Engagement Reporter, Washington, D.C.

We are not currently accepting applications for this position.

We’re doubling down on our investigative coverage of the federal government and its impact on people’s lives. And we’re adding a member to our award-winning engagement reporting team to do it.

What do we mean by covering the federal government? There’s an enormous amount of news coming from Washington. We’re not particularly interested in the fights or the tweets. Instead, we are going to be digging into what’s really happening inside the halls of power that affects the lives of Americans. We’re looking for a journalist who will mobilize communities — constituents, employees, voters, taxpayers and more — around civic issues they care about. We’ll turn the community’s input into stories holding officials to account.

We’ve done this kind of work before: We asked the public to write to Congressional representatives in every district and fact-checked responses. (Guess what? They were full of misinformation about the Affordable Care Act.) We’ve started an anonymous tip line to collect leads about the president, and listeners have led us to scoops like this one. We called out dozens of elected officials for blocking their constituents on social media based on a big public records request. We gathered a quorum of Facebook followers to drink beer and dig through financial disclosure forms on a Friday night. We joined as many IRS employee Facebook and LinkedIn groups as we could find. We asked Washington Nationals fans if they’ve ever run into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at a baseball game. And right now, we’re in the process of running the Navy’s list of more than 100 safety reforms by worried sailors in every fleet.

This is just a start. We know there are any number of possibilities for engagement work around politics and government. We’re looking for someone with enthusiasm, creativity and reporting chops to do more of it, alongside the other reporters and editors joining our team to cover Washington.

Excited? Us too. You should apply if:

  • You have experience organizing communities and activating people around civic issues either digitally (think Facebook groups, social media, web forms) or in real life (events and forums). Ideally, this would be in a journalistic context, but we’d love to hear about any work you’ve done along these lines.
  • You have journalism experience, either locally or nationally, especially doing stories that shed light on injustices. You don’t need fancy bylines, but you will want baseline reporting chops.
  • You’re a thoughtful writer who can adjust your style to the occasion. You understand the difference between messaging the moderator of a Facebook group and emailing a PR person for comment. And you’re excited by the challenge of making tax policy interesting.
  • You’re creative and proactive. You’re energized by the potential of using crowdsourcing to do revelatory, vital journalism.
  • You use data and analytics (you know, actual evidence) to do things better.
  • You believe in the power of inclusiveness. You think it’s important to collaborate with communities and your colleagues. You’re committed to being a respectful human being.
  • You’re at home on the internet. You think reading the comments can be fun. You appreciate the occasional spicy back-and-forth.

We know there may be great candidates reading this who may not fit into what we’ve described, or who have alternative skills — anyone from community organizers to subreddit mods to event planners — who could bring a lot to this position. There also may be candidates who psych themselves out of applying even if they would be great at this job. If any of that describes you, please don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. There’s space in the application to tell us everything you bring to the table, and we look forward to reading it.

What you should send us:

We cannot emphasize this enough: Great projects are the most important part of the application.

The application form will allow you to send us three projects from your portfolio, as well as give you the space to walk us through your own contributions to those clips. Take advantage of this to tell us everything you did, from behind-the-scenes wins you’re proud of to how you helped your colleagues. Let us know how your engagement and outreach work shaped the output. Don’t be shy — tell us what succeeded (numbers and evidence of impact welcome) and how you’d do it differently next time.

Make sure to read the section above ("You should apply if") because it’s also our evaluation criteria for the position, and use your application to show us how you’ve got the skills we’ve listed, or why the skills you have are the ones we actually need.

We are dedicated to improving our newsroom, in part by better reflecting the people we cover. We are committed to diversity and building an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds and ages. We especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. (Here is a breakdown of our staff.)

This job will be based in either our new Washington office or New York. It’s full-time and includes benefits.

Apply using this form.

Got questions? Email [email protected].

No phone calls, please.

The deadline to apply for this position is April 1.

Latest Stories from ProPublica