News Team Staff Researcher (Remote)
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.
Ballotpedia is seeking a full-time Staff Researcher to join our News Team.
A News Team Staff Researcher will find and process relevant news events and make updates to our database and articles with precision based on our existing processes. A successful staff researcher will be comfortable conducting extensive research using media and political websites and official government sources. He or she must have the ability to write about complex topics in a neutral, clear, and concise manner.
He or she must have a passion for accuracy, completeness, innovation, neutrality, and for creating a delightful experience for Ballotpedia’s readers. He or she 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.
A strong candidate for this role will be comfortable with data entry, research, project tracking, and the use of a database and spreadsheets. The candidate should be comfortable researching obscure information online and conducting direct outreach to government officials.
As a News Team staff researcher, you will:
- Monitor a specific list of sources to identify breaking news updates, including media and political websites and official government sources
- Update relevant articles based on identified stories
- Update Ballotpedia’s database to reflect news events and updated data
- Conduct regular reviews (or “sweeps”) of lists of officeholders and candidates at the federal, state, and local levels of government to ensure Ballotpedia’s data is accurate
- Follow carefully laid out processes, systems, and procedures as assigned by editors and supervisors
- Generate content about complex topics in a neutral, clear, and concise manner
- Conduct systematic research to collect data related to officeholders, candidates, and elections. Data points will include but are not limited to campaign or official website addresses, Facebook addresses, Twitter handles, and upcoming election dates.
- Proofread content effectively, efficiently, and consistently
- Interact with co-workers, customers, and the media in a professional, helpful, and pleasant manner
- Conduct research about jurisdictions not currently receiving detailed coverage on Ballotpedia for potential inclusion on our site and in our database
- Complete designated tracking spreadsheets to capture the number and types of updates that are made over time
The News Team Staff Researcher 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.
Please attach the following in PDF format if possible:
- cover letter detailing your interest in Ballotpedia’s mission/this position and your salary requirements
Please ensure that either your résumé or your cover letter include your current address.
Skills and Qualifications
A News Team Staff Researcher must possess:
- A demonstrated passion for Ballotpedia’s mission
- Knowledge of the United States political system and elections
- Experience working in databases and spreadsheets
- Experience in writing and/or editing (with experience as a professional writer and/or editor preferred)
- Superb organizational skills and a focus on detail
- A desire to work collaboratively with Ballotpedia staff from multiple departments
- Strong project management skills and the ability to multitask, set priorities, and follow-through
- A drive for innovation and flexibility and an ability to identify and solve problems proactively
- A willingness to work periodic evening and weekends.
- Self-awareness and a drive toward constant improvement
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
The pay range for the News Team Staff Researcher 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.