Writer (Office of Communications)

10 May, 2023


Writer (Office of Communications)

Urban Institute
Washington, D.C.

About Urban Institute:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.


Our Mission

To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.


Our Values

Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity

For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit https://www.urban.org.


The Opportunity:

The Office of Communications for the Urban Institute is looking for a smart, creative writer who can tell compelling data-driven stories and elevate Urban Institute research. This is an opportunity to apply your journalistic writing and editing skills toward longer-term projects that help inform and advance the public debate, as well as shorter-term projects like drafting research summaries and substantively editing blog posts written by Urban’s scholars.


In this job, you’ll be translating complex research into concise, accessible content for a range of audiences and working with our editorial, digital, data visualization, and design teams to bring data to life. You will work across teams within communications and across research centers and policy areas, and you will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of storytelling. This is a role for someone who likes working with a team, because you will be collaborating on every aspect of a project, including what you write.


What You’ll Do:

  • Write text, lead content strategy, and manage the full writing process for public-facing products, including narrative features, data visualizations, interactive graphics, and videos
  • Work closely with researchers to frame and communicate research findings, identifying stories in the data to highlight for target audiences
  • Write, ghostwrite, and substantively edit blog posts, fact sheets, op-eds, executive summaries, web content, and other products
  • Serve as the content lead on projects, taking responsibility as a go-to partner for researchers and other COMM team members
  • Help the writing team improve and innovate, developing new forms of storytelling to bring our research and data to life
  • Coach researchers and other members of the communications team on how to identify and communicate key takeaways and stories from Urban research


 Who You Are:

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or related field OR equivalent work/education experience
  • 4-7 years of related work experience
  • Strong writing and substantive editing skills, especially under deadlines
  • Ability to understand and translate complex, technical research into accessible content, while maintaining nuance and accuracy
  • Skilled at sourcing and facilitating interviews with people who live and work across the country, particularly those in marginalized communities, elevating their lived experiences and expertise
  • Experience with different forms of storytelling and interest in exploring creative ways to bring data to life
  • Exceptional organization and project management skills to juggle multiple projects and to guide content through writing, editing, and approval processes with multiple stakeholders
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills; ability to collaborate with colleagues of different skill sets, including data-driven researchers and other members of the communications team
  • Working knowledge of digital best practices, including being able to optimize content for search engines and social media
  • Experience writing text for charts, graphics, or data visualizations a plus, but not required
  • Knowledge of public policy a plus, but not required
  • News judgment a plus, but not required


Please include a cover letter, resume, and 2-3 writing samples or links to your clips. If you have an online portfolio of work, please identify your best 2-3 pieces rather than only sending us to your site. Applications without writing clips will not be considered.


What You’ll Experience:

No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. And whether you call the Washington, DC area or elsewhere home, you can expect to be part of a welcoming and hybrid workplace. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.


Urban’s greatest asset is our people.

The target salary range for this position is $65,000 – $95,000. Salary offered is commensurate with experience and considers internal equity. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Salaries are just one component of Urban Institute’s total compensation package.


Urban is committed to supporting our staff’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being through a robust benefits package for yourself, eligible dependents, and domestic partners. It includes generous paid time off, including nine federal holidays, medical (including prescription), dental and vision insurance, and transit benefits. Urban is unique in that we offer 403(b) retirement plan participation immediately after you’re hired and a generous employer contribution after six months of service and 500 hours, with immediate vesting. You’ll also have access to a health advocate, personal finance coaching, an Employee Assistance Program, and educational assistance for undergraduate and graduate degree programs. This position has the opportunity to be fully remote.


All Urban Institute employees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and comply with masking and distancing requirements, regardless of responsibilities or work location. New hires must also be fully vaccinated before starting work.  Employees may request exemption from vaccination against COVID-19 based on either a medical condition or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated.  Where such an exemption is approved, Urban will discuss with each employee potential accommodation.


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.

The Urban Institute is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law.


We are committed to equal employment opportunity and providing reasonable accommodations to applicants with physical and/or mental disabilities. If you have a physical and/or mental disability and are interested in applying for employment and need special accommodations to use our website to apply for a position, please contact Human Resources at humanresources@urban.org. Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2023-05-10