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Newsroom Developer, Democracy Initiative

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Summary: We are seeking a Newsroom Developer to join our team at Spotlight PA, an award-winning independent newsroom covering Pennsylvania’s Capitol and urgent statewide and regional issues. The mission of Spotlight PA is to hold powerful private and public forces to account by producing journalism that gets results and serves the public good. Spotlight PA has the largest collaborative local journalism network of its kind in the United States, with stories shared across more than 120 partner newsrooms, allowing our journalism to reach Pennsylvanians in all corners. The newsroom is supported by grants and donations from individual and institutional donors who believe in the value of the work and want to sustain it.

This position is part of our Democracy Initiative, which seeks to enhance our growing portfolio of voter-centric election resources, training, events, and general service journalism, and to oversee new and creative ways to connect those resources with communities across the state. A particular focus of the initiative is expanding Spotlight PA’s reach and value among people who do not normally engage with traditional media or who have felt left out or misrepresented by conventional election and government coverage. The purpose of the initiative is to enhance engagement with our democracy, a cornerstone of its preservation, and showcase the direct value Spotlight PA can provide to communities beyond the written word.

What you’ll do: As Pennsylvania approaches the critical November election, the Newsroom Developer will work closely with the editorial team to develop new products and tools to connect new or existing audiences with voting resources. 

  • Oversee the expansion of Spotlight PA’s Election Center to include more evergreen resources, tools, data, and information to assist people in engaging with the state government, accessing resources, understanding candidates and processes, and holding officials to account. In addition to on-site work, this might also include making elements embeddable for partners.

  • Work with the editorial team to identify new/emerging areas where Spotlight PA can serve as a direct resource to the public, and develop innovative tools and storytelling techniques to fill the void.

  • Support the integration of our soon-to-be-launched AI Election Assistant and mobile application, in partnership with our product development contractors.

In addition to election work, the Newsroom Developer will assist with other newsroom projects, which might include:

  • Creating products that affect change in Pennsylvania. We pride ourselves on the ability to balance quick-turn data visualizations and enterprise with longer-term projects (Your Next Attorney General quiz, Redistricting Map, Examining District Judges’ Calendars, Pipeline Interactive).

  • Ongoing updates to the website interface and user experience to optimize the conversion of casual readers to newsletter subscribers and donors. In particular, this developer will have oversight of our component design library and site branding.

  • Wrangling data, including scraping, cleaning, and analyzing, and creating graphics with tools or with your own code.

We’re looking for candidates with:

  • Experience and usage in front-end web development

  • Knowledge of Adobe tools such as Illustrator, Photoshop, or Premiere or web-based alternatives like Figma and Canva to edit design assets.

  • A high level of proficiency in HTML/CSS and Javascript, and knowledge of visualization libraries such as D3.js.

  • Recognition of the value of data-driven watchdog journalism and background in journalism a plus

  • Interest in the challenge of presenting that data in compelling ways that engage readers Mobile-first thinking that is responsive and accessible

  • Demonstrated proficiency in developing interactive graphics from scratch

  • Experience with creating news apps with Jekyll, Django, Flask, React, or other tools

  • Experience collaborating on code with Git and GitHub or GitLab

  • In-depth knowledge of mapping tools such as QGIS, Mapbox, Leaflet.js, etc.

  • The ability to do deep data analysis with tools such as Python, SQL, Excel 

This position will report to our Technology Director, an experienced full-stack developer. An ability to work in a collaborative environment is a must, as you will work closely with the editorial teams. Applicants should be goal-oriented and able to work independently. You should be a self-starter and have strong organizational and communication skills. You must also be committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on our team and through your work. 

This job is full-time and includes benefits, and can be based anywhere in the United States. This budgeted salary range is $80,000 to $90,000, though there is flexibility depending on experience and skills.

Applicants should include a resume, cover letter, and links to past work that exemplify both coding and design skills sought for this position.

We know not everyone reading this will fit exactly what we’ve described. We encourage everyone to apply who shares our passion for indispensable journalism and our drive to create a sustainable business model to support it. Spotlight PA is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, and we especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to submit an application, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people, and individuals with disabilities.

Apply here


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