience.  We offer a health plan, four weeks of paid leave, and a 401(k) match. Deadline to apply is May 24.

Our fantastic sister site, Berkeleyside, is also hiring a senior City Hall reporter — learn more about that opportunity. 

What our senior City Hall and policing reporter will do

  • Report and write an average of three stories a week, including breaking news, in-depth features and service-oriented pieces, showing residents how they can have  an impact on city decisions
  • Cover major meetings live via social media
  • Explore, with your editors, other ways to reach and inform people, such as newsletters, community events, and text services  
  • Be an accessible, leading source of information on your beat
  • Work with the team to elevate your work and expand its reach
  • Report to the Oaklandside managing editor

What you’ll need to succeed

  • Four-plus years of reporting experience
  • Solid understanding of and comfort with reporting on local government, local politics, and policy 
  • A good understanding of how to obtain and use public records
  • Experience in breaking news, coupled with a deep desire to reimagine how breaking news can serve Oakland
  • Strong writing, self-editing, and time-management skills
  • A commitment to ethical, accurate, inclusive reporting
  • Experience in building a beat and cultivating sources
  • Social media competencies 
  • The ability to synthesize and present complex information in a highly accessible, engaging, clear manner for a wide range of audiences
  • Openness to working in a variety of formats from narrative reports to text-based info alerts to live conversations
  • Ability to identify good story ideas that deliver on our mission
  • The ability to maintain the highest journalistic standards under deadline pressure
  • A collaborative spirit and proven ability to work well in a team environment
  • Cultural competence: the awareness and knowledge to ensure that our reporting agenda reflects the diversity of Oakland’s people and communities, and the communication skills to collaborate across lines of difference
  • Openness to public speaking in multiple formats, from radio to TV to live events
  • A radical imagination for what journalism can look like, who it serves, and who can contribute

How we’ll support you

  • Top-notch editing, in-house mentorship, and a transparent internal review and feedback process
  • $1,000 in support for conferences and professional development training related to your role

About our newsroom

The Oaklandside is a nonprofit local journalism outlet for Oakland. We launched in June 2020 to amplify community voices, share information resources, and investigate systems, not just symptoms. In our first year of operation, we’ve blown past all of the traffic, audience engagement, and revenue goals we developed in consultation with industry experts in local news startups. Our seed funding came from a $1.5 million grant from the Google News Initiative, and we’re supported by a healthy mix of reader donations, foundation grants, and underwriting.

We built this newsroom after conducting an in-depth listening tour across Oakland to develop our founding values, and are piloting an innovative program to work with community members to hold ourselves accountable to our mission. Within a year of our launch, the Society of Professional Journalists awarded us the honor of best community journalism among print and online outlets across Northern California. We’re currently a small but mighty team of eight—three editors, four reporters, and one photojournalist—and we partner with other local media organizations to expand the reach of our reporting. 

We’re powered by the Cityside Journalism Initiative, a mission-driven nonprofit organization with core funding from the American Journalism Project whose goal is to pioneer new forms of civic journalism, launch news platforms in communities underserved by local journalism, and offer hope and optimism for the future of local news.

Cityside is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse staff that reflects the communities we aim to reach and serve. We are an equal opportunity employer. We especially encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply for our reporter position, including women, people of color, people who identify as queer, and people with disabilities.