News Editor at Ballotpedia

Remote
Ballotpedia

News Editor (Remote)

  • Editorial Department
  • Middleton, Wisconsin or Remote, United States

Description

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 to present the available information about elections, candidates, judges, ballot measures, public policy 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 readersthey 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 therepeople 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 We surpassed one BILLION lifetime pageviews in September 2018. Building on that success, in the month surrounding the November 2020 general election, we were the 77th most-visited website in the U.S.

We scarcely had an email list before 2016. We now have hundreds of thousands of subscribers receiving one or more of our dozen-plus newsletters. 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.

The Position

Ballotpedia is seeking a full-time News Editor to join our organization.

Ballotpedia produces a high volume of contentencyclopedic articles, data related to our political coverage, newsletters, social media posts, and more. We maintain high standards for quality, accuracy, and neutrality across all of our content.

The News Editor oversees a close-knit team of researchers in the Editorial department. This team is responsible for supervising and driving two core responsibility areascoordinating timely content updates on Ballotpedia and driving promotion of our work in collaboration with other Editorial teams and the Communications department. Specific projects include monitoring breaking news, processing officeholder transitions, publishing candidate declarations, maintaining the front page of Ballotpedia.org, overseeing Ballotpedia News, and coordinating a select group of Ballotpedia newsletters.

The News Team works closely with other teams inside of Ballotpedia’s Editorial department and throughout the organization.

The News Editor will work closely with Ballotpedia’s Editor in Chief, Senior Editorial Team, and other managers throughout the organization. They must have excellent written and verbal communication skills as well as an ability to collaborate well with others. Strong organization, prioritization, and time management skills are key. The News Editor will need to be able to adjust their and the team’s priorities based on events within the news cycle.

A strong candidate for this role must be comfortable working with spreadsheets and data. They will be responsible for analyzing Ballotpedia’s News Team data and metrics. They will not rely on the status quo but will instead look to drive improvements.

Responsibilities

As a News Editor, you will:

  • Prepare annual plan and team sprint proposals for Editor in Chief review, which includes the prioritization of tasks and projects
  • Facilitate team meetings, specifically sprint planning and sprint retrospective sessions and scrums
  • Supervise and oversee the team’s work on a daily basis, which involves setting clear upfront guidelines for the handling of the task (deadline, quantity, and quality); providing training and documentation; and auditing the work while it’s in progress or after it’s completed
  • Hold performance management conversations with team members
  • Create documentation for common processes that is clear, comprehensive, and accessible
  • Ensure errors are corrected through prompt, thorough and collaborative processes to analyze the root cause and develop effective structures to prevent errors from reoccuring
  • Spur innovation and both quality and productivity process improvements on the team and throughout the Editorial department
  • Learning and mastering Ballotpedia’s taxonomy of bias, including preparing for and attending annual bias training.
  • Hold Master Classes with writers throughout the Editorial department to support professional development and skills improvement
  • Edit articles for writing technique, language clarity, content substance, aesthetics, and navigation
  • Facilitate monthly navigational audits by the team and oversee follow-up to implement the ideas generated by those audits
  • Oversee content promotion efforts from the team
  • Respond to reader, journalist, and partner inquiries politely and professionally; when appropriate, identify opportunities for proactive communication to partners about potential problems or opportunities
  • Participate in message cascading from the Department Heads Team, Editor in Chief, other departments, and elsewhere in Editorial to the News Team
  • Handle comprehensive onboarding for new team members, including a mixture of training sessions and practice assignments
  • Develop insightful tests and interview materials for prospective employees; make hiring decisions or recommendations
  • Maintain sufficient knowledge of political news and developments to make informed coverage decisions
  • Serving as editor for breaking news coverage when on-call
  • Oversee quantitative election statistic analyses throughout the cycle

Skills and Qualifications

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • An appreciation for Ballotpedia’s mission
  • A love of political news and an energy and excitement for the ever-changing political news cycle. In particular, they find enjoyment in finding and assessing breaking news and determining what angle Ballotpedia can take with it
  • Curiosity and a respect for the importance and challenge of providing neutral coverage of the American political system
  • A strong editing eye with the ability to succinctly summarize and write interesting headlines and newsletter additions based on Ballotpedia’s coverage
  • An ability to review promotional opportunities and use judgment on what information the reader needs to know the most
  • A strong interest in coaching employees and identifying narrative bias when covering breaking news events
  • An ability to constantly triage incoming priorities, adjust to unexpected changes and clearly communicate to stakeholders as needed based on resource needs and priorities
  • An ability to plan and execute complex structures such as organizing promotional posts, tracking recency updates, and coordinating team projects
  • Experience working in databases and spreadsheets
  • A drive for creativity and innovation
  • An ability to identify and solve problems proactively
  • Strong project management skills and the ability to multitask, set priorities, and follow through
  • Superb organizational skills and a focus on detail
  • A desire to work collaboratively with Ballotpedia staff from multiple departments
  • Self-awareness and a drive toward constant improvement
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

Environment

The News Editor 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 has a flexible work environment, BP Flex, in which every employee enjoys unlimited vacation and flexibility in scheduling. Each employee will be oriented to the principles of Ballotpedia’s flexible environment during new employee training.

Compensation

The pay range for the News Editor is $50,000-$68,000 and commensurate with experience; compensation reviews occur each December after the completion of an initial review period.

In addition to salary, Ballotpedia offers bonuses based on performance and a $7,000 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 $7,000 stipend is taxed as regular income and added to salary.

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