Legislative reporter + Aging beat reporter

North Carolina Health News

Research Triangle Area, North Carolina

Date Posted February 12, 2024
Industry Digital Media
Specialty Health/Science
Job Status Full-time


We’re looking for a writer to cover the North Carolina legislature for NC Health News www.northcarolinahealthnews.org  This person will also be tasked to cover the "aging beat," producing stories about the rapidly growing community of older North Carolinians. 

NC Health News is in the vanguard of North Carolina’s growing group of non-profit, online-only publications, we are a member of the NC Press Association, LION Publishers and INN. We’re recognized for our high-quality reporting, including winning state and national prizes, and have a solid national reputation. We’ve had steady growth in readership and influence since our founding in 2012. 

This job is an opportunity to dig into health policy in a rapidly growing and evolving swing state, to delve into the issues affecting patients and their access to care, and to report and write state legislature stories that few others in the country are doing. This is also a transitional time in North Carolina as our legislature achieved supermajorities in both chambers and discussed/ passed several controversial high profile health care policies in 2023 in the session (bans on trans care for adolescents, tighter abortion restrictions, medical marijuana).

A license and a car are required. We’re looking for someone who’s willing to spend significant time (2-3 days/ week) at the North Carolina legislature in Raleigh during the lawmaking sessions. Once lawmakers go home, you’ll want to get out of town and around the state meeting people and bringing back stories full of color and detail. 

A good candidate is someone who’s really interested in policy, how that affects people on the ground and can explain that in understandable terms. This reporter will need an ability to talk to anyone and has at least some experience (if you’re a graduate of a journalism program, that’s helpful, but not utterly necessary). Knowledge of North Carolina is a plus, but not absolutely necessary. We really, really want someone with public health experience (either course work, a degree, experience in the field or reporting on public health issues). Someone with public health knowledge or experience will rise to the top of our list. While you can learn the political system in North Carolina, a public health mindset is what we’re seeking. We're looking for someone who can look at systems-level issues and how they intersect with public health and public policy. 

Knowledge of/ experience with multimedia or social media are also a double big-plus (send examples). Spanish language skills make us swoon with joy.

This is not a health reporting job where you write about “10 ways to control your heart disease,” rather one where you might track what a community is doing to help people with heart disease manage their anxiety. You might write about how big changes in national health care policy impact small county Medicaid offices. Sometimes your stories are a quick turnaround on a pertinent piece of research, other times it’s a deep data dive that you thought was going to be a quick research story.

We’ll help you find those first stories, we have many contacts and some ideas of where you need to go. We'll work alongside you during the legislative session to teach you how to get around the process and make introductions. As time goes on, you’ll be expected to develop contacts and story ideas of your own. We expect this reporter to publish 1-2 stories per week, 5-8 stories per month, with a range of quick hits and long pieces.

We are looking for someone with journalism training. WE WILL ONLY CONSIDER YOUR APPLICATION IF YOU INCLUDE A RESUME AND FIVE WRITING SAMPLES. Academic writing samples (e.g. studies or papers you wrote for class) are not acceptable. Samples need to be of published materials, stories that have a lede, arc and show an understanding of journalistic technique.

We’d be looking to employ you at a salary that’s competitive in North Carolina, the final number will depend on your experience and clips. This position includes health, dental and vision insurance and a modest retirement benefit. You’ll really need to be based in the Triangle area, so that you can get to Raleigh in a reasonable amount of time, so remote work is not an option.

You’ll be part of a small but energized team of reporters and editors and you’ll get intensive mentoring/ editing of your work. Your work will be published in North Carolina Health News, an outlet with a national reputation for excellence. Your stories will be carried by our North Carolina partner organizations. In 2022, more than 135 publications republished, digested or referenced our work (e.g. they wrote editorials based on our reporting. Last year, the NY Times cited us an example of some of the best of local journalism). You’ll be frequently digested in outlets like Kaiser Health News and legislative newsletters.

We are looking to hire someone by the end of April. This is a full-time, exempt position. Occasional nights or weekend days may be required, but we work to keep these occasions within reason. Salary range is mid-to-high 50s, depending on experience. Application deadline is March 15.

Send a cover email of interest, along with a resume and links to 5 published stories to editor at northcarolinahealthnews dot org DO NOT CALL.

North Carolina Health News is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

When applying, mention you saw this opening listed at JournalismJobs.com.