The Investigative Reporter will primarily work to investigate the impact of U.S. border and immigration policies on migrant families and border communities, and to develop compelling stories about the individual lives affected by those policies. The position requires verbal and written fluency in both Spanish and English.

A member of the ACLU-NM’s Communications Department, the Investigative Reporter will carry out in-depth investigations of conditions in immigration detention facilities, asylum processes, activities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and state and local police involvement in immigration enforcement, among other related topics. As a principal function, the Investigative Reporter will pursue leads of suspected civil rights violations and find, make contact with and interview affected parties. The Reporter will use their findings to generate compelling media stories and support both legal and policy advocacy strategies.

This is a full-time, exempt position that reports to the Communications Director.

Responsibilities

Investigative research

  • Use public records requests (Freedom of Information Act, etc.) and other research tools to obtain key documents, videos, and other materials that advance investigative objectives.
  • Identify sources and conduct interviews to obtain critical information and develop stories that humanize complex policy issues and shape public opinion.
  • Build relationships within the community and with partner organizations across the state to help generate story leads and identify cases of civil rights violations that can form the basis of litigation.
  • Visit immigration detention centers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities, and other relevant locations throughout New Mexico to meet with detained immigrants and public officials to uncover civil liberties and human rights violations.

Reporting/Writing

  • Collaborate with ACLU staff to conceptualize, write and edit original and compelling investigative stories for publication in blogs, newsletters and other media.
  • Pitch investigative research findings to reporters to ensure broader story reach.
  • Produce comprehensive investigative report(s) to support state, local and federal advocacy efforts; and that will draw nationwide attention to the true stories of border life and the immigration experience by assigned deadlines.

Advocacy/Communications

  • Serve as spokesperson for research findings and border/immigration issues as appropriate.
  • Work with ACLU staff to develop and implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing ACLU’s communication, legislative, field organizing and legal programs to achieve the program’s objectives.
  • Work closely with the legal and policy departments to leverage research findings for potential litigation and policy initiatives.
  • Meet with partners from allied organizations to protect and advance immigrant rights.
  • Produce a toolkit to educate and inform policymakers and other opinion leaders and lead ‘insider’ events to promote the project.
  • Solicit stories from followers to serve as citizen journalists, through regular contact with our Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
  • Collaborate with National ACLU staff as needed to support regional and national campaigns.
  • Respond to reporters with factually accurate information and compelling messages and support other ACLU spokespeople to do the same.

Other

  • Submit a monthly news round-up to track publication of stories we have influenced.
  • Provide performance reports quarterly, and funder reports as required.
  • Contribute to the smooth functioning of the communications department by providing back-up to other communications staff as needed.
  • Travel to all parts of the state and beyond, as needed.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Essential Qualifications

The Investigative Reporter must have strong news judgment, excellent journalistic instincts, a critical eye for details and commitment to accuracy, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to multitask efficiently and handle high-pressure situations on a consistent basis.

This position also requires someone who is strongly self-motivated and self-directed with a sense of humor and the following qualifications:

  • Commitment to race and other forms of equity, both internally in our organization and externally in the communities that we serve.
  • Awareness of, and willingness to engage in, the difficult and transformative work of challenging systems of oppression, institutional and structural racism, and implicit bias.
  • Three years’ experience as a reporter and writer, with preference given to someone with long-form experience, or equivalent experience in the fields of social sciences or humanities conducting fieldwork, interviewing people, analyzing data, and writing narratives that are accessible to a general audience.
  • Fluent Spanish speaker and writer – required;
  • Strong storytelling sense as well as data-combing and digital presentation skills;
  • Knowledge and experience using technology and social media to source investigations;
  • Previous experience covering underserved communities;
  • Photography and videography skills a plus.
  • Ability to apply innovative, creative thinking to support strategic goals;
  • Command of media law and principles of ethical conduct;
  • Working familiarity with latest social media trends and products.
  • A flexible team player who works collaboratively, shares responsibilities, and supports and acknowledges colleagues’ contributions.
  • Great interpersonal communication skills. This includes the ability to navigate and resolve conflict in a manner that values and respects relationships with colleagues inside and outside the ACLU-NM.
  • A commitment to diversity; respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, arrest or conviction history, and socio- economic circumstance.
  • Committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals and programs. Preference will be given to applicants with an understanding of issues facing communities directly impacted by the criminal justice system, police violence, economic injustice and immigration policies, either through personal lived experience or prior work experience.
  • Able to work occasional overtime or irregular hours, including some weekends.
  • Able to travel extensively.

Compensation and benefits

The ACLU-NM offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and in line with the ACLU-NM compensation scale.  The salary range for this position is $45,000 to $52,500 per year, depending on experience.

Benefits include 18 days of paid time off to start, 11 holidays, fully paid employee medical, dental, vision, and disability insurance, and a generous retirement plan.

Coronavirus addendum

Due to the Coronavirus, the ACLU-NM is currently a completely remote workforce. If the successful candidate is hired while the ACLU-NM staff is still remote, we will work with that candidate to ensure that they have the tools, equipment, and digital onboarding to be successfully integrated into our remote work environment.

Application procedure

To apply, email a cover letter, resume, writing sample and a list of three references to HR@aclu-nm.org and include in the subject line of the email: your last name and Investigative Reporter. In your letter, please indicate where you learned of the posting.

Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as we will be evaluating applications on a rolling basis May 17, 2021. 

Application materials will also be accepted via postal mail, but electronic filing is strongly preferred. Mailed applications should be sent to c/o HR, P.O. Box 566, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

The ACLU-NM is an equal opportunity employer. The ACLU-NM is committed to creating a work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve.  The ACLU-NM strongly encourages applications from all qualified including women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people who are gender diverse, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness, people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal justice, child welfare, or immigration systems, and people who have personal experience with other issues we work on.

“ACLU-NM” refers collectively to two separate corporate entities, the ACLU of New Mexico and the ACLU of New Mexico Foundation. The two entities share the same mission, office space, and employees.

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