The Director of Media & Public Relations has primary responsibility for providing administrative leadership in planning, coordinating and implementing the campus’s media and public relations strategy including news content and placement across multiple communication platforms (traditional and digital) to reach local, regional, national and international markets. The Director oversees a team including a media relations specialist and senior news writer. The position is responsible for providing consultation to campus constituencies on communications and media relations strategy, and working together with other members of Mount Holyoke College Communications & Marketing leadership team to identify content for websites and publications. This position serves as a communications liaison between Mount Holyoke College and various public agencies, colleges/universities, organizations and the general public on media and public relations issues.
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:
- Developing media and public relations strategy for implementation to local, regional, national and international news media.
- Generating stories and news media coverage, including digital platforms, and responding to media inquiries.
- Developing and implementing a crisis communications plan and training to internal campus community.
- Serving as spokesperson to the news media on institutional issues and is a backup to the Vice President of Communications & Marketing.
- Advising, training and assisting college officers, faculty, staff and students relative to communications with the news media, advising on key messages and talking points, information and public relations policies, and on publicity values, timing and techniques.
- Planning, developing, implementing and overseeing daily and long-term operations of the media relations service including programs, personnel and financial management.
- Serving as an adviser to the Vice President of Communications & Marketing and other college officers in conceiving and planning strategic communications projects and news dissemination, and coordinating news strategies with college and other campus units.
- Coordinating media relations activities with other campus communications coordinators, and as necessary those in other organizations involved with the college, and other universities and colleges around the country.
- Collaborating with the Director of Web Communications, Director of Strategic Communications & Marketing, and Director of Government and Community Relations on the development of content through various communications channels including web site.
- Guiding the planning, development, production and assessment of a campus broadcast program that supplies video news and feature story content to various news platforms in partnership with Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications.
- In collaboration with the Director of Creative Design, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, Director of Web Development, Director of Government and Community Relations and Creative Video Services Manager, assist in the planning, development, production and assessment of campus news and information web pages that provide information in photography, video and text formats for news media, special publics and internal constituencies, including such services as electronic news clips and video clips.
- Serving as a member of the college communications’ leadership team, providing strategic communications counsel to the vice president of communications & marketing, and other campus administrators.
- Providing administrative support in the planning, coordinating, and implementing of social media strategy.
- Supervising a media and public relations team that includes media relations manager, freelancers, and media consultant.
REQUIRED SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITIES
- Significant, increasingly responsible experience in leading a successful news, communication or public relations program for a college, university, news media organization, government agency or other large, complex knowledge-based organization.
- Demonstrated skill in effectively dealing with local, regional, national, and international news media in a way that is credible and reflects high integrity and ethical standards. Experience in recognizing and developing news and feature stories and in communicating them effectively (verbally and in writing) in appropriate styles for radio, television and print media, the Web and social media. Ability to serve as a campus spokesperson to the news media.
- Experience and skill in the intersection of news media coverage and using social media to extend coverage.
- Demonstrated initiative and leadership. Politically savvy, entrepreneurial, proactive and resourceful.
- Experience in analyzing situations and giving sound professional judgment on strategic communications, public opinion and media relations
- Possess sufficient experience and stature to be well-regarded across campus, and to work effectively with campus constituencies including deans, vice presidents, administrative staff, faculty members, students, donors and alumni. Ability to work collaboratively with public agencies, colleges/universities, and organizations around the country.
- Possess positive and current, working relationships with print and broadcast editors, writers and reporters on a local, regional, national and international level. Demonstrated skills in establishing and maintaining productive working relationships with print and broadcast editors, writers and reporters on a local, regional, national and international level. Ability to energetically pursue and maintain personal media contacts on a regular basis, to be responsive to requests for information, and to effectively promote campus programs and market story ideas. Ability to plan and execute media events.
- Demonstrated knowledge of journalistic formats, styles, standards, deadlines, techniques and audiences. Demonstrated knowledge of the academic and research enterprises, placing them in context and communicating them to the news media and a general audience. Experience in team management. Demonstrated skill in motivating, guiding and developing a professional team. Skill in managing daily news production, organizing multiple tasks and meeting deadlines. Ability to work effectively and provide direction and leadership to a team under stringent deadline requirements. Demonstrated interpersonal skills in working with a variety of people to gather needed information solve problems and produce news materials. Ability to communicate articulately. Ability to coach and evaluate professional staff members. Ability to delegate and act decisively.
- Demonstrated knowledge of electronic media, including the use of both the Web and broadcast vehicles for generating and distributing information. Ability to develop and oversee the production of content for the Web. Understanding of the role of Web navigation, video and still photography, visual representation and multi-media.
- Excellent writing skills, including ability to use language accurately and creatively, to recognize and use correct English grammar, spelling and punctuation. Demonstrated skills in conceptual editing, as well as copy editing and proof reading.
- Demonstrated experience managing financial resources, budgetary planning and prioritization of projects, news production and activities. Ability to maintain confidentiality. Demonstrated knowledge of academic policies and sensitivity to legal issues. Ability to use sound judgment and be accountable for decisions.
- Seasoned user of a wide range of software tools, including but not limited to Adobe CS, Google Analytics, Radian6, SocialFlow, Final Cut, Wordpress, Drupal, and Vocus. Expert user of social platforms for brands, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Demonstrated commitment to principles of community and diversity.
Overview: The Director of News and Media Relations oversees the News and Media Relations division in the Office of Communications and Marketing at Mount Holyoke College. This includes planning, developing and implementing communications strategies to tell the stories of the college to its many audiences via the news media, including prospective and current students, parents, alumnae and potential donors. The primary goal is to elevate and advance the reputation of Mount Holyoke by promoting its mission, history, traditions, and accomplishments through compelling narratives and external media coverage.
The News and Media Relations team is charged with identifying, writing, editing and distributing news stories, press releases and other content across an integrated platform to highlight strategic priorities, key initiatives, research, teaching, people and events. The Director leads an editorial team, including a media relations specialist, senior news writer and copyeditor, student intern and freelancers. The Director also manages external vendors such as Cision, a news distribution and media database platform. The director also develops and manages a budget.
Reporting to the Vice President for Communications and Marketing, the Director of News and
Collaborates with the directors of Strategic Marketing and Communications, Web
Communications (*title TBD), Government and Community Relations and College leaders across all divisions in the development of content for the college website, social channels and print collateral that reflects the Mount Holyoke brand.
Serves as the primary college spokesperson and first point of contact for media, responding in a timely manner and leveraging inquiries from regional, national and international news media.
Drafts and edits talking points, messages and announcements on strategic initiatives, potential crises and other timely communications on behalf of the college. The Director also advises the president and senior leadership on media response, outreach and communications strategy across all departments in coordination with the Vice President (and directly when appropriate).
Provides media training and interview preparation to administrators, faculty and students; facilitates media coverage to position the college as a leader in women’s education and diversity and inclusion including transgender admission, college access, and curriculum-to- career programs, securing placements in regional, national and international publications.
Builds and leverages relationships with print, broadcast and digital journalists and distributes content through targeted pitches, news releases and op-eds, social media, email newsletters and blogs.
The Director plays a key role in ensuring that the brand not only is reflected in every aspect of our communications but that it authentically reflects the College and its mission. In addition to leading a team including a media relations specialist and senior news writer/copyeditor, the Director works closely with the marketing writer, digital content manager, creative director and video producer to ensure that we leverage content and reach target audiences.
Manages the college’s relationship with student media, leading weekly meetings with news editors and working with campus leaders to respond to reporters’ requests.
Serves as the communications liaison for Mount Holyoke’s Operations Policy Council,
Emergency Response Team, the College Closure/Snow Team, AICUM, and the Five
College Consortium News Directors group, which includes Mount Holyoke, Smith,
Amherst and Hampshire colleges and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and collaborates with Seven Sisters college partners on issues of common interest.
Monitors and analyzes media coverage of Mount Holyoke and trends in higher education and produces monthly reports.
Reviews and negotiates contracts for on-campus filming.
Leads the Homepage Planning meetings to review the content plan for the week.
Prepares for and responds to crises.
- A Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, Communications, Public Relations, or a related field required. An advanced degree in a related field strongly preferred.
- A minimum of 10 years’ experience in journalism, public affairs, or media relations with experience working as a Journalist.
- Experience in using social media as a tool to extend media coverage
- Superior oral and written communication skills, including strong editing skills.
- Experience as a spokesperson of an organization.
- Familiarity with Vocus/Cision or news media databases.
- A working knowledge of content management systems and optimizing media resources for digital platforms.
- Broad knowledge of research and policy topics, including education, health, and international affairs is preferred.
- Experience communicating about research strongly preferred.
- The ideal candidate is collaborative and diplomatic, comfortable working under pressure and tight deadlines with staff and external contacts from all organizational levels.