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The Bristol Cable

We’re hiring: Journalist

Co-op Community

About the role

The Bristol Cable is looking for a journalist who is passionate about local journalism in the public interest.

The Cable is not your average newspaper. We’re a pioneering grassroots community-led media cooperative, and our award-winning newsroom is owned by more than 2,600 local people.

Founded in 2014 as an alternative to local media owned by big corporations and influenced by advertising interests, our mission is to produce truly independent journalism that serves Bristol’s communities. Together, we hold power to account through groundbreaking investigations, we campaign for change, and we amplify marginalised voices. We are rooted in local communities, but part of a wider movement to reinvent local media.

As a Cable journalist you won’t be tasked with churning out nine stories a day, generating surface-level content for clicks, which has become all too common for reporters. Instead, you’ll have the freedom to go in-depth on the stories you cover, to hone your craft and develop patches. You’ll get involved with innovative long-term projects, with editorial series, reader engagement and solutions journalism. 

We’re looking for someone who is keen to pursue a career in local and investigative journalism. You’ll have a passion for public interest reporting, keen to get out into the city to find and tell human-driven stories. You’ll cover underreported local issues to the highest standards of quality and accuracy, and be expected to build up local contacts and develop topic areas of expertise. 

Aside from journalism, you will be part of the Cable cooperative. We’re run like a workers’ coop and make key strategic decisions as a team. You’ll be a member of a values-driven and purposeful team, with freedom to shape your work, evolve your role, and contribute to our strategy. You will be able to learn, share, and be supported by team members who you’ll be collaborating with.

We offer a generous holiday allowance, including extra paid leave over the winter festive period, a yearly training budget and peer mentoring to help you progress in your career and develop your journalism skills.

Key information

Contract: Permanent (subject to funding)

Hours: 4 days per week (7.5 hours per working day). However, there is the potential for an increase in hours in the future, subject to funding.

Salary: £22,584 pro rata (Please note: The Cable has an equitable pay structure where the pay differential between the lowest and highest paid is no more than 20%. This is band 2 out of 5 – 5% above base. See below for more info)

Benefits: 36 days annual leave (pro rata), 25% more than standard statutory minimum, up to 5 days extra paid time off at Christmas, and up to 15 days unpaid holiday allowance, both pro rata. Plus flexible working and professional development support and training budget.

Location: Bristol Cable office, The Station, Silver Street, Bristol, BS1 2AG (with work from home flexibility, but you will need to be able to attend the office several days a week)

Applications closing date: 10:00 am 31st October 2022

Interviews: Week commencing 7 November 2022. 

Any questions?

We have office hours (between 9:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday) for this role, where you can chat to Cable Editor Matty Edwards about any questions you have relating to this role on 07533718547. You can also email him at matty@thebristolcable.org.

We particularly encourage applications from women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and people from working class backgrounds.

Role responsibilities

  1. Pitch and regularly publish thorough and original local journalism, in particular impactful stories that hold power to account, engage readers and contribute to public debate
  2. Work collaboratively with other members of the media team on joint investigations and reporting
  3. Contribute to editorial decision making and strategy
  4. Contribute to the general strategic development and operational work of the Bristol Cable
  5. Build a public professional profile and represent the Cable in community and industry forums

Person specification

We would like you to have at least some skills, experience or aptitude that demonstrate how you meet each of the essential criteria below, and where possible, the desirable criteria as well. Please refer closely to this person specification in your application. 

We welcome examples drawn from your personal or voluntary experience, as well as paid employment.

Essential

  • A passion for local, public interest journalism
  • Good story ideas for issues in Bristol, in line with the Cable’s editorial approach and values
  • Desire to get out the office and report from the communities we serve
  • A flair for writing engaging features and human interest stories, accurately and to tight deadlines
  • Strong editorial judgement, including sensitivity to ethical and political issues, how to frame stories, and what not to cover
  • Excellent diligence and attention to detail
  • A collaborative team player, as well as taking initiative and working independently
  • Committed to the Cable’s journalistic and community mission to redefine local media

Desirable

  • Previous journalism experience
  • A specialist beat (e.g. environment, local politics, housing) 
  • Knowledge of Bristol’s communities, institutions and political landscape
  • Understanding of media law and journalism ethics, or a willingness to engage in training in this area
  • Data journalism skills
  • Long-form journalism experience
  • Experience working on podcasts and video
  • Demonstrable knowledge of how to employ a story for digital as well as print

What we offer

  • A permanent position in our staff team, subject to a 3 month probationary period and funding.
  • A salary of £22,584 (pro rata), with opportunities for increases.
  • 36 days annual leave pro rata, including bank holidays, plus up to 5 days extra paid time off at Christmas, and up to 15 days unpaid holiday allowance, both pro rata.
  • A pension scheme with a 3% employer contribution and 5% employee contribution.
  • Flexible working based on team hours, and a period policy, to help you work when works best for you.
  • A personal training and professional development allowance to help support you in your work.
  • You will play a key role in a values-driven and purposeful team, with huge freedom to shape your work, evolve your role, and contribute to our strategy.
  • Opportunities to take on cooperative management responsibilities.

About the Cable 

The Bristol Cable is a community-owned media cooperative, owned and supported by thousands of people across the city. We’re recognised internationally as a pioneer in the movement for a new media; our mission is to redefine local journalism as a community asset, which is accountable to readers. Together, we hold power to account through groundbreaking investigations, campaigning for change, and amplifying marginalised voices. 

We produce award-winning local journalism, in print and online, made free to access for all by members. We don’t chase breaking news, but instead dig deeper into key issues with original angles, including the local impacts of national and international issues. 

Cooperative working 

The Cable is a cooperative, and collectively we share responsibility for managing the organisation, following the principles of Sociocracy. So, as well as the responsibilities listed above, being part of the Cable team also involves some participation in helping to run the co-op, after an initial settling in period. We don’t expect you to have any particular skills in organisational management – just enthusiasm for taking part. 

Equitable pay structure

As a grassroots organisation with a big mission and brilliant staff, salaries at the Cable are lower than we would like them to be. We’ve come a long way since being founded by dedicated volunteers eight years ago, and are continually working to grow our income and raise salaries as we do that.

In 2021 the Cable team developed a new pay structure which aims to be transparent, objective, and equitable in how we decide salaries. The system involves an annual self-allocation to meeting criteria such as levels of responsibility, with peer support and team review. We have 5 salary bands staff can be allocated to, depending on the number of criteria they meet, with £21,499 currently being the lowest salary, and £25,799 the highest (a 20% differential).

New roles are allocated to a band based on our expectation for the criteria they meet, with the possibility to go up a band after the 3 month probation period, depending on whether more criteria are expected to be met.

As a member of the Cable team, you will be able to be involved in helping shape our pay structure as we continue to evolve it, and we aim to continue to raise staff salaries as we grow our income.

Anti-oppression

We recognise that our society contains many overlapping systems of oppression and that these injustices may be reproduced in how we work. We are learning more about our part in these systems and thinking strategically about how to change working practices, policies and systems so that we can challenge these unjust systems, as well as supporting colleagues who face particular oppressions in their daily lives.

This is a work in progress, and happening at individual and collective level. We expect all staff to educate ourselves on oppressions that we may not have experienced directly and to contribute to our work to make our organisational structures, practices and culture more inclusive and liberatory.

How to apply

Apply by clicking the ‘apply’ button at the bottom of this page. The deadline to apply is 31st October 2022 at 10:00am.

We particularly encourage applications from women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and people from working class backgrounds.

Interviews of shortlisted applicants will be held in person at our office on Silver Street the week commencing 7 November 2022.

If you have any enquiries about the role or application process not answered above please email matty@thebristolcable.org or call 07533718547 (between 9:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday).

The application form is a space for you to tell us about your experience, skills and approach to working which make you suitable for the Journalist role.

Please refer closely to relevant parts of the person specification in your responses, providing concrete examples that can demonstrate the criteria where possible, and what you specifically achieved in those cases.

You may want to draft your responses to this application form in a different document. You can find all the questions listed below in this document: Bristol Cable journalist application questions. Download or make a copy of it to draft your responses before pasting them into the form linked below.

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