If you’re worried you might not qualify for this position but it’s something you’re interested in, please apply!


Generally $250 or more per story, depending on the story. This is a contract position in which you’re paid per story.

A bit about us

Santa Cruz Local is a local, online, member-supported news outlet that serves Santa Cruz County, California. As veteran newspaper reporters and editors, we founded Santa Cruz Local in 2019 to give residents a nonpartisan, fair and accurate source of local news. We produce a twice-weekly newsletter, in-depth articles and a podcast. Our team of six is a small but mighty group with experience in journalism, product development and community listening. We are collaborative, thoughtful and passionate about giving residents useful news and information.

The challenge

We strive to produce deep, fair and accurate reporting about local government, housing, homelessness, health, the environment and other big issues in Santa Cruz County. We want to give Santa Cruz County residents the information and news that they tell us they need.

The opportunity

Our editorial team has assigned dozens of story ideas to our freelance reporters. Our stories are generally about local government, housing, homelessness, health  and the environment in Santa Cruz County. Occasionally, we assign coverage of city council and other local government meetings. We also accept pitches on these topics. 

  • Stories generally range from 650 to 1,800 words. We do not pay by word count. Our pay is based on how much time and reporting we estimate the story to take.
  • Your stories will be read and fact-checked by two experienced editors. We like to give feedback on wording, order, style and context. We often have questions to address in the editing process. We believe that our careful, intensive editing process makes your work stronger. If you are relatively new to journalism, we can help you build your portfolio of outstanding published work. 


  • Must have writing samples to share. News writing samples are preferred. Factual, non-opinion writing samples also will be accepted.
  • A familiarity with local government, housing, environment or health issues in Santa Cruz County.
  • Must be 18 or older.
  • Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Must be based in California.
  • Must be fluent in English, written and spoken.

Preferred, but not required, qualifications

  • We prefer that you live in Santa Cruz County.

Bonus points for:

  • Fluency in Spanish, written and spoken.

Please apply even if you think you are not qualified. We are interested in career development of journalists, especially for residents of Santa Cruz County. You do not need a journalism degree to apply.

Application and hiring process

We aim to respond to every application within two weeks. We’ll set up a phone interview if we’re interested in your application. If you’re not selected, we’ll let you know. 

Questions? Email, call or text Santa Cruz Local Editor/Co-founder Stephen Baxter, [email protected] or 831-566-7334.