Learn how to interpret polling information with SPJ

As we close in on the home stretch of this election season, state and national polls will be coming hot and heavy. But what do the numbers actually mean? How do you interpret them in a way that your audience can really understand?

The Valley of the Sun Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists presents a special program with polling guru Bruce Merrill, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 in the boardroom of the Associated Press’s Phoenix bureau, 1850 N. Central Ave. Parking is free.

The event is FREE for SPJ members and $5 for non-members, payable at the door (cash or check only). RSVPs requested by no later than noon on Sept. 12 to info@phoenixspj.org or call 602-410-1267. For more details, download the program flier.

AZ Republic hiring reporters, editors and content producers

The Arizona Republic has several new openings for reporters, editors and content producers. More information is available below and if you want to contact the respective editor, all emails are firtsname.lastname@arizonarepublic.com.

Political reporter
We are looking to add an aggressive, watchdog reporter to the National Politics Team in the First Amendment Center. This reporter would help cover the state’s 10 (and soon to be 11) member congressional delegation, with particular emphasis on the 2012 election season. The campaign already is attracting huge levels of interest with two, and possibly three, open House seats, as well as redistricting, which could throw some lawmakers into competitive races for the first time in years.
We are looking for a reporter who could cover at least three of the competitive races in-depth, providing deep analysis and breaking news on all those races, while helping to monitor some of the other, less competitive races. He or she would be expected to contribute regularly to page A1, AZ Fact Check, azcentral.com and our politics blogs. The job would require some night and weekend assignments, as well as travel around the state.
Responsibilities would include:
— Significant daily and Sunday enterprise stories.
— Profiles and deep backgrounding of all the major candidates.
— Watchdog stories on the candidates, their backgrounds, their claims, etc.
— Fact Checks on claims by the candidates or parties.
— Coverage of quarterly campaign finance filings.
The successful candidate would be a self-starter who has a proven record of watchdog journalism, performs well on deadline, is a gifted writer and — perhaps most important — works well in a team environment. If you’re interested, please send a note explaining how you would approach the job to national editor Kristen DelGuzzi by Friday, Nov. 11. If you have any questions, please email or call her at x4855.

State Politics/Governor’s Office reporter
We are looking for a State politics/Governor’s Office reporter to join our four-person state Capitol team, focusing on the Governor’s Office, several state agencies (such as parks and veterans affairs) and some legislative/budget issues. Ginger Rough, who currently has this beat, has asked for a change of assignment for family reasons.
Her replacement will serve as a watchdog over the Governor’s Office, analyzing policy decisions and budget proposals, among other duties. He or she will be an integral part of a high-profile team that produces frequent A1 stories, breaks political news and regularly contributes to AZ Fact Check, our politics blog and the Sunday Politics page.
Responsibilities include:
— Daily and Sunday enterprise stories.
— Watchdog stories on the Governor’s Office and administration.
— Fact Checks on claims, statements, news releases, etc. by the governor and her office.
The successful candidate will have demonstrated excellent beat management, proven initiative and a strong record of watchdog journalism, performing well on deadline, and working well in a team environment. If interested, please send a note explaining how you would approach the job and links to no more than six of your best stories in the last two years to state government and politics editor Christina Leonard by Friday, Nov. 11.

Arizona Politics Digital Editor
With the 2012 election season gearing up, azcentral is overhauling its politics page to create a dynamic, robust and interactive page that will be the go-to page for all political news in Arizona. The site would be filled with all the rich political content already being produced every day by Republic and 12 News staffers, as well as new content we plan to create, including interactive tools and features. The page, which will launch in time to showcase Arizona’s GOP presidential debate on Dec. 1, will also be updated throughout the day with fresh local, state and national content.
The politics digital editor is an integrated member of the politics team. He or she will own this new page and ensure that it is the destination site for political news in Arizona throughout the 2012 campaign season and beyond. This editor will help conceive and define the new site and be responsible for:
— Updating the page regularly throughout the day with local and wire stories.
— Collaborating with politics editors from The Republic and 12 News to identify important stories and recommend the best ways to package and present them online.
— Monitoring major politics sites such as Politico and the Huffington Post for stories to summarize and link to.
— Maintaining a new humor blog about the presidential campaign that would aggregate the best snippets from the late-night talk shows and other blogs.
— Working with USAT and ContentOne to coordinate online political coverage across Gannett.
The editor also would work closely with the social media team to develop a strategy that ensures our political coverage reaches and engages with as many people as possible using Twitter, Facebook and other tools. He or she would collaborate with story editors, reporters and photographers to identify the best way to present and tell a story online. The editor also would be responsible for optimizing headlines and other story elements for SEO, moderating story chats and performing a daily traffic analysis.
The successful candidate must be a political junkie who is comfortable with writing, performs well on deadline, is a champion of experimentation and innovation and a terrific team player. Online experience is a plus, but not essential. Some development skills (or interest in developing them) would be ideal, too, because we will be creating new features for the site as the election season progresses.
If you are interested, please send a note explaining how you would approach the job to Nicole Carroll by Friday, Nov. 11.

Neighborhood Content Editor/Producer
We are looking to launch a hyperlocal neighborhood content/blog network in early 2012. We aim to pilot the idea in the East Valley/Scottsdale and eventually grow the concept to other parts of the Valley. We are seeking an experienced, community-minded person to oversee all aspects of content creation and editing for this project. The neighborhood content editor/producer will recruit, train and manage dozens of contributors who will publish information on digital platforms. This will be a coaching, teaching and mentoring job. The neighborhood content editor/producer also is responsible for some day-to-day writing and editing of hyperlocal content. The successful candidate will be an aggressive community organizer, an excellent writer, and have knowledge of social media networks, video and still photography.
Responsibilities include:
— Organizing and managing content for neighborhood websites.
— Developing a network of strong sources and voices within the assigned neighborhoods.
— Training and organizing community contributors across a variety of topics to post content to neighborhood sites.
— Editing, selecting and publishing news and other stories daily with accuracy and consistency.
— Organizing, coordinating and attending community meetings and events.
— Keeping in contact with other news staffers to make them aware of any larger news emerging from the contributors or neighborhoods.
— Capturing, editing and posting still images and video to the site.
— Using social media tools to engage with neighborhood residents.
— Creating engaging ways for users and contributors to interact with the site including contests, polls and other interactive elements.
If you are interested, please send a note explaining how you would approach the job to Nicole Carroll by Friday, Nov. 11.