Recent Staffing Changes + We’re Hiring!

Wanted to make a quick announcement of some recent staffing changes here at INN.

Jack BrightonLast week we said goodbye to our Support, Documentation and Training Manager, Jack Brighton. Jack has decided to move on and possibly go back to school so he has wrapped up his time here as of Friday, October 28. We're sad to see him go but grateful for all of the contributions he made in the year he was with us, particularly the work he did to get our support process better organized, some notable improvements to documentation for Largo and some of our other projects, and his assistance in putting together our tech and product training event in Chicago last month. Best of luck, Jack, in your next chapter!

We have posted a new position that encompasses some of the same responsibilities (but with a few tweaks here and there). It's a bit less focused on training and a bit more on building community around the products we build. If this sounds like a good fit for you, we'd love to chat. Check out the full posting and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or want to discuss before applying. We'll likely start interviewing for that in a couple weeks and you can read more about our interview/hiring process in this post.

Fran Scarlett

Finally, we're thrilled to welcome Fran Scarlett to INN as our new Director of Programs and Services. You can read more about her and this new role over on the main INN site, but in short, she comes to INN most recently from the University of North Carolina where she was regional director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC). She'll be leading INN's business training, coaching and professional services. She starts on November 17th and we're really excited to have the opportunity to work with her to make a difference for INN member organizations. Welcome to the team, Fran!

INN Product and Tech Summer Apprentice Applications Now Open!

The INN Product and Technology Team is looking for one (or more) apprentices to join our team for the summer of 2016.

Unlike many other news/tech internships (why "apprenticeships" anyway?):

  • You'll get paid. We're committed to paying all of our apprentices a fair, living wage.
  • You won't do work no one else wants to do. Instead, you'll work closely alongside our regular team members on real projects for our members and clients.
  • You will learn a lot and make meaningful contributions. Some of your work will be determined by our needs at the time, but we also want to hear (and value) your ideas, help you build stuff, develop your skills and leave with projects ready to impress future employers.

Sound good? Read on.

About Us

As a team, INN works to advance new business and editorial models for public service journalism. The tech team supports many startups and small nonprofits that have limited technology resources. We also serve as a central tech community and knowledge hub for well-established newsrooms. We focus primarily on problems that we are uniquely suited to tackle at a network level, for example:

  • We host and support about 50 member websites using an open source WordPress-powered platform/framework we've built and maintain - http://largoproject.org
  • We build open source tools to support members' editorial work and presentation needs with the goal of making their work look as great as any of the largest for-profit newsrooms
  • We provide general technology consulting, training and develop resources to help increase the overall level of tech knowledge and ability across the network
  • We value diversity, work in the open, have a lot of fun and try to do everything we can to give back to the journalism/tech community (Read more about our team values)

You can learn more about us, who we are and how we work here on our team blog, our team docs and check out our projects on github.

About You

The requirements and responsibilities for our apprenticeships are flexible, but here are some skills/technologies/attributes that would be helpful to have:

  • Some familiarity/experience with user-centered design and standards-driven web development (HTML/CSS, JavaScript, one or more server-side languages such as PHP, Python or Ruby)
  • Able to work independently (particularly important for remote candidates) and communicate effectively with other team members and (where applicable) with member organizations and clients directly
  • Some experience with version control systems (mostly GitHub)
  • Experience making stuff with WordPress (particularly theme design/development)
  • Willingness to write about your work, create/improve documentation and contribute to the team blog
  • Ideas for what you'd like to learn/make/accomplish during your time with us

If you don't meet all of these requirements but still think you'd be a good fit for our team don't hesitate to apply. Generally we are looking for someone driven to make things better and you don't necessarily have to know all the things yet (we certainly don't).

The Details

Typically for our apprenticeships we prefer a 6 month commitment but the specifics around work schedule, number of hours/week and length are flexible.

Persons of color, women and members of other under-represented groups in journalism, media and technology are strongly encouraged to apply.

This is a paid (hourly) position (typically $15/hr).

We are a distributed team and this is a remote position. Previous experience working remotely would be helpful but we'll do whatever we can to help and support your transition if this is your first remote job. The team currently has members in Columbus (OH), Chicago, Champaign (IL), Kansas City and Phoenix.

INN is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to creating a workplace where diversity is valued. In addition to federal law requirements, INN complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

To Apply

Please read this post on our application/interview process and then send the following to adam@inn.org by February 15:

  • A brief resume/CV/portfolio
  • A cover letter (an email is fine) including the following:
    1. Why you're excited about joining us for the summer
    2. A few projects you're particular proud of (links to projects, your github repo, etc.) with a brief explanation of the role you played in each
    3. What you hope to learn/accomplish in your time with us

How-To: Apply For A Job On Our Team

You saw a posting for an open spot on our team. The position sounds perfect and you want to learn more. Great!

Here's a bit of background on how to apply for a job with us and also the inner workings of our hiring process.

Applying

First, here's some advice on how to craft an application that will get our attention.

Read the entire job posting and application requirements. This may seem obvious, but the usual advice regarding tailoring your cover letter and resume for a particular position will definitely help you here.

If we ask why you're the perfect fit for a given role on our team or why you're excited to work with us, just answer the question. You might be surprised (or perhaps not if you've ever been in the position of reviewing applications) at how many people don't follow the application instructions and you're immediately in a better position if you're in the batch that does.

We do read every application we receive so we also mean it when we ask you to be brief. The purpose of your application is simply to get us interested enough to reach out to you to have a conversation. We can get into the details then. That said, don't obsess over fitting your resume onto one page. We won't be printing it out anyway.

Remember that showing is usually much more effective than telling. Instead of a long cover letter, share some work you're really proud of, tell us how you did it, what you learned and how that will benefit our team. For designers we do expect to see a portfolio of your work (a list of links with a bit of background on each is fine); for developers we do expect a link to your github repository and/or other code examples that show us what you can do.

Don't oversell. This is probably the hardest thing to do because you really want to impress us, but it doesn't help you and it doesn't help us if you include skills on your resume that you don't really have or if you exaggerate your role in any given project.

It is, however, totally fine to list skills you want to develop and to be honest about any pieces of the job posting that you know might be a stretch. We know that not every applicant will have every skill we list in any given job posting and we'd rather you apply even if you don't think you meet all of the qualifications so we can at least have a conversation and decide if there's a way to work things out with the skills you do have.

Finally, if you include file attachments, please name them something sane and use a file format we can open.

  • Bad: resume-final-use-this-one.wps
  • Good: smith-jane-INN-lead-designer-resume.pdf (.txt or .md also work if you're so inclined)

Once you have your application materials together, just send them off to the email address specified in the posting and we'll respond (usually within 24 hours) to confirm receipt of your application and let you know when you can expect to hear back from us.

We know the job application process can be stressful (particularly waiting for news), so throughout the process we'll try to communicate as clearly and frequently as possible to let you know where we are in the process and the status of your application.

Reviewing Applications

Now, here's what happens internally when we get your application.

Typically at least three senior members of the team review all applications for each position and then decide, independently, which candidates we're interested in talking to.

We then meet as a team, compare notes and decide how to proceed. Depending on the position, we might pick three applicants to talk to or there might be a dozen or more. It just depends on the strength of the applications we receive.

For this first round of conversations we're committed to at least talking with everyone we think could be a fit. This is true even if we disagree internally. If one member of the team feels strongly about a particular candidate (or just has a hunch), we'll talk with them.

We don't want to rule anyone out at this stage just because their qualifications may not be a perfect fit and even if we ultimately decide you're not a fit for this particular position, we may know of something else that would be great for you with a member organization, a future opportunity on our team, etc.

Initial Interviews

Once we've settled on a group of semifinalists, we'll split them up among a few senior members of our team and schedule initial one-on-one conversations (usually via Google Hangout).

In these conversations we're interested in getting to know you but also want to give you a chance to get to know us. These conversations are informal and you don't need to over-prepare.

However, we do recommend that you at least do a little background reading (peruse the INN website, get to know our members and maybe explore our team docs and projects on github) so you have enough information to come with some thoughtful questions about INN, the role you've applied for and how you'd fit into the team and our work.

Our team docs are especially useful in understanding our values, how we work and also because you'll find a list of interview questions we usually ask job applicants.

Second Round Interviews

After the initial round of interviews, we'll again meet as a team and compare notes. From there we'll typically select a smaller group of applicants to talk with in a bit more depth.

This next round of interviews will typically be with a group of our senior team members (again, usually via google hangout) and we'll take turns asking you questions. Some of these questions will still be rather general, getting-to-know-you sorts of things but we'll also ask questions more specific to the role we're hiring for.

We'll also typically ask you to walk us through one or more recent projects and explain your thought process, key decisions you made, how everything worked out (or didn't), what you learned and what you'd do differently next time. We do this because we want to understand more about how you like to work and solve problems but also your ability to explain your work to others.

We also want to get to know you a bit more as a person and how you'd fit as a member of the team. We'll likely ask about things like your preferred working environment and work schedule, how you feel about working remotely (including any concerns you might have) and also what you like to do outside of work.

At the end of this interview (which will usually be about an hour) we'll leave plenty of time for you to ask us questions.

Final Selection

Once we talk to all of the finalists as a group, we'll again discuss amongst ourselves. At this point we may have settled on a single candidate and be ready to move forward or we may have a couple candidates still in contention.

If we're still not settled on one candidate, we may have another round of interviews and/or ask candidates to complete a small project and then meet with us to discuss the results.

Once we've settled on a finalist, we'll ask you for a few references and talk more in depth about salary, benefits and any other outstanding questions you might have.

From there, we'll talk to your references and assuming everything checks out, we'll extend a formal offer, work out the details and welcome you to the team!

Questions?

I hope that provides a good overview of how we approach hiring and what you can do to craft a successful application.

If you have questions about the process or about any of our open positions, feel free to reach out anytime or drop by our weekly open office hours.

We'd love to hear from you!

Nerd Alert #44: INN nerdbots exterminating the roadblocks

We definitely believe the Internet should be free, fast, and open to all comers. We also like farms.


HOT LINKS

What we're reading this week

  Adam: From Maine FarmLink, a list of farms for sale (or lease, for the noncommittal).

  Ben: Today is a good day to write tests. Here are some test strings.

  Jack: Google’s new plan for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) promises to kick the speed of news on the mobile web into hyperspace. Or it might destroy the open web. We can’t wait to find out which!

  Kaeti: A helpful collection of CSS #protips.

  Ryan: Zappos is tossing its organizational chart in favor of a new system with no job titles or descriptions.

  Bert: Happy packets make for a better Internet. You don’t want to make them angry >:)


GET A JOB

Good jobs with good people

INN seeks an apprentice.

Also, a contract WordPress developer.

ProPublica is hiring a Data Fellow.

Religion News Service (RNS) has an immediate opening for a full-time Web Developer.

MinnPost is looking for a Director of Development, and an Education Reporter.


SHOUT OUT

Work we admire by our journalism peers

IRE y NICAR lanza una lista de correo en español.

The Texas Tribune's God & Governing series examines how Texas legislators' religious beliefs guide their lawmaking.

FBI recognizes Wapo and the Guardian for collecting better data than the FBI.


SOME OTHER STUFF

Just thought we'd overshare

LISTEN: Wagakki Band: Too good!

GIF: Let's speed up everything! What could possible go wrong?

Dalek exploding

Join Our Team! Help Make Our Support Process and Documentation Awesome

As a team we're committed to being among the best in the business in how we support and document the products we build.

We also want to be completely transparent about our internal processes and even our strategy because we believe that this helps us to be accountable to our teammates, INN member organizations and clients. And also because we want to involve the community in everything that we do.

This is a lot of work. So, to help us make our support process and documentation even better, we're now hiring a new full-time role to focus on just this part of our work.

Specifically, this person will own our support process and documentation, including:

  • Communicating with members and clients
  • Refining our support and project management workflow
  • Resolving bugs and issues (collaborating with other team members when needed)
  • Writing great documentation to help people maximize their use of the products we build

The ideal candidate for this position is a detail-oriented self starter who wants to help us provide exemplary service to INN members and our paid consulting clients. This person should have experience making things for the web, a passion for sharing what they know with others and be excited about being a leader in creating documentation and training resources to assist people in their adoption and use of the products we build.

Here's the full job posting and you can get in touch with us anytime if you have questions about the position. Even if you don't meet all of the qualifications but you're passionate about this kind of work and what our team is up to, don't hesitate to reach out and/or apply.

As with all of our positions, working remotely is possible (encouraged, really) and we are committed to creating a workplace where diversity is valued. Candidates from under-represented groups in media and technology are strongly encouraged to apply.

We’re Hiring! Come Be Our Next News Apps Developer

Update: applications for this position are now closed. We encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter if you'd like to stay in the loop regarding future positions.

We've grown a lot over the last year and we're excited to start 2015 by adding another member to the team. We're looking for a new full-time developer to join the team and help out with both our internal and client projects.

This is a slightly more junior role on the team so even if you don't meet 100% of the qualifications, we'd still encourage you to apply. The most important thing is that you care about using your talents to help make a real impact in the world by supporting nonprofit journalism. If that sounds like you then we're super excited to hear from you!

Here's the full description and how to apply:

The Investigative News Network (INN), a network of 100+ nonprofit news organizations, has an opening for a full-time developer on our technology team.

As a team, we exist to support the work of our member organizations, many of which are small nonprofits with limited technology resources. We focus primarily on problems that we are uniquely suited to tackle at a network level, for example:

  • Hosting and supporting over 30 member websites using a WordPress-powered platform/framework we've built and maintain - http://largoproject.org
  • Building open source tools to support members' editorial work and presentation needs with the goal of making their work look as great as any of the largest for-profit newsrooms
  • Providing general technology consulting, training and developing resources to help increase the overall level of tech knowledge and ability across the network

You can read more about us on our team blog and check out our projects on github.

We are a small (but growing!) team of makers (presently three, soon to be four full-time employees with a handful of contractors and interns). This position would work closely with our senior developer and the rest of the team to tackle design and technology problems facing our member organizations and consulting clients.

Here are some desired skills and attributes for this position (we understand you might not meet all of these but if this roughly sounds like you, we'd love to hear more):

  • 1-2+ years professional experience in web/mobile development; degree in computer science or another relevant field preferred (but not required)
  • Strong front-end skills (HTML/CSS/JS) and design sensibility with a focus on end-user experience; experience with responsive design principles. Experience with CSS pre-compilers and front-end frameworks such as LESS/SASS, jQuery, Bootstrap, etc. would also be helpful.
  • Intermediate to expert knowledge of the full LAMP stack with a particular focus on PHP/MySQL and experience developing for WordPress including themes, plugins and working with WordPress multisite; Some exposure to and/or experience with one or more other modern server-side programming languages such as Python or Ruby would be helpful.
  • Experience with version control (we use git), automated deployment tools (we use fabric and grunt) and project management tools (we use Jira).
  • It would be great if you had some experience with one or more of the following: data visualization and mapping tools; photo, video, illustration and other visual/graphic design skills.
  • Strong communication skills including the ability to explain complex things simply and experience writing documentation for a variety of audiences; commitment to openness and showing/writing/talking about your work. We open source and write about nearly every project we do and encourage our team members to speak at industry conferences, local tech meetups, etc.
  • Curiosity and the willingness to learn, adapt and teach

This is a full-time position with benefits. Our compensation package is commensurate with experience and extremely competitive. We are also committed to giving our employees the tools they need to do their job and supporting their professional growth so you'll get an allowance for hardware, software, travel to conferences, etc.

Our team is presently distributed so remote candidates are fine as long as you're comfortable with that. Previous experience working remotely would be helpful. If you'd rather work with us (in the same room) we have team members in Columbus (OH), Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City (MO) or you could work out of INN's home office in Encino, CA.

INN is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to creating a workplace where diversity is valued. Applications from women, people of color, and other under-represented groups are particularly encouraged. In addition to federal law requirements, INN complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

To apply, please send the following to nerds@inn.org:

  • Brief resume/CV
  • Cover letter (an email is fine) explaining why this is the perfect position for you
  • A few projects you're particular proud of (links to projects in the wild, github repos, etc.) with a brief description of the role you played in each
  • Salary expectations (ballpark is fine)

Join Our Team: We’re Hiring A Contract Support Specialist

We have an opening on the team for a role focused on customer support, training and documentation with a bit of project management thrown in.

This will be a contract position (at least to start) and we're looking for someone who can work about 20-30 hours/week. We're flexible on schedule and location so this is great opportunity for someone looking to work with a great team, make an impact and help nonprofit news organizations but maybe not able to commit to a full-time position or regular 9 to 5 schedule. There is the possibility that we'll turn this into a full-time position in the near future depending on your job performance and our needs.

The full posting is right over here but here's an excerpt that covers the sorts of things we're hoping this person will help us out with:

  • Provide front-line support to INN member organizations and our paid consulting clients, including responding to member/client questions, troubleshooting issues, etc.
  • In the process of managing the support queue, identify and communicate bug fixes, new feature requests and assist in the prioritization and development of new features for the Largo platform
  • Occasionally perform minor bug fixes, design/theme changes, etc. in response to member/client support requests
  • Create documentation to assist publishers in the adoption and use of the platform such as step-by-step walkthroughs of key features, new feature announcements, FAQs, case studies, screencasts, etc.
  • Assist in the planning and implementation of group and/or individualized training (mostly virtual via webinars or asynchronous online courses but also possibly in-person) to help publishers maximize the use of the Largo platform and other tools/apps we build
  • Assist in the revamp and ongoing maintenance of the Largo project website; write and edit content for newsletters, blog posts, social media, etc. to promote the project and help organizations maximize their use of the platform
  • Manage and continuously improve our support workflow and project management process

Feel free to email me with any questions (adam@inn.org) and please pass the posting on to anyone you think might be a good fit.

Be Our Paid Fall/Spring News Applications Intern

UPDATE: Applications for the fall have now closed but if you're interested in interning with us in the spring or summer next year, you can send your resume/portfolio to adam@inn.org and we'll reach back out to you when those applications open.

The Investigative News Network (INN), a network of 100+ nonprofit news organizations, is looking for one or more good interns to join our news applications and technology team.

A bit about us: as a team, we exist to support the work of our member organizations, many of which are small nonprofits with limited technology resources. We focus primarily on problems that we are uniquely suited to tackle at a network level, for example:

  • Hosting and supporting about 30 member websites using a WordPress-powered platform/framework we've built and maintain - http://largoproject.org
  • Building open source tools to support members' editorial work and presentation needs with the goal of making their work look as great as any of the largest for-profit newsrooms
  • Supporting editorial collaborations between member organizations, facilitated by INN's data and collaborations editor
  • Providing general technology consulting, training and developing resources to help increase the overall level of tech knowledge and ability across the network

You can read more about us on our team blog and check out our projects on github.

Our interns work closely with our full-time team members and, in some cases, with members directly on all of the above. You will not be making coffee and running errands. You will however build stuff, work on real projects, ship code and write about your experience on our team blog.

Some skills/technologies/attributes that would be helpful for this position include:

  • Some familiarity/experience with user-centered design and standards-driven web development (HTML/CSS, JavaScript, one or more server-side languages such as PHP, Python or Ruby)
  • Able to work independently (particularly important for remote candidates) and communicate effectively with other team members and (where applicable) with member organizations directly
  • Some experience with version control systems such as git(hub) and WordPress (particularly theme design/development)
  • Ideas for what you'd like to learn/make/accomplish during your time with us

We'd prefer a 6 month commitment working about 20 hours a week but the schedule and length of the internship is flexible.

This is a paid (hourly) position and remote candidates are fine.

INN is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to creating a workplace where diversity is valued. In addition to federal law requirements, INN complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

To apply: send resume/portfolio, brief cover letter (email is fine) explaining what you'd like to get out of your internship with us and links to recent projects you're proud of to adam@inn.org.

Open until filled, but for priority consideration please apply by Friday, August 15, 2014 at 5pm ET.

We’re Hiring! Be Our Next News Apps Designer/Developer

UPDATE: Applications for this position are now closed. If you'd like, you can still submit a resume for consideration for future FT positions and we do occasionally work with freelancers/contractors. Email: adam@inn.org.

Come help us build the future of nonprofit news!

We're looking for a full-time designer/developer to join our team. Abbreviated job description follows, full description is right over here.

INN's tech team is a small (but growing!) team of makers (presently two, soon to be three full-time employees with a handful of contractors and interns) and this position would be our de facto "design lead" although everyone pitches in and does a little bit of everything.

The ideal candidate is passionate about news and information design and looking to put her/his skills to use tackling design and technology problems facing nonprofit news organizations.

We have a fair amount of flexibility on exactly what this role will be and how it will fit in with the rest of the team. That said, here are some desired skills and attributes (we understand you might not meet all of these but if this roughly sounds like you, we'd love to hear more):

  • 3-5+ years professional experience in design and technology (degree in a related field would be nice but is not strictly necessary), previous experience working in the news/media/nonprofit space would be extremely helpful, passion for nonprofit news is required
  • Expert level knowledge of front-end web design/development, particularly HTML and CSS (use of CSS preprocessors such as LESS or SASS is a nice to have), some experience with JavaScript programming would also be helpful
  • Strong visual design sense (our team is not currently geeked out enough about typography, this needs to change) and relentless focus on improving overall user-experience
  • Experience with rapid prototyping and an understanding of the right level of fidelity needed to clearly communicate an idea
  • Some exposure to and/or experience with one or more modern server-side programming language such as PHP, Python or Ruby (or at least the willingness to learn)
  • We use WordPress (a lot) so some experience creating WordPress themes, plugins, etc. would be very useful
  • Experience with various project management tools (we use Atlassian programs, mostly) and version control (we use Git(hub), mostly)
  • Experience working with data visualization and mapping tools; photo, video, illustration and other visual/graphic design skills would also be great to have
  • Strong communication skills including the ability to explain complex things simply
  • Commitment to openness and showing/writing/talking about your work. We open source and write about nearly every project we do and encourage our team members to speak at industry conferences, local tech meetups, etc. about their work
  • Curiosity and the willingness to learn, adapt and teach

This is a full-time salaried position with benefits. Our compensation package is commensurate with experience and extremely competitive. We are also committed to giving our employees the tools they need to do their job and supporting their professional growth so you'll get an allowance for hardware, software, travel to conferences, etc.

Our team is presently distributed so remote candidates are fine as long as you're comfortable with that. Previous experience working remotely would be helpful. If you'd rather work with us (in the same room) Columbus, OH or Chicago, IL would be the preferred locations for this position.

INN is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to creating a workplace where diversity is valued. In addition to federal law requirements, INN complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

To apply, please send the following to adam@inn.org:

  • Brief resume/cv
  • Cover letter (an email is fine) explaining why this is the perfect position for you
  • A few projects you're particular proud of (links to projects in the wild, your github repo, design portfolio, etc.)
  • Salary expectations (ballpark is fine)