Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk – Part-time Data Journalist

Company: University of Missouri
Company Website
Location: Remote
Part Time

The Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk, an environmental news collaborative, seeks a part-time data journalist to support its reporting. The Desk, run by the University of Missouri School of Journalism, was launched in 2021 to fill a need for connected, strategic, in-depth reporting and communication about water, agriculture, climate and environmental issues inside the Mississippi River basin. Through a partnership with Report for America, the Desk has 10 full-time reporters and five expert journalist advisors at partner newsrooms from the headwaters to the delta. These journalists and their editors collaborate remotely with the Desk to create local and regional multimedia stories that are distributed to local newsrooms nationwide for free.

The PT Data Journalist will work closely with the Editorial Director to support these reporters on local and regional stories as assigned. This is a project-based position and hours are flexible, but could range from 0-10 in a week. Projects could include, for example, mining an EPA database to create a dataset of the biggest polluters in the 10 mainstem Mississippi basin states, assisting a reporter with cleaning up state agency data on drinking water testing, or helping to create an interactive map representing federal disaster declarations in Kentucky. The Data Journalist will also be encouraged to pitch their own collaborative data-driven story ideas. 

This position is fully remote and no travel is required. Projects usually have several weeks or months of lead time, so scheduling will be flexible. This is not a daily news reporting position. This position will prioritize data analysis, with opportunities for data visualization as time and the journalist’s skills allow. The Desk is grant-funded through 2024 with the possibility of extension. 

Desired qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience working with datasets and using tools such as spreadsheets, database managers or programming languages
  • Ability to identify, evaluate, acquire, clean and analyze data using a range of tools to find stories, trends and patterns in collaboration with other journalists
  • Ability to work collegially and flexibly with others with limited supervision 
  • A Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience, and at least 3 years of experience from which comparable knowledge and skills can be acquired, is necessary

Preferred, but not required:

  • Ability to present data in meaningful and engaging ways to colleagues and readers, including experience with creating graphics, maps, etc. for use in stories
  • Experience with advanced tools like Python and R programming languages
  • Spatial analysis with programming languages or QGIS
  • Willingness to share skills or help train others in data journalism

Pay will be $27-45/hour depending on qualifications. Hours will vary from 0-10/week, with an average of 5 hours/week. This is a part-time position with no benefits, administered by the University of Missouri. 

Click here to fill out an application form. Please note, the form requires a Google sign-in – if this is an issue, or with any other questions, please email tegan@agwaterdesk.org

We will begin reviewing applications on 1/9/23, with Zoom interviews to follow in mid-January. We anticipate the Data Journalist will start work in February. Thanks for your interest! 

Diversity commitment:
The University of Missouri is fully committed to achieving the goal of a diverse and inclusive academic community of faculty, staff and students. We seek individuals who are committed to this goal and our core campus values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence. 

Equal Employment Opportunity:
Equal Opportunity is and shall be provided for all employees and applicants for employment on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law. This policy shall not be interpreted in such a manner as to violate the legal rights of religious organizations or the recruiting rights of military organizations associated with the Armed Forces or the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America. For more information, call the Vice Chancellor of Human Resource Services/Affirmative Action officer at 573-882-4256. 

To request ADA accommodations, please call the Disability Inclusion and ADA Compliance Manager at 573-884-7278. EEO IS THE LAW.