American Oversight is looking for a talented, versatile Staff Writer to join our team and help us shine a light on the government response to the coronavirus pandemic. We’re a non-partisan, non-profit watchdog that uses targeted public records requests and litigation to expose evidence of corruption, abuse of power, or conflicts of interest. We’ve launched a wide-ranging investigation into the federal, state, and local responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and we’ve filed more than 600 public records requests and seven lawsuits seeking answers.
American Oversight’s earlier work has exposed hundreds of pages of Ukraine documents that were withheld from Congress, prompted the discovery of Ivanka Trump’s extensive use of a private email system, and uncovered widespread conflicts of interest across the cabinet.
Part digital journalism, part anti-corruption advocacy, and part organizational communications, the Staff Writer will draw upon the records we uncover, as well as the expertise of our team, to help readers follow and understand the investigations into the coronavirus response, the latest developments, and the outstanding questions.
American Oversight is normally based in downtown Washington, DC, in an office that is easily accessible by multiple metro and bus lines. Given the current pandemic, American Oversight’s team is working remotely for the foreseeable future. This position is open to candidates across the United States and could continue as a telework role even after the main office reopens.
Specific tasks will shift day by day along with our work and the news cycle, but in a typical week, your job will probably include:
- Writing posts for American Oversight’s website, including updates on news related to the coronavirus pandemic and investigations into the government response;
- Writing longer pieces synthesizing information obtained through public records requests, open source research, and news reports regarding the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing push for accountability;
- Working with the communications and research teams to maintain online trackers of investigations into the pandemic and the government response;
- Reviewing primary source documents as well as notes compiled by the research and legal teams to pull out key points to feature in written content;
- Working with the Senior Editor to develop new ideas for written content that makes American Oversight’s work more accessible to the public;
- Monitoring the news to identify opportunities for our current or previous work to inform the public on key issues;
- Participating in regular planning meetings (typically scheduled during East Coast business hours) to help identify new opportunities to share the information we’ve uncovered to help inform the public on key issues;
- Engaging in rapid response to current events, developments, and document releases in AO’s FOIAs and litigation;
- Occasionally (but definitely not most of the time) engaging after business hours or on weekends to promote new developments in American Oversight’s investigations or to respond to breaking news that relates to our work.
We don’t have a hard and fast checklist of requirements for this position, but the following attributes will likely describe the successful candidate:
- Excellent writing skills with a focus on accuracy and detail, and the ability to rapidly synthesize complex legal and policy documents into clear, compelling prose;
- At least 2 years previous experience in journalism, policy, or related work writing for a general audience about government, politics, public health, or similar issues;
- Strong news judgment and the ability to quickly assess information for relevance and newsworthiness;
- Integrity and commitment to high journalistic standards of quality and accuracy. It’s great to be first, and we like to get attention, but it is always far more important to be correct, honest, and trustworthy;
- Experience fact-checking, or writing for a publication with a fact-checking process;
- Adept at drawing upon multiple sources of information to connect the dots and help readers understand key points, trends, and patterns that may not be immediately obvious;
- Can handle high-pressure, quick-deadline projects on high-profile, breaking news topics;
- Fluency in public health issues related to the coronavirus pandemic as well as a working familiarity with current politics and the way they are discussed in mainstream media;
- Team player, comfortable working in a fast-paced, collaborative environment;
- Solid organizational skills with the ability to complete projects and handle multiple tasks simultaneously, as well as the ability to keep track of American Oversight’s several and varying areas of investigation.
American Oversight is proudly an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and retaining a diverse team. People of color, women, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and/or veterans are encouraged to apply.
The salary range for this position is $55,000 – $60,000 annually, commensurate with experience. Generous and comprehensive benefits package.
Also, we are biased, but we think American Oversight is a great place to work! Take a look at the testimonials from members of our wonderful team.
HOW TO APPLY
Please send application materials, including a résumé, a one-page cover letter, and copies of two clips of your writing to email@example.com with “Staff Writer – Coronavirus Investigations” in the subject line. Please indicate in your email how you heard about this opening.
Interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis and will begin our first round of review by July 10, 2020.