The Division of External Relations is seeking a Senior Writer for GW Today. External Relations combines the communications, government relations, marketing and creative services, and events functions of the university. This position will be reporting to the Senior Managing Editor of George Washington Today.
Serves as a Senior Writer for George Washington Today and manages selected projects for the senior managing editor of George Washington Today. Writers for GW Today, including senior writers, straddle a line between a traditional news operation and an advocacy journalism operation. The unique nature of the position calls for skills beyond reporting and writing. Writers for GW Today, the university’s official online news source, need agility and ability to think strategically to produce news and feature stories that serve both worlds-traditional news and advocacy journalism.
Creates high-level content for the George Washington Today website and email newsletter and publishes the content on the website. The senior writer produces content for a broad audience, including students, their parents, faculty, staff, alumni and prospective students and their parents.
Senior writers produce and plan original content for the GW Today website and weekly email by collaborating with appropriate members of the Division of External Relations and representatives of divisions, schools, centers, institutes, and other units that are part of assigned beats. Senior writers also must generate content ideas by engaging members of the GW community-including students, faculty, staff, administrators, and others outside the stream of university communicators.
Senior writers develop and maintain relationships on their beats. They need to be sourced. They will develop story ideas not only from External Relations and communications operatives, but also from sources outside of External Relations/communications operatives.
Senior writers meet regular deadlines and must be flexible when deadlines change unexpectedly, as often happens in a newsroom setting. Senior writers must be available for evening and weekend work. They must build into their schedules time necessary to immerse themselves in their beats. They must find time to promote their stories on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.
Senior writers maintain effective collaborative relationships with the Division of External Relations team, and they must develop and maintain strong, positive working relationships with George Washington University staff, faculty, students, alumni, and other target audiences for GW Today.
Key to success in the position is working with internal GW constituencies to understand their goals when they request coverage.
Content created for GW Today, whether text, graphics or multimedia packages, should be based on thorough reporting, research, interviews, and direct observation when necessary and possible. Senior writers should consolidate that information in packages that meet the highest standards of writing. That includes writing in active voice, using short, declarative sentences, limiting use of dependent clauses, providing examples to support points/premises and resisting the use of direct quotes that become speeches with little meaning. Complex topics should be made simple and easy to understand.
Senior writers ensure information gathered through reporting-including research, interviews and direct observation-is up to date and, when necessary, in line with approved messages set forth by the External Relations team.
Senior writers coordinate assignments with the senior managing editor to determine appropriate illustration for the story, including new photographs, archived photos, video, or graphics. They will sometimes shoot still photos themselves. They ensure content that needs to be reviewed before publication is reviewed by appropriate people. They correct errors of fact pointed out by reviewers and discusses with editors when reviewers suggest changes beyond factual errors.
Senior writers keep editors informed of their daily schedules. They use Trello or other project tracking software as directed to log necessary information on upcoming stories.
Senor writers are expected to be current on trends in higher education.
Performs other work related duties as assigned. The omission of specific duties does not preclude the supervisor from assigning duties that are logically related to the position.
Qualified candidates will hold a Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate area of specialization. Degree must be conferred by the start date of the position. Degree requirements may be substituted with an equivalent combination of education, training and experience.
- Bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or a related field
- Experience writing and/or editing news and feature stories in a newsroom setting, experience in higher education is a plus
- Excellent writing, editing, and interpersonal communication skills
- Strong copy-editing skills and command of AP style
- Flexibility for night and weekend work
- Ability to critically evaluate information and assess news value
- Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously in a deadline-driven environment
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Experience working with Drupal is a plus
- Experience writing about business issues, politics and/or law is a plus
- Experience creating innovative and interactive news and feature content for a digital platform is a plus
Campus Location: Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.
College/School/Department: External Relations
Family: Comm, Mktg & Media
Sub-Family: Writing and Editing
Stream: Individual Contributor
Level: Level 1
Hours Per Week: 40+
Work Schedule: 8:30am-5:30pm with occasional nights and weekends
Essential: Employees who perform functions that have been deemed essential to maintaining business or academic operations. Employees are generally expected to work from home during an event and may be asked to physically report to work.
How to apply
Successful Completion of a Background Screening will be required as a condition of hire.
The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that does not unlawfully discriminate in any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.