This summer, we looked into which GTA communities are the most underserved by existing media (if you want to know how we did it, read this). Scarborough residents told us there’s a lot that they love about their community, but that’s not usually what they see in the media — they’re frustrated by the excessive coverage of crime and lack of context in stories.
We want to hire a reporter who knows Scarborough well and can follow up on what we’ve heard.
- To start, this is a 9-week contract from early September until early November. Our hope is that we can gain enough momentum to continue this work on a permanent basis (more details on that below).
- This is a contract position that pays $9000.00, with an additional $1000.00 allocated for events and travel.
- Please send us your cover letter, portfolio and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, Sept 3., 2018. We’re moving quickly to get a reporter in place, so we can support meaningful work leading up to Toronto’s municipal election in the fall.
We’re looking for someone who
- Is deeply connected to Scarborough. You bring context to all of your work and people trust you.
- Believes in our values and company mission. You are passionate about shaping the future of journalism in Canada.
- Wants to listen to people. You are curious and willing to listen to a range of people about what issues matter to them. You like to put yourself out there, host events, build community partnerships and invite people to meaningfully contribute to the reporting process.
- Can produce great content. You have a voice; you can write quickly and in an accessible way; you’re into social media, video and photography.
- Wants to get it right. You are a meticulous fact-checker who understands the importance of using primary sources, lived experiences and various experts to get it right. You question data and information when you get it — no matter who it comes from — and are able to show your process.
- Thinks like an entrepreneur. You like that The Discourse is a startup that invites reporters and all of our staff to play a big role in thinking through what we do and how we do it. You love experimenting and are committed to finding creative ways to serve your community, building audience and membership along the way.
- Is a team player. We are a collaborative, female-led company that is trying to shake up typical newsroom dynamics. We want to work with people who are excited to challenge some of journalism’s bad habits and work towards creating a positive work culture.
With the team’s support, over the 9 weeks, you will get to:
- Conduct interviews with a range of community members to determine what issues they care about, tracking what you hear along the way.
- Create a community facebook group, and continuously encourage and facilitate sharing and discussion in it
- Write a weekly newsletter focused on Scarborough
- Identify potential community partners for events and engagement
- Host an event with community members to establish best practices for journalists reporting in this community
- Produce in-depth stories on issues identified through community-listening efforts (e.g. writing stories, fact-checking, taking photos, shooting video, etc.)
- Engage on an ongoing basis with community members in person and online
- Collaborate with The Discourse’s central journalism hub on a major project about an issue identified across multiple communities
- Contribute to the sharing and distribution of the work we publish together
- Report on the impact of your work
The Discourse is a media company that’s focused on shifting imbalances in mainstream narratives through in-depth journalism driven by listening to people. Our work is centred in communities that are often left out of public and political dialogue.
We’re focused on work that is nuanced, fair and rigorously researched. We believe in public interest journalism that not only exposes wrongdoings but digs into solutions to complex problems. We’re optimistic, empathetic, curious about others’ perspectives, critical but not cynical, future-focused and dedicated to uniting people in dialogue rather than fuelling polarization. We believe that accurately reflecting today’s Canada requires reporting through an unapologetically feminist, diverse and inclusive lens.
What happens at the end of the contract?
We’re a startup, so we can’t guarantee that this job will continue after our 9-week push. That said, if your work shows that there is a demand for in-depth community-driven work in Scarborough we’re going to work hard to make sure that we can keep doing it.
This sounds great, but how do you pay for it?
It’s not a surprise to anyone in journalism right now that the traditional advertising model is dying. So in the same way we’re approaching our journalism differently, The Discourse is also funded differently, and we don’t take any advertising. Why? Because we want all of the money coming into the company to align with what the company exists to do: to produce journalism that serves people, not that just grabs their attention to sell to someone else.
In the spring of 2018, we launched a membership model — so that members of our community can directly fund our work. We also fund our work through partnerships. Similar to many US outlets, like ProPublica, we develop partnerships with value-aligned organizations and that fund our work because they want to see in depth journalism and more constructive dialogue about issues that matter to them. As part of our contract, our funding partners must agree to a journalism integrity clause that explains that their financial support does not imply endorsement or give them influence over the content produced.
The Discourse is an early-stage company, and like most startups we don’t yet bring in as much revenue as we spend on our journalism. And so we also accept startup investment capital from private investors and our community. In the winter of 2017, we invited members of our community to become shareholders through an equity crowdfunding campaign, and nearly 300 people invested over $350,000, which makes our combined community the largest external investor in the company. Our employees are also owners, through an employee stock option plan.