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News Researcher (Remote)

Company: Ballotpedia
Location: Austin
Posted on: May 14, 2022

Job Description:

Ballotpedia is a collaborative team of fast learners and creative problem solvers who are eager to work hard to make the world a better place. We believe the world will be a better place if every citizen has access to information to make informed decisions about their vote in every election in which they are eligible to vote: primary, general, and special elections; federal, state, and local offices.

We work diligently to present the available information about elections, candidates, judges, ballot measures, policies, and more in a way that enables our readers to vote with confidence and to act as engaged citizens outside of the polling booth.

Ballotpedia readers, like Ballotpedia staff, are special people.

When we launched in 2007, we did not go out of our way to seek new readers. Starting with our small team of visionary idealists, nerds, and aspiring political journalists, we just wrote the best unbiased online articles we could, especially about ballot measures. Readers found those articles in droves. It turns out there was an unclaimed audience out there-people who wanted straightforward facts about political issues, and were willing to read at length instead of just scanning the headlines.

"If you build it, they will come:'' our readers came to our neutral oasis in growing numbers; we've had many millions of lifetime pageviews, we reached nearly half of all voters in 2020, and, in the month surrounding the November 2020 election, we were the 77th most-visited website in the U.S.

We've come to realize that we need to meet our readers where they are. In doing so, over the past five years, we've grown our email newsletter program from infancy to include more than 1,000,000 opt-in subscribers with more than a dozen newsletters to choose from. We are working in numerous ways to help put our neutral information in front of people at the times when they most need it, including on mobile phones while you're standing in the voting booth. We firmly believe that our readers, and the mindset we help them cultivate, are essential to the preservation of our great civilization in a world where too many others are fighting to get us all addicted to sensational posts and the irrational decisions they foster.

If this is a mission you'd be willing to work hard to achieve, and if this is a team you'd be willing to work hard with-JOIN US.

The Position

Ballotpedia is seeking a full-time Staff Researcher to join our News Team.

A News Team Staff Researcher will find and process relevant news events and make updates to our database and articles with precision based on our existing processes. A successful staff researcher will be comfortable conducting extensive research using media and political websites and official government sources. They must have the ability to write about complex topics in a neutral, clear, and concise manner.

They must have a passion for accuracy, completeness, innovation, neutrality, and for creating a delightful experience for Ballotpedia's readers. They should be able to demonstrate excellent writing, organizational skills, proofreading ability, and familiarity with the use of style guides. Ballotpedia has its own style guide that is based on the AP Stylebook.

A strong candidate for this role will be comfortable with data entry, research, project tracking, and the use of a database and spreadsheets. The candidate should be comfortable researching obscure information online and conducting direct outreach to government officials.

Responsibilities

As a News Team staff researcher, you will:

  • Monitor a specific list of sources to identify breaking news updates, including media and political websites and official government sources
  • Update relevant articles based on identified stories
  • Update Ballotpedia's database to reflect news events and updated data
  • Conduct regular reviews (or "sweeps") of lists of officeholders and candidates at the federal, state, and local levels of government to ensure Ballotpedia's data is accurate
  • Follow carefully laid out processes, systems, and procedures as assigned by editors and supervisors
  • Generate content about complex topics in a neutral, clear, and concise manner
  • Conduct systematic research to collect data related to officeholders, candidates, and elections. Data points will include but are not limited to campaign or official website addresses, Facebook addresses, Twitter handles, and upcoming election dates.
  • Proofread content effectively, efficiently, and consistently
  • Interact with co-workers, customers, and the media in a professional, helpful, and pleasant manner
  • Conduct research about jurisdictions not currently receiving detailed coverage on Ballotpedia for potential inclusion on our site and in our database
  • Complete designated tracking spreadsheets to capture the number and types of updates that are made over time

    Skills And Qualifications

    An ideal News Team Staff Researcher will possess:
    • A demonstrated passion for Ballotpedia's mission
    • Knowledge of the United States political system and elections
    • Experience working in databases and spreadsheets
    • Experience in writing and/or editing (with experience as a professional writer and/or editor preferred)
    • Superb organizational skills and a focus on detail
    • A desire to work collaboratively with Ballotpedia staff from multiple departments
    • Strong project management skills and the ability to multitask, set priorities, and follow-through
    • A drive for innovation and flexibility and an ability to identify and solve problems proactively
    • A willingness to work periodic evenings and weekends.
    • Self-awareness and a drive toward constant improvement
    • Strong written and verbal communication skills

      Environment

      The News Team Staff Researcher will work remotely from their home location. All Ballotpedia staff work remotely. To join Ballotpedia, you must have a computer with Internet access. Ballotpedia uses the Google Suite (Gmail, Google Calendar, Drive and more), Slack, and Asana to accomplish our goals. Some familiarity with the Google Suite, Slack, and Asana are helpful.

      Ballotpedia has a flexible work environment, BP Flex, in which every employee enjoys unlimited vacation and flexibility in scheduling. Each employee will be oriented to the principles of Ballotpedia's flexible environment during new employee training.

      Compensation

      The starting pay range for the News Team Staff Researcher is $38,000-$40,000 commensurate with experience.

      In addition to salary, Ballotpedia offers an annual benefits stipend equivalent to $7,000 that is paid out in equal increments in each paycheck once an employee becomes benefits eligible. The stipend may be used to pay for a full benefits package, including health, vision, and dental insurance; retirement accounts; and more. If benefits are not elected, the stipend is taxed as regular income and added to salary.

      To Apply

      To apply, click on 'Apply for this job' below and fill out the form.

      Please attach the following in PDF format if possible:
      • r--sum--
      • cover letter detailing your interest in Ballotpedia's mission/this position
      • neutral writing sample (under five pages)

        Note: please include the writing sample in the same file as your cover letter

        Please ensure that either your r--sum-- or your cover letter includes your current address. Applications without addresses will not be accepted.

Keywords: Ballotpedia, Austin , News Researcher (Remote), Other , Austin, Texas

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