If you are a reporter who is ready to use the latest technologies to look behind the scenes at politics in California, you may be a good fit for Digital Democracy, a soon-to-launch feature from the award-winning nonprofit newsroom, CalMatters.

Essentially, we are building bots and scrapers to collect a variety of government data including campaign donations, gifts and travel, lobbyists and their activities, bill information, votes, hearing transcripts, district data about politics and demographics and more. A custom-built AI tool will analyze that data and generate a “tipsheet” for reporters with possible story ideas.

This ambitious new project is being watched nationally for lessons about technology and the future of journalism. We are looking for a reporter who is excited to help us build Digital Democracy and anxious to write a variety of stories about the activities of legislators throughout California. This reporter should be a clean writer with a knack for the fact-based analysis that reveals the drama behind high-stakes policy decisions.

This position is based within regular commuting distance of Sacramento and requires frequent work at the Capitol covering state lawmakers.

Responsibilities include: 

  • Help us train the AI by reviewing “tipsheets” and adjusting the technology to identify the best story ideas.
  • Review tipsheets and pick the best local, regional or statewide story ideas. Dive into the database to gather more detail and make contacts throughout the Capitol to report and write quality stories about the activities of legislators and how the policy-making process is shaped by politics, interest groups and other influences.
  • Contribute to our story production, including work with our CMS, creating data graphics and using SEO best practices.
  • Collaborate with beat reporters at CalMatters as well as reporters throughout the state who will be invited to access the Digital Democracy tool.

Strongly preferred:

  • Familiarity with California state government
  • Familiarity with the state’s diverse communities
  • Skilled in campaign finance collection and analysis
  • The ability to report and write in English and Spanish

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $70,000 to $90,000 per year; higher compensation may be available for someone with advanced skills and/or experience.

CalMatters offers a complete benefits package with medical, dental and vision insurance – we cover 90% of the cost for employees and 70% for dependents – from a range of HMO and PPO providers. We’ll match contributions of up to 4% of your salary to our 401(k) program, provide life insurance at no cost, and give you an allowance for personal use of your cell phone and a budget for professional development opportunities like classes and conferences.

How to Apply

We are an expanding and collaborative newsroom, successfully forging a new model for sustainable, intelligent, nonprofit journalism. We’re committed to reflecting the people of the state we serve and especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply. If you’re interested, please provide a resume, work samples and a cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job.

Submit via the portal below.

If you have trouble with this form or prefer to apply by email, write to jobs@calmatters.org with the job title in the subject line.

About CalMatters

CalMatters, now in our ninth year of continual staff growth, is an award-winning nonprofit, nonpartisan news venture dedicated to explaining the policy and politics of America’s biggest state and the world’s fifth largest economy. We produce vivid, original multimedia journalism, data-driven news analyses and watchdog accountability reporting on calmatters.org, and freely distribute our work to more than 250 media partners. Our success metric isn’t clicks — it’s impact. We’ve received the EPPY for Best News Site in the Nation, the American Journalism Online Award for Best Nonprofit News Source in the U.S., and consecutive first-place awards for general excellence among all digital news sources from the California News Publishers Association. 

We also have the most diverse major newsroom in the state. Here you’ll be working alongside nearly 50 experienced journalists in a supportive, collaborative atmosphere.