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Newsroom Developer, Democracy Initiative

Job Summary

Summary: We are seeking a Newsroom Developer to join our team at Spotlight PA, an award-winning independent newsroom covering Pennsylvania’s Capitol and urgent statewide issues. The mission of Spotlight PA is simple: to hold powerful private and public forces to account by producing journalism that gets results and serves the public good. Spotlight PA has the largest collaborative local journalism network of its kind in the United States, with stories shared across more than 90 partner newsrooms, allowing our journalism to reach Pennsylvanians in all corners. The newsroom is supported by grants and donations from individual and institutional donors who believe in the value of the work and want to sustain it.

With initial grant funding for one year, we are launching the Democracy Initiative, a novel, nonpartisan project to equip and empower Pennsylvanians to engage with their government, elections, and the voting process. The Democracy Initiative seeks to enhance our growing portfolio of voter-centric election resources, training, events, and general service journalism, and to oversee new and creative ways to connect those resources with communities across the state. A particular focus of the initiative is expanding Spotlight PA’s reach and value among people who do not normally engage with traditional media or who have felt left out or misrepresented by conventional election and government coverage. The purpose of the initiative is to enhance engagement with our democracy, a cornerstone of its preservation, and showcase the direct value Spotlight PA can provide to communities beyond the written word.

What you’ll do: As Pennsylvania approaches the critical November election and looks toward the presidential election in 2024, the Newsroom Developer will work closely with the editorial team to develop new products and tools to connect new or existing audiences with voting resources.

Overseeing the expansion of Spotlight PA’s to-be-launched Election Center to include more evergreen resources, tools, data, and information to assist people in engaging with the state government, accessing resources, understanding candidates and processes, and holding officials to account. In addition to on-site work, this might also include making elements embeddable for partners.

Work with the editorial team to identify new/emerging areas where Spotlight PA can serve as a direct resource to the public, and develop innovative tools and storytelling techniques to fill the void.

After the election, the Newsroom Developer will continue to work on Democracy Initiative-focused projects in advance of 2024 as well as other newsroom projects. This work might include:

  • Creating products that affect change in Pennsylvania. We pride ourselves on the ability to balance quick-turn data visualizations and enterprise with longer-term projects (Examining District Judges’ Calendars, Pipeline Interactive).
  • Wrangling data, including scraping, cleaning, and analyzing, and creating graphics with tools or with your own code

We’re looking for candidates with:

  • Experience and usage in front-end web development
  • A high level of proficiency in HTML/CSS and Javascript, and knowledge of libraries such as D3.js.
  • Recognition of the value of data-driven watchdog journalism and background in journalism a plus
  • Interest in the challenge of presenting that data in compelling ways that engage readers Mobile-first thinking that is responsive and accessible
  • Demonstrated proficiency in developing interactive graphics from scratch
  • Experience with creating news apps with Django, Flask, React, or other tools
  • In-depth knowledge of mapping tools such as QGIS, Mapbox, Leaflet.js, etc.
  • The ability to do deep data analysis with tools such as Python, Javascript, Excel
  • Knowledge of Adobe tools such as Illustrator, Photoshop, or Premiere to edit assets

An ability to work in a collaborative environment is a must, as you will work closely with the editorial teams. Applicants should be goal-oriented and able to work independently. You should be a self-starter and have strong organizational and communication skills. You must also be committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on our team and through your work.

This job is currently funded for one year and is full-time and includes benefits, and can be based anywhere in the United States. This position is budgeted for a salary from $70,000 to $80,000, though there is flexibility depending on experience and skills. Applicants should include a resume and cover letter explaining why they’re a good fit for this role.

We know not everyone reading this will fit exactly what we’ve described. We encourage everyone to apply who shares our passion for indispensable journalism and our drive to create a sustainable business model to support it. Spotlight PA is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, and we especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to submit an application, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people, and individuals with disabilities.


Organization: Spotlight PA
Location: Harrisburg PA US
Date Posted: August 23, 2022
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How to Apply

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