We are looking for a staff writer to cover prisons and jails, including prison conditions, experiences of the incarcerated, their families and corrections officers, the federal Bureau of Prisons and the death penalty.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
The Marshall Project is looking for a staff writer to cover prisons and jails, with a track record of delivering impactful reporting for a national audience. The beat will include prison conditions, experiences of the incarcerated, their families and corrections officers, the federal Bureau of Prisons and the death penalty.
We seek candidates with deep experience in building and expanding sources; an ability to generate story ideas that have national resonance and potential impact; and a zest for pushing past reporting barriers to unearth what institutions want hidden. We are looking for someone comfortable talking to people with a range of perspectives and experiences across the criminal justice system.
The successful candidate will be adept with the tools of reporting inside prisons, with their limited access, monitored phone calls and constraints on the incarcerated. You will be able to cultivate sources both inside and outside prisons and jails. You are able to build thoughtful pieces off breaking news as well as executing deep dives.
To succeed in this job, you must be able to write clearly, translate jargon, and use narrative and other techniques to make readers care. You should identify local stories and granular examples that illustrate major trends. We seek to hold the powerful accountable, but also to delineate systemic problems. We value impact, as well as surprise, colorful writing and counter-intuitive analysis.
While we do not specify years of experience, this is not an entry-level job; we are looking for seasoned reporters with demonstrated records of impact and ambitious stories.
Preferred Skills and Experiences
Identify, conceive and execute major projects and medium-term enterprise, either investigative or narrative, on various aspects of criminal justice, with deep reporting, original insight and narrative grace. You enjoy teeing off news to produce shorter articles, analysis and conceptual scoops that add value to breaking news that other outlets will report. Ability to juggle and meet deadlines on both long and shorter-term projects.
Cultivate and expand a broad network of sources and mine them for story ideas. Even if you do not now have sources inside prisons, you know how to develop them.
Obsessiveness with accuracy.
Collaboration is in our DNA. You’ll work closely with colleagues from The Marshall Project and partner organizations— online, print, audio, broadcast and alternate story forms. Ability to work constructively with reporters,editors, data team, developers, designers, photo editors, video and audience and engagement teams.
Openness to alternatives to text narrative as you report, including visual journalism, audio, video, and engagement journalism potential.
Contribute to audience and promotion through headline writing, social media, media requests, appearances, and live events.
We do not expect every candidate to be equally skilled in all these areas, and this is not a complete list of all relevant qualifications applicants might bring to the job. Please tell us about your other assets not mentioned here that may be valuable to this role. Reaching talent across a range of backgrounds and experiences is deeply important to us. If you do not have the exact combination of skills listed here, but are still interested in this role and/or in The Marshall Project, we’d love to hear from you.
Who You’d Be Working With
You will report to a senior editor. You’ll meet periodically as well with a group of reporters and editors to brainstorm story ideas and discuss reporting and writing strategies.
Compensation and Benefits
This job is full-time, with a competitive salary and benefits including:
Annual Salary Range: $95,000 to $115,000
100% employer-paid medical, employer subsidized vision and dental insurance; matching traditional and Roth 401k (immediate vesting). Voluntary benefits include: Health and Dependent Care FSA, commuter benefits, pet insurance, short and long term disability insurance, employee and dependent life insurance, AFLAC accident, hospital indemnity, and critical illness coverage, legal benefits, personal excess liability insurance, and employee discount marketplace. We also observe 17 days of paid time off each year (in addition to office closure between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2), and provide paid parental leave.
We are headquartered in New York City, but this job can be filled remotely.
Who We Are
The Marshall Project is a nonprofit news organization dedicated to covering America’s criminal justice system. In 2016 and 2021, The Marshall Project was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. We have also been honored with the Goldsmith Prize, multiple National Magazine Awards, and for General Excellence from the Online Journalism Awards. We are not advocates — we follow the facts and we do not pander to any audience — but we have a declared mission: to create and sustain a sense of urgency about the criminal justice system. We do not generally cover breaking news, although we curate the reporting of other news outlets in our morning newsletter. Our work includes investigative and explanatory projects and shorter pieces aimed at highlighting stories that other news organizations miss, underestimate or misunderstand. To assure our work reaches a larger audience, we partner with other media outlets; we have worked with more than 200 newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and online sites.
We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to diversity. We welcome qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, physical abilities, genders and sexual orientations, including people who have been incarcerated or otherwise involved with the criminal justice system.
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