Who We Are: Political Research Associates
Political Research Associates is a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society. We expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights.
PRA is the preeminent progressive think tank that monitors and challenges the U.S. Right Wing. For 35 years PRA has built the capacity of social justice change makers to understand, adjust, and do battle with their organized adversaries on the Political Right. We are a broadly respected and trusted source of information and analysis among advocates, journalists, and academics alike, combining a social justice movement orientation with deep expertise on the key groups and individuals at the center of the Right’s new governing coalition, including the Christian Right/theocrats, white nationalists and the “alt-right,” economic libertarians, and Patriots and other right-wing forces.
At PRA our main objectives are to: 1) inform and strengthen the work of frontline social justice partners; 2) expose and isolate organized opponents of human and civil rights; and, 3) shape public debate of key issues, using our profile as a think tank to open space for partners to advance needed solutions. Distinct from some other “watchdog” organizations, social justice groups comprise PRA’s principle constituency. PRA is likewise unusual in having a broad focus across many sectors of the Right, from neo-Nazis to free-market neoliberals.
Who You Are: Communications Director
You are a talented Communications professional. Driven and committed to social justice, big ideas and even bigger challenges excite you. You recognize that in this moment of crisis, social justice advocates will have to make significant adjustments to refashion ourselves as an effective resistance movement capable of robust defense of rights and liberty—with emphasis on those threatened by racism, xenophobia, and gender & sexual violence. You also see that we need a forward, welcoming stance that looks outward to the millions of people not yet part of our networks who are alarmed and fearful of what they see happening in our country and will join with us if we create appropriate opportunities for them. The idea of helping build such a movement is what gets you out of bed in the morning.
The Communications Director develops and implements PRA’s overarching communication plan, ensuring success in three core areas: 1) institutional (publications, branding, public relations, web, social media, marketing); 2) impact (advancing strategic goals with advocates and other stakeholders); and 3) audience expansion (targeting key demographics of non-activists) Reporting to the Executive Director, you will be charged with developing strategies to maximize the impact of our research and other core products to (a) position and brand PRA as the go-to expert on the actors, strategies and tactics of the U.S. Right and (b) leverage our research to make a measurable impact on social justice fields – PRA’s research should be made actionable for advocates and allies.
The Communications Director’s key responsibilities include:
- Develop, implement, and evaluate a multi-year communications plan, in coordination with research and program staff and with partner organizations;
- Serve as a member of the senior management team and provide strategic counsel on activities, including external and internal communications, digital communications, event planning, and partner organization field support;
- Position PRA as the go-to expert for our kind of research with media, advocates, and other stakeholders.
- Create and implement social media campaigns to expand PRA’s audience, engage potential supporters, and popularize PRA’s analysis through social media communities– i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.;
- Manage all media contacts, developing and maintaining relationships with journalists, bloggers, and communications departments of ally organizations;
- Manage the development and approval of communications and digital materials including talking points, press advisories and releases, op-eds, memos, social media content and other materials;
- Direct the creation, approval and dissemination of proactive regular communications, such as the “Week in Review” and other regularly published communication pieces that engage audience segments;
- Develop and maintain an effective web presence and track and analyze web traffic, media hits, and other indicators of PRA’s reach;
- Manage daily and long term tasking, project management and personnel matters;
- Identify and direct priority activities and manage requests for communications support from allies and partners;
- Identify important conferences and speaking opportunities and manage strategies for major releases and events in cooperation with program staff;
- Collaborate with the Development Director regarding the intersection of communications and fundraising content and goals; and
- Perform other duties as assigned by Executive Director.
Qualifications: Five years’ experience developing and implementing institutional communications programs; public/media relations experience; experience creating digital media campaigns that support analogue research products; excellent writing and editing skills; demonstrated efficacy managing staff; passion for social justice; critical and creative thinking; relationships with journalists and advocates in spheres relevant to PRA; experience with social justice nonprofits, journalism, research institutions, and familiarity with right-wing organizations preferred; familiarity with WordPress, Access, and/or InDesign and fluency in Spanish or other languages a plus.
Salary is on social justice nonprofit scale, commensurate with skills and experience, with a target range of $64,000-$68,000 annually. Generous compensation package includes full medical & dental, retirement, fabulous colleagues, and a collaborative working environment. This is a full-time salaried position based in Somerville, Massachusetts. PRA is a racial justice and equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. People of color, LGBTQ persons, and women are strongly encouraged to apply.
Political Research Associates is committed to hiring someone with the right mix of experience (both traditional and nontraditional), political commitment, and potential to grow with us. We strongly encourage people from communities most negatively affected by right-wing ideologies & campaigns to apply, particularly: people of color; immigrants; women and feminine-identified people; lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and Two-Spirit people; genderqueer, trans, and gender non-conforming people.
To apply please send a cover letter, resume, and references to Shayna Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Position open until filled.
More on PRA:
Our contributions to social justice come in the form of strategy memos; workshops, briefings, and consultations; investigative articles and reports; an award-winning quarterly magazine, The Public Eye; op-eds and expert media commentary; a large online archive of research and analysis and a unique research library open to the public; adaptation of some of the best academic research for use by activists; and long-term strategic partnerships with visionary social justice organizers. A small sample of our many and varied accomplishments over our 35-year history include:
- Becoming a leading resource on white nationalism, right-wing populism, and fascism. With deep expertise on the histories and contemporary expressions of these movements, PRA has played a prominent role over the past year educating audiences about the threat of a right-wing populist upsurge as open bigotry became an increasingly prominent feature of the U.S. presidential campaign, particularly around the candidacy of Donald Trump. We were a contrarian voice of caution to those who disregarded the viability of an electoral strategy rooted in a cross-class and -gender coalition of white people. Since the election, we have been overwhelmed with requests interpret what happened and prepare social justice communities for the consequences.
- PRA anticipated the current resurgence of right-wing paramilitaries, and we have exposed leading so-called Patriot movement groups, including the III% militia implicated in armed attack on Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis as well as the recent plot to bomb a mosque and Somali immigrant housing in Kansas. In particular, we have backstopped rural community resistance to right-wing paramilitary groups with opposition research, strategic counsel, community and press briefings, and co-publication (with Rural Organizing Project) of Up In Arms, a report and activist resource kit.
- PRA is a leading national resource for challenging one of the leading threats to civil rights and labor laws, namely the dominionist (soft theocracy) strategy of claiming exemptions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. This approach got a big boost in the 2014 Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision and has been attempted in a number of states, including Indiana, Arizona, and Mississippi. We expect religious freedom claims may emerge as a prominent strategy of the incoming administration, in which dominionists are playing a prominent role.
- Exposing the role of right-wing U.S. evangelicals in promoting state persecution of LGBTI people in Uganda and elsewhere on the African continent. PRA’s groundbreaking research in this area has shaped activist, media, policy, and academic responses to this human rights crisis. Our research provides one of the bases for a lawsuit charging crimes against humanity brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda against American anti-LGBT campaigner Scott Lively. And, PRA has worked closely with U.S. activist groups to confront and challenge Lively and other “exporters” of U.S. culture war politics.
- Collaborating with community and labor groups to expose & challenge forces attempting to privatize schools, transit, and public health systems in Massachusetts. PRA is the research partner to a coalition that is pushing back against the conversion of public services into profit centers for private enterprise.
- Shaping press coverage and public debate on current events and major news stories ranging from the Oklahoma City bombing by neo-Nazi Timothy McVeigh, to the anti-Obama Tea Party backlash, to the January 2016 occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge by Patriot movement paramilitary groups.
Political Research Associates is an independent progressive think tank in the Boston area that analyzes the US Right for social justice change makers. PRA is a critical resource for information and insights about the Right that enables advocates to better strategize about how to counter their organized opponents.
We seek a seasoned editorial and research leader to manage our research program and publications, including PRA’s flagship quarterly, The Public Eye, special reports, and our Eyes Right blog. Assisted by a full-time Program Coordinator, the Research and Editorial Director (RED) manages the work of staff researchers, research fellows, and freelance contributors who produce long-form articles, 2 to 4 special reports a year, and regular blog posts. The RED reports to and works closely with the Executive Director, and serves as a member of PRA’s management team, alongside the communications and finance directors.
PRA may be best known for our work to counteract the Christian Right and theocratic movements, both domestically and abroad. Our core research program addresses a broad spectrum of the U.S. Right—from neonazis to neoliberals—and is organized around the themes of racial/immigrant, gender (including reproductive and LGBTQ), and economic justice, as well as civil liberties. PRA is known and respected for its research rigor, level-headed analysis, and deep commitment to social justice across multiple issues and constituencies.
The Research and Editorial Director should have experience in research, editing, and journalism; a comfort working with scholars, writers, and activists; analytical sophistication; and a solid understanding of the U.S. Right. Experience working in social justice nonprofits is advantageous.
Primary areas of responsibility include but are not limited to:
- Manage PRA’s research program, including supervising program staff and freelance investigators, facilitating regular team meetings, and guiding investigations and publications through all stages of work;
- Supervise and support the skill and intellectual development of research team members, including fellows; and
- If desired, assume lead research and writing role for one or more core areas of our research program.
- Generate high-quality research products for publication in various PRA vehicles, including our peer-reviewed quarterly, The Public Eye, special reports, and www.politicalresearch.org;
- Assign/commission and edit feature articles (~2/mo.), blogs (2-3 week), and special reports (2-4/yr.) for online and print, working directly with authors (staff, fellows, and freelancers), as well as an editorial team including a Program Coordinator and Communications Director;
- Supervise fact-checking, copyediting, and layout and proofing of print magazine, and create a plan to refine its business/subscriber model; and
- Convene PRA’s editorial board, including: setting editorial direction, generating story and writer ideas, evaluating published works, and recruiting members.
Public and Constituency Relations
- Serve as one of PRA’s media spokespeople; and
- Liaise with organizational partners.
- Participate as needed in fundraising efforts, including generating copy for foundation proposals/reports.
PRA is a racial justice and equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. People of color, LGBTQ persons, and women are strongly encouraged to apply.
Political Research Associates is committed to hiring someone with the right mix of experience (both traditional and nontraditional), political commitment, and potential to grow with us. We strongly encourage people from communities most negatively affected by right-wing ideologies & campaigns to apply, particularly: people of color; immigrants; women and feminine-identified people; lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and Two-Spirit people; genderqueer, trans, and gender non-conforming people. Qualifications for this position include:
- Substantial applied experience in research, editing, journalism/publishing;
- Excellent research, writing, editing, and verbal communications skills;
- Commitment to the vision, mission, and values of PRA;
- Significant administration and staff management/supervision/development experience, including with freelance/contract writers and investigators;
- Solid understanding of the U.S. Political Right;
- Fluency in qualitative research methodologies and investigative journalism techniques;
- Program development experience;
- Familiarity with the social justice organizing/advocacy landscapes in relation to PRA’s fields of work;
- Experience working in a multi-cultural environment with a demonstrated institutional commitment to diversity and justice with respect to race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national/ethnic origin, religion, physical ability, age, etc.;
- Graduate degree in social science (Sociology, Politics, Women’s Studies, etc.) a plus;
- Fluency in Spanish and other non-English languages relevant to PRA’s constituencies and research priorities also a plus;
- A sense of humor.
This is a full-time, senior staff position based at PRA’s Somerville, Massachusetts office and a dream job for the right person.
Salary on social justice nonprofit scale, commensurate with skills and experience. Generous compensation package includes full medical & dental, retirement, fabulous colleagues, and a collaborative working environment.
To apply please send a cover letter, CV, and two writing samples (Word doc or PDF) to Shayna Parker at email@example.com. Position open until filled.
Whether through its hard-hitting reports and investigative long-form writing, or its analytical, web-exclusive articles and insightful daily blog posts, Political Research Associates is committed to holding those on the Right who seek to undermine social justice and human rights accountable. PRAs research areas span gender, racial, immigrant, and economic justice; civil liberties; education; and other areas under attack by the Right. Our research and analysis helps inform the struggles of social justice advocates and works for a better, more just society.
Interested in joining our team as an intern?
PRA offers semester, full academic year, and summer internships with flexible scheduling. We offer a $500 stipend for fall/spring semester interns and a $1000 stipend for summer interns. Fall/spring interns usually commit to 8-10hrs/week and summer interns 18-20 hours per week. Internships take place in PRA’s Somerville, MA office. We are not seeking remote interns at this time.
Internship Application Deadline: Feb 15th for summer internships (additional applications will be considered on a rolling basis).
To apply, send a resume, two writing samples, and a cover letter detailing why you want to intern at Political Research Associates to firstname.lastname@example.org. PRA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. People of color, LGBTQ persons, and women are strongly encouraged to apply.
In your cover letter please indicate your availability and highlight your interest/experience in one or more of the areas below:
Research & Editorial
Interns help in investigating a variety of right-wing movements and institutions, and in producing The Public Eye magazine. We are also looking for interns with journalism backgrounds interested in contributing to writing and editing as well as research specific to magazine articles, conducting and transcribing interviews, and suggesting new features. Research and editorial responsibilities may include:
- Extensive web, library, or phone research; proofreading and fact checking
- Meeting and coordinating with researchers and analysts
- Assistance with design and layout of the magazine
- Contributing original posts to the Eyes Right Blog and help keep the blog updated with daily content.
Communications & Marketing
Interns sometimes report directly to the Communications Director and contribute to our marketing/digital strategy and best use of our website through tasks such as:
- Drafting press releases, email blasts, newsletters, and other materials
- Supporting the development of media strategies and journalist outreach for promoting major releases/events
- Contributing to social media, blog, and other editorial opportunities
- Multimedia projects using layout, photo, audio, or video equipment; Supporting fundraising initiatives and helping integrate communications and development.
QUALIFICATIONS: Excellent written communications, editing, and proofreading skills; detail-oriented; proficiency with MS Word, Excel, and graphic design applications preferred; prior experience in either journalism/research or marketing/public relations; ability to multitask and handle short- and long-term projects; ability to work independently and part of a team; interest in progressive activism. Social media, journalism, blogging experience a plus.
Looking for another way to get involved? Email email@example.com with a resume (including a reference) and tell us how you’d like to support the work we do at PRA. We are particularly seeking assistance in the areas of social media, development, graphic design, and fact checking.
For Writers and Artists:
For our submission guidelines for Public Eye as well as politicalresearch.org, please go to: http://www.politicalresearch.org/submission-guidelines/