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Senior Writer, Communications - NYC

 

At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is of a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At a propitious moment for justice reform, we are standing up and driving change on a variety of fronts—ending cash bail, ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, ensuring that immigrants get due process, and centering all this work in racial equity. Convincing people to change the way they think and act in order to serve justice is in our DNA. We have a robust and growing communications team, advocating for our vision with our stakeholder and public audiences. Are you interested in helping a super dedicated and productive team use best-in-class communications strategies and tactics to drive change in the justice system?

If so, read on.

Over the past five years—with 2.2 million people behind bars—we’ve reached a tipping point, and justice reform has become mainstream. It’s on the front pages, it’s bipartisan, it’s got new funders, it’s attracting cultural attention. Vera has been on the cutting edge of this change. Long known for our research and technical assistance, communications has more recently become one of the core pillars of how we do our work. Accordingly, we have more than tripled our communications team and devoted unrestricted dollars to our work over five years. Importantly, we embed communications in our program and project work from the start. Our efforts have paid off—with an award-winning rebranding and website overhaul, significant media attention, dramatic growth in social media followers, and new partnerships.

We need to leverage the increased attention to justice and to Vera’s work in particular by deploying communications strategies to elevate our issues and our brand. We are seeking a Senior Writer to join a growing and diverse team of strategic content, messaging, digital, and media experts.

What You’ll Do

Reporting directly to the Editorial Strategy Director and working closely with the editorial team on a daily basis, the Senior Writer will research and write communications products, including research reports, policy briefs, fact sheets, blog posts, and op-eds to support the strategic goals of the institute and work collaboratively to support and strengthen the communications efforts at Vera.

The Senior Writer will be responsible for:

  • Working with Vera thought leaders and the Communications team to conceive, research, and write a wide variety of communications products focused on topics relevant to Vera’s justice work for both traditional and digital media, including blog posts, short- and long-form journalism, op-eds, multimedia scripts, fact sheets, infographics, policy memos, and research reports for a variety of audiences including advocates, policymakers, practitioners, and the general public.
  • Working with Vera’s editorial team throughout the production process, including revisions, multiple rounds of editing, design, and dissemination strategy.
  • Serving as a liaison between the Communications team and contributing program staff/sources during the story development process.
  • Fielding rapid response work a necessitated by the news cycle and current events related to Vera’s work.

What We Need in You

Expertise. Exceptional writing, editing, communication, and interpersonal skills. The ability to write quickly, clearly, persuasively, and accessibly across a variety of product and in a range of voices and styles for diverse channels and audiences.

A demonstrated record of written work. A proven track record of written work in the criminal justice sphere.

Passion. A deep knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to criminal justice issues.

Creativity. The ability to find and develop stories and other communications products from Vera’s existing work and the news cycle.

A collaborative attitude. We thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas. We’re open to giving and receiving feedback and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow on our team and across the institute. The Senior Writer must be open to and willing to incorporate feedback as part of the writing and editing processes.

A deep commitment to racial equity. In a system built on racism and inequity, we are working to ensure equity both in our workplace and in the world. You incorporate this value and share it with others.

Emotional intelligence. You demonstrate strong social and emotional awareness with your team and external partners. You’re open to opportunities to learn and grow. You exercise good judgment and don’t allow urgency to trump relationships.

Project management skills. You are detail-oriented but can see the big picture. You have keen time management and multitasking skills, including the ability to take initiative, prioritize tasks and duties, pay close attention to detail, and work independently while meeting specific deadlines. Ability to handle multiple and complex projects simultaneously under stringent timeframes and changing priorities/conditions.

Additional Qualifications

At least seven years of experience writing about the criminal justice field.

A demonstrated ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.

Preferred Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, English, and a justice-related field; advanced degree preferred.

Who We Are

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, envisions a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for everyone. Vera is committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities.

  • We study problems that impede human dignity and justice.
  • We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
  • We engage diverse communities in informed debate.
  • We harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.

We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration and racial disparities in the criminal legal and immigration systems to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace—specifically, we value diverse experiences with regard to educational background and justice system contact. We hire employees who reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, and commitment. If you want to learn more about life at Vera click here

When You Join Our Team

You can expect to work with a team of amazing, tenacious people who are creative, scrappy, and committed to getting the work done. Why? Because our work is more important than ever.

You will have great benefits and work-life balance. Driving meaningful change is hard work. But we also know that you have a life, places to go, and people to see.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample combined into a single document. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Online submission in PDF format is preferred. 

However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / Senior Writer, Communications Recruitment

Vera Institute of Justice

34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, or current employment status.

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

For more information about Vera please visit www.vera.org

 

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