Staff Writer

Bolts is a digital publication, launched in February 2022, that covers the nuts and bolts of power and political change. 

We focus our work on two areas where local governments play an outsized role: criminal justice and voting rights. We tell stories about local elections and obscure institutions, and the movements brewing around them, that highlight real world stakes and conflicts. We report on the places, people, and politics that shape public policy around policing and incarceration, and access to democracy but are dangerously overlooked. We also publish resources and guides that make it easier to follow local politics nationwide. (All articles we’ve published are available here.) 

We are now hiring a new staff writer to join our team of editors and other writers. 

The staff writer will report and write clear, incisive, and engaging stories that enrich and grow Bolts’ coverage.


  • The staff writer will be expected to produce a mix of news articles that add context and analysis to current events, features that explore the stakes of local conflicts or elections, and investigations that shed light on the consequences of public officials’ discretion and abuses of power. (For a sense of the mix and pace to expect, potential applicants can see the portfolio of a current staff writer here.) 

  • The staff writer will be expected to pitch story ideas, as well as work on stories assigned by editors. 

  • The staff writer will produce stories on both of Bolts’ core topics (criminal justice and voting rights) across different parts of the country. The staff writer may also conduct occasional reporting trips. 

  • The staff writer should expect to collaborate with colleagues inside and outside the Bolts newsroom; this may include collaborating with writers at other publications on joint projects. 


  • A history of in-depth reporting and clear, incisive, and engaging writing. Experience with reporting on news and writing features, and generating story ideas.

  • Experience reporting on criminal justice or voting rights, and interest in exploring and producing stories on both of these broad topics, as well as on policies at their intersection, and how they affect people’s lives 

  • Experience in, and enthusiasm for, political journalism. Interest in reporting on elections and their consequences, and in producing stories that touch on policy and local decision makers.

  • An ideal candidate should be organized, responsive, and comfortable in a collaborative work environment.

  • Preferred qualifications include comfort in experimenting with different formats for coverage (e.g. Q&As, reporting, investigations, newsletters, election trackers, infographics). Preferred qualifications include experience filing public records requests and working with databases.

  • Comfort with covering local institutions that are far from a national spotlight, and enthusiasm for introducing them to a national audience.  

Bolts is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace. We encourage journalists from underrepresented communities to apply and welcome qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, physical abilities, genders and sexual orientations, including people who have been incarcerated or otherwise involved with the criminal justice system. We also acknowledge that some strong candidates won’t have all the qualifications listed here and want to encourage people with a diversity of experience to apply, even if they might not fit the description as written.

This position is full-time and remote. The salary range is $79,000-$84,000. 

Benefits include medical, dental, vision, and life insurance; an automatic 4% employer contribution to a 401K plan; and 14 weeks of parental leave. 

Please contact with questions about the position or publication.

To apply, please send your resume, cover letter, clips of or links to three stories you have written, and a list of references to 

Please submit applications by Monday, December 11, 2023.

We’ll begin reviewing applications at that time. The application will remain open until the position has been filled.