Work with us
Senior writer on tech policy, ethics, and social issues
MIT Technology Review has a mission unique among tech publications—to use our journalism to make technology a greater force for good. We’re seeking someone for a role central to that mission: reporting on how technology affects society, and how the decision-making processes, economic and political forces, and power imbalances in society influence what kind of technology gets built, how it’s used, and who benefits—or doesn’t.
It’s a big, hairy beat that touches on some of the biggest social and political problems of our time. But if it seems like a lot to take on, don’t worry; you won’t be tackling it alone. You’ll be joining a close-knit team of reporters and editors with a wide range of expertise.
What you’d be doing
This is a job for someone who’s excited by the chance to flex their reporting and writing muscles across a wide range of journalistic styles, from timely news analyses to more in-depth features, profiles, and essays, as well as the occasional scoop. As a very loose guide, we expect our writers to produce 2-3 short pieces a week, plus a couple of medium-sized and one longer piece every month or so, which could include stories for our bimonthly print magazine. You may work in other formats—perhaps a newsletter, perhaps a podcast. You’ll speak and moderate at MIT Technology Review conferences and represent us at other events. And we’d love it if you pushed us to consider new ways of producing journalism and reaching audiences that we haven’t yet thought of.
Here are just some of the topics we’ve been covering that might fall within this beat. You won’t necessarily do all of them. And you might well have others in mind.
- Online misinformation
- Data privacy
- Tech in political campaigns
- Digital surveillance and predictive policing, and how they reinforce structural racism
- Algorithmic bias in healthcare, sentencing, hiring, lending, and more
- AI-enabled deep fakes, government spying, and censorship
- How gig-work platforms fuel the rise of the precariat
- Economic impacts of automation and robotics
- Diversity (or rather the lack of it) in the tech industry
- Technology financing and its limitations
- The power of Big Tech and how to regulate it
- The role of technology in geopolitical power struggles, and the rise of the “splinternet”
And here are a few stories we’re proud of that could have fallen under this beat:
- an interactive explainer on racial bias in criminal risk assessment software
- a feature on why venture capital doesn’t build the technology we really need
- a story on the growing schism in the fertility industry driven by money and covid-19
- an investigation into AI-based lie detectors
- a scoop about a proposed social network for the rich
- a story on why the technology used to exhaustively document Syrian war crimes largely failed to bring anyone to justice
Who we’re looking for
This beat didn’t even exist in tech journalism until recently. So if you think you don’t have the right expertise, we’ve got news for you: nobody does. We need you to have some experience as a reporter and preferably as a technology reporter. But perhaps you’ve also spent time at a policy shop, or in academia, or worked in the tech industry or in venture capital. Perhaps your background is more in social justice or health or the law or economics, or any other sphere in which you’ve been able to witness the impact of technological change and thought about why it happens the way it does and whom it affects.
- are passionate about expressing yourself clearly and well
- can convey complex matters to a broad audience in plain, colloquial English without talking down to them
- care about the people in your stories as much as about the issues, and want to show your readers that “policy” and “regulation” aren’t distant, abstract concepts but things that directly affect them
- are interdisciplinary, able to explore complicated causes and effects
- are comfortable with messiness—with stories where there isn’t a clear right and wrong or someone to blame
- constantly question received wisdom and “the way it’s always been done”
- are relentlessly curious, always ready to own up to what you don’t know and then dive in and learn it.
We’re always looking to diversify our newsroom further. For this job in particular, not fitting the usual mold of a tech reporter could be an asset. Many of the social issues about technology are about who gets included and who gets excluded. If you’re from a minority group, you may have a particularly keen sense for that.
If this sounds exciting but you’re not sure you fit the bill, reach out anyway: drop us a line at email@example.com with a few lines about yourself (what skills would you bring that we just haven’t thought of?) and a couple of questions to get a sense of whether this might be for you. At worst we’ll say no, and we promise to say it with kindness.
Who you’d be working with
We’re about 20 reporters and editors with expertise in many fields of technology, spread across the US and in Europe. Even before the pandemic half of us worked remotely, and we think we’ve gotten pretty good at doing our jobs while supporting each other via Zoom. While many of your stories will be solo efforts, here are some of the people you’re likely to be collaborating with on the regular:
Bobbie Johnson, your editor, the unflappable Zen master of our newsroom, founder of a science publication and a mental-health magazine and much more besides. He will check in on you daily and make everything seem all right even when it isn’t.
Karen Hao, author of one of the best AI newsletters out there, one of Om Malik’s top 25 tech reporters, a data scientist, MIT graduate, frequent speaker on AI bias and diversity in tech, and much less intimidating than she sounds.
Abby Ohlheiser, who began writing about misinformation long before most people had heard of it, is as comfortable talking to TikTok influencers as to evangelical pastors, and knows the internet’s dark soul well as its shiniest wonders.
Tanya Basu, who since the pandemic began has been chronicling how digital life is changing under lockdown.
Jennifer Strong, head of our growing podcast division, who has been an audio journalist since she was 12 and wields a microphone the way Obi-Wan Kenobi wields a lightsaber (and will make you dangerous with one too).
And since the beat is so wide-ranging, you could conceivably join forces with anyone on our team.
What we’ll give you
We pay a wage that’s commensurate with your experience and competitive with other national magazines and digital publications; MIT takes pay equity very seriously. In addition, you get MIT employee benefits, which are some of the best in the US and include tuition discounts if you want to take MIT courses on the side.
You can work remotely; US time zones are preferable, European ones are also doable. If you don’t live in the Boston area you’ll miss out on the summer barbecue, the office Christmas party, the Hallowe’en movie week, and the editor-in-chief’s Friday cocktail hours—but for now we’re holding them all via Zoom anyway.
You’ll work closely with one editor, who’ll collaborate with you to create clear goals and expectations and then help you fulfil them. Some people stay here for decades, others do a spell and move on. In the last couple of years we’ve lost people to CNN, Forbes, and Wired, and taken them from New Scientist, the Verge, and the Washington Post. We see it as our job to enable you to do your best work, wherever that leads you.