Austin Weekly News is seeking to hire someone with at least 2 years of relevant journalism experience to serve in the inaugural role of Delores McCain and Terry Dean Community Narrative Reporter.
This position was made possible by a generous grant from the Field Foundation and will pay a salary of $35,000 and benefits. The Field Foundation funds the position for a 1-year period, with the possibility of renewing the grant for subsequent years.
Through this new community narrative reporting position, AWN hopes to document for posterity the “steady state” of Austin, West Garfield and North Lawndale through consistent, equitable, compassionate and empathetic coverage of the people, places, organizations and things that comprise normality on the West Side.
This reporter will help our publication uncover and map the strong networks of people and organizations that create a sense of place on the West Side — from block clubs, Neighborhood Watch groups, Local School Councils and churches to the wizened people on the porch, the sidewalk sages and the amateur local historians.
Duties and responsibilities:
- Regularly attend organizational meetings
- Seek out and cultivate a wide range of sources
- Plan, pitch and write stories
- Conduct field interviews
- Consistently make deadlines
- Strong writing and reporting skills
- Working knowledge of AP Style
- An ability to work well in teams
- Solid time-management and organizational skills
- Working knowledge of publishing and networking on social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter)
- Ability to work with a WordPress CMS
- Experience writing and reporting on a range of topics and issues
- Reliable mode of transportation
Professional development and support:
Former employees of Growing Community Media have gone on to work at a range of local and national publications.
Recently, the organization has been strategizing about ways to offer our employees more robust and deliberate professional development and support.
This position will come with regular professional development opportunities, a flexible work schedule and remote work opportunities, among others.
The position also includes a youth outreach component, requiring the reporter to engage up-and-coming writers, reporters and/or storytellers on the West Side for several hours each month.
THE MISSION OF THIS REPORTING POSITION
A philosopher once wrote that “unless we have some sense of what passes for normality in a given location, we may find it very hard to calibrate or care about abnormal conditions.
“We can be properly concerned about the sad and violent interruptions only if we know enough about the underlying steady state of a place, about the daily life, routines and modest hopes of its population.”
Through robust, dynamic reporting, this position will help AWN illustrate the breadth of humanity and daily living on the West Side.
ABOUT AUSTIN WEEKLY NEWS
Austin Weekly News was founded in 1986 by Lilliana Drechney, a newspaper reporter. For most of its history, the paper has been owned by the nonprofit Growing Community Media (formerly Wednesday Journal, Inc.). The newspaper is published online and in print each Wednesday and serves the residents of Austin, North Lawndale and West Garfield Park.
ABOUT DELORES MCCAIN AND TERRY DEAN
Delores McCain was a longtime West Side community activist before becoming a contributing writer for Austin Weekly News in 2000. Though she didn’t have a journalism background, she became, “the face of the paper,” said Dan Haley, the paper’s publisher. McCain died in 2010.
Terry Dean was the editor and lead reporter for Austin Weekly News from 2005 to 2015. Dean, a lifelong Austin resident, was well-respected for his fair and empathetic coverage of the West Side. He died in 2021.