Temporary Marquee Staff Writer

Ballotpedia is a team of fast learners who are eager to work hard to make the world a better place. We believe the world would be a better place if every voter cast an informed vote in every election in which he or she is eligible to vote. We work long hours to present the available information about elections, candidates, judges, ballot measures, 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. And in 2016, we got curious enough about what made our readers special to commission an in-depth study to answer that question. Here’s an excerpt from the conclusion:
Readers are characterized by their decision to run toward knowledge, instead of retreating. This sense of “onward” characterizes the Ballotpedia readers—they recognized a problem with the media they had been consuming and sought out a different way.
Readers have found and continue to find our articles in droves. It turns out there is an unclaimed audience out there—people who want straightforward facts about political issues, and are willing to read at length instead of just scanning the headlines.
We’re discovering “If you build it, they will come” applies to our work engaging and informing voters: our readers come to our neutral oasis in growing numbers; by 2016, fully 20 percent of American voters read one or more of Ballotpedia’s 250,000+ encyclopedic articles in the six weeks leading up to election day. Mostly, they came from Google. Google has always loved our detailed, well-sourced articles, because their algorithm is excellent at figuring out what their searchers are after.
That search engine dominance got us past one BILLION lifetime pageviews in September 2018, and helped make us the 92nd most-visited website in the U.S. during the month surrounding the November 2018 midterms.
We scarcely had an email list before 2016. We now have over 250,000 subscribers on more than a dozen separate lists. We are working in numerous ways to help put our neutral information in front of people at the times when they most need it. We firmly believe that our readers, and the mindset we help them cultivate, are essential, as too many others in our industry are fighting to get us all addicted to sensational clickbait headlines and the irrational decisions they foster.
And, with all that, we’re just getting started, knowing that the opportunities and growth ahead are limitless. 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 temporary, full-time Staff Writer to join our Marquee Team. The position term will begin as early as approximately July 1, 2020 and conclude on December 31, 2020. 
The Marquee Team is responsible for becoming experts in the stories, conflicts, and elections that matter most to voters, constituents, and the public at large. We are responsible for neutrally presenting the most important facts and news updates about these stories. We focus on the stories that matter most to broad swaths of our readers, and on those that stand to have the greatest effect on the balance of power and political outcomes in the country. We cover stories at all levels of government, from the presidential election down to school boards where the balance of power is at stake. The new hire will focus, in particular, on Ballotpedia’s 2020 election coverage.
A successful staff writer will be passionate and knowledgeable about politics. They will be comfortable conceiving and designing research methods. They will be comfortable conducting extensive research using media and political websites, official government sources, and through direct person-to-person outreach.
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.
They love critical feedback and view it as an opportunity to deliver greater value to our readers. Finally, they enjoy organizing their own lives and the world around them. They maintain orderly habits and perceive external disorder as an opportunity to innovate and improve.
Responsibilities
As a Marquee Team Staff Writer, you will:
  • Produce articles with excellent introductions and ledes that capture the essence of a marquee race.
  • Build and manage assigned articles in line with Ballotpedia’s writing guidelines and expected quality levels.
  • Monitor breaking news daily and make timely updates to those articles based on judgement about what updates will most satisfy readers.
  • Recommend weekly opportunities for new marquee coverage.
  • Respond to news by quickly developing new marquee articles as needed.
  • Support Ballotpedia’s coverage of the 2020 election cycle, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on these races.
  • Build and manage assigned articles in line with Ballotpedia’s writing guidelines and expected quality levels.
  • Cover assigned elections by monitoring breaking news daily and making timely updates to those articles.
  • Update Ballotpedia’s database to reflect news events and updated data.
  • Follow carefully laid out processes, systems, and procedures as assigned by editors and supervisors.
  • Using and generating complex procedure checklist documentation to perform key tasks.
  • Understanding which content requires standardization and which requires originality.
  • Ensure that your team’s managing editor is aware of project progress.
  • Produce engaging, accurate written content for Ballotpedia’s newsletter products.
  • Identify opportunities for enhanced coverage of political stories at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Learning and mastering Ballotpedia’s taxonomy of bias, including preparing for and attending annual bias training.
  • Interact with co-workers, customers, and the media in a professional, helpful, and pleasant manner.
Skills and Qualifications
A Marquee Team Staff Writer must possess:
  • A demonstrated passion for Ballotpedia’s mission
  • Knowledge of the United States political system, with an emphasis on courts and elections
  • Experience conducting independent, rigorous research over a lengthy period of time
  • Experience working in databases and with spreadsheets
  • Experience in writing and/or editing, with professional or academic writing experience an additional benefit
  • Superb organizational skills and a focus on detail
  • A desire to work collaboratively with Ballotpedia staff from multiple departments
  • Comfort seeking and responding to feedback
  • A drive for innovation and flexibility and an ability to identify and solve problems proactively
  • Self-awareness and a drive toward constant improvement
Environment
The Marquee Team Staff Writer will work remotely from his or her 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 in which every employee is 100% accountable to the results and 100% autonomous over their time. Each employee will be oriented to the principles of Ballotpedia’s flexible environment during new employee training.

Compensation
The pay range for the Marquee Team Staff Writer is 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
Please attach to following in PDF format if possible:
  • résumé
  • cover letter detailing your interest in Ballotpedia’s mission and this position
Please ensure that either your résumé or your cover letter include your current address.

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