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April 29, 2021, 3:37 p.m.

We’re hiring! Come work for Nieman Lab as the deputy editor

Here are a few things to know before you apply. (Then, apply!)

Nieman Lab is hiring a deputy editor! Come work with Joshua Benton, Sarah Scire, Hanaa’ Tameez, and me.

The job posting is here, but let me tell you a few more things about it and what we’re looking for. This used to be my job, so I have thoughts.

What kind of experience are you looking for?

First and foremost, we’re looking for somebody who is genuinely interested in the future of news and journalism online, but who also sees this beat as a wide-ranging opportunity. Today, writing about digital media = writing about life on the internet = writing about real life, and many of the challenges confronting journalism are reflective of broader societal rifts. We’re looking for someone who approaches this beat with deep curiosity and openness, who is skeptical or even scathing when warranted but who is also fundamentally optimistic about innovation in digital journalism and wants to play a part in making this industry better and more sustainable.

Okay, now bringing that back down to earth a bit: We’re also looking for someone who has at least five years of experience working in journalism, including significant time spent editing the work of others. It is essential that this person be an excellent writer, reporter, and editor (and reader). Here are some things that we look for:

— You chase down what’s actually going on behind that weird tweet. You dig, dig, dig. You call people and text people and DM people and email people to get a full story and make sure you understand what is going on.
— You get obsessed and passionate; you recognize that being an expert on small things helps you see the patterns behind big things.
— You have a finely calibrated bullshit detector and recognize when something is PR speak or dumb or just a lot of words.
— You are empathetic. You may be able to write brutal takedowns when necessary, but you also understand that most of the time, the people we are writing about are human people with good intentions, trying to make journalism better. There are many terrible ideas in the world, but for the most part, we want to focus on the new things and good ideas.
— You read a lot — a lot of News and a lot of Other Stuff.

What’s the mix between writing and editing?

The job will be roughly half writing and half editing. You’ll get to help conceive, shape, and develop stories that appear on Nieman Lab’s site while also writing stories of your own. As deputy editor, I did quite a bit of writing, including a weekly column on fake news and misinformation that, since I became editor, has become, um, less weekly. (This is to say, please help us fill out our work on fake news and misinformation, if that’s something you’re interested in.) My hope, when we add a deputy editor to our team, is that we’ll both have ample time to write and edit, switching off as needed.

In addition to working with our staff writers, you’ll help find new freelancers (and help develop a Nieman Lab pitch guide), edit freelance posts, and find stories for potential republication and organizations for potential publishing partnerships.

I have [X personal thing] in my life. I get work done at weird hours. I have to go pick up my kids at daycare. I don’t want to live in Cambridge. Should I not apply?

If you think you might be good at this job, please apply. Our team has a wide variety of outside interests and family commitments of various types. We are looking for somebody who is a self-starter and excellent at managing their own time and meeting the deadlines of a daily publishing schedule. You should also be excellent at communicating with members of our team on Slack, since, especially right now, it’s the primary place we hang out. In return, we trust you to have your own life and largely get things done at the times that work for you.

While this position is currently remote due to Covid, Harvard is in the process of reopening, and you will eventually need to work from Cambridge, in that big white house pictured above. You can definitely work from home sometimes, but this isn’t a long-term remote position. One important reason for that is that, when you work at Nieman Journalism Lab, you’re a part of the broader community of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. In normal times, there are tons of awesome in-person events going on at Lippmann House, amazing fellows to meet, and interesting things to do and talks to attend and libraries to visit all around Harvard.

I should also mention that, as Nieman Lab deputy editor, you will be a full-time Harvard employee, with the truly excellent benefits that entails. These benefits include, but are not limited to, amazing health/dental/vision/life insurance, paid parental leave, a Harvard-funded retirement plan in addition to an employee-funded one, tuition assistance (take Harvard Extension School classes for $40 or other classes for 10% of the normal cost), discounted public transportation passes, a bike commuting allowance, 20 days of paid vacation per year PLUS a week off between Christmas and New Year’s, generous sick time, and personal days — and the list goes on (read my Twitter thread here for more, including specific info for parents).

Apply here. To be considered, you must apply at that Harvard HR site link, where you should include a cover letter telling me why you think you’d be right for the job. Please don’t email me application materials directly; I’m not allowed to consider anyone who doesn’t go through the official HR process.

Laura Hazard Owen is the editor of Nieman Lab. You can reach her via email ( or Twitter DM (@laurahazardowen).
POSTED     April 29, 2021, 3:37 p.m.
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