The Brown Institute at Columbia Journalism School is overseeing a newly-funded Local News Initiative. The first of a number of anticipated projects involves developing an open source “smart” paywall that deploys Machine Learning to go beyond one-size-fits-all approaches to audience engagement.

We are looking for a design firm or product designer to help us further refine what this smart paywall looks like. We are also looking to kick off a second project to help local newsrooms in the audience engagement space. This Product Designer will help to better understand the audience engagement needs of local newsrooms and help design a second product from the ground-up to help meet those needs. An ideal candidate or firm will be well versed in design thinking and will have taken a product through all the stages of the process from research, wire frames, testing, to a finished design.

We are looking for a person or firm that is highly user-focused and can conduct needs-finding exercises with newsrooms to find pain points and think of ways we can creatively solve these problems. The candidate should have deep knowledge of user and product research techniques and be comfortable performing a competitive analysis, conducting user interviews, and able to deploy design skills like persona creation and journey mapping to help the team best understand the needs of local newsrooms and their readers.

It would help if the candidate had prior news or media experience to better navigate these conversations with an eye towards journalistic ethics and newsroom sensitivities.

This is an externally funded contract-based role. We are looking for bids from prospective designers and design firms.

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