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Central Valley Journalism Collaborative
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Accountability/Watchdog Reporter

Post Date:Jan 30, 2023Type:Full time
Start Date:Salary:$60k-75k Annually
Location: United States - California - Merced Job Reference:
Job Description:

Full descriptions with salary ranges and benefits will be posted at

Contact: Editor in Chief Michelle Morgante at

Title: Accountability/Watchdog Reporter

Priority Deadline: November 30, 2022 

To apply: 

If you’d first like to learn more about the CVJC, our mission or the role, schedule a one-on-one informational phone call with Editor in Chief Michelle Morgante by using this Calendly link ( or emailing her at (You may also want to read through the FAQ below.)

If you’re ready to apply, send an email to that includes these four items: 

  • subject line “Accountability/Watchdog Reporter” and your last name; 
  • a cover letter describing your work history, your relevant skills and a description of what you’d like to accomplish in the role; 
  • an attached resume (PDF); and three to five samples of your work (PDFs or links)
  • Links to LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and relevant social media accounts

Accountability/Watchdog Reporter

This text-based reporter will aggressively dig into the actions of public institutions and government representatives to increase transparency and accountability on behalf of the public. The ideal candidate should be a curious and tenacious pursuer of facts and documentation, someone who has a keen eye for details and is eager to “follow the money.” This reporter has superb news judgment and consistently probes below the surface to trace how budgets are spent, contracts are made and deals are crafted. It requires someone who can sense when things aren’t adding up or when something has been left out or unsaid.


  • Demonstrated ability to break news and use investigative techniques to find documentation, uncover facts and discover sources.
  • Strong sense of ethics, diligence and responsibility.
  • Able to understand the impact of public institutions and public servants on the lives of everyday people, and to put those people at the center of stories.
  • Strong record of developing sources who are helpful in generating story tips and ideas, leading to documentation and records that build important and impactful journalism.
  • Experience using data and records to frame compelling human-centered stories.
  • Experience in a professional newsroom or a high-caliber college newsroom.
  • Position is based in Merced, CA. Editorial staff must be available to work from Merced.

Bonus Points for:

  • Multi-platform experience, such as podcasting, photography, video production or data visualization.
  • Foreign language fluency, particularly Spanish, Hmong, Thai, Punjabi or Hindi.
  • Familiarity with the San Joaquin Valley

Compensation and Benefits 

  • Full-time exempt position with starting salary of $60k-75k annually with excellent benefits (100% medical coverage for employees, 50% coverage for dependents) provided to qualified candidates who meet the minimum requirements 
  • Professional development, training, and conferences offered for staff 
  • Starting at 2 weeks vacation with generous sick, holidays and additional personal days to use as needed 
  • Retirement with employer contribution
  • Relocation assistance available for the right candidate

CVJC is an equal opportunity employer and fosters a workplace without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetic information, or any other characteristic. CVJC also follows and adheres to the latest COVID safety measure per federal, state, and local county guidelines.

About the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative 

Founded by the James B. McClatchy Foundation in 2021, the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative (CVJC) reimagines a new model for protecting the local free press by addressing a new economic and community engagement approach by diversifying journalistic funding and philanthropic engagement. This approach centers local stakeholders and is symbiotic with local journalism’s roots in public service. The future of the free press is essential to the future of the Central Valley, a diverse home to over 7.5 million people across nearly 20,000 square miles speaking 105 languages. CVJC proposes a preventative infrastructure to ensure the protection of local communities by developing solutions for obstacles pertaining to ownership, operating capacity, and resources. Learn more about CVJC by visiting the website and review the Feasibility Report on Developing a Central Valley Journalism Collaborative to understand the risk of losing local journalism in the Central Valley.   



What is the CVJC?

The Central Valley Journalism Collaborative is a new, nonprofit newsroom that aims to reignite high-quality journalism across California’s San Joaquin Valley. Such journalism will boost public engagement with civic life, improve the quality of life and opportunities in the Valley and provide the sort of trustworthy and important information people need to participate in a healthy democracy. The CVJC is a member of the Institution for Nonprofit News and adheres to its membership standards as well as to the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Where is it based?

The CVJC team is based in Merced, a vibrant and growing community that is a two-hour drive from both the Bay Area and Sacramento, and even closer to the Sierra Nevada mountains and Yosemite National Park. Fueled by expansion of UC Merced, the newest University of California campus, the city is attracting growing numbers of people from other parts of California and beyond, bringing new diversity of cultures, ideas and entrepreneurial models to this agriculture-based community, where housing is still relatively affordable. The state High Speed Rail project will have a stop in Merced, meaning this city will be transformed by fast and convenient access to the Bay Area and other growing parts of the Valley.

Why Merced?

The need for quality journalism here is substantial. Cuts in the region’s legacy newsrooms have made it hard for residents to stay informed about topics that are shaping the future of this increasingly important community. Merced County is home to nearly 290,000 people. Like many communities across the Valley, it is majority Latino (63%); more than a quarter of residents were born outside the United States; and more than half speak a language other than English at home (mainly Spanish but also Hmong, Thai, Punjabi and Hindi). Overall, Merced County residents are more likely to live in poverty than the U.S. as a whole; have a lower median household income ($56,330); and are less likely to have a bachelor’s degree (14% compared to 20.2% nationwide). But with changes already taking place, this is an exciting moment to be part of the city’s transformation.

How is CVJC funded?

The CVJC is primarily funded through the James B. McClatchy Foundation, with additional support from Microsoft and local community foundations. This seed funding is designed to not only launch the CVJC newsroom but to provide the support needed to build sustainability for the long term. 

What does it do?

The CVJC’s primary focus is to produce high-level journalism, the sort of investigations, analysis and solutions-oriented reporting that legacy newsrooms no longer pursue due to limitations of their business models. As a nonprofit newsroom, the CVJC is a public service, one that builds engagement through outreach and by producing news that informs and improves civic life. It is not clickbait. It is news that holds government representatives accountable, sheds light on issues that matter and is shaped by the needs and interests of the community – particularly by those community members who rarely have a voice in traditional media.

The CVJC also aims to promote civic engagement through events, town hall-styled gatherings, outreach to community organizations, journalism training for community members and support for journalism-learning opportunities for students and educators.

The Merced newsroom will be the first of what CVJC envisions as a model that will expand to other communities throughout the Valley.

Where is CVJC news published?

As a nonprofit, CVJC will produce journalism freely available for republishing. It is building its own newsroom website, which will be shaped by input from its community of readers, listeners and viewers. It also partners with other Valley newsrooms to create collaborative news projects distributed by those partners to reach audiences across media platforms.

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