Position Description

Cook County Reporter
Location Chicago, Navy Pier
Job Code 288
# of Openings 1
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Chicago Public Media is one of the largest and most respected public media organizations in the country. With an unparalleled reputation for creativity and innovation across all platforms, Chicago Public Media provides substantive news and insights, thoughtful conversation and meaningful connections to its diverse audiences throughout the Chicago area, as well as nationally and globally.

Chicago Public Media engages with its listeners and users across multiple platforms, including broadcast radio, digital streaming, and mobile apps.  Its flagship station, WBEZ-Chicago (91.5 FM) is Chicagoland’s premier media hub for high-quality, fact-based journalism and engaging, entertaining audio programs and podcasts. WBEZ Chicago serves a weekly listening audience of over 550,000, and broadcasts throughout Chicago and the surrounding region.  WBEZ’s sister service, Vocalo Radio (90.7 FM, vocalo.org), targets a multicultural audience through an urban alternative format.

The organization has a legacy of innovative program development having launched such iconic shows as This American Life, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…, and the ground-breaking podcasts, Serial and S*Town. Chicago Public Media is in the midst of a transformation from a broadcast radio service to a digital on-demand news and entertainment hub.  With a tradition of journalistic excellence and innovation, and financial stability, CPM is poised for growth.

We are seeking an experienced political reporter with radio experience  to cover Cook County politics for our award-winning news team.

We believe in enlisting and empowering journalists to do impactful, editorially ambitious work. We believe in a collaborative culture of editorial rigor, craft and creativity. We are looking for someone who would thrive in such an environment and contribute to it.  The Cook County political reporter will work with other reporters and a senior editor on the Government & Politics Desk. They will work independently on an assigned beat, while also collaborating with other members of the team on stories, projects and investigations.

The right candidate will possess all the abilities of a skilled journalist: the ability to work a phone, develop sources, self-direct, anticipate and break news, write quickly and in their own voice, find good stories and unique angles, hit deadlines, and work with finesse under pressure.

They will have the metabolism and energy to cover breaking and daily news on one of the busiest beats in the city. They will also possess the organizational skills to manage mid- and long-term enterprise stories and investigations that change the public conversation, rather than react to it. Just as importantly, the candidate will have a keen ear for finding stories and characters, and a hunger to bring them to life in a creative ways that humanize and illuminate the workings of government and politics in Cook County and Illinois. We believe in being competitive in the daily news cycle, but also doing more thoughtful, multidimensional and reflective work.

Ideally, the candidate is an experienced reporter with an established record of producing impactful work. They will possess good news judgment, and have demonstrated the ability to develop a beat and create compelling, engaging journalism. The right candidate will be dedicated to creativity in storytelling, both in form and substance, and will be willing take risks to that end.

Radio experience is not required, but it is a big plus. That means the ability to write for the ear using their own voice, to build scenes, and to structure an audio story. It means having a sense for character and story and knowing how to create compelling moments by asking good questions on tape. We are open to candidates without such radio experience, as long as they are eager to develop this skill set.

Digital experience and sensibilities are important. WBEZ’s work is multiplatform, and we’re an important resource for our community on-air and online.

We believe public radio stations have an opportunity to have more impact and agency than ever before -- to do work of deep and widespread significance, to pursue investigative work, to tell stories innovatively, and ultimately, to enrich the public conversation of our communities and our country.


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Work collaboratively with editor to find, report and produce stories
  • Generate story and project ideas
  • Enjoy grappling with ideas critically -- both your own and those of others
  • Possess the highest journalistic and ethical standards, with an absolute  dedication to accuracy, fairness and attention to detail
  • Produce work in a range of formats: spots, feature reports, live debriefs, live field reports, podcasts, panel discussions and live events
  • Generate ideas and material for multiple platforms, broadcast and digital
  • Participate in editorial activities of the department
  • Develop big-picture approaches to covering issues and ideas, while also executing the many small tasks involved in reporting
  • Desire to grow as a journalist, and transfer strategies, strengths and abilities to colleagues
  • Hit deadlines
  • Participate in on-air fundraising
  • Experience directing voicing and editing others is a plus, but not required

This job is located in Chicago, Illinois. Those interested must submit a cover letter, a resume, a reel or links to four work examples, and references.  This position is represented by SAG AFTRA.

At Chicago Public Media, we are looking for people who are curious about the world and have an excitement for the mission of independent, nonprofit journalism. If it sounds like you would be a good fit for our team, apply today. 

Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer, an Affirmative Action Employer and encourages applications from talented people of all backgrounds, orientations and walks of life.