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Don Fetter

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707 South Main Street
Burlington North Carolina United States 27215


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Watchdog & Storytelling Content Coach

Job ID: 60389
Job Views: 280
Location: Burlington, North Carolina, United States
Postal Code: 27215
Job Category: Newspapers
Employment Type: Full time
Salary: Negotiable
Posted: 01.13.2021

Job Description

Watchdog & Storytelling Content Coach

Are you someone who leads a content team and wants to gain experience as an enterprise editor and daily writing coach? Are you a great writer and reporter who wants to make the move into newsroom leadership?


Our area of the USA TODAY NETWORK is known for producing great investigative and explanatory journalism and for growing great coaches.


You’d have a rich career opportunity based in Burlington, North Carolina, to help our talented team improve as writers, to better connect with digital audiences and to publish some great reporting projects. Down the line, advancement in the USA TODAY NETWORK would be something we’d support you in. We take our role as a farm team for bigger Gannett sites seriously.


We need a nimble, flexible thinker who knows how to write well and can teach. Our reporters learn through working with us closely on polished enterprise projects — they act as a lab of sorts for skills development. On daily work, we give reporters training, tools and access to us — then let them loose to find and publish their own stories.


Our commitment to recruiting a diverse pool of applicants is deep and our mission to better reflect the lives of diverse people, LGBTQ and people with disabilities in our community journalism is strong. We also are willing to consider coach candidates who have impressive non-traditional resumes.

This position works across the regional Triad NC newsroom spanning three newspaper brands. Coaches advise and hold reporters accountable. They offer portfolio writing advice (review of a past month's work for instance) to help elevate the quality. We want strong, clean, direct writing and visuals and we want lyrical prose, when a story calls for it. Powerful prose, speedily written, will be necessary for other deadline stories.

Coaches ask questions about sourcing and beat mining. They stump for investigative and enterprise journalism. They train the room for audience strategies informed by newsrooms metrics, and they coach journalists in weekly 1x1s after doing specific analysis of a reporter's metrics.

They roll up their sleeves on projects, working closely with reporters and even write occasionally themselves.

Coaches are not city editors. They think little about print. They don't often assign daily stories — beat reporters are in position to be the experts about what the stories are. Coaches don't sit and line-edit most daily stories for a reporter.

Overall, a storytelling coach focuses heavily on the most important, sensitive and complex stories. The storytelling coach is the master of the tale in our room. They know how to integrate plot, themes and other storytelling techniques on any platform.




  • Supervises the work of reporters, with an emphasis on independent ideas and content generation.
  • Works individually with content creators by identifying areas for improvement and coaching them on how to elevate their work.
  • Edits the top fraction of enterprise, watchdog, or investigative content that needs a high-level line editing touch.
  • Participates in community-connection discussions to advocate for audiences.
  • Monitors real-time data to direct changes tied to the data.
  • Identifies and addresses training needs of individuals and groups.
  • Position is based in Burlington, NC, coverage area.


Job Requirements



  • Bachelor's or master’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing or related field preferred or an equivalent combination of education and experience.  
  • 5+ years of professional reporting or editing experience and/or media management experience.
  • Values diverse backgrounds and pushes for social justice reporting. Finds overlooked audiences to report on.
  • Excellent published writer or visual storyteller.
  • Enjoys teaching and working with ambitious journalists.
  • Experience with public records is important. Database or computer-assisted reporting skills will set applicants apart from others.
  • Understands how to use social media and how to tell multimedia stories.
  • Thinks innovatively with a passion for keeping on top of evolving trends and technologies in digital media.
  • Moves quickly to be able to lead a small team well through large changes in our industry.
  • Demonstrates ability to prioritize, self-start, contribute under pressure, and meet tight deadlines.
  • Organizes but above all else is a creative and critical thinker. Self-motivated and results-oriented with high regard for details.

Application Instructions:  


We are eager to learn more about you and how you fit this role. When you apply, don’t limit your upload to a resume; show us what you’ve done. To do so, put together a single document file that includes the following, in this order:


  1. Your resume – one to two pages.
  2. A cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job and outlines your vision for leading a team and serving a diverse community.
  3. Examples of at least 3-5 major pieces with a narrative of how you led or contributed.


It is important that these items be assembled into a single document and uploaded in PDF format. Completing these steps will ensure that your application receives the highest consideration.


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