Central Current is thrilled to hire our very first full-time enterprise reporters, who will become the founding members of our nonprofit newsroom in Syracuse and Central New York.

We are seeking 2-3 courageous, dedicated journalists with experience in beat reporting to join our team. The reporters will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help launch a digital publication, with support from our editor-in-chief, an established journalist who has covered the region for about a decade.

Central Current offers an opportunity to be part of the electrifying nonprofit independent news movement that is transforming and uplifting local journalism across the country. We are committed to providing the people of our community with a news source, for them, for free, that isn’t beholden to traditional advertisers or clicks.

We want to assemble a team of journalists who believe in the power of storytelling and watchdog journalism to inspire change and transform communities. We aim to tell the complicated, nuanced history of Syracuse and Central New York and cover how that history shapes the strengths and challenges of the region today.

About the Organization

Central Current, Inc. is a startup nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization focused on delivering high-quality, independent local news, with plans to launch in Spring 2022. Our goal is to serve the community through thoughtful news and analysis about issues that most impact our region and are missing in local news coverage now. We place an emphasis on in-depth reporting, visual journalism, data and design.

Our offices are located on the west side of Syracuse, co-located at WCNY, the local PBS affiliate. We are about half-way toward an ambitious fundraising goal, with confirmed support from local philanthropists and foundations. While we build our newsroom, we are actively developing our revenue streams and business staff in order to support our mission for years to come. More information can be found online at https://centralcurrent.org/

About the Positions

Our news reporters will lead and shape the coverage of our marquee beats, under the umbrellas of government & politics and justice & equity. We will identify more specific coverage areas continuously, based on the community’s needs, ongoing engagement with our readers as well as the strengths of our team.

Most importantly, each of our reporters will use the tools of accountability and watchdog reporting, Solutions Journalism, data reporting and multimedia to tell powerful stories and engage our readers. We’ll work together as a team to produce hard-hitting investigative journalism and intimate feature stories that help build connection and understanding in our community.

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, we’d love to hear from you about what you’d bring to our team.

Government & Politics Between 1955 and 1966, Syracuse’s Common Council was mentioned 12,788 times in the local newspapers. In the last 12 years, that number fell to 4,882. The simple statistic points to an urgent need for watchdog coverage of our local public institutions and elected officials.

The government & politics reporter will be expected to produce frequent posts on happenings in local politics, and the flow of money from federal to state to local governments, as well as in-depth, thought-provoking coverage of issues most important to residents of Central New York.

The government & politics reporter will extensively report on the removal of Interstate 81 and redevelopment of the neighborhood that now stands in its shadow. This will be the largest series of construction projects in the region’s history and perhaps the largest issue covered by the Central Current in its start-up years.

The reporter will also be assigned to cover elections, track other major developments and explain laws and policies, with a particular focus on impact to local communities, especially stakeholders who have traditionally been overlooked.

This reporter will be a FOIL and data whiz. They’ll have a fire in their belly for accountability journalism, and an appetite for government transparency.

Justice & Equity – The City of Syracuse is often cited as having among the worse poverty rates and racial disparities in the country. More people were murdered on the streets of Syracuse in the last two years than ever before.

We want to do more than shine a bright light on these problems. We want to cover the solutions being offered and seek to explain why this happens in the first place.

Central Current’s justice & equity reporter will be charged with telling the story of Central New York’s deep socioeconomic inequities. The reporter, working closely with the editor-in-chief, will identify beats including but not limited to crime, incarceration, education, poverty and housing, through which to tackle some of Syracuse’s most pressing issues. The reporter will use a Solutions Journalism framework to not only report and write stories about symptoms, but systems that lead to inequities.

This reporter will be expected to post articles several times per week, as well as continuing work on longer projects. The justice & equity reporter position will be highly collaborative, working with the editor-in-chief and staff, as well as freelance writers and photojournalists to identify projects and topics requiring ongoing coverage.

They will use social media to connect with readers and sources, and leverage Central Current’s digital platforms to help build understanding about the challenges facing Central New York’s marginalized communities.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Report and write multiple articles per week, balancing short-term daily stories with longer-term, in-depth coverage and bigger projects
  • Find, pitch and develop stories and project ideas
  • Work with editor and teammates to produce accompanying visuals including graphics and photos
  • Actively and doggedly develop sources with an eye toward inclusion of under-represented perspectives
  • Maintain an active social media presence and help with running Central Current’s social media accounts, including using digital tools for news gathering and reporting
  • Help grow and develop our newsroom. The positions include some light editing responsibilities, and lots of opportunities for advancement and leadership
  • Report and conduct yourself as a reporter with extremely high standards for grammar, spelling, style and accuracy in a face-paced news environment
  • Represent the start-up news organization in community meetings and at events

Preferred Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism and 2+ years of experience with beat reporting preferred
  • Proven record of accountability and community journalism that has gotten results and led to demonstrable impact
  • Experience navigating and writing about complex and nuanced issues
  • Knowledge of AP style and current events
  • Must have experience using data to tell stories, working with sources of data, obtaining public records and performing research. Database analysis and visualization a plus.
  • High journalistic and ethical standards
  • Must have a vehicle for travel/reporting
  • Some nights and weekends work expected
  • Knowledge of Central New York an asset; interest in region a must

Salary Range and Benefits

We’re a start-up, nonprofit organization, so we’re actively fundraising to underwrite these and additional staff positions. We expect to offer salaries in the range of $40,000-$50,000, commensurate with experience and depending on budget going forward. Benefits include paid time off and health insurance.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Central Current, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination or harassment of any kind based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, veteran status, national origin, disability, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws. We welcome qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, physical abilities, genders and sexual orientations, including people who have been incarcerated. We view diversity and inclusion as central to our mission, and seek to work with journalists who are representative of the demographics of the community we aim to serve.

Application Instructions

Send a cover letter, resume, references, and links to five examples of your published work to jmcmahon@centralcurrent.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The first deadline to submit is March 31. The cover letter should include which position(s) you are interested in being considered for and what beats you’d envision yourself covering as a reporter for Central Current.

Questions about the position can also be sent by email to jmcmahon@centralcurrent.org

Julie McMahon

Julie McMahon is editor-in-chief of Central Current. She's worked in journalism for a decade, mostly in Central NY, as a reporter, editor and professor. Contact Julie at 315-399-7193 or jmcmahon@centralcurrent.org.