Now Hiring: Data Scientist for Reese News Lab

Sep 05 2017

The importance of understanding how to organize, analyze and present data is critical to the future of media — and especially to the future of sustainable local journalism. Data can be used to lower the costs of accountability and explanatory reporting that is critical to the operation of democracy and free markets. We're HiringData also sits on the foundation of the platform stack on which innovative new media products are developed.

That’s why the Reese News Lab is building on its successful cross-disciplinary work with the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science and Department of Statistics to hire its first in-house data scientist who will be a leader in the growing fields of computational journalism and media product development.

This is an exciting opportunity to apply data analysis skills to media innovation and the challenge of getting the right information to the right people at the right time — especially information that citizens need to hold powerful people accountable and better understand the complex world we all share.

This position will work with faculty, students and industry leaders to help bring data-driven innovations to news reporting and media product development. This isn’t a classroom teaching gig, but you’ll be explaining your tools and techniques every day to a variety of eager and curious but inexperienced audiences.

We’re looking for someone with an MS in computer science, applied mathematics, or other quantitative/computational discipline. Or a BS plus three years of professional experience in a related field.

Applicants don’t need to have experience in media, but they should have demonstrated the ability not only to organize and analyze data using SQL, Python, R and the like but also to communicate their work to lay audiences.

Applicants don’t need to be experts in data visualization, but they should show how they can work with the School’s world-class faculty and students to make useful interactives using tools such as D3.

In other words, we’re looking for a strong position player who is a good fit for our team — someone who is creative, curious and able to provide some divergent thinking to the diverse group we’re building.

OK, but what exactly does that mean you’ll be doing every day? Here’s our best guess…

  • Collecting and re-shaping public data by scraping websites and using APIs.
  • Negotiating with local, state and federal officials for access to public data sets.
  • Cleaning dirty data, especially names and addresses, and ensuring that the limitations of the data are well understand by all stakeholders.
  • Performing exploratory data analysis with tools such as Python, R, and QGIS.
  • Creating predictive models.
  • Performing natural language processing tasks, especially named entity recognition.
  • Using big data frameworks to store and query temporal and geographic data.
  • Building a data sharing pipeline to make public data useful for various audiences.

This position will remain open until filled, but we will begin reviewing applications as they come in. You can read the official posting and submit your resume and cover letter here. Questions? Send them my way.

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