The Illinois Answers Project, a non-profit award-winning newsroom, is looking for a data reporter who can lead our database initiative and provide data visualization on key projects and investigations.

Published by the Better Government Association – winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting – Illinois Answers Project is a growing newsroom focused on investigative and solutions-focused journalism. We also want to become a leading repository of important and useful databases for the state’s residents.

We currently host the most comprehensive databases in Illinois on public salaries and pensions. Funding public-employee pension systems is perhaps the most vexing emergency facing Illinois taxpayers. We collect data from the largest public pensions systems in the state and centralize it into our Illinois Public Pensions Database.

We want a self-starter who will not only maintain our current databases, but will add to the number of public databases residents of Chicago and Illinois can use. The data reporter should be able to collaborate with reporters to use data visualization to add depth to a story and develop maps to illuminate reporting paths and illustrate spatial inequities.

Successful candidates should be able to give descriptive statistics using Excel, and have a user’s familiarity with one of the processing languages – SQL, R and/or Python.

Other desired key skills:

  • Data literacy
  • Experience with Git
  • Experience with Excel and/or Google Sheets
  • Familiarity with Illinois public records laws
  • Experience documenting data work using an R Markdown, Quant or Jupyter Notebook (or other similar format)
  • Experience with shapefiles and using spatial analysis software such as QGIS, ArcGIS or R’s SF package.
  • Knowledge of basic data cleaning techniques including but not limited to Janitor in R, NumPy or Pandas in Python, Open Refine in Google or others
  • Experience with the terminology and structure of graphics online and in print

Ideally, the best candidate would also demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of other programming languages – HTML, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, C
  • Knowledge of graphic packages like D3, GGplot or MapBox

Compensation & Benefits

Salary will vary depending on the candidate based on experience and skills. The position also includes medical, dental, and vision insurance; a comprehensive paid time off package; and 401(k) with an employer match.

This position is represented by SAG-AFTRA.

How to Apply

Submit your cover letter, resume, and links to samples of your work to jobs@bettergov.org. We will begin reviewing submissions immediately and we will consider applicants while the posting remains on our website.  

We encourage applicants from traditionally underrepresented communities, including people of color, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities. The Better Government Association is an equal opportunity employer. We’re committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of inclusion and connectedness for all employees. We welcome the unique contributions you can bring in terms of education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs.

Illinois Answers Project

The Illinois Answers Project is Illinois’ nonpartisan investigations and solutions journalism news organization. We are published by the Better Government Association, Illinois’ nonprofit full-service...