The Trace is hiring a community engagement reporter to work full time in Philadelphia starting in the summer or fall of 2022.

Please note that this role is focused on community engagement reporting and is distinct from the local beat reporter we are also hiring in Philadelphia. The two roles will work in tandem. For the local reporter listing, please click here.

As the only media organization dedicated to reporting on gun violence, The Trace uses the power of nonprofit journalism to improve public understanding, increase accountability, and identify solutions that can lead to safer homes and communities for all. Many of our stories are co-published with partner organizations, such as national magazines, regional newspapers, and neighborhood outlets. For more on our mission, see our About page.

The position

As The Trace’s local engagement staffer in Philadelphia, you’ll develop a strategy for making sure our journalism serves the needs of Philadelphians directly affected by gun violence. You will be our primary community listener, working to build trust. You’ll also work to make sure our reporting resonates with those in positions of power who can change the status quo. This role might be particularly appealing if you’re at your best while juggling multiple projects, building community, and innovating in form and function. 

You’ll spend the first few months on the job building relationships with community groups and residents and asking them what they need from us most. We’d expect you to use your deep knowledge of Philadelphia to manage and sustain Up the Block, our community information hub in the city. You’ll solicit authentic community feedback about its work so far, and have flexibility in how the project grows and changes. As it evolves, we welcome experimentation. We are open to anything as long as it has journalistic integrity, and we are interested in bringing in other fields, like the arts or community organizing. This job could entail writing and editing, working with staff reporters or freelancers, representing The Trace at community events, and more.

As you pursue this work, you’ll collaborate with reporters and editors in our newsroom to pass along story ideas and sourcing contacts that we can use in our ongoing coverage of Philadelphia — though you may pursue some of these ideas yourself as time allows. Finally, you will help secure and manage partnerships with other news organizations and community groups. There will be some social media work and story promotion involved.

Below are some examples of our community engagement work so far. While we’re proud of these pieces, this is a fairly new space for us, and you will be a partner in designing our approach in Philadelphia.


The ideal candidate will have:

  • At least two years of journalism experience, with some of it explicitly serving a local audience. 
  • An understanding of community-oriented journalism and best practices around determining a community’s needs.
  • A record of experimenting and adjusting based on feedback, in whatever role they occupied.
  • Deep local knowledge of Philadelphia, its neighborhoods, and its media landscape.
  • Journalistic integrity, deep empathy, and excitement about work that hands the mic to community members.
  • The ability to produce clean copy with minimal supervision in any format.

Additionally, experience with the following is not required, but would be helpful:

  • Engagement journalism.
  • Covering crime, public safety, or the root causes of gun violence in some way.
  • Some mastery of a language other than English, preferably Spanish.
  • Making connections with grassroots media outlets, independent journalists, and community organizations who are building relationships with the people we hope to serve and engage.

Compensation and benefits

Salary will vary depending on the candidate, but our standard range for this role is $57,000 to $79,000. This full-time position includes no-cost medical, dental, and vision insurance; 12 weeks of fully paid family leave; a 401(k) with employer matching; four weeks of vacation time, plus 10 sick days and a holiday week in December; and professional development resources such as funding to attend conferences.

The majority of our staffers are based in New York, but we also have team members in Chicago, Washington, D.C., California, and elsewhere. 

At The Trace, we are committed to producing journalism that is equitable and inclusive. We welcome applications from journalists of all experience levels and strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people. 

We know that all of the attributes and interests listed here won’t apply to all candidates. If you think you’d be a great fit and have skills and qualifications not mentioned in this listing, we encourage you to submit an application and tell us why you’d thrive in this role.

How to apply

TO APPLY: Fill out the application form here. Please include a resume. In lieu of a cover letter, we ask that you answer a few questions about your experience and goals. We’ll also ask you for a few clips.

DEADLINE: We will accept applications until August 12. We may begin reviewing applications sooner, however, and will reach out to you directly if we like your application.

QUESTIONS? Email us at [email protected] with questions about the role or how to apply. Please do not reach out to check on the status of your application before we have contacted you; we will do our best to respond to candidates in a timely manner.