The Chicago Sun-Times is the hardest-working paper in America, covering the stories and issues that matter most to Chicago’s working women and men with depth, integrity and grit. Winner of eight Pulitzer Prizes, the Sun-Times features hard-hitting investigative reporting, in-depth political coverage, insightful sports analysis, entertainment reviews and cultural commentary, both in print and online.
In this role, you will primarily work with the newsroom to research and analyze data to create visualizations for the Sun-Times’ digital team. You will have a mix of short and long-term projects. You’ll work closely with our journalists on a regular basis, and regularly pitch ideas for graphics and visualizations. And, on occasion, you’ll help us design products, including for our digital subscription workflow.
Here’s some examples of the kind of work you’d help us out with:
We’re interested in folks who have strong data skills, as well as an understanding of design techniques using frontend technologies. The ideal candidate doesn’t need to be an expert at everything (we certainly aren’t and would never expect you to be) but we’re looking for folks with skills in some of these areas:
In short: You need to have enough skills to take a dataset, tell a visual story with it, and then understand how to publish that, preferably as static assets. You may also work with a reporter or editor to use the data to help tell a written story, too, which may run in our print newspaper. (You do not need a background in journalism to succeed at this role.)
We are here to help you do awesome work, so if you have some of these skills but not all, you’ll fit right in. We’re looking for passionate folks who want to learn and grow on the job. (Also: If you don’t like the job title of Data Visualization Developer, we’re totally down with calling you something else.)
About us: We are a small but mighty team of content strategists, developers and data analysts who help the Sun-Times newsroom (and business side) solve problems and create the occasional custom solutions for the hardest-working paper in the country. You will help us with some of those projects occasionally, but your main focus will be helping us continue to do the sort of in-depth storytelling work we’re known for. This position will report to the Director of Product Engineering, who’s regularly committing code along with the rest of the team.
Don’t think you’re qualified? Let us decide that! If this job sounds like something you’d like to do or find interesting, please apply, because that’s the kind of people we like to work with.
How to apply: In addition to a resume, please include a cover letter that explains the kind of work you’ve done in the past—perhaps with links to past live projects, or work on Github, or wherever—and the sort of technologies you like to use. Please brag about your cool work, especially anything you’re particularly proud of. This does not need to be a formal super-serious cover letter—we would prefer if it wasn’t, frankly, as we’d like you to just tell us about yourself and your experience in a single-spaced page, if possible.
While this role is geared more toward early and mid-career developers, if you don’t have any existing public projects to show off, that’s okay. If you would like, here are some datasets available for you to download and see what you can make with them:
Do something nifty with one of these datasets (preferably some kind of visualization, one might presume) and show us your work as part of your application. Don’t like these datasets? Find some other civic-minded data and use that instead. Or any data you may find interesting and think you can use to show off your skills. This is not required, and you shouldn’t spend more than a couple of hours on it.
The interview process: If we like what we see, we’ll contact you for an interview to be done over Zoom with the person who would be your direct manager. You will not be asked to write a single line of code during the interview process, nor will you need to whiteboard some highly technical solution. Instead, we’ll talk about your past projects, the sort of work you like to do, and talk about potential projects you may get to work on with the team. Our goal is to make it the least stressful job interview you’ve ever had, because, honestly, we want you to succeed and be awesome.
Although we are all working remotely at this time due to COVID restrictions, the candidate would need to be in the Chicagoland area and be able to come into the office a few times a week, once it’s safe to do so. Our offices are located in the West Loop area, and there’s a nice bookstore down the block, which is an added bonus. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Sun-Times Media Productions LLC does not discriminate in its employment decisions on the basis on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, color, religion, age, genetic information, medical condition, disability, marital status, citizenship or national origin, and military membership or veteran status, or on any other basis which would be in violation of any applicable federal, state or local law.