Data Journalist, Science & Research

Communications Washington, District of Columbia


Program Overview

Reporting to the Resource Watch Director along with WRI’s Senior Editor, you will develop editorial content for Resource Watch, an open data system to provide timely and trusted data for a sustainable future. Launched as a beta version in April 2018, it provides timely, decision-relevant data on the world’s most urgent global challenges and currently hosts around 286 datasets, including 40+ in near real-time. You will work with WRI researchers, analysts, designers, communications staff and external partners to conceptualize, write and edit data-driven stories on the interlinkages between the environment and human well-being.

Job Summary

In this role, you will produce data-driven content that helps advance WRI’s mission and develop in-depth data stories using sustainability data available on Resource Watch. You will work closely with our program staff and international offices to develop ideas and work with the Resource Watch team to query, model and analyze datasets to identify stories. You will conceive and produce in-depth stories on datasets featured on Resource Watch and identify new databases on sustainability issues that warrant journalistic inquiry. You will develop in-depth data stories for WRI’s flagship institutional blog, Insights, and shape the editorial strategy for the Resource Watch blog containing short form data stories, how-to guides and data visualizations. 

As part of the role, you will mine Resource Watch’s datasets for stories that respond to current challenges relevant to WRI’s seven program areas (food, forest, water, climate, energy, cities, and the ocean). Leading analysis and interpretation of data from varied sources, you will turn these into clear written insights and data visualization. You will communicate clearly and in a timely manner with program teams across WRI about the development of data stories. You will be part of the Resource Watch team and have access to support for data queries, analysis, and visualizations from members of the team. 

Job Responsibilities

  • Find the narrative in the numbers. Work closely with WRI s analysts and researchers to mine Resource Watch’s nearly 300 datasets for story ideas, working closely with data analysts and subject matter experts
  • Lead analysis to identify trends and spot stories leveraging data analysis from the Resource Watch team, topical expertise from experts across WRI program teams and editorial guidance from the communications team
  • Develop a continuous pipeline of data stories using Resource Watch datasets, while leaning on topical expertise from across WRI’s seven program teams
  • Plan, develop and execute on two to three in-depth data features annually, which look deeper at a particular sustainability challenge and aspire to change the discourse
  • Oversee writing, editing and production of the Resource Watch blog by developing data-driven stories and multimedia content
  • Solicit data-driven ideas from WRI program teams, and work with them to turn complex research findings into compelling data stories
  • Produce highly visual and interactive content, working closely with WRI’s graphic designers and data visualization specialists
  • Innovate and experiment with new ways of telling data-driven stories

Data Analysis, Writing, and Editing (60%)

  • Find the narrative in the numbers. Work closely with WRI s analysts and researchers to mine Resource Watch’s nearly 300 datasets for story ideas
  • Analyze datasets on planetary health and sustainability to identify trends and spot key findings for revelatory stories
  • Develop a continuous pipeline of data stories using Resource Watch datasets, while leaning on topical expertise from across WRI’s seven program teams
  • Plan, develop and execute on several in-depth data features annually, which look deeper at a particular sustainability challenge and aspire to change the discourse
  • Oversee writing, editing and production of the Resource Watch blog by developing data-driven stories, how-to guides, platform updates and multimedia content
  • Solicit data-driven ideas from WRI program teams, and work with them to turn complex research findings into compelling stories
  • Produce highly visual and interactive content, working closely with WRI’s graphic designers and data visualization specialists
  • Innovate and experiment with new ways of telling data-driven stories

Develop and Implement Editorial Strategy (20%)

  • Lead and maintain the editorial strategy to advance the Resource Watch platform and assess its value and impact over time
  • Set key metrics for blog content and track performance using Google Analytics and other tools
  • Manage an editorial calendar and develop mix of content for Resource Watch and WRI’s Insights blog
  • Guide the tone and voice of Resource Watch editorial, web and social media content
  • Work closely with WRI’s Science and Research and Communications teams to ensure that all content is analytically rigorous and adheres to WRI’s standards for quality and accuracy
  • Collaborate closely with communication staff across the Institute

Data Journalism Training (20%)

  • Work with the Resource Watch and communication team to develop data journalism curriculum, and online or on-site trainings

Job Qualifications

  • Minimum of 3 years of relevant, full-time work experience in journalism, international development content, scientific editorial content, think tank research dissemination, data analysis or similar position
  • Bachelor’s degree  in related field
  • Strong research, writing and analytical skills
  • Demonstrated experience using spreadsheets, searching and analyzing databases
  • Experience with data journalism, online content development.
  • Prior experience developing data-driven editorial content
  • Demonstrated experience or expertise in writing on science, environment, sustainability and/or international development issues.
  • High degree of comfort exploring and working with data though visual analysis, statistical analysis or other means
  • Understanding of the media landscape and data journalism trends.
  • Experience producing visually driven and interactive content
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative spirit
  • A can-do outlook with a strong affinity to work for a global non-profit organization
  • Interest in collaborating on analysis and writing of co-bylined content with topical experts from across WRI’s seven program areas (food, forests, water, climate, energy, cities, and the ocean)
  • Interest and curiosity in learning programming libraries, GIS and visualization tools
  • US work authorization is required for this opportunity.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience wrangling data using programming languages and libraries, such as R or Python
  • Experience with GIS
  • Knowledge of statistics
  • Experience with online visualizations including the different methods for visualizing data and plug-and-play data visualization tools such as Data Wrapper or Flourish (WRI’s preferred visualization tool)
  • Ability to work with version control in git/Github

 How to Apply

Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

WRI Overview

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges, and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in AfricaBrazilChinaEuropeIndiaIndonesiaMexico and the United States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.  

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.  

The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org) is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.