Research Assistant Application

Shorenstein Center Student Research Assistants

 Current Openings 

 Content Management and Social Media Research Assistant Positions

The Shorenstein Center is looking for students to gain practical experience working in web content creation and social media management. These two positions will work directly with the center’s core Communications and Events team, focused on two particular channels of the center’s communications outputs. 

Commentary Blog Research and Editorial Assistant: 

The Shorenstein Center is launching a new “expert commentary” section on its website this fall, which will be a central place for center affiliates (faculty, staff, fellows, and alumni fellows) to publish short explainers and expert commentary on issues relating to media and the information ecosystem. The student research & editorial assistant will work closely with the Shorenstein Center’s Communications Manager (in her role as Editor-in-Chief of the blog) to monitor the news for topical hooks, research members of the Shorenstein Center community with expertise in relevant areas, solicit pieces, do interviews for q&a style articles, and post new articles to the website. They may also help with writing excerpts/blurbs about new pieces for the Shorenstein Center newsletter, and keeping a database of potential authors and their areas of expertise up to date. 

Social Media Research and Production Assistant: 

The Shorenstein Center engages directly with its core external audiences of journalists and policy makers primarily through email and social media channels.  We are looking for a very digital-savvy, creative Research & Production Assistant to join the team to help monitor our current social media channels, create native content (posts, graphics, and short video clips), and maintain a regular cadence of scheduled posts about our work and upcoming events, as well as helping the Communications team with launch campaigns for new publications and other research products. This person may also help with media monitoring and tracking interviews and other media hits for Shorenstein Center affiliated faculty, fellows, and staff. 

Successful applicants for both roles will have an interest in media, technology, and/or public policy relating to the information ecosystem, be highly organized, reliable, and able to work independently between regular check-ins with the manager and team, and have excellent written and verbal communication skills. Students with experience in communications, digital media, and/or journalism are encouraged to apply, but we also encourage applications from people without this direct experience, but an excitement to learn from and be part of a collegial communications team.  

RAs may work up to 20 hours per week, but we expect the average workload to be approximately 10-12 hours/week. RAs may start at any time during the semester, but are expected to stay in the position for at least 3-4 months (one semester) or more. 

Pay: $22/hour 

To apply for either role, please fill out this form. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


Fellows Research Assistant Positions

The Shorenstein Center is looking for students to gain practical experience working alongside this semester’s esteemed cohort of fellows. Available Fellows RA openings are listed below with corresponding application links. The time commitment for each of these positions is up to 14 hours per week, starting ASAP through December 2023. The pay for each position is $22/hour.

Research Assistant for Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author and radio host, Yevgenia Albats:

Yevgenia Albats is a Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author and radio host. She is editor-in-chief and CEO of The New Times, a Moscow-based, Russian-language, independent political weekly. Since 2004, Albats has hosted Absolute Albats, a talk-show on Echo Moskvy, the last remaining liberal radio station in Russia, until it was taken off the air ten days into Russia’s war with Ukraine. Albats is currently living in the United States after she was forced to leave Russia facing persecution in Moscow for her reporting on the war in Ukraine. Albats was among the last Russian journalists to leave. Previously, Albats was an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow assigned to The Chicago Tribune in 1990 and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993. She graduated from Moscow State University in 1980 and received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University in 2004. She has been a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) since its founding in 1996. Since 2003, Albats has taught political science at Yale, the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, the University of Michigan, and New York University. She has been studying the secret services of the U.S.S.R and Russia since 1987, and is the author of four independently researched books, including The State Within a State: The KGB and its Hold on Russia – Past, Present & Future. While in residence at the Shorenstein Center she will be researching and writing a new book on the history of Russian politics and its impacts on society.

The research assistant may assist with any or all of the following tasks: 

    • General and archival research in support of her book project

Ideal candidates will have:

    • Some knowledge of Russian politics
    • Some Russian language proficiency

To apply, please fill out this form by September 13, 2023.

Research Assistant for award-winning investigative journalist and entrepreneur Julia Angwin:

Julia Angwin is a Pulitzer-Prize winning contributing Opinion writer for the New York Times who writes about the impacts of technology on societies. She is an investigative journalist and entrepreneur who founded The Markup, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom that produced methodologically precise investigative journalism. She also led data-driven investigative teams at ProPublica and The Wall Street Journal that were each finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and was a member of a Pulitzer Prize winning team at The Wall Street Journal. Her New York Times bestseller, “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance” (MacMillan, 2014), chronicled her attempts to evade having her personal data exploited, and called on us to take a collective approach to protecting privacy. Her book “Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America” (Penguin Random House, 2009), was an early look at the promise of social networks and the boardroom battles to control the emerging technology. She is currently an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Columbia Journalism School’s Brown Institute. At the Shorenstein Center she will be working on a book about the impacts of artificial intelligence on human flourishing and researching new opportunities and methods for data-driven accountability journalism.

The research assistant may assist with any or all of the following tasks and projects: 

    • General research: topics include journalism history, tech policy proposals worldwide, the social impacts of AI, and investigative journalism methods;
    • Support with public events and scheduling

Ideal candidates will have:

    • Experience using research databases such as Lexis-Nexis, Factiva, SSRN, Pacer and Westlaw and summarizing research from those queries;
    • Experience writing research memos and interview questions for public events;
    • Experience reading and summarizing academic papers;
    • Understanding of journalism business models and tech policy preferred but not required 

To apply, please fill out this form by September 13, 2023.

Research assistant for award-winning documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson:

Kirsten Johnson’s next project is a scripted feature film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Susan Sontag. Her previous film, Dick Johnson is Dead premiered at Sundance 2020, where it won the Jury Prize for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling. The film won the Primetime Emmy for Directing, made the Oscar shortlist, is distributed by The Criterion Collection, and is currently showing on Netflix. Her previous film, Cameraperson, named on The New York Times ‘Top Ten Films of 2016,’ was also shortlisted for the Academy Award.  Her Field of Vision short, The Above was nominated for the IDA’s ‘Best Short Award’ for 2016. Her camerawork appears in Academy Award-winner Citizen Four, Academy nominated The Invisible War, and Cannes Winner Farenheit 9/11. She is one of the only 5% of women members of American Society of Cinematographers. While at The Shorenstein Center, she will be looking at ethical, neurological, race, and gender implications of being a cinematographer and how it changes you, with an eye towards how we’re all camera people now.

The research assistant may assist with any or all of the following tasks and projects: 

    • Research on Digital Technology and AI
    • General readings
    • Weekly conversations and check-ins
    • Discussion of concepts to be explore in book project
    • Ongoing creation of Reading and Viewing Lists
    • Film viewing
    • Overview of previously published work in adjected modes

Ideal candidates will have:

    • Avid interest in cinema
    • Familiarity in documentary film
    • Curiosity about global politics, cinematography, surveillance and AI
    • Graphic Design capacity and awareness appreciated
    • Organizational skills
    • Video Editing skills appreciated
    • Transdisciplinary thinking
    • Sense of Humor

To apply, please fill out this form by September 13, 2023.

Research Assistant for award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and editor Mary Lampson:

Mary Lampson is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and editor. Mary co-edited the Academy Award–wining documentary Harlan County, USA. In addition to the films she edited, she co-directed UNDERGROUND with Emile de Antonio and Haskel Wexler, produced and directed UNTIL SHE TALKS, a 40-minute dramatic film aired on the PBS series American Playhouse and produced and directed 25 short live-action films for Sesame Street. 

Recent projects include:

      • Trouble The Water (Tia Lessin and Carl Deal)
      • Kimjongilia (N.C. Heikin)
      • Queen of Versailles and Generation Wealth (Lauren Greenfield)
      • This Changes Everything (Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein)
      • The Islands and the Whales (Mike Day)
      • The Bad Kids (Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe)
      • Crime and Punishment (Stephen Maing)
      • Eating Animals (Christopher Quinn)
      • Midnight Family and A Still Small Voice (Luke Lorentzen)
      • Crip Camp  (Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht)
      • The Disappearance of Shere Hite (Nicole Newnham)
      • Joonam (Sierra Urich)

Mary has been both a fellow and advisor at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Editing and Story Lab (2005-2017), an Artist in Residence at the Sundance Nonfiction Director’s Residency (2018) and an advisor at a series of fellowships at the Points North Institute in Camden, Maine. She served on the board of the Points North Institute from 2011 to 2018. She has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2012. 

The research assistant may assist with any or all of the following tasks and projects in support of her fellowship work: 

    • Tech support (Mac/Microsoft word)
    • Manage interview schedule
    • Catalog and manage existing and new notes from film screenings
    • Organize interview material
    • Additional research as needed
    • Provide input in cutting room conversations

Ideal candidates will have:

    • Sense of humor
    • A love of films and documentary filmmaking (no prior filmmaking experience required)
    • Appreciation and love of the rigor (minutia) required to edit a documentary film
    • Understanding of how complex the work can be
    • Patience and humility
    • Ability to work as part of a team and independently

To apply, please fill out this form by September 13, 2023.

Research Assistant for independent filmmaker and non-fiction content creator Jacqueline Olive:

Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker with nearly twenty years of experience in journalism and film. As a fellow at the Shorenstein Center, Jackie will be examining the new documentary distribution landscape that has reshaped the industry with the surge of on-demand content for streaming that began in 2020. Her project will provide analytical research and case studies mapping a quickly transforming documentary film industry.

Jackie’s award-winning debut documentary film, Always in Season, has received numerous honors including winner of the 2019 Sundance Festival Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency and nominations for Best Writing from IDA Documentary Awards (2019) and Cinema Eye Honors (2019). Always in Season broadcast on Independent Lens on PBS in 2020 and was the highest rated film of the season. In addition to creating the 2022 Peabody Award-winning VR project, Always in Season Island – Jackie directed, produced, and wrote the documentary film, Death is Our Business, which broadcast on FRONTLINE/PBS and the WORLD Channel in February 2021 and executive produced and directed Lincoln’s Dilemma, an Emmy-nominated 4-part Apple TV series (2023). After teaching film at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Social Documentation M.F.A. program, Jackie remains on the Central Coast of California happily making films and immersive media full-time.  

The research assistant may assist with any or all of the following tasks and projects in support of her fellowship work: 

    • Assist with designing research process
    • Assist with field work (including interviews) and web-based research
    • Assist with identifying. analyzing, summarizing, and fact checking secondary research
    • Assist with arranging, calendaring and prepping for interviews
    • Assist with compiling interview questions and collecting data
    • Assist with interviewee follow-up
    • Make use of selected methodology, statistical analysis, field research, and other materials to collect, analyze, and validate primary research data
    • Assist with reports of project status and brainstorming any needed additions and/or changes in procedures
    • Assist with summarizing project results
    • Assist with compiling visual representation of the results
    • Assist with organizing and proofreading resulting journal article drafts
    • Serve, and credited, as a source of information or reference on research methodology and assessment of data validity

To apply, please fill out this form by September 13, 2023.

Research Assistant for senior media executive Keri Putnam:

Keri Putnam is an award-winning senior media executive, producer, board member, and strategic advisor to media companies and nonprofit organizations. Throughout her career, she has supported, developed, and produced bold, original media from new and established talent and advocated for a more diverse and inclusive media. In 2022, Putnam founded Putnam Pictures to produce film and television from creators with distinct and adventurous vision. Previously, Putnam served as CEO of Sundance Institute from 2010-2021. She led the Sundance Film Festival and a wide array of year-round global lab and granting programs for new storytellers in film, series, documentary, theater, and new media. Prior to Sundance, Putnam served as President of Production at Miramax Films, a division of the Walt Disney Company. While at The Shorenstein Center, she will research and report on the state of independent media in the U.S., with a particular eye on the lack of opportunity for long-form storytelling today.

The research assistant may assist with any or all of the following tasks and projects:

    • General research;
    • Sourcing and distilling data on the distribution of independent film and documentary over the last decade;
    • Transcribing interviews with field leaders;
    • Filed mapping and data visualizations

Ideal candidates will have: 

    • Knowledge of US media or cultural history;
    • Interest in and knowledge of independent film and documentary;
    • A familiarity with the US media landscape (preferably from both the creative and business perspective)

To apply, please fill out this form by September 13, 2023

Research Assistant for strategic communications expert Camilla Monckton:

Camilla Monckton is Head of Strategic Communications in the UK Cabinet Office. She is currently leading a program of work to counter disinformation by partnering with governments in Central & Eastern Europe to build strategic communications capability to improve resilience to hybrid threats. She has dedicated a large part of her career to fighting human trafficking, and was appointed to help set up the office of the UK’s first Anti Slavery Commissioner. Following this, as a consultant, Monckton previously worked with Governments to help track and understand migrant smugglers’ exploitative false narratives and how to counter these, working across West Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. As a Shorenstein fellow she will be looking at the implications of the transformed information environment on national security. Specifically looking at how to adapt and modernize communication structures to build resilience to hostile state influence operations, drawing on her experience working on allied coordination and strengthening of communications in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The research assistant may assist with any or all of the following tasks and projects:

    • Conduct research into government communications reform, to assist in the formulation of a robust business case for modernizing communications to bolster national security;
    • Conduct research into best practice into whole-of-government responses to defense policy issues, particularly in building resilience to hybrid threats;
    • Support with transcription and analysis of interviews and focus groups with high-level government officials from across Europe and the US working in national security and communications;
    • Analyze data on the return on investment on Government Communications, with a focus on the UK Government and the Government of Ukraine’s strategic communications outputs;
    • Synthesize complex research findings into concise and compelling insights suitable for both academic and policy audiences;
    • Stay current with emerging research, trends, and developments related to national security, disinformation, and communication reform;
    • Assist in preparing presentations and briefings to communicate project progress and findings

Ideal candidates will have: 

    • Masters Degree candidate and or experience in strategic communications, public policy, international relations, national security or related field;
    • Familiarity with academic research methodologies, data analysis, and citation standards;
    • Monitoring & Evaluation expertise (in the field of public policy or international development);
    • Social Media Analytics experience;
    • Experience in synthesizing complex research findings into concise and compelling insights – suitable for both academic and policy audiences. Ideally having previous experience in research assistance or policy analysis;
    • Demonstrated interest in national security, digital communication, and disinformation issues;
    • Proficiency in Microsoft Office/Google Workspace and data analysis tools

To apply, please fill out this form by September 13, 2023.