Today’s newsrooms are desperately short-staffed. Too often, journalists find themselves reporting on public policy topics they know little about – from health care reform to climate change.
Fortunately, the world of academia routinely publishes high-quality research by scholars with deep expertise in these topics. Like journalists, scholarly researchers are intensely curious and driven by society’s tough questions. Unlike journalists, scholars have time to develop deep knowledge of specific subject areas. Academic researchers can be valuable collaborators in journalism. Unfortunately, many journalists don’t know how to use serious research in their reporting, don’t know how to identify high-quality research, don’t have the time to sift through lengthy journal articles, or don’t even think to seek out expert scholars for interviews.
Realizing a need and an opportunity to bridge the gap between academia and journalism, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) created Journalist’s Resource (JR), an open-access online reference desk for journalists.
In clear, accessible, non-academic language, we summarize, highlight and contextualize high quality peer-reviewed research on newsy and newsworthy major public policy matters. Our searchable database contains thousands of summaries of and articles about top academic and governmental research, which we have vetted for quality. We strive to translate complex statistics into clear data points and reformulate the terminology of academic specialists into more accessible language, without sacrificing rigor or nuance. We also create tip sheets, including research-based best practices for reporting on various public policy topics and explanations of commonly misunderstood research terms and methods.
We have a broad reach: More than 54,000 people follow us on Twitter, and more than 50,000 subscribe to our free weekly e-mail newsletter.
Journalist’s Resource seeks a seasoned journalist to report and write articles, research roundups and tip sheets about public health and healthcare, with a focus on health equity. The job requires the writing and journalistic skills of a daily news reporter and the perspective of a scholarly researcher. We combine academic rigor with the pace of a newsroom.
This position will report to the Program Director of Journalist’s Resource.
Please note this is full time, benefited one year term appointment from the date of hire with possibility of renewal.
- Respond to and stay ahead of the news cycle by curating and summarizing high-quality public health research for an audience of working journalists.
- Interview subject experts, including academics and high-profile journalists, to create tip sheets on best practices for covering various health and health equity topics.
- Curate (or create) images and data visualizations to accompany posts for the JR website.
- Post pieces to the website using the WordPress content management system.
- Cultivate and maintain a source list of academic and journalistic experts to help guide your coverage.
- Engage with working journalists on social media.
- Contribute articles and expertise to local newsrooms and news collaboratives.
- Provide expert advice and guidance to individual reporters who contact JR for guidance.
- Interview and create Q&As with high-profile speakers who visit the Shorenstein Center.
- Work closely with the JR team and other projects within the Shorenstein Center on various initiatives.
- Assist with editing and weekly newsletter production tasks.
- Attend and present at academic and journalism conferences in the interest of bridging the gap between academia and journalism.
Harvard Kennedy School’s Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard Kennedy School is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable, and culturally rich community that fosters civility and respect. We are a community of staff, students, and faculty with wide-ranging backgrounds, experiences, and opinions who are steadfast in supporting our communities as public servants and leaders.
In our interconnected world, we need leaders who serve with acceptance, inclusion, compassion, openness, and respect. These values are at the very heart of what we do at Harvard Kennedy School.
Harvard Kennedy School’s mission is to improve public policy and leadership so people can live in societies that are more safe, free, just, and sustainably prosperous. Our teaching, research, and engagement with practitioners focus on these priorities:
- Protecting security, freedom, and human rights
- Strengthening democracy
- Advancing social justice
- Increasing economic well-being
- Enhancing sustainability
- Improving public leadership and management
You can be part of this endeavor. Explore and learn more about Harvard Kennedy School.
Standard Benefits Information
Harvard offers a generous benefits package including:
- Time Off: 3- 4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 11.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.
- Medical/Dental/Vision: We offer a variety of excellent medical plans, dental & vision plans, all coverage begins as of your start date.
- Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.
- Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.
- Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as additional options to assist employees in their daily commute.
Wellness Options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation and complimentary health services. Harvard access to athletic facilities, libraries, campus events and many discounts throughout metro Boston.
Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Basic (Required) Qualifications
A minimum of five years of health-related journalism experience, including a minimum of two years in a newsroom.
Any combination of the following:
- A strong interest in the topic of public health and health equity.
- Good news sense combined with the ability to recognize and explain high-quality research.
- Proven project management and interviewing skills.
- Proven ability to meet tight deadlines.
- Strong copy-editing skills.
- The ability to write clearly and quickly and the willingness to accept editorial feedback.
- The ability to work independently and with a team.
- Common sense and comfort with regard to social media.
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office.
- Familiarity with WordPress, PhotoShop and Slack are desirable.
- Basic familiarity with social science research methods. Knowledge of statistics and statistical methods is desirable.
- Knowledge of AP-Style is desirable.
- Experience with multimedia reporting (e.g. data visualization and podcasting) is desirable.
- Kindness, curiosity, good humor and grit.