ABOUT CIPHER

Cipher is a publication supported by Breakthrough Energy. Cipher’s mission is to help accelerate understanding of the technological transformations required to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through expert reporting and analysis. Cipher means zero, which we find intriguing because our goal is simple, but hard. Going from the 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases we emit a year today to zero by 2050. Cipher also means code. We aim to decode complex topics and make them clear to people at all levels working to solve the climate crisis — and anyone who wants to be an informed, concerned citizen. We are currently publishing a weekly newsletter Wednesday mornings U.S. Eastern Time, and plan to expand.

Cipher embraces diversity and recognizes our responsibility to provide a diverse and inclusive work environment. We value the benefits that arise from a diverse organization and are committed to fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion where employees of all backgrounds can collaboratively work and serve Cipher's mission. This is extended to all areas of the employee lifecycle and experience, including recruitment, hiring, compensation, training, promotions, career development programs, and benefits. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), parental status, national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit-based factors. We encourage diverse candidates to apply. 

JOB DESCRIPTION OVERVIEW

Cipher is looking for a Washington, DC-based journalist who is passionate about putting their skills to work to help combat climate change by scrutinizing the challenges and opportunities of the technologies we need.

This is an ideal position for early to mid-career journalists with experience covering clean energy, electricity and climate technologies, with a U.S. federal government perspective. Candidates must be based in DC and be interested in attending congressional hearings, administration events and agency events, such as FERC meetings.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to join a new journalistic endeavor that is helping business and policy leaders, as well as the public, better understand the clean energy revolution that can power us to a net-zero world. This is a full-time freelance position. We are looking for candidates that are available for at least one year. 

Must be based out of Washington DC.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:  

  • Being Cipher’s go-to person in Washington, DC, talking with lawmakers, executive-branch agencies and other interests based in DC about the topics we cover.
  • Writing on a regular basis, including putting into context breaking news and bigger picture trend stories. Amount of writing per week will vary and grow over time as Cipher grows but will be a minimum of producing a story every two weeks.
  • Finding good and relevant data and inputting it into our chart system on a weekly basis. 
  • Helping research and prepare for video and live interviews, both virtual and in-person.
  • Helping manage content responsibilities for Cipher, which includes social media writing and planning, responding to readers’ emails, editing colleagues’ copy, providing input on visual and design elements, compiling and formatting the weekly newsletter and more. 

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS

  • At least two years of journalism experience covering energy policy, climate technologies and trends, as well as climate change topics, though we are eager to hear from more senior reporters or reporters just out of school eager to hit the ground running reporting in DC.
  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required, with a focus on writing a plus. 
  • An ability to write stories based both on breaking news and trends. 
  • Ability to quickly learn and handle content management, social media management, and email systems a must. 
  • A basic understanding of data visualization – or a willingness/ability to learn – a must. This includes learning and regularly using the chart tool Flourish, which we use to create charts. 
  • A deeper technical proficiency working with data and understanding what datasets are possible in the energy and climate space a plus (but not required). 
  • Experience in – or interest in becoming experienced in – live interviews, podcast interviews, and on-stage moderating a plus.
Cipher's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is also represented in our compensation philosophy. We are committed to offering starting salaries on the value of the position within the market. We do not believe salary should be based on a candidate’s ability to negotiate, previous salary history, or any other non-skills-based attributes. Cipher believes that transparency is a pathway to achieving pay equity. We offer candidates a competitive compensation package that includes salary and generous benefits.

Cipher will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact Craig Staples at craig@breakthroughenergy.org.

ABOUT BREAKTHROUGH ENERGY

Established in 2015 by Bill Gates and a coalition of private investors concerned about the impacts of accelerating climate change, Breakthrough Energy supports the innovations that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. We are building on the proven model of public-private partnerships that Gates has already used to transform health, education, and public welfare around the world. Breakthrough Energy is a network of entities and initiatives, including investment funds, nonprofit and philanthropic programs, and policy efforts linked by a common commitment to scale the technologies we need to achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050. We are encouraging the development of new net-zero energy technologies, championing policies that speed innovation from lab to market, and bringing together governments, research institutions, private companies, and investors to expand and enhance clean-energy investment. 

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