Next Residency Starts: September 2019

The next Residency positions will run from September 2019-2020. Please sign up for the City Bureau newsletter to be alerted when the next applications go live in summer 2019.


City Bureau, a Chicago-based nonprofit civic journalism lab, is seeking three experienced reporters for its inaugural  year-long Civic Reporting Residency starting in Fall 2018. Reporters will each pitch and tackle a big-picture reporting project with engagement components revolving around civic issues on the South and West Sides of Chicago. They will utilize the many resources at City Bureau to improve the local news & information ecosystem around their chosen topics.

City Bureau’s mission is to bring journalists and communities together in a collaborative spirit to produce equitable media coverage, encourage civic participation and hold powerful forces to account. We expect Reporters to work toward that mission and uphold our Core Values while producing the invaluable journalism and civic work for which we are known.

Reporters in the Civic Reporting Residency will have two main duties:

  1. Participate in our existing 10-week Reporting Fellowship schedule, which happens three times a year. Each Reporter will lead a team of 2-3 early-career journalists (Fellows), working together to refine and complete part of their year-long reporting projects

  2. Complete an engagement component of their year-long project, designed with support from the City Bureau team.

Some basic information:

  • Civic Reporting Residency will begin in September 2018 (flexible start date) and end one year later

  • The Residency is 20 hours a week; those hours are flexible and some can be remote

  • Reporters may focus on any medium that is used for journalism: written, audio, video, interactive, photography, etc. City Bureau will provide access to any media equipment needed.

  • Reporters will be paid a total of $25,000 for the year; payments are made biweekly

  • Reporters will be eligible for City Bureau’s health insurance plan

  • Reporters will attend at least one journalism conference on City Bureau’s dime during the Residency and will have access to additional professional development opportunities

  • Reporters must live in the Chicago area during the Residency

  • Reporters will be required to attend some meetings at City Bureau’s office in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago

This is an excellent opportunity for experienced reporters to tackle a complex and/or investigative story that is time- and labor-intensive, with the benefit of a City Bureau’s fellowship team structure and plenty of editorial resources. During the 10-week fellowship cycles, Reporters will lead a team of 2-3 early-career journalists to research and create an editorial plan around the Reporter’s chosen topic, with input and guidance from City Bureau editors. This could include producing multiple pieces (text, photo, audio, video, graphic, interactive, etc.)—teams are encouraged to develop innovative ways to bring the issue to light. Teams also serve as mentors in Chicago-based youth media programs. Mentoring is a critical component of our work and it is intentionally designed to help reporters build relationships with the neighborhoods they are working in and develop new management skills. (See testimonials from former City Bureau fellows here.)

Outside of the 10-week fellowship cycles, Reporters in the Civic Reporting Residency will complete a community engagement project of their choosing, which either relates to their chosen topic or helps grow City Bureau’s work within Chicago. Reporters are highly recommended to take advantage of City Bureau’s innovative programming, working within the Documenters and Public Newsroom structures. Possibilities include partnering with local groups, hosting events, soliciting feedback from residents affected by the chosen topic, teaching workshops and creating educational resources. Reporters will pitch this project during their Residency and will create a project plan with the input of City Bureau editors.

Within the allotted scope of 20 hours a week, Reporters may be asked to complete other editorial or engagement assignments for City Bureau. Any work unrelated to the Reporter’s main project will be limited to 5 percent of the Residency or less.

Reporters will have access to the many resources provided through City Bureau’s staff and professional network, including staff at the Invisible Institute, KnightLab and various other community partners. City Bureau works intensively with Reporters to provide professional development opportunities through workshops and/or by covering travel and conference fees.

We are seeking applicants who:

  • Have 5+ years professional journalism experience or equivalent

  • Can develop a news “beat”—becoming an expert in a topic, developing a network of sources, finding new and impactful ways to cover a topic

  • Understand community engagement as an essential part of a reporter’s job and are ready to incorporate feedback into every step of the reporting process

  • Have a finely tuned sense of newsworthiness, timeliness and relevance for different audiences

  • Write clearly and concisely

  • Understand journalism ethics

  • Are very self-motivated and able to work independently as well as collaboratively

  • Can think creatively about a journalist’s role in a community and how to create and deliver news and information effectively, equitably and respectfully

We will prioritize candidates who:

  • Have a nuanced understanding of news and information systems, especially in communities that are consistently underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream news

  • Have mentorship or teaching experience

  • Have knowledge of Chicago, especially the South/West Sides

You should apply if:

  • You are brimming with story ideas that need time, patience and care to develop and bring to fruition

  • You see the inherent flaws of our current media ecosystem and want to work toward repairing them

  • You believe in the power of community storytelling and responsive journalism that takes the public’s feedback every step of the way

City Bureau is an equal opportunity employer committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.


Founded in October 2015, City Bureau is a nonprofit civic journalism lab based on Chicago’s South Side. City Bureau brings journalists and communities together in a collaborative spirit to produce equitable media coverage and encourage civic participation. The award-winning organization has been covered by some of the industry’s top analysts including the Columbia Journalism Review, MediaShift, Poynter and Nieman Lab. Learn more at

*If your application advances to the second stage, you will be asked to complete a Writing Test within a few weeks of application.*