Prison Journalism Project, which trains incarcerated writers to be journalists and publishes their stories, is looking for a versatile copy editor/editor with past experience working in a newsroom.
The copy editor/editor is an important role, who will work closely with the editor-in-chief in setting the highest of editorial standards and ensuring that there is a consistency in style across everything we put out. The level of professionalism we demonstrate as a publication can directly impact the credibility of our writers.
The ideal candidate must have 3-5 years of line editing and copyediting experience in a newsroom, and a strong familiarity with the AP Style. We are seeking someone who is excited about pushing the possibilities of journalism in working with incarcerated writers, but has a strong sense of journalism ethics and is obsessed with grammar, style and accuracy.
The position is subject to a three-month probationary period. We welcome applicants who are personally impacted by incarceration.
- Copy edit stories for the publication, so they are free of grammatical errors and typos and consistent with the AP and PJP Stylebooks.
- Copy edit materials for our training arm PJP J-School, our print publication PJPxInside, as well other copy that we produce to ensure that our look and feel is consistent across all of our initiatives.
- Write headlines and subheds for each story.
- Write bios for new writers according to PJP style.
- Factcheck stories.
- Help set editorial standards for PJP.
- Shape and line edit our writers’ raw copy.
- Upload stories onto our WordPress/Newspack platform.
- Collaborate with other colleagues at PJP.
- Available to work during business hours remotely.
- Strong grasp of AP style.
- An obsession with detail and consistency.
- A minimum of 3-5 years experience in journalism editing with at least two years as a copy editor in a newsroom.
- Experience writing eye-catching, smart headlines for online readers.
- Experience with fact checking.
- Solid news judgment and writing skills.
- Strong sense of what makes a good online story and how to develop it with impact.
- Ability to be organized while managing multiple projects and tasks at once.
- An interest in working with unseasoned writers who are learning the craft of journalism.
- Strong interpersonal skills, including tact, diplomacy and steadfastness under pressure.
- A self-starter who takes ownership and initiative while also being a team player who is willing to give and receive constructive criticism.
- A strong belief that the journalism industry must be more inclusive and that incarcerated people should be able to tell stories about their own communities.
- A strong sense of journalism ethics, a thorough understanding of journalism principles and interest in thinking about the big journalism questions in the context of prison reporting.
- Storytelling ability with a keen eye for narrative details is desirable.
- Basic familiarity with WordPress/Newspack, familiarity with web metrics, SEO and social media are desirable.
About Prison Journalism Project
PJP is a fast-growing independent, non-partisan, non-profit startup initiative that aims to develop the first national network of prison correspondents. We believe that the deep reforms that are necessary to fix the U.S. criminal justice system can only happen through informed, bipartisan public discourse about mass incarceration. Incarcerated people, who are talked about but are rarely heard from, must be a part of this conversation. We see an opportunity to address the critical and urgent need for accurate information by connecting the dots between prisons across the country, bringing transparency to an opaque industry, and asserting the rights of prison journalists. Intentional, responsible and well-crafted journalism from within the incarcerated community can also break stereotypes and provide timely information about conditions inside America’s many prisons.
PJP’s online publication launched in June 2020 to publish incarcerated writers’ experiences with the pandemic, but since then, we have expanded to cover the gamut of stories from issues around mental health and addiction to stories and experiences of life behind bars to op-eds and other perspectives. We also publish poetry and art with an emphasis on those that tell true stories. We have so far published over 1,200 pieces of work from more than 450 incarcerated and incarceration-impacted writers from 160+ prisons in 36 states.
PJP’s publication is unique in that our work is rooted in the training of our writers in journalism. The publication is a vehicle to develop our writers’ reporting and journalism skills as well as a place to experiment with how to tell stories from behind and around prison walls. We aim to provide the kind of editorial support that outside newsrooms provide, so our writers can publish stories that meet the highest standards of journalism.