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Audience Engagement Editor

Job Summary

Bolts is a digital publication that covers the nuts and bolts of power and political change. We are focused on two areas where local governments play an outsized role: criminal justice and voting rights. Since our launch in 2022, we report on the places, people, and politics that shape public policy but are dangerously overlooked. We tell stories about local elections and obscure institutions, and the movements targeting them, that highlight their real world stakes and conflicts. We also publish resources that make it easier to follow the chaos of local politics nationwide.

Bolts is now looking for its first audience engagement editor to grow the reach and impact of our stories, better understand our audience, and manage strategies to build a loyal readership.

The editor will direct the work around audience engagement in our newsroom: They will play a critical role shaping how we engage our readers, partners, peers, and the communities we serve and cover so that we can reach our audiences, grow our platforms, and discover trending issues and underreported stories. We also want the editor to mine our analytics; help build partnerships with other publications; grow our social media presence; and develop new ways to invite communities to contribute to, and interact with, our journalism.

This editor should be a strong writer with a nuanced grasp of social media and data analytics, and enthusiasm for engaging varied audiences about local politics. They must be able to meet deadlines and juggle competing demands on their time.

Distribution and promotion

  • Tailor and execute a distribution and promotion plan for each Bolts story and project to grow their reach, including working with writers and editors from a project’s inception.
  • Reach out to other organizations and media to build visibility for Bolts stories and journalists.
  • Manage our social media strategy, including preparing content for different channels and creating a strong presence on various social platforms, with an emphasis on increasing followers and engagement with our journalism. (Also help establish a presence on third-party distribution platforms, such as Flipboard and Apple News.)
  • Work with the team on Bolts newsletters, and manage strategy around enhancing newsletter design, building email lists, and growing engagement with newsletters.
  • Work with other editors to optimize SEO.

Audience development

  • Mine audience analytics and surveys, to track key metrics and develop new strategies to grow and engage our readership.
  • Glean insight from readers and key audiences (e.g. outreach, surveys, and other feedback) to help drive journalism that is responsive to readers’ needs and questions (e.g. a FAQ or explainer on a specific topic, or a database).
  • Engage communities impacted by the issues we cover, such as people affected by the criminal legal system, and identify underreported trends and stories. Identify opportunities for and lead engagement-centered projects, such as crowdsourced reporting, innovative newsletters, or community surveys.
  • Identify audiences Bolts is not sufficiently serving, and develop methods for better reaching and serving those audiences.
  • Help editorial staff engage other publications to identify mutual interests and build editorial collaborations.


  • Develop strategies to transform more readers into engaged subscribers to help build a base of small donors. Develop new channels to directly engage with these subscribers (small or monthly donors).
  • Help track evidence of engagement and impact, and develop methods to present it.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • Experience leading audience engagement work with a publication.
  • Experience directing strategy around social media platforms. Enthusiasm for social media and using it creatively to build engagement.
  • Familiarity with survey analytics tools and with SEO strategies, and the ability to draw actionable insights from data analytics.
  • The ideal candidate should be organized, responsive, and comfortable in a collaborative work environment.
  • Strong writing and editing skills, and attention to copy.
  • Enthusiasm for political journalism, and for coverage that connects nationwide politics to local stakes and granular decision makers.
  • Broad interest in and familiarity with core issues that Bolts covers, namely criminal justice, voting rights, social justice, policing, democracy, immigration, social movements.
  • We also acknowledge that some strong candidates won’t have all the qualifications listed here and want to encourage people with a diversity of experience to apply, even if they might not fit the description as written.

Position details
This position is full-time and remote. The salary range is $78,000-$85,000. Benefits include medical, dental and vision insurance, long-term disability insurance, life insurance, an automatic 4% employer contribution to a 401K plan, and 14 weeks of paid family leave.

Bolts is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace. We encourage journalists from underrepresented communities to apply and welcome qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, physical abilities, genders and sexual orientations, including people who have been incarcerated or otherwise involved with the criminal justice system.

We created the job posting in early March 2023. We will begin reviewing positions on March 28, 2023. The job posting remains open as long as the posting is up.

Please contact with any questions about the position or publication.


Organization: Bolts
Location: Remote US
Date Posted: March 8, 2023
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How to Apply

Apply online.

To apply, please send to

  • your resume,
  • a cover letter,
  • two to four samples of your work that show how you approach audience development and engagement,
    contact information for three references.

We will reach out to candidates who have been selected for an interview, but we cannot respond to each individual application due to the volume of submissions.

109 Lee Hills Hall, Missouri School of Journalism   |   221 S. Eighth St., Columbia, MO 65201   |   573-882-2042   |   |   Privacy Policy
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