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Courts Reporter

Des Moines, IA, USA Req #11192
Thursday, July 30, 2020
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Courts Reporter

The Des Moines Register
/, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK, is seeking a reporter to produce enterprise and watchdog work focusing on issues and trends affecting Des Moines’ Court System.

The courts reporter develops enterprise and watchdog work on the courts beat, including coverage of trends, social justice issues, financial issues and noteworthy cases.

The Des Moines Register is a 17-time Pulitzer Prize winner. We reach readers across the state with our daily Des Moines Register editions, our award-winning website and various nondaily publications. 


  • Staying abreast of court dockets for Polk and Dallas counties and the Iowa Supreme Court as well as monitoring federal courts for occasional stories.
  • This reporter is expected to consistently break exclusive news, staying ahead of the competition on daily and enterprise work.
  • Source development will be critical, cultivating contacts among judges, attorneys and court staff.
  • The courts reporter also will work with the breaking news team and complete general assignments as necessary.
  • The courts reporter must identify, produce and post court stories, photos and video across platforms: mobile, desktop and social media.
  • Clear, fast writing is essential, along with the ability to turn coverage of court proceedings into readable storytelling.
  • The courts reporter will use live chats, social media, video and other tools to replace or supplement traditional story forms.
  • He or she will use metrics to understand what’s resonating with readers and will shape coverage to steadily increase the audience.


  • Bachelor's or Master’s in Communications, Journalism or an equivalent combination of education and experience. We will also consider candidates with strong internships.
  • Minimum of 2 years’ professional reporting/newsroom experience.
  • Adept at taking photos and video and will file quickly across platforms: mobile, desktop and social media. 
  • Strong command of AP grammar and style. 
  • Strong copy-editing skills and the ability to produce content that is clean, accurate and "publication ready." 
  • Is passionate and enthusiastic about news and content that will work well with audiences on social platforms.
  • Comfortable in fluid, fast-breaking, stressful situations.
  • A desire to grow and develop a key beat in our newsrooms.
  • Is comfortable using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to enhance reporting and promote stories. 
  • Understands reporting ethics and sourcing. 
  • Excels in a fast-paced news environment and understands the digital first mission. 
  • Collaborates well with others and can work with a team on the biggest stories.
  • Able to work occasional late nights as needed by the news cycle. 
  • This role requires a valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and the minimum liability insurance required by state law.
  • Employment is contingent on passing a pre-employment, post-offer drug screen and background check.

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:

  1. Your resume – one to two pages.
  2. A cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job.
  3. Links to 3-6 online samples of your work. Show us what you’ve 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.


Gannett Co., Inc. is a proud equal opportunity employer. We are a drug free, EEO employer committed to a diverse workforce. We will consider all qualified candidates regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity, family responsibilities, disability, education, political affiliation, or veteran status. 

Other details

  • Job Family Columnist and Journalist
  • Job Function Consumer
  • Pay Type Hourly
  • Required Education Equivalent Experience
  • Des Moines, IA, USA