American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the nation’s foremost defender of constitutional rights and civil liberties. ACLU of Colorado is an affiliate of the national ACLU, and it is the state's guardian of freedom, working in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities across the state to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all. Founded in 1952, ACLU of Colorado is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to fulfilling the promise of equal justice under the law for all Coloradans. For more information about the work of the ACLU of Colorado and the civil liberties principles we uphold, please visit our website at www.aclu-co.org.
The ACLU of Colorado is seeking an Investigative Reporter with a minimum of three years of professional experience to investigate the impact of U.S. immigration policies on immigrant communities and develop compelling stories about the individual lives affected by those policies that will draw nationwide attention to the immigrant experience in Colorado. The Investigative Reporter will collaborate with ACLU staff to conceptualize, write, edit and research an original and compelling investigative report to support ACLU advocacy efforts. For reference, please see “Cashing In on Cruelty: Stories of Death, Abuse and Neglect at the GEO Immigration Detention Facility in Aurora,” an investigative report released by ACLU of Colorado in 2019.
The Investigative Reporter carries out in-depth investigations of conditions in immigration detention facilities, asylum processes, and state and local police involvement in immigration enforcement, among other related topics. As a principal function, the Investigative Reporter pursues leads of suspected civil rights and civil liberties violations and will find, make contact with and interview affected parties. The Investigative Reporter will work with a dynamic and passionate team at the ACLU of Colorado, which has been at the forefront of numerous successful fights for immigrant justice over many decades and will be directly contributing to a work product that will help fuel additional policy change.
Contract term ranges from nine to twelve months, dependent on need. This position reports directly to the Director of Communications.
- Investigate the impact of U.S. immigration policies on immigrant communities and develop compelling stories about the individual lives affected by those policies that will draw nationwide attention to the immigrant experience in Colorado.
- Collaborate with ACLU of Colorado staff to conceptualize, write, edit and research an original and compelling investigative report to support ACLU advocacy efforts.
- Use public records requests, including Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), and other research tools to obtain key documents, videos, and other materials that advance investigative objectives.
- Identify sources and conduct interviews, both in-person and virtually, to obtain critical information and develop stories that humanize complex policy issues and shape public opinion.
- Leverage relationships within the community and with partner organizations across the state to help generate story leads and identify issues that can form the basis of an investigation.
- Visit relevant locations in Colorado to meet with immigrants and advocates to uncover potential civil rights and civil liberties violations.
- Work with ACLU staff and attend virtual or in-person meetings to implement integrated advocacy objectives and high-impact strategies utilizing ACLU’s communications, legislative, organizing and legal programs to achieve the program’s objectives.
- Provide biweekly performance reports, as required.
- Travel to other parts of the state as needed
- The Investigative Reporter must have excellent journalistic instincts, a critical eye for details and commitment to accuracy, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to multitask efficiently in high-pressure situations. This position requires someone who is strongly self-motivated and self-directed and the following qualifications:
- Excellent writing skills and a minimum of three years experience as a reporter and writer, with preference given to those with long-form experience; or equivalent experience in the fields of social sciences or humanities conducting fieldwork, interviewing subjects, analyzing data, and writing narratives that are accessible to a general audience.
- Strong skills in research, public record requests, data collection and analysis.
- Experience with the Bluebook system of citation is a plus.
- Knowledge and experience using technology and social media to source investigations.
- Previous experience covering underserved communities.
- Command of media law and principles of ethical conduct.
- Great interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to navigate and resolve conflict in a manner that values and respects relationships with colleagues inside and outside the ACLU of Colorado.
- 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.
- An understanding of issues facing communities directly impacted by the criminal justice system, economic injustice, and immigration policies, either through prior work experience or personal lived experience.
- Fluency in Spanish or other languages that represent major Colorado immigrant communities is preferred.
- Available approximately 10 — 15 hours a week, including irregular hours, or some weekends.
- Able to travel across the state.
Send a brief proposal with rates, resumé, and a sample of work, to Director of Communications Vanessa Michel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please add “Investigative Reporter contract” and your name in the subject line. No phone calls, please. Proposals will be reviewed as received.