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Freelance Data Journalist (Databases)

Job Summary

The Illinois Answers Project is looking for a freelance data reporter who can maintain our database initiative. This is a one-year contract for 15 to 20 hours per week. The salary range is $40-$50 per hour. Candidates may be remote or work out of our Chicago office.

The Illinois Answers Project is a nonprofit solutions and investigative newsroom in Chicago. We host the state’s most comprehensive databases on public salaries and pensions. Pensions represent one of the most pressing emergencies facing Illinois taxpayers, and we collect data from the largest public pensions systems in the state and centralize it into our Illinois Public Pensions Database. We also compile the most comprehensive public salary database that reviews, explores and compares compensation for public employees in Illinois.

We want a self-starter who can maintain these current databases, which requires requesting, compiling and organizing data from hundreds of taxing bodies across Illinois. This role requires expertise in Illinois public records laws, including appeals, as well as managing large-scale data or documents projects.

There may be opportunities for additional newsroom projects that would require collaboration with reporters to use data visualization. These opportunities will be decided on a case-by-case basis and could entail additional hours.

Additional role requirements:

-Minimum of 2 years of experience in a professional newsroom or similar environment
-Be able to give descriptive statistics using Excel/Google Sheets
-Have a user’s familiarity with one of the processing languages: SQL, R and/or Python
-Experience with version control or collaborating on data projects
-Knowledge of basic data cleaning techniques including but not limited to Janitor in R, NumPy or Pandas in Python, Open Refine in Google or others
-Experience documenting data work using an R Markdown, Quant or Jupyter Notebook (or other similar format)
-Experience with Git and the GitHub platform

How to Apply

Apply via our application form: https://bettergov.formstack.com/forms/illinois_answers_application

Select “data contractor” from the drop-down menu. Upload your resume and a letter detailing your experience with data visualization and databases, and include two to three examples of this work. Please also indicate which processing languages, data cleaning techniques, programs or other platforms that you’ve had experience with. Candidates selected for an interview will be notified via email.

We encourage applicants from traditionally underrepresented communities, including people of color, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities. The Better Government Association is an equal opportunity employer. We’re committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of inclusion and connectedness for all employees. We welcome the unique contributions you can bring in terms of education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs.

About the organization

The Illinois Answers Project is published by the Better Government Association, winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in local reporting. The Illinois Answers Project seeks to inform, engage and mobilize residents, civic leaders and public officials to generate and implement changes that build a state of Illinois in which all communities can prosper. The Better Government Association also publishes BGA Policy, which advocates for more transparent, accountable and equitable government through public policy reform. The newsroom staff and BGA Policy staff operate independently of each other.

Details

Organization: Illinois Answers Project
Location: Chicago IL US
Date Posted: May 6, 2024
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