News Applications Developer, ProPublica Illinois

ProPublica is seeking a developer/journalist to join its award-winning news applications team, covering Illinois and working with and out of our newsroom in Chicago.

As a news applications developer, here’s what you’ll do:

  • Design and develop interactive databases (what we call “news apps”) and interactive graphics to hold the powerful accountable and make a real impact on people’s lives.
  • Work closely with the data and engagement reporters on projects that help Illinoisans understand their world and make good decisions.
  • Do journalism that matters, in collaboration with talented reporters, editors and data journalists, using coding and analysis skills to spotlight wrongdoing.
  • Prove that ProPublica’s success in nationally focused database journalism could do just as much good with local data and for local communities.

We’re looking for someone with:

  • A track record of excellence in at least two of these areas: design skill, coding acumen and a journalist’s insight — as well as an aptitude for and genuine excitement about developing all three.
  • A good understanding of state and municipal government data.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and solid editorial judgment.
  • Diligence, attention to detail and a love for making things.
  • Fluency in modern and widely supported front- and back-end programming languages. We’ve traditionally been a Ruby shop, but we’re using Python and Javascript in production more and more.
  • The self-discipline to work independently, as well as genuine eagerness to work with others. Everybody at ProPublica has their own superpower, but we do our best work together.
  • A commitment to being a great colleague and respectful human being.

If you’re already familiar with Chicago and Illinois, that’s a plus, but we’re also interested in candidates who can demonstrate their ability to learn about an area — and its data — quickly. This includes knowing and being able to gather on short notice data about state and local budgets, campaign finance, lobbying, crime, education and other topics.

We are dedicated to improving our newsroom, in part by better reflecting the people we cover. (Here is a breakdown of our staff.)

We are committed to diversity and building an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds and ages. And we are taking steps to meet that commitment. We especially encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

This position is full time with benefits. When you start your job here, you’ll first spend a significant amount of time working in our office in New York City, learning from and working alongside ProPublica’s news apps team, which is primarily based there. We’ll figure out together what amount of time makes sense for you. Afterward, you’ll be based in our Chicago office. If you currently live elsewhere, we’ll relocate you to Chicago.

We are not considering remote applicants for this position.

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 projects. 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.

Make sure to read the section above (“We’re looking for someone with”) 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 know there may be great candidates reading this who may not fit into what we’ve described, or who have alternative skills — anything from illustration to motion graphics to game design — that 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.

Interested? Use this form to apply. The last day to apply is Monday, Sept. 2 at 11:59 p.m. Central. (We've extended the deadline to give everyone more time to apply!) Folks in other time zones, don’t worry. Anyone who’s started on their application already before the deadline will have an extra grace period to submit. We’ll start reviewing applications that week.

Questions? Email [email protected]. Sisi (Hi! 👋🏼) is an assistant managing editor at ProPublica, she edits our news apps team and this position will report both to her and Louise Kiernan, ProPublica Illinois’ editor in chief.

No phone calls, please.

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