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Public Safety & Accountability Reporter

Hagerstown, MD

The Herald-Mail / in Hagerstown, Maryland, seeks a reporter with a deep interest in how communities find solutions to public safety needs. This reporter strives to serve the needs of the people most affected by crime and highlights the solutions and challenges they face.

Breaking news, crime and courts are part of the beat, but we want to cover policing and criminal justice through a governmental accountability lens and rebuild trust with neglected communities.

This reporter will pursue some news du jour that warrants coverage because of public interest and public impact. When an incident or trend is truly significant in terms of public impact, this reporter will seek angles answering "Who?"," How?" and "Why?"

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A good way to think of this reporter's approach most days is determining how to make local news coverage more three-dimensional in our exploration of public safety threats and concerns and of the community's response to these. This is people-centered, community-based coverage that delivers relevance, context and useful information to all readers. The reporter should feel as comfortable working with the community as they do talking with law enforcement employees, developing key sources with agencies, and making their way around a courthouse.

This could include reporting on how public safety issues also impact health outcomes, including mental health outcomes, and the impact that trauma has on communities.

Much of the time, this reporter will be examining the effectiveness of community safety efforts through reviews of data and public documents and interviews with law-enforcement sources and community residents. At a time of rising gun violence, what efforts by police or others might be productive? And which ones are not? This reporter will use data to highlight what disparities, racial or otherwise, might develop from specific community safety approaches.

It is vital this reporter develops law-enforcement sources and builds trust in city, county, local and state policing organizations. This helps us hold agencies accountable while also ensuring law-enforcement perspectives are explored in our journalism.

Overall, this reporter will embrace the needs, concerns and solutions experienced and expressed by the people who live in our cities and towns, particularly members of marginalized communities whose voices historically have been absent from much public safety coverage.

Where possible, coverage should point to solutions to public safety threats and concerns, including examining how readers can protect themselves.

This journalist will also be involved in other general breaking news or topics as needed.

This reporter works with a Local Editor and other journalists in the state and our nearby sites in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, to plan and deliver content for readers most likely to find our work on mobile devices and through social media shares or Google searches.

Based in Hagerstown, the reporter will focus on news in Washington County and several surrounding areas, and will work at times in partnership with USA TODAY Network reporters throughout New York, Atlantic region and sometimes beyond.

An ideal candidate is someone capable of quickly establishing their voice and building a loyal following on Instagram and other social media channels.


  • Strong writing skills and a command of grammar and style.
  • Experience with social media, including Instagram Stories, as a tool to build audience and as a source for beat development.
  • Knowledge of data-based reporting and use of spreadsheets such as Excel.
  • Experience with and interest in multimedia, including video and podcasting.
  • A self-starter who owns the beat yet works collaboratively with others locally and regionally to meet common goals.
  • A journalist committed to values of fairness, diversity, inclusion and professionalism.


  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent professional experience.
  • At least two years of applicable experience as a reporter/writer.
  • Proven experience with content management systems and social media channels.
  • Good time management and organizational skills.

We are eager to learn more about you and how you fit this role. When you apply, don't limit your upload to a resume; show us what you've done. To do so, put together a single document file that includes the following, in this order:

  • Your resume - one to two pages
  • A cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job
  • Links to 3-6 online samples of your work. Show us what you've written, produced, or had a hand in that best reflects what you can do in your desired role.

It is important that these items be assembled into a single document and uploaded in PDF format. Completing these steps will ensure that your application receives the highest consideration.



Client-provided location(s): Hagerstown, MD, USA
Job ID: utn-68497
Employment Type: Other

Perks and Benefits

  • Health and Wellness

    • HSA With Employer Contribution
    • Health Insurance
    • Dental Insurance
    • Vision Insurance
    • Life Insurance
    • Short-Term Disability
    • Long-Term Disability
    • FSA
    • Pet Insurance
    • Mental Health Benefits
    • HSA
  • Parental Benefits

    • Fertility Benefits
    • Adoption Assistance Program
    • Family Support Resources
    • Birth Parent or Maternity Leave
    • Non-Birth Parent or Paternity Leave
  • Work Flexibility

    • Flexible Work Hours
    • Remote Work Opportunities
    • Hybrid Work Opportunities
  • Office Life and Perks

    • Commuter Benefits Program
    • Casual Dress
  • Vacation and Time Off

    • Paid Vacation
    • Paid Holidays
    • Personal/Sick Days
    • Leave of Absence
    • Volunteer Time Off
  • Financial and Retirement

    • Financial Counseling
    • 401(K)
    • Performance Bonus
    • Relocation Assistance
  • Professional Development

    • Internship Program
    • Leadership Training Program
    • Mentor Program
    • Access to Online Courses
    • Lunch and Learns
    • Work Visa Sponsorship
    • Tuition Reimbursement
    • Promote From Within
  • Diversity and Inclusion

    • Employee Resource Groups (ERG)
    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program