Interested in working at the Boulder Reporting Lab? See open positions below. If you’re a freelancer who wants to write a story for us, learn more here.


Climate and Environment Reporter

The Boulder Reporting Lab (BRL) is seeking a full-time climate and environment reporter who will examine the consequences of climate change playing out in our community and dive deep into solutions. This reporter will build relationships with local people and organizations working to address the climate emergency as well as other environmental issues, and explore the science behind the changes underway. This is a vital beat for our growing newsroom that will intersect with all our reporting. 

BRL is a new nonprofit, non-partisan local news organization in Boulder, Colorado. Our mission is to deliver high-quality, local-first reporting that helps people make sense of issues and events happening around them and build community. We’re the only independent, digital, not-for-profit newsroom in our city and county. 

Our journalism is data-driven, solutions-focused and service-oriented. We’re committed to covering the issues of greatest community pride and concern, including climate change, housing, health and the economy. BRL’s leadership team also brings years of experience in nonprofit news and local journalism. Its founder previously co-founded a national news startup that won several of journalism’s most prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. We have built a strong foundation since our Nov. 2021 launch, with seed funding lined up for the future, and will be looking to grow exponentially over the next few years.

Job Description

This position is being created at a critical time. An unprecedented urban wildfire on Dec. 30, 2021, left thousands of people in Boulder County displaced. The disaster has raised many issues in urgent need of local examination related to rebuilding, recovery, climate resiliency solutions, and local, regional and state action. 

You will work closely with the publisher, managing editor and our full-time reporter to help grow our newsroom through insightful, original, consequential reporting that connects and engages our community around these and other climate and environmental challenges.

This is a rare, exciting opportunity to join a pioneering local news startup in year one and shape its editorial coverage in a community that has been clamoring for an alternative to the resource-depleted local newspaper. Boulder is a global hub of climate science and solutions, and ambitious local action against climate change has long been central to its policy conversation. 

There is no single ideal candidate for this role. Our small team has walked unique paths and brings a diverse set of skills, and we imagine you will bring your own distinctive strengths. This is not an entry-level position. We’re looking for someone with real-world reporting experience. You probably have at least three to five years in newsroom reporting roles. 

This experience could take various forms — in nonprofit or for-profit journalism, in major newsrooms or startups, at national, regional, local or hyperlocal levels. If you have less newsroom training, or if you’ve never worked in a newsroom but have adjacent experience and a vision for this position, we also encourage you to apply. 

We’re looking for someone who believes in the power of local journalism to improve communities; who understands the financial realities facing the local news business and wants to be part of building something new; who brings innovative ideas and can thrive in a startup environment. We highly encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including Black, Indigenous and other people of color, LGBTQIA+ people and people with disabilities.

Given our community mission, this position will be located in or near Boulder. We will allow remote work temporarily to accommodate a transition period. Boulder is a beautiful city at the base of the Rocky Mountains. It is also full of complexities. The issues facing the city are a microcosm of the complicated, overlapping issues swirling around the Mountain West. These include climate change impacts and solutions, lack of affordable housing, inequity, local development battles, a changing workforce and economy and more – and how these challenges intersect. Climate issues in particular are ripe for hyperlocal, in-depth, fact-based and solutions-focused reporting.

The Boulder Reporting Lab is a proud member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and of the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab).  This position is salaried and full-time. The salary range is around $50,000 – $60,000, with opportunity for growth. Please note: This is an approximate range and will depend on various factors.

Requirements

  • A strong portfolio of articles you have reported and written that demonstrate an ability to tell complex, human-centered stories that are revelatory and that explain issues clearly and concisely. 
  • Some background (journalism or otherwise) in climate change, energy, environment, agriculture and/or water issues and policy. 
  • Versatility for reporting and writing across formats — from in-depth and data-driven stories to compelling profiles, explainers and short news briefs. 
  • Good, clear writing. 
  • An understanding of the revenue challenges facing local news businesses and a keen interest in incorporating audience-based thinking into your editorial work.
  • Interest in solutions journalism. 
  • Comfort with analyzing datasets and/or a willingness to learn more. 
  • Facility with writing stories on deadline. 
  • A commitment to helping build an inclusive and thoughtful work environment.

We’d be really excited if you also have

  • Knowledge of and/or demonstrated interest in Boulder-specific issues, especially local climate change challenges, weather extremes, housing and development, and how these issues intersect.
  • A background in environmental science reporting and writing.
  • Experience covering breaking news events.
  • Proficiency with analyzing datasets.
  • Data visualization chops. 
  • Proficiency with WordPress and Mailchimp.
  • Knack for aesthetic design. 

Most importantly, you are also 

  • Flexible, curious and enjoy learning. Our startup newsroom will be in a constant state of learning and experimentation.
  • Highly collaborative. We are a team in every sense of that word. We’re in this together and want to create a truly collaborative workplace culture that leverages everyone’s unique talents and backgrounds. We also want to build a culture of collaboration with other newsrooms in Colorado and elsewhere to increase the reach and impact of our journalism, and help enrich the larger media ecosystem.
  • Comfortable with taking on significant responsibility and ownership
  • Analytical and critical. We need deep and original thinkers who understand the need for a healthy feedback culture that lifts up people and our work. 
  • Interested in bending the rules of traditional journalism. Often what our community needs is not a piece of perfectly constructed journalism, but rather timely, clearly presented information that helps them navigate their lives — and that’s an important part of our mission, too. 

What your day-to-day work might look like

  • Report and write original enterprise stories across key climate and environment-related issues.
  • Persistently develop sources and beats to come up with new, revelatory story ideas that scratch beneath the surface and spark new community conversations.
  • Report and write short news briefs as needed. 
  • Help write our a.m. newsletter, BRL Today.
  • Contribute to our system for curating and publishing vital community information. 
  • Lead breaking news coverage as needed.  
  • Publish content across our social media channels as needed.
  • File CORA requests. 
  • Participate in our daily news meeting.
  • Work with colleagues on brainstorming membership and fundraising campaigns as needed, as well as occasional events.

How to Apply 

If you are passionate about climate reporting, and about our mission to build a sustainable local news business that will serve and enrich our community and be a model for modern local nonprofit journalism; have a vision to bring to our team; and have some combination of the skills we listed, please apply. (We understand that no single candidate will have the exact combination of skills and experiences listed.)

To apply, send a cover letter, resume and portfolio of work to stacy@boulderreportinglab.org (publisher) and jezy@boulderreportinglab.org (managing editor). Beyond the obvious, in your cover letter, please make sure to tell us what you would do as climate and environment reporter, both in the short and long term, and about any other skills you have that you think will help our newsroom successfully launch and grow.