The Houston Chronicle’s award-winning Opinion staff is seeking an engaging writer and proven journalist with a history of dogged reporting who can craft editorials, Sunday essays and daily columns that hold public officials accountable, elevate urgent issues and seek positive change in Houston, across Texas and beyond.
The Houston Chronicle Editorial Board isn’t just content to be part of the conversations on politics or health care or climate change, we strive to lead and to influence thought-leaders in finding solutions that will improve lives throughout the region, home to the state’s most important economic engine and the nation’s fourth-largest city, and most diverse metropolitan area.
We’re looking for a writer who understands the power of story, how it can cut through the noise and hype to illuminate problems, move minds and stir readers to action. Whether writing about a hurricane’s aftermath or the amorphous process of gerrymandering, the ideal candidate can show work written with confidence and authority, but also flare, perhaps whimsy, and occasionally humor. The work shows more than it tells. It is as adept at capturing nuance as it is at drawing contrast. It pulls readers in at the first paragraph and holds them. It makes the complicated clear and the abstract real.
The ideal candidate is curious, skeptical but never jaded, believing that progress and persuasion are possible even in the most vexing areas of public policy. He or she has a basic understanding of the science of persuasion, that the best way to connect with readers who disagree with you is to draw a bigger circle, not a smaller one. If you’d rather preach to the choir than duel for the souls of converts, this isn’t the job for you.
Our opinion journalism is informed by facts, gleaned from documents, observed scenes and perspectives from many sources -- not biases or preconceived notions. We are wed to no ideology or partisan organization. We follow the facts where they lead and strive to reach a consensus only after careful study and deliberation.
We’re seeking a digger, someone who can uncover news before it’s reported and go beyond the headlines when it is. He or she should also be steeped in the tools and mindset of digital-first journalism, able to ace a quick-turn editorial off a breaking news development and then engage with readers on the piece via social media.
This is a senior role for someone with at least 10 years of experience as a journalist. Strong applicants have particular passions but also broad interests and deep wells of professional and life experiences from which to draw ideas, perspectives and fresh approaches. We’re looking for a team player who can develop sources and expertise in subjects that align with his or her interests and also the priorities of the board.
He or she should be comfortable on camera, hosting a town hall debate or in a tense interrogation across the boardroom table from the mayor. The board regularly hosts meetings with community leaders, public officials and advocates. We interview scores of candidates and make recommendations – sometimes dozens – in each election cycle. Engagement and outreach with our readers and our community are vital parts of this job.
Writers on the board are encouraged to demonstrate both breadth and focus in their work, alternating between daily editorials, to an occasional editorial series or long-term project. All members of the board are invited to pitch occasional columns and a senior writer interested in pursuing a regular column would be given every opportunity to work toward that goal.
Our board, a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist, is led by Opinion Editor Lisa Falkenberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. Her style is collaborative, she strives to elevate the work and help writers hone their craft. Editorial writers are encouraged to embrace and explore their unique voices rather than adopting an institutional tone – or rather, drone. Writers are expected to observe the highest standards in ethics, professional conduct and mature dialogue across social media platforms and elsewhere.
Just as Houston is diverse, so is the board you'll be joining. Fluency in Spanish is a plus and we especially encourage women and persons of color to apply. We firmly believe that our board should make every effort to reflect the vast range of perspectives in our city.
Houston is arguably the greatest news town in America, a microcosm of urgent national issues from immigration to climate change, and a prophecy of America’s demographic destiny. It’s also a fun city, with lush, sprawling parks, lower-than-expected cost of living, a nationally recognized culinary mecca, major league sports teams, and endless cultural offerings including museums, opera, theater, ballet and the symphony. It's a center of the space industry and a 45-minute drive to the beach.
Pay is competitive for a large market and Hearst Corp. offers excellent benefits. It's an exciting time to work at The Houston Chronicle. If you’re interested in joining our team, please send the following materials as a single PDF file to Deputy Opinion Editor Michael Lindenberger at Michael.Lindenberger@chron.com: a resume, five work samples, a one-page cover letter telling us what you could bring to our board, and the names and contacts of three references.