Data Journalist/Research Communications Analyst

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Date Posted June 04, 2024
Industry Nonprofit
Specialty Other
Required Education Bachelor’s Degree
Telecommute? Hybrid
Job Status Full-time

Data Journalist/Research Communications Analyst 2


RAND’s Communications and External Affairs (CEA) department has an exciting opportunity in its Research Communications Group for a professional who is looking to use their graphic design and visual narrative expertise to support RAND’s mission of helping improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. This position will focus on national security topics. 

Research Communications Analysts (RCAs) play a key role in collaborating with researchers and RAND leaders to present complex policy research in crisp, clear, and compelling visual and written formats to audiences ranging from high-level decisionmakers to general audiences. RCAs help RAND researchers improve the logic, structure, clarity and accessibility of primary research documents, summary products, graphics, and slide presentations. This role, which is designated as a Communications Analyst II job classification at RAND, will focus on visual communication tactics supported by text. The role will work closely with researchers to gain understanding of diverse topics and methods in the national security area, craft and refine policy research narratives, and then translate those ideas into visual materials that policymakers, practitioners, and the public can understand and act upon.

Success in this role requires strong ability to analyze challenging or complex topics and situations, often under tight deadlines, and to develop and execute visual communications tactics with creativity and polish. It also requires excellent audience analysis capability, the ability to craft policy research narratives supported by highest-quality visuals and graphics, and the ability to create or collaborate on text to support visuals that help inform policy and decisionmaking. A familiarity with national security topics or a strong inclination to gain expertise in those areas is extremely desirable.


Required attributes for this position:

  • Superior graphical skills and the demonstrated ability to elevate communications products by applying design principles to create compelling visual narratives supported by text

  • Demonstrated understanding of inclusive design best practices, including visual, typographic, and color sensibilities

  • Superior communications and audience analysis skills demonstrated through the development of key messages

  • Ability to take complex concepts and break them down visually, and to incorporate data and data analysis into designs

  • A proven track record in creating, editing, or improving briefings and other visual materials (maps, charts, graphs, informational graphics)

  • Ability to mesh compelling visuals with prose

  • Expert proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)

  • Ability to navigate organizational complexities to ensure projects meet deadlines at high levels of quality

  • Flexibility, ingenuity, creativity, diplomacy, and a willingness to learn and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances

  • Capacity to exercise editorial judgment, self-direction, and independence on multiple projects; also, the ability to work well with and within teams

  • Ability to contribute throughout the life cycle of a research project with communications analysis, strategy, and creation of assets

Preferred attributes for this position:

  • Demonstrated expertise or authentic interest in national security topics and policy research in those areas

  • Advanced writing skills

  • Excellent project management skills

Education Requirements 

Bachelor’s degree required in design, fine art, English, communications, public policy, or another related field. An advanced degree is preferred.


Minimum of 6 years of related experience is required.  Previous experience with academic or policy research communications and familiarity with the Department of Defense and/or Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) is preferred.

Security Clearance 

A successful candidate must be able to obtain and maintain United States government security clearances, including Top Secret classification from the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. U.S. citizenship is required for a Department of Defense security clearance.


This position will be located at our Arlington, Va. office (Washington D.C. metro area). This position is eligible for RAND’s hybrid work environment, which enables a blend of on-site and remote work. Some on-site presence will be required to meet business needs. On-site presence will likely be 2-4 days a week and will vary from week to week.

Work Samples

Candidates must submit a portfolio of relevant work that demonstrates creative and useful design solutions to complex problems, thoughtful attention to information architecture, and excellent visual design skills, along with strong writing skills. The portfolio should include samples that reflect:

  • PowerPoint expertise

  • Infographic expertise

  • Document design expertise

  • Expertise meshing compelling visuals with text

Salary Range:  $82,100 – $122,100

RAND considers a variety of factors when formulating an offer, including, but not limited to, the specific role and associated responsibilities; a candidate’s work experience, education/training, skills, and expertise; and internal equity. In addition, RAND provides strong benefits, including health insurance coverage, life and disability insurance, a savings plan, paid time off, and more. 



Equal Opportunity Employer: race/color/religion/sex/sexual orientation/gender identity/national origin/disability/vet

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