Senior Writer at Vera Institute of Justice
Senior Writer, CIJ (NYC, LA, DC, Remote)
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Department: Center on Immigration and Justice
Type: Full Time
Min. Experience: Experienced
At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is of a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At a propitious moment for justice reform, we are standing up and driving change on a variety of fronts—ending cash bail, ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, ensuring that immigrants get due process, and centering all this work in racial equity. Convincing people to change the way they think and act in order to serve justice is in our DNA. We have a robust and growing communications team, advocating for our vision with our stakeholder and public audiences. Are you interested in helping a super-dedicated and productive team use best-in-class communications strategies and tactics to drive change in the justice system?
If so, read on.
Over the past five years, with 2.2 million people behind bars—and an additional half-million immigrants, we’ve reached a tipping point, and justice reform has become mainstream. It’s on the front pages, it’s bipartisan, it’s got new funders, it’s attracting cultural attention. Vera has been on the cutting edge of this change. Our Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) runs a network of legal service programs around the country, funded by federal, state, and local governments in partnership with philanthropy. These programs are testing models, piloting solutions, and generating evidence in support of our goal of achieving publicly funded deportation defense for all immigrants at risk of removal.
Long known for our research and technical assistance, communications have more recently become one of the core pillars of how we do our work. Accordingly, we have more than tripled our communications team and devoted unrestricted dollars to our work over five years. Importantly, we embed communications in our program and project work from the start. Our efforts have paid off—with an award-winning rebranding and website overhaul, significant media attention, dramatic growth in social media followers, and new partnerships. Our communications team is essential to CIJ’s critical work to protect access to justice for immigrants.
We need to leverage the increased attention to justice and to Vera’s work in particular, deploying communications strategies to elevate our issues and our brand. Immigration justice is one of Vera’s core priorities, and we need a strong writer to help us conceive of and create communications products to achieve our goals. We are seeking a Senior Writer—Immigration for a one-year position to join a diverse and growing team and to spearhead our writing and storytelling efforts in the immigration justice sphere. The Senior Writer—Immigration will work with CIJ leadership to conceive and write a range of communications products to help secure equal justice for immigrants.
Candidates must be excellent writers, researchers, and storytellers, steeped in current and historical topics in immigration justice, skilled in project management, adept in racial equity, and have a proven track record of published articles and personal connections in the immigration justice space. The Senior Writer—Immigration will report to the Managing Editor in Communications and partner with program staff in Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice, especially its Director of Research, to prioritize and create content for publication.
The Senior Writer—Immigration will join a team of 16 content creators (editorial, design, blog, website), media and messaging, social media, and public affairs strategists.
What You’ll Do
The Senior Writer—Immigration will research and write communications products to support the campaign goals of the Center on Immigration and Justice, including its efforts to provide universal representation for immigrants facing deportation through its SAFE Network. In particular, the Senior Writer—Immigration will create print, web, and multimedia storytelling narratives to highlight the personal accounts of immigrants in the U.S. immigration justice system and will interview Vera staff to identify other stories from Vera’s existing immigration justice work to advance Vera’s priorities.
The Senior Writer—Immigration will be responsible for:
- Working with the leadership of the Center on Immigration and Justice to conceive, research, and write a wide variety of communications products focused on topics relevant to Vera’s immigration justice work for both traditional and digital media, including blog posts, short- and long-form journalism, op-eds, multimedia scripts, fact sheets, infographics, policy memos, and research reports for a variety of audiences, but primarily a sophisticated lay reader.
- Working with Vera’s editorial and immigration teams through the production process, including revisions, multiple rounds of editing, design, and dissemination strategy.
- Serving as a liaison between Communications and the Center on Immigration and Justice and providing regular report-backs about strategies, goals, process, and project updates.
What We Need in You:
- Passion. A deep knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to immigration justice issues.
- A record of published articles. A proven track record of bylined articles in the immigration justice sphere.
- Creativity. Ability to find and develop stories from Vera’s existing work and the news cycle.
- Expertise. Exceptional writing, editing, and communication skills. The ability to write quickly, clearly, persuasively, and accessibly across a variety of products. Open to and willing to incorporate feedback as part of the product development process.
- A deep commitment to racial equity. In a system built on racism and inequity, we are working to ensure equity both in our workplace and in the world. You incorporate this value and share it with others.
- A collaborator, rigorous thinker, and problem-solver. Collaboration is a Vera value. We thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas. We’re open to giving and receiving feedback—both in our team and across the institution.
- Emotional intelligence. You demonstrate strong social and emotional awareness with your team and external partners You’re open to opportunities to learn and grow. You exercise good judgment and don’t allow urgency to trump relationships.
- Project management. You are detail-oriented but can see the big picture. You have keen time management and multitasking skills, including the ability to take initiative, prioritize tasks and duties, pay close attention to detail, and work independently while meeting specific deadlines.
- At least seven years of experience writing about the immigration justice field.
- A background in journalism, especially narrative storytelling.
Salary: Based on experience and including excellent benefits. Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market.
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