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Seeking Lead Writers in Sports, Politics and Economics

FiveThirtyEight is conducting a search for lead writers in three of our most important content verticals: sports, politics and economics.

These are high-profile, full-time positions for people with an outstanding combination of writing and statistical skills. They will principally involve: (i) writing 2-3 feature-length articles per week (typically between 500 words and a few thousand words) and (ii) contributing to long-term FiveThirtyEight projects  that is, assisting in the build-out of our data-driven models and interactive features.
The three principal qualifications for these lead writing positions are as follows:

 ·         First, candidates must be able to write clearly about complex ideas. Strong prose style and composition represents a major part of the skill set. But we also seek candidates who can display a clear sense of editorial judgment: how to select story ideas, and how to present data-driven content in a way that can be approachable for a smart (but non-specialist) audience.  We strongly prefer candidates who have a demonstrated track record of writing for the broader public. 

·         Second, candidates should have a demonstrated aptitude in conducting original statistical analysis within their subject areas. 

·         Third, these jobs require candidates who are willing to take full-time positions with FiveThirtyEight. These jobs will involve a regular newsroom/office presence, and occasional travel. For the sports and economics verticals, we strongly prefer candidates who are willing to relocate to New York City, where the FiveThirtyEight newsroom will be headquartered. For the politics vertical, we strongly prefer candidates who are willing to relocate to New York or Washington, D.C.

There are also some particular qualifications for each of the verticals:

·         Sports. Candidates should have the demonstrated ability to write and think capably about several different sports: in particular, baseball, basketball, and football (perhaps along with others). Candidates who specialize in just one sport will be considered for freelance writing positions instead. 

·         Economics. Candidates should have expertise in analyzing U.S. economic and market data (rather than analyzing economic policy). For instance, familiarity with the mechanics of officially-reported statistical series such as the monthly jobs report, and with the dynamics of equity markets and other trading markets, are strong positives. 

·         Politics. Candidates should focus on those political subjects that are most amenable to empirical scrutiny – especially forthcoming U.S. elections, the behavior of Congress, demographic trends, and public opinion and polling on major policy issues. By contrast, we have no interest in partisan political commentary. (We don’t care what your political views are, nor how public you choose to make them. But this is a job for an analyst rather than an advocate or essayist.)

Finally, there are some skills that we consider somewhat less essential to the job, but which we will regard positively among potential applicants. In rough order of importance, they are as follows:

·         “Traditional” reporting skills (e.g. interviewing and tracking down source documents) are something we view very positively. We are intrigued by candidates who can combine traditional reporting with critical, empirical analysis  in the way that (for example) Zach Lowe of Grantland or Keith Law of do. 

·         Experience in managing or editing writers is a positive. While these are principally writing and analysis positions, a track record in managing and editing may contribute to the growth potential for the candidate. 

·         Programming skills, database skills, and familiarity with statistical software packages are clear positives. 

·         So is the demonstrated ability to produce high-quality charts, graphics, and interactive features. 

·         Experience in communicating via television, video and radio is a plus.

We recognize that these positions demand an impressive and diverse background. But we are hoping to find a few “perfect” candidates. And we expect these to be incredibly fun and rewarding jobs.
If you are interested in these lead writing positions, please send a resume and writing samples (or links to your published content) to 538JOBS AT GMAIL DOT COM.
Notes about other FiveThirtyEight positions:

We have plans to incorporate freelance feature content on a regular basis, in addition to our staff positions. But we will be advertising those opportunities at a later date.

Likewise, we have profound respect for blog-style content (i.e. news cycle-driven articles written at a reasonably high frequency)  but we will be advertising for blogging positions at a later point in our staffing process.

Candidates for blogging or freelance roles are welcome to contact us at 538JOBS AT GMAIL DOT COM, but they will probably not receive a substantive reply until we are more focused on those positions.

We are also actively considering candidates to become our Managing Editor. Candidates for the Managing Editor job should refer to our previous post and should apply to the Managing
Editor job posting at the ESPN careers website
as soon as they can.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.