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Data Reporter

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The Marshall Project seeks an experienced data journalist to join our growing team dedicated to high-impact reporting on the U.S. criminal justice system – which is not known for having a wealth of quality or consistent data. This position is remote.

This role will be focused on reporting, analysis and synthesis in a collaborative investigative environment.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Be first and foremost a journalist with substantial experience with reporting, interviewing, and researching from a wide variety of sources, including people, documents and databases.

  • Express and share journalistic data analysis using notebooks (we use Observable) that draw data from internal, external or bespoke data sources.

  • Synthesize reporting and analysis into compelling stories, visuals and products with clarity and rigor.

  • Identify and understand the data on the beat, including research and government reports, and understand how to join civic, social and economic data like census or labor data with data about the criminal justice system.

  • Work closely with other members of the data team on projects with heavy technical needs like cleaning datasets with millions of rows or geocoding tens of thousands of addresses.

  • Pitch ideas for original stories and contribute data reporting and analysis to stories conceived by others.

  • Collaborate with colleagues from The Marshall Project and partner organizations — digital, broadcast, and print — especially in local markets.

The data reporter should have experience and passion for working on collaborative projects with multiple reporters with wide ranges of experience along with editors, designers, and the audience and engagement teams.

Who You’d Be Working With & What You’d Be Working On

The data reporter will work on large reporting projects by using classic reporting techniques like chasing documents, interviewing academic experts and institutional sources like government analysts, and finding stories in analysis by drawing on the data systems and technical expertise of the team’s computational journalists. The reporter will be expected to cultivate insights from data through analysis, and to clearly synthesize insights in writing and visualizations.

The reporter will also play an important role on the data team and newsroom in identifying, conceiving, and leading data reporting for projects that require deep research and reporting, efficient data analysis, and that use data to engage audiences through stories or products. The reporter should have a keen eye for finding good stories and investigating them deeply while producing fair, clear, and engaging stories explaining complex subjects.

Job Requirements

Experience in beat reporting, investigative reporting, or data related to criminal justice (crime, policing, prosecution, courts, prisons and jails, government budgeting, private companies) at any level (city, county, state, region, national) is not required but will be considered a significant asset for this role.

Candidates should have advanced analytical skills. We understand there are many ways to analyze data, so our definition is broad and includes: experience with data visualization and graphics editing, investigative reporting, visual forensics, open-source intelligence, science journalism, reporting on the U.S. Census, polling and statistical methods, news apps development, software engineering, large-scale data collection, sports analytics, etc.

At a minimum, the applicant should have a mastery of advanced spreadsheet analysis (e.g. pivot tables) and/or relational databases (e.g. Airtable, Microsoft Access, or PostgreSQL).

Candidates do not need significant coding experience, but must be comfortable and conversant enough with technology that they can quickly learn and use Javascript (Observable, Arquero, and D3) to draw on their colleagues’ APIs and data systems in order to implement techniques like aggregation, descriptive statistics, and data visualization they know from other tools.

Applicants should have demonstrated expertise working with established sources of data, or assembling their own through public records and research.

This is not an entry-level position. Applicants should have some professional experience with data reporting or in a similar field such as data science or visualization.

We do not expect every candidate to be equally skilled in all these areas, and this is not a complete list of all relevant qualifications applicants might bring to the job. Please tell us about your other assets not mentioned here that may be valuable to this role. Reaching talent across a range of backgrounds and experiences is deeply important to us. If you do not have the exact combination of skills listed here, but are still interested in this role and/or in The Marshall Project, we’d love to hear from you.

Compensation and Benefits

This job is full-time, with a competitive salary and benefits including employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance; 17 days of paid time off each year, plus a week off at the end of December; paid family leave; and 401(k) matching.

Who We Are

The Marshall Project is a nonprofit news organization dedicated to covering America’s criminal justice system. In 2016 and 2021, The Marshall Project was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. We have also been honored with the Goldsmith Prize, multiple National Magazine Awards, and for General Excellence from the Online Journalism Awards. We are not advocates—we follow the facts and we do not pander to any audience—but we have a declared mission: to create and sustain a sense of urgency about the criminal justice system. We do not generally cover breaking news, although we curate the reporting of other news outlets in our morning newsletter. Our work includes investigative and explanatory projects and shorter pieces aimed at highlighting stories that other news organizations miss, underestimate or misunderstand. To assure our work reaches a larger audience we partner with other media outlets; we have worked with more than 200 newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and online sites.

We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to diversity. We welcome qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, physical abilities, genders and sexual orientations, including people who have been incarcerated or otherwise the criminal justice system.

How to Apply

To apply, use this form to send a cover letter, resume, and project portfolio (such as your Github page, a document with links to clips and a description of your role on the project, or similar). Please include in your cover letter a brief description of a new project you launched or managed, or a job you held, which allowed you to demonstrate your leadership, organizational skills, and innovation.

Due to the expected volume of applications, we will follow up with the most promising candidates but cannot respond individually to all applicants. Please know it usually takes us more than a month to review applications.

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