POSITION TITLE: Community Reporting Associate, The Social Fabric Project
Program/Dept: The Social Fabric Project
Location: Based in Washington, DC
Reports to: Associate Director
FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
The Aspen Institute The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Marylands Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.
The Social Fabric Project Launched by New York Times columnist David Brooks in the spring of 2018, this new initiative of the Aspen Institute will address the crisis of social fragmentation in the United States. The crisis manifests in three overlapping ways: social isolation, social distrust, and crisis of purpose and meaning. In a culture that is over-politicized and under-moralized, people have trouble finding a sense of purpose. We believe that when you leave people naked and alone, they do what their evolutionary roots tell them to do. They revert to tribe. So we see a country riven along tribal lines ranging from political, to racial, to socioeconomic, to geographic. Fortunately, all around the country people are working to reweave the social fabric and bridge divides. Some work to repair local community bonds, some to promote economic mobility and heal class divisions, some to advance racial reconciliation, some to heal political polarization and so on. All of them have found ways to reduce isolation, build trust and find meaning. These community builders are the heroes of our age. They are addressing the central problem of our time and it is upon their work that the fate of the nation depends. We look to celebrate these healers and inspire others to join this cause that aims to unite dispersed efforts around a common vision for national healing.
There are two primary responsibilities for this position. The first is cultivating relationships with community leaders and change-makers across America in order to interview them and build community among them. The second is to tell these individuals stories, in mediums ranging from magazine feature to podcast to video, and to use traditional and digital media to project their stories into the national consciousness. This role will evolve with the program.
Responsibilities will include:
Reporting on Local Heroes
Develop profiles of individuals that highlight personal stories of transcending difference and celebrate the work of local leaders on the front line of positive change in communities across the United States
Develop multimedia content with a magazine sensibility. We are open to a variety of mediums: blog pieces, news or magazine articles, podcasts, visual art, documentary-style short film, etc.
Digital communications experience is a plus
Social media competencies are a plus
Community Outreach and Relationship Building
Travel up to 40% to meet with people of diverse backgrounds across the United States
Identify and build relationships with community leaders and change-makers across the country
Interview and synthesize conversations with community leaders to understand diverse points of view, their values and morals, challenges that their community faces, and how their work responds creatively to human problems on the ground.
Continue to engage community leaders after major events to develop long-term relationships that lead to action.
Key skills and experience will include:
Strong writer with magazine sensibility, and/or expertise in multimedia storytelling
Knowledge of modern media storytelling techniques and platforms
Experience writing/producing content on deadline
Personable and empathetic to diverse communities; able to quickly form warm relationships with people of all racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds
3 years of experience in relevant field such as journalism or community development work
Entrepreneurial spirit and drive; energized by a start-up style environment
Ability to work autonomously and with a small team
Level of Authority:
No budget authority
The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.
Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.