Who we are
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grasstops, and grassroots organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.
Vera has a staff of almost 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.
Who you are
Working closely with the editorial team, the Senior Writer will research and write communications products, including research reports, policy briefs, fact sheets, blog posts, articles, op-eds, and other publications and written content to support the strategic goals of the Institute and work collaboratively to support and strengthen the communications efforts at Vera.
In this role, you will:
- 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.
- Crafting content for both traditional and digital media, including blog posts, short- and long-form journalism, op-eds, multimedia scripts, fact sheets, infographics, policy memos, research reports, landing pages, and other publications for a variety of audiences including advocates, policymakers, practitioners, and the general public
- Revision and collaboration
- Working with Vera’s editorial team and other stakeholders across the organization through the production process, including revisions, multiple rounds of editing, design, and through dissemination.
- Ready and willing to take feedback well and adjust content accordingly.
- Serving as a liaison between the Communications team and contributing program staff/sources during the story development process.
- Rapid response
- Keeping up with the news cycle and current events related to Vera’s work.
- Pitching relevant articles and content ideas.
- Quickly fielding rapid response work as necessitated.
- Working across teams and departments to help define and develop messaging around Vera’s core issue areas.
What qualifications do you need?
- At least seven years of experience writing about criminal justice and/or other social justice issues.
- A record of published content. A portfolio of written articles, op-eds, blog posts, reports, publications, or other work, particularly for mission-driven organizations or the news media.
- A background in writing. Bachelor’s or advanced degree in English, writing, journalism, communications, or a closely related field, or mastery of equivalent skills and experience.
- Communication expertise. Exceptional oral and written communication skills. The ability to write quickly, clearly, persuasively, and accessibly across a variety of issues.
- Creativity. Ability to write compellingly about Vera’s work in innovative and engaging ways.
- Passion. A deep knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to transformation of the criminal legal and immigration systems or a background with similar issues.
- Time management and attention to detail. Excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage work on multiple projects efficiently in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. The senior writer needs to work effectively both with and without close supervision.
- Project management. Detail-oriented but can see the big picture. Able to take initiative, prioritize tasks and duties, and work independently while meeting specific deadlines.
- Collaboration. Collaboration is a Vera value. 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 should be open and willing to incorporate feedback as part of the product development process.
- Problem solving. Able to quickly and accurately identify problems with everything from editorial work to system processes and suggest and implement solutions with and without supervision.
- Emotional intelligence. Demonstrating strong social and emotional awareness both with team and external partners. Open to opportunities to learn and grow. Exercise good judgment and don’t allow urgency to trump relationships.
- 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. The senior writer should incorporate this value and share it with others.
List of Required Software applications:
Applications may also be faxed to:
ATTN: Human Resources / Senior Writer, Communications
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, current employment status, or caregiver 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