Political Reporter

Lexington, KY

Full Job Description

The job of Political Reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader is among the highest profile and most demanding roles in Kentucky journalism.

  • The ideal candidate for this position understands the issues and the politics across the ideological spectrum, excels at cultivating sources, has a passion for breaking news and the skill to step back and explain what the news means and how it will impact our audience.
  • You’ll be part of a two-person bureau located in the Kentucky Capitol building in Frankfort. This job offers the opportunity to report and write a healthy mix of breaking news, political analysis and investigative reporting that holds state and federal politicians accountable for their words and actions.
  • We’re looking for a reporter with solid digital and watchdog skills, including the ability to find hidden gems in government data, unearth interesting public records and track campaign fundraising trends. This position requires a motivated individual with sharp analytical skills who understands how the game of politics is played and can lay bare its underbelly in thoroughly reported stories presented in an array of formats.
  • You’ll be the driving force behind our election coverage (a U.S. Senate race in 2022 and the Kentucky governor race in 2023) and help with innovative coverage of state government and Kentucky’s General Assembly. Having a strong presence in social media is a must. Appearances on radio and TV shows come with the job.

Essential Functions:

  • Reports about Kentucky politics, with particular emphasis on Kentucky’s congressional delegation and statewide offices.
  • Spots political trends and topics of interest throughout the state.
  • Uses digital equipment and platforms to report details quickly.
  • Covers general stories in the Kentucky legislature and other topics as assigned by the accountability editor.
  • Cultivates sources and becomes familiar with important beat developments.
  • Writes clear, concise and interesting stories with an engaging, conversational voice
  • Proficiently shoots photos and video and records audio, and generates visual assignments.
  • Performs other tasks as assigned by the accountability editor or other editors.

Essential Skills:

  • Inspired writing that reveals, explains and analyzes information in an authoritative manner that moves beyond the institutional. Analyzes trends and political strategies.
  • The ability to cultivate a deep and diverse pool of sources and to cover issues of interest to a diverse audience.
  • Break news quickly and write with a digital-first mentality. That includes thinking about shareable headlines, SEO, using links in text and embedding videos, podcasts and other assets.
  • An exceptional grasp of social media and digital storytelling tools;
  • A team player who maintains a professional demeanor and positive attitude during an often intense work environment;
  • Self-motivation that generates unique, plentiful story ideas and fuels a yearning to always be ahead of the pack;
  • A desire to take risks and try new things while adhering to traditional journalism values of fairness, accuracy, avoiding bias and ethical conduct.
  • Use documents and data to enhance reporting and be able to skillfully use state and federal open records laws to obtain them.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.
  • 3 years of reporting experience in a news organization with some experience covering politics.
  • A track record of breaking news and developing impactful enterprise.
  • An understanding of audience metrics and social media trends, and an eagerness to respond to them.
  • Ability to work with and process data.
  • Collaborative approach that prioritizes getting the best story for our audience.
  • Must have access to reliable transportation, valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance required (at least the minimum insurance required for the state in which the employee works).