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Policy Analyst

  • Requisition no: 521986
  • Work type: Full Time
  • Location: Morningside
  • School/Department: Knight Institute
  • Grade: Grade 14
  • Categories: Legal
  • Job Type: Officer of Administration
  • Bargaining Unit:
  • Regular/Temporary: Regular
  • End Date if Temporary:
  • Hours Per Week: 35.0
  • Salary Range:

Position Summary

The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. Our aim is to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.

Since its establishment in 2016, the Institute has filed precedent-setting litigation, undertaken major interdisciplinary research initiatives, and become an influential voice in debates about the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age. Its active litigation docket includes cutting-edge cases relating to transparency, surveillance, and social media. Through its research program, the Institute has hosted leading thinkers as visiting scholars and published influential essays focused on emerging threats to the system of free expression. It has also hosted public events on issues including new technology and public discourse, data journalism and the law, the First Amendment and inequality, national-security journalism, and the implications for public discourse of economic concentration in the technology sector.

The Institute seeks an experienced Policy Analyst and advocate to inform our litigation, research, and public education work; devise a strategy for potential policy engagement; and develop opportunities for involving Columbia University faculty and graduate students the ongoing work of the Institute. Working in collaboration with the litigation research and public educations teams, the Policy Analyst will deepen the Institute’s understanding of the current and emerging regulatory landscape surrounding speech and privacy online at the national and state level, and will also identify and develop avenues both for involvement, within lobbying limits, in policy debates and discussions and for policy-focused partnerships with the broader Columbia community. The ideal candidate will have an interest in and familiarity with issues at the intersection of free speech and technology, experience in policy analysis and policy strategy and advocacy, and the ability to collaborate with a range of colleagues across programs and disciplines. The Policy Analyst will be energetic, creative, and highly organized; a strong writer and strategic thinker; and a natural multitasker and connection-maker.


The Policy Analyst’s specific responsibilities will include:

Informing our work:

  • Monitor existing and anticipate impending policy proposals at the national and state level that relate to our work in general and to specific ongoing and potential litigation, research, and public education projects;
  • Share information about relevant legislative and other policy proposals with our litigation, research, and public education teams;
  • Analyze and prepare reports, memos, or other briefing materials on relevant legislation and policy proposals, on the timetables for these proposals, and on the potential First Amendment impacts of these proposals;
  • With the litigation and research teams, explore whether and how potential legislation or regulatory changes could address concerns we have raised in litigation and research projects, and where appropriate, help us craft model legislative proposals.
  • Write and/or edit position papers, public comments, and other documents framing Institute knowledge and positions in ways that can advance policy discussions;
  • Coordinate Institute responses to requests from legislators and regulators for advice on potential policy proposals;
  • Represent the Institute in meetings with executive and legislative offices and staff;
  • Identify and arrange opportunities for Institute staff to provide expert testimony and other guidance on issues relating to Institute projects and priorities;
  • Liaise with policy counterparts at colleague organizations and identify opportunities to coordinate with or support relevant policy-related efforts;
  • Evaluate coalition sign-on letters and other requests for Institute endorsements or support on policy-related questions.

Strategizing a policy role for the Institute:

  • With the executive director, research director, and senior management team, develop a system for deciding whether, when, and how the Institute should enter specific policy debates and discussions;
  • With the executive director, research director, and senior management team, develop a vision for when and how the Institute might develop a policy program to support and facilitate ongoing involvement in policy debates and discussions at the national and state level;

Developing Columbia partnerships:

  • With the research director, help shape and guide the Institute’s emerging partnerships with the Columbia University community to advance the Institute’s policy objectives and involve faculty and students from across the university in the Institute’s work.

Performs related duties and responsibilities as assigned/requested.

Minimum Qualifications

  • JD degree; or graduate degree in public policy or related field; or graduate degree in computer science, engineering, or related field.
  • At least seven years of experience working on legislative and policy matters
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze legislative and administrative policy
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Strong legal research and analytical skills, including drafting and analyzing legislative language
  • Ability to prioritize among multiple projects

Preferred Qualifications

  • Working knowledge of current policy questions at the intersection of free speech and new technologies
  • Ability and desire to work strategically and effectively across disciplines
  • Experience conceiving and developing individual policy initiatives
  • Experience conceiving and developing a policy program
  • Ability to build relationships with potential partners in the Columbia University community and with colleague organizations in the field

Required Application Materials 

  1. Cover letter explaining your interest in the position, including a description of any relevant life or work experience
  2. Resume
  3. Two samples of policy-related work
  4. Contact information for three references

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Additional information may be requested during the application process.

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

Applications open: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close:

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