Senior Writer

Jan 10, 2013
Feb 09, 2013
Ms. April McWilliams
Full Time
Position Summary

The senior writer will launch an exciting new editorial project for the Pew Research Center: the organization’s first data-centric blog covering a range of topics, from politics and economic policy to digital habits to demographic shifts. The writer will produce multiple posts a day examining the data and research most relevant to the day’s news and public policy discussion on both national and international fronts. We are looking for a writer who has a passion for data and the skill to explain what they mean in way that engages our informed audience and also meets the high Pew Research standard for nonpartisan analysis, without spin or opinion – just the facts.

The writer should have a firm grasp on broad national and international public policy discussions and feel as comfortable weighing in on the “fiscal cliff” as he or she would on matters related to U.S.-China relations or trends in social media. Because Pew Research conducts regular public opinion polls, this position requires a good understanding of public opinion research methodology, but a background in polling isn’t necessary. In addition to writing about Pew Research’s own data, the writer will be tasked with aggregating and analyzing data from other sources, including government agencies, academia and think tanks, on topics of interest to Pew Research.

We expect the senior writer to bring strong social media bona fides as well. The writer should already be a participant in the social media conversation, be able to strike the right tone when engaging with others on those platforms and will be expected to help grow Pew Research’s digital and social audience. The writer will work closely with other senior writers and researchers to develop ideas and material for the blog. In addition to writing his/her own daily posts, the writer will also work with researchers at each of Pew Research’s seven projects to develop and edit blog posts written by other contributors.

Attention to detail and meticulousness in fact- and number-checking are among the most important requirements. We are looking for a writer who is sensitive about the use and presentation of data and can publish timely pieces in the news cycle while ensuring the highest order of accuracy. This position will report to the Executive Vice President.

Primary Responsibilities
Conceiving of original ideas and writing new content for Pew Research Center’s blog. (70%)
•Generate multiple original blog posts per day to publish on using the organization’s own data, analyzing other data or a combination of both. Work with Pew Research’s editorial team, including producers, graphics designers and senior digital editor to produce content in timely way.
•Aggregate and point to the most interesting new data published from academia, government agencies, think-tanks and other trusted data sources on a daily basis. Comb these data sources for blog post and data visuals ideas.
•Work closely with graphics team to conceive, create and edit data visuals for blog.
•Ensure that the blog includes a variety of content, including charts, infographics, video, slideshows, timelines, curations, etc. Must have at least some familiarity with digital production tools.

Manage blog-branded social media content (15%)
•Help develop growth strategy for the new blog on multiple social media channels. Play lead role in managing and promoting the blog’s content on social media and play an active role in the social media conversation.
•Works in concert with others who manage Pew Research social media accounts to pursue the center’s larger digital strategy in growing its audience, especially among influentials.

Serve as liaison to develop and occasionally edit guest blog posts (15%)
•Take a lead role in working with Pew Research’s researchers to discuss and assist in developing blog posts from key research experts at the organization. Be able to work in a collaborative environment.
•Occasional line editing or copy editing of blog posts.

•Bachelor’s degree required.
•Minimum of 5-7 years experience as a professional journalist.
•Demonstrated experience as a clean and clear writer who can work with quantitative material, conceptualize it at a high level and write it for a broad audience.
•Demonstrated experience with social media and ability to grow a global audience.
•Experience with basic digital production, writing search-friendly copy and embedding images, video and other content.
•Familiarity with and, preferably, experience with, digital tools such as Storify, Timeline.js, Prezi, and WordPress.

Knowledge and Skill Requirements
•Superior writing and editing skills. Clarity is essential.
•Ability to work well in a collaborative and team-oriented environment.
•Strong facility with data journalism, meaning comfort and skill with numbers and an ability to synthesize data and translate it into clear prose and superior graphics.
•Demonstrated strong intellectual rigor.
•Ability to ensure that work meets high editorial and research standards while meeting tight deadlines.
•Ability to translate highly numerical research findings into prose for a broad audience, both clearer and more authoritative than what might appear in a news account.

Application Procedure

Applicant should send a resume, cover letter (indicating where you learned of the opening) and salary expectations to:

Ms. April McWilliams
Human Resources Director
Pew Research Center
1615 L Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Responses can also be faxed to 202-419-4339 or e-mailed to

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