Investigative Reporter

Salary Range: $70,000 – $85,000 per year
Work Hours:
Full-time exempt
Location: This is a remote-first, hybrid position based in the San Francisco Bay Area

Open Vallejo seeks a tenacious and resourceful Investigative Reporter to join our team. We are a high-impact, award-winning nonprofit newsroom looking for a reporter ready to uncover hidden truths and hold those in power to account. As a member of our newsroom, you will be part of a team committed to producing engaging narrative stories that benefit the community.

Open Vallejo works to illuminate a city long burdened by police violence, corruption, and neglect. Our investigative reporting has sparked multiple official investigations, informed the passage of several state laws, impacted civil and criminal cases, and prompted numerous government officials to separate from their employment.

What you’ll do

As an Investigative Reporter at Open Vallejo, you will immerse yourself in the pursuit of original, thorough, accurate, and compelling news reporting that serves the public interest. You will propose story ideas; gather, analyze, and synthesize information from various sources, including court records and government data; and conduct interviews that add depth to your stories. Your work will encompass researching, writing, fact-checking, and editing news reporting and analysis; you will ensure that work is accurate, complete, and fair.

As a representative of Vallejo’s only nonprofit investigative and explanatory newsroom, you will uphold the highest standards of the profession, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to ethics, professionalism, and integrity. We employ an Agile methodology, which is organized around principles of collaboration, flexibility, empowerment, and trust.

The successful candidate will be comfortable balancing a mix of breaking, medium-term, and long-form accountability reporting, as well as editing, all in a highly collaborative environment. This position also involves speaking at public and private events, and to the news media, in furtherance of Open Vallejo’s mission.

This is a remote-first, hybrid position, with frequent in-person reporting in Vallejo and the surrounding area. Occasional travel within and beyond California may also be required.

Who we’re looking for

If you are an investigative reporter looking for mission-driven, creative work with room to grow with our organization, this job is for you. Our ideal candidate is a problem solver who wants to be part of a fun, highly effective, and supportive team — an enterprising individual with at least one year of experience as a journalist or in an equivalent role. We are looking for someone who wants to work in a creative environment committed to teamwork, growth, and public service. 

You possess an inquisitive, analytical, and collegial working style, as well as strong people skills and a flexible approach to job demands. Your ability to consistently deliver excellent writing on deadline and maintain clear verbal and written communication skills is essential. We value candidates who are willing to develop subject-matter expertise and who can demonstrate resilience and communicativeness around sometimes challenging topics and materials. 

Open Vallejo covers sensitive topics that frequently bring us into contact with at-risk sources; an ability to maintain confidentiality is essential, as is a willingness to adopt a trauma-informed approach to your reporting. We take seriously our obligation to minimize harm.

A bachelor’s or advanced degree is preferred but not required.

Required competencies

  • A demonstrated ability to produce accurate, compelling, high-impact public interest reporting.
  • A commitment to professional development, collegiality, and community empowerment.
  • Personal integrity and an adherence to journalism ethics.

Preferred skills

  • Photography, audio, video, design, illustration, data, or multimedia storytelling skills are preferred but not required.
  • A master’s degree in a related field is preferred but not required.

Why you should join us

At Open Vallejo, our journalism empowers local communities, enabling us to spotlight problems, highlight solutions, and make a real difference in the region and across California. We are part of the Informed California Foundation (Informed California), a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovation and excellence in journalism. As an Investigative Reporter, you will contribute to meaningful work that drives change.

And Open Vallejo is more than a newsroom — it is a laboratory. As the first project of Informed California, Open Vallejo will drive innovation and lower barriers to entry for those wishing to transform the information ecosystems in their own communities, through prototypes and projects such as the Vallejo People’s Archive

Informed California’s interventions will include open-source, scalable frameworks to improve access to information for all Californians through in-depth investigative reporting, trainings, toolkits, technology, and more. As our organization grows, our investigative team will have the opportunity to pursue additional reporting opportunities across the state. This process has already begun with a collaboration between Open Vallejo and other newsrooms, including an ambitious statewide project we currently lead.

This full-time position offers a salary range of $70,000 – $85,000 annually, commensurate with experience. We provide our employees with a flexible working environment; a remote-first workplace; excellent pay; health, vision, dental, and life insurance (we cover 100% of employee health premiums); a 401(k) program; and three weeks of vacation per year. We provide employees with a computer, cell phone, and a stipend for home internet service. We are committed to helping employees develop professionally through classes, trainings, and conferences.

As a new nonprofit, we have the opportunity to build an equitable, inclusive, ethical, respectful, and anti-racist workplace from the ground up. We are dedicated to forming a highly collaborative team based on diverse experiences, with equity, belonging, trust, and respect as our core organizing principles.

Open Vallejo welcomes people from all backgrounds and walks of life. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and are committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants. Open Vallejo recruits, hires, trains, promotes, compensates, and administers all employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sex stereotyping, pregnancy (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, ancestry, medical condition, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other status protected by applicable law.

How to apply

If you think you are a good fit for this job, please apply. We’ll immediately begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis. This is a remote-first, Bay Area-based hybrid position with an anticipated start date of January 2, 2024. Interested candidates should submit their resume, three references, and four examples of their best original work to [email protected] by November 15, 2023.

We look forward to hearing from you.