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Sports Trend Reporter
PA - Harrisburg
Opportunity Snapshot

You’re a talented reporter; you can follow a story, write a lede, engage an audience and create clean, journalistically sound copy.  You are comfortable with digital and social media, have deep and wide sports knowledge, a strong voice, and passion for delivering hard sports news along with commentary and human interest stories.

If this sounds like you, PA Media Group is building a team to drive news on the cutting-edge of digital journalism.  You’ll take ownership of the Sports Trend Reporter assignment, bringing news to a digital audience, and generating excitement around your work by interacting directly with your readers. We'll look to you to share our commitment to watchdog, investigative and community reporting -- we have established a reputation as an organization that "fights above its weight," as evidenced by our 2012 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in our coverage of the Jerry Sandusky case.  This is your opportunity to leverage your talent to build a lasting career in journalism, do what you love, add a strong voice to the discussion, and help us build a media company for the 21st century and beyond.

PA Media Group is a digitally focused news and information company which publishes and operates The Patriot-News, PennLive, Central PA Magazine and a growing suite of print and digital products. The Pulitzer Prize winning Patriot-News has been serving the communities and people of central Pennsylvania since 1854. That has been increasingly enhanced by PennLive, which continues to experience tremendous growth and reach. PA Media Group is committed to being the most comprehensive, in-depth source of news and information for readers delivered how they want it online, on their phone or tablet, and in print.

PA Media Group is a part of Advance Local, one of the largest media groups in the U.S. reaching more than 40 million consumers through its 12 local news and information websites that rank #1 among local media in their respective markets, and more than 30 newspapers. Our affiliated websites and newspapers are well known for their award-winning journalism. Advance Local is part of Advance Publications, along with Condé Nast and American City Business Journals.

The Requirements

To be a good fit for the role of Sports Trend Reporter, you will have:
  • A bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communications or a related field, or the equivalent experience
  • A minimum of one to two years of journalism experience with a proven ability in reporting and writing; success reporting sports and/or news
  • Deep knowledge of national, state and local (Penn State) sports combined with the ability to identify trends, and provide statistics, analysis, and opinions  
  • Proven experience building, maintaining and engaging an active audience
  • An outgoing personality and the ability to deliver not just copy, but occasional radio or television interviews
  • The ability to work independently under deadline pressure and prioritize tasks appropriately
  • A solid understanding of news writing, journalistic ethics and story structure
  • Experience with search engine optimization practices
  • Experience taking and editing photos and recording audio and video
  • Mastery of social media and digital interaction; experience using social media to source and promote content is a plus
  • Basic HTML or equivalent web language is a plus
  • Demonstrated capability in capitalizing on high-value topics by engaging audiences frequently and with urgency
  • An understanding of the methods and tools used to deliver content across a variety of platforms such as Moveable Type CMS, SCC Budgeting and Archiving System, smartphones, etc.
  • An understanding of the imperatives of multiple platforms including print, mobile, Internet, etc.
  • Proven ability to utilize a broad set of tools to tell stories and engage the audience
  • The drive to stay abreast of industry advances and proactively consider new methods of reaching audiences including engagement, interactive and optimized product offerings
  • A smartphone; other equipment will be supplied
  • The ability to work a flexible schedule that includes nights and/or weekends
  • The ability to speak Spanish is a plus
You will also travel on occasion, but will generally work within the Central Pennsylvania area including Dauphin, Lebanon, Northern Lancaster, Cumberland, Perry and Northern York counties.

The Role

As Sports Trend Reporter, you will report to the Sports Manager and be responsible for covering sports from the local to national level.  You won’t just keep abreast of sports-related news; you’ll be ahead of the curve, seeing trends, anticipating outcomes, and working stories before they catch the attention of the national media.  You’ll know what is happening at Penn State: who the recruiters are looking at, the relevance of a game, and the significance of the bigger picture.  This role is for a journalist who has fun – who lives and breathes sports, but can also handle a hard-hitting news story.  On a daily basis, you’ll spend the majority of your time in the field, working independently, covering stories, taking pictures, shooting video, and posting.  You’ll be self-directed and motivated, attend the important games and events, and know what’s driving your assignment at any given time.

You will need to be 100% dedicated to the digital platform.  While you might collaborate with an editor for The Patriot-News, you will not be working with print media.  You will post your work to PennLive.com and other platforms in real time and interact with readers via social media.  Because of the way digital media works, as you generate stories, it will be up to you to generate interest as well.  For example, you might promote a story as breaking news on Twitter, jump into conversations on Facebook, employ tagging techniques (in line with regulatory standards), or create a blog.  This is the future of news and we expect you to use every available tool and keep up with the technology as it evolves.

Specifically, you will:
  • Provide opinion and analysis as the authoritative voice for sports media coverage
  • Gather information and write journalistically sound news elements for use in all media platforms, existing and future
  • Your work should be:
    • Balanced and factual
    • Timely and topical
    • Well-sourced and contextually correct
  • Learn and employ techniques for effective digital reporting across all platforms, including but not limited to:
    • Frequent, incremental posting throughout the day
    • Story aggregation and topical link-posting
    • Monitoring and engaging in reader-comment streams on PennLive.com and other platforms
    • Elevating comments into new posts when appropriate
    • Interacting on social media platforms by using story shares and objective commentary to promote the news organization’s content initiatives
    • Understanding and employing the means for monitoring audience interest and competitors’ posting on your topic, including setting up Google alerts, Twitter and RSS feeds
  • Work independently and remotely, while maintaining operational communication with the editor and, when applicable, the production center
  • Have solid working knowledge and the ability to use hardware, software and cloud-based equipment and systems for direct-to-web production and engagement, including but not limited to:
    • Taking photographs and short videos, and posting them to the web as well as uploading to any internal production systems
    • Using laptops and smartphones for remote web reporting
    • Using the Moveable Type content management system, and any future CMS
  • Understand our news organization’s audience-traffic-tracking systems and analytical reports
Note: this description is intended to give you a general overview of the position and is not an exhaustive listing of duties and responsibilities.

Keys to Success

We are looking for a dynamic reporter who has strong skills with digital and social media, can capture the excitement of a variety sports played at various levels, have deep knowledge of the trends, teams, statistics, etc., and act as a strong voice offering opinions, analysis and more.  To excel in the role you should have a knack for seeing the big picture and identifying key stories before they explode onto national media.  You’ll have exceptional relationship-building abilities in order to develop a network of sources, collaborate with other sports and news professionals throughout PA Media Group, communicate with your audience and drive interest in the story.  Success will require the motivation to work in the field alone, most of the time, and take ownership of your work.
 
We’ll expect you to produce clean, solid copy, quickly and accurately, and post to multiple platforms daily.  Every reporter within PA Media Group practices watchdog journalism, and in this coverage area, it is critical.  It’s up to you to be acutely aware of what's happening in your area and in the industry.  You'll be responsible for covering events, trends and controversies, and for providing seasonal sports reports that consistently deliver exceptional quality and insight to the people of Central Pennsylvania.
PA Media Group offers a comprehensive benefits program that includes: medical, prescription drug, and dental benefits; a 401(k) Plan; life insurance and disability plans.

PA Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, physical or mental impairment, sexual orientation or any other category protected under federal, state or local law.

PA Media Group endeavors to make PennLive.com accessible to any and all users. If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact thawkins@dtoolbox.com.
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Please take a few minutes to answer questions about your background and expertise specific to the Sports Trend Reporter position.

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Do you have a non-compete, restrictive covenant or any other type of employment agreement with your current or former employer that would have any affect on your ability to work for a new employer?
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What is your base of knowledge in sports?
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Briefly describe your level of experience with digital media and social media in a professional capacity.
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