August 13, 2015

Data and Visual Director opening at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

We have a rare opening at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, as Kate Golden, our beloved and multitalented multimedia director, exits to Australia. If you’re interested in succeeding her, we want to talk with you about our newly fashioned position: Data and Visual Director.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism punches way above its weight. See WisconsinWatch.org. We are a nonpartisan nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on government accountability and quality of life issues. In five years we have won 32 regional Milwaukee Press Club awards and the first Associated Press Media Editors Innovator of the Year for College Students award for collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism school. And our student reporters are three-time finalists in the Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.

Perks of working at WCIJ include reporting on a state with astonishingly divided politics and a presidentially inclined governor with no end of surprises. We’ve reported recently on alleged prison abuses, the use of students as confidential drug informants and — in the number-one state for old-fashioneds — why drunken driving is still a misdemeanor offense here. Also, nearly half the private drinking water wells are unsafe, and a dead zone appears in Green Bay each year.

Still, it’s awfully nice here in Madison. The bike paths are numerous, the rent relatively cheap and the farm produce plentiful. Our office bar is the famed Memorial Union Terrace, over Lake Mendota.

The rest of the staff includes an executive director, an associate director who focuses on the business side, a managing editor, a part-time veteran environmental reporter, three paid reporting interns and one paid public engagement and marketing intern. We also are hiring a radio reporting fellow in conjunction with Wisconsin Public Radio.

We’re a flexible, fun workplace that still manages to do some hard-core work. It’s not unusual for homemade pie or guacamole to show up at the “world headquarters” in Vilas Hall. We communicate by Slack (also in person – yo!) and are willing to experiment with new techniques and technologies. (Ask us about our wooden cow!)

Interested in working with us from a remote location? You’ll miss out on the pie and guacamole, but we’ll consider your application. Preference given to someone who can be here at least once a week, to facilitate our work with student journalists.

We’re looking for some combination of the following:

High-priority skills:

  • Data analysis and visualization. Whether you call yourself a coder or not, you should know how to find and learn the tools you need to find answers in structured data. We want someone who is skilled in the gray arts of acquiring data, in assessing its flaws and possibilities, and in making beautiful data visualizations.
  • Bulletproofing your work. We use a fact-checking system and we’re obsessive about accuracy.
  • Website management and posting. Familiarity with the world of HTML, CSS, Twitter Bootstrap (for landing pages, special features, staff pages). Design chops and good taste.
  • Photography: Shooting and editing.
  • Experience in conceiving and producing ambitious multimedia investigative news projects.
  • Interpersonal skills, like flexibility, kindness and a sense of humor, suited for working in small teams on intense projects.
  • Supervisory experience. We work with student journalists, who bring great energy into the newsroom but whose limited experience can be perilous for complex projects.
  • A sense of mission that aligns with our guiding values: Protect the vulnerable. Expose wrongdoing. Seek solutions.

Lower priority skills:

  • News reporting.
  • Radio writing and production. We work regularly with Wisconsin Public Radio and aim to get more on the radio.
  • Video shooting, writing and production. We have done web features and worked with Wisconsin Public Television as collaborating producers.
  • Programming.

Target start date: Flexible, around Dec. 1, 2015.

Expected salary range: $45,000-$70,000, commensurate with skills and experience.

Benefits: Generous paid vacation. We don’t offer health insurance yet but are willing to subsidize health-care premiums.

Deadline: The initial application window will be open until Sept. 27, 2015. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

To apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, a list of references and examples of your work to Executive Director Andy Hall at ahall@wisconsinwatch.org. If you’d like to chat about the job before applying, contact Andy at 608-333-2333.