Elections Staff Writer

Ballotpedia exists to preserve and expand knowledge by building the Encyclopedia of American Politics. We build that encyclopedia by researching and writing about our areas of coverage, generating an unbiased resource for scholars, journalists, and interested citizens; and providing superior information about the elections that matter for voters.

To succeed at Ballotpedia, you must be self-aware and personally invested in constant improvement. You must have a passion for creating a delightful experience for Ballotpedia’s customers, and you must strive to develop expertise in your subject and the inner workings of your project.

To understand the type of subject-matter expertise you will be expected to acquire, please read the following excerpt from The Tap, Ballotpedia’s weekly email:

Recall effort ends with Virginia school board chairman’s resignation

An effort to recall Ryan Sawyers from his position as at-large chairman of the Prince William County Public Schools school board ended when Sawyers resigned on March 7. Sawyers cited personal and professional reasons for his resignation, and he described the district's school board and administration as corrupt.

On their official recall petition, the Prince William Committee for Quality Education said that Sawyers had misused his position, discriminated against district administrators, and tried to change sports policies to favor a specific organization. Sawyers called the recall effort silly and said speeches made by the committee members were "political theater." Others said the effort against him was political backlash after Sawyers, a Democrat, won a seat that was previously held by Republicans. The school board is officially nonpartisan.

Outside of the school board, Sawyers also ran for Virginia's 1st Congressional District in 2018. He suspended his campaign for that position a week before he resigned from the school board. Sawyers was elected to a four-year term on the board in 2015. He was the first Democrat to get elected to the position as chairman of the board "in modern memory," according to the Prince William Times. His fellow board members voted 4-2 to censure him on September 20, 2017, after he publicly released email exchanges between board members and school district counsel.

The Staff Writer is a full-time salaried position on the Elections Team. This is a remote position. It is the job of the staff writer to develop and improve information on the Elections Team. Ballotpedia has a unique production model, and you are encouraged to learn more here.

Skills
You must have the ability to write about complex topics in a neutral, clear, and concise manner. You must have a drive and desire for innovation and flexibility and have the ability to identify and solve problems proactively. Adapting to changing tasks and tools is key. You must be comfortable with data entry, rote work, work tracking, and the use of a database and spreadsheets. 

To succeed in this position, you will 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. You will also excel in the identification of big-picture trends and have experience working in breaking news, including a keen eye for developing stories and judgment in deciding what stories will become newsworthy.

Qualifications
  • Knowledge of the United States political system and elections are required. 
  • Experience as a professional writer and/or editor is preferred. 
  • Experience with data entry work, databases, or spreadsheets is preferred.

Environment
The Staff Writer will work remotely from their 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 is a results-only work environment (ROWE). A ROWE is a workplace in which every employee is 100% accountable to the results and 100% autonomous over their time. ROWE workplaces have been shown to provide better service to the ultimate customer of the business while also improving employee engagement and work satisfaction. Each employee will be oriented to the principles of a ROWE during new employee training.

Compensation
Ballotpedia’s editorial compensation is based on a scale, which can be viewed here. New employees are typically hired into Level 1 salaries with scheduled compensation assessments each December, beginning after the completion of the initial review period. In addition to salary, Ballotpedia offers bonuses based on performance and a $6,500 annual benefits stipend, which 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 $6,500 stipend is taxed as regular income and added to the employee’s salary.

To Apply
Please attach:
  • résumé
  • cover letter, including the contact information for two professional references
  • professional or academic nonpartisan writing sample (under five pages)
    Note: please include this in the same file as your cover letter

Please ensure that either your résumé or your cover letter includes your current address.

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