HHMI is focused on supporting and moving science forward in a variety of different ways ranging from conducting basic biomedical research, empowering educators, inspiring students, developing the next generation of scientists – even stretching into film and media production. Our Headquarters is in Chevy Chase, MD and is home to over 300 employees with expertise in communications, digital production, biomedical sciences, and everything in between. The work housed here supports and augments the groundbreaking research conducted in HHMI labs across the nation. As HHMI scientists continue to push boundaries in laboratories and classrooms, you can be sure that your contributions while working here are making a difference.
HHMI is looking for a versatile and experienced Writer and Editor who can work individually and within a team to conceptualize, create, manage, edit, review, and share content. If you’re the right person for this job, you write in a crisp, conversational style that people want to stop and read. You’re a generalist, meaning that you’re versatile and equally happy working on an employee newsletter, web content, social media posts, and multimedia. You’re interested in people and telling their stories. You’re willing and able to understand our audiences, shape content for them, evaluate, and do what works. In addition to writing, you’re prepared to spend up to 50% of your time copyediting, applying our style guide and working collaboratively with other writers to improve their content.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Research, write, and copyedit content for a broad range of HHMI’s internal and external channels, including websites, newsletters, social media, multimedia, and more. Proactively seek and suggest content ideas.
- Consistently generate and shape content to be clear, friendly, concise, accurate, and true to HHMI’s voice.
- Consistently apply HHMI’s style guides and processes in writing and copyediting.
- Maintain and update HHMI’s editorial style guide; train colleagues as needed.
- Establish and maintain relationships with HHMI staff to help identify, report, and develop stories, information, and shareable content. Become familiar with activities at HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD, at our Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, VA, and in our field operations around the country, to identify stories and other potential content.
- Work with Communications team members to ensure that “all the dots are connected” in messaging about HHMI priorities by marshaling the right resources, identifying key stakeholders, and gathering information to shape messages.
- Research and develop insightful and engaging narratives about HHMI’s vision, priorities, people, and impact. Use your knowledge of key trends and themes at HHMI to help other team members develop content ideas and to provide input on content development efforts across the team.
- Keep abreast of trends and best practices for creating content for various channels and platforms.
- Work with Communications team members to conceptualize graphics and other audio/visual content to augment communications (such as news releases) and add new dimensions to our work.
- Work with HHMI staff, scientists, and Communications team members to review content for a variety of projects. Set expectations, establish and meet deadlines, negotiate edits and other changes, and move approved content forward. As needed, serve as a project manager, ensuring that the work and team are organized, on task, and on schedule while adjusting for any challenges that might arise.
- As needed, work with members of the communication team to shape or post content for channel-specific needs, such as email newsletter platforms, web content management systems, social media software, etc. Develop basic technical proficiency for delivering digital content.
- Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, English, Literature, or a related discipline.
- Minimum of five (5) years of experience in writing and editing.
- Successful candidate for this role may have experience in a corporate or non-profit setting, media outlet, or marketing agency.
- Demonstrated interest in the sciences a plus.
- Experience writing and copyediting articles, newsletters, proposals, reports, profiles, fact sheets, or similar materials across digital and print platforms.
- Experience writing for diverse audiences including executive teams, employees, board members, media, policymakers, and the public.
- Experience organizing and coordinating multiple projects.
- Experience working across multiple departments.
Skills and Abilities:
- Excellent writing, reporting, copyediting, and proofreading skills; familiarity with Chicago Manual of Style a plus.
- Adeptness at translating technical, scientific, or other complex information for a lay audience is preferred.
- Ability to work collaboratively within a distributed team.
- Demonstrated skill using diplomacy and tact to build strong relationships, motivate and balance internal and external stakeholders.
- Versatility and an understanding of how to write effectively for various audiences and channels.
- Basic technical proficiency, or ability to become proficient, in posting and sharing content via software (email platforms, web content management system, social media content management system).
- Must be able to plan and align multiple projects simultaneously.
- Ensures accountability by meeting deadlines and tight timetables, and working well under pressure.
A portfolio of at least three examples of written work is required, with one example showcasing an ability to translate complex subjects for a popular audience.
Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet).
Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.
This job description sets forth the job’s principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however. Unless they begin with the word “may,” the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are “essential functions” of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.