Media Relations Manager (open to Portland, OR)

Marketing and Communications Washington, District of Columbia


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.

Program/ Department Summary:

The Media Relations team uses media outreach to raise Mercy Corps’ public profile and advance the agency’s fundraising and advocacy efforts. The team primarily engages with international media as well as US, UK national and regional outlets.


General Position Summary:

The Media Relations Manager manages the daily operations of Mercy Corps’ Global Media Relations Team, which is comprised of six to seven media relations and communication officers in Portland, Washington, DC, Edinburgh and London. S/he will conceptualize and implement media strategies on big projects, build and maintain key media relationships, reach out to the press around newsworthy Mercy Corps initiatives and content, and manage inbound media inquiries. As needed, s/he travels to the field on short notice to assist in the management of major media moments. In addition,s/he will work closely with program and advocacy staff, executives and fundraisers to develop strategies and plans for telling Mercy Corps’ most compelling stories to external audiences.


Essential Job Functions:

  • Manage daily operations of Global Media Relations Team.
  • Support the development of the global media relations strategy; contribute to overall profile-raising strategy.
  • Help manage the agency’s external communications strategy during crises.
  • Serve as liaison to key national and international media – includes developing relationships with journalists, serving as on-the-record spokesperson, writing and editing press materials, pitching Mercy Corps experts to media, and preparing them for interviews.
  • Travel to the field 30-50% of time as necessary to support media relations goals
  • Partner with global and field teams to advance the agency’s communications capacity, including identifying and training communications professionals and spokespersons throughout the organization.
  • Pitch Mercy Corps existing content (stories, photos, videos, multimedia pieces) to media outlets.
  • Partner with Policy and Advocacy team to develop messaging and, when viable, plan media outreach related to Mercy Corps’ global advocacy agenda
  • Coordinate closely with creative services, fundraisers, web content and social media teams to align storytelling and maximize reach and impact of media hits.
  • Ensure accuracy and quality of all media relations products, including news releases and talking points.
  • Monitor and measure success of media relations activities; oversee quarterly and annual media reports.
  • Supervise individual contributors on the team, with a close eye on their professional development and career growth.


Organizational Learning:

  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve - we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.


Accountability to Beneficiaries:

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.


Supervisory Responsibility: Communications Officer(s), Information Officer


Reports Directly To:  Senior Director of Communications


Works Directly With: Multiple fundraising teams, Policy and Research, Digital Marketing, Content, program and country teams, executive team.


Knowledge and Experience:

  • BA/S or equivalent required; MA/S in related field – journalism, public policy, international affairs – preferred.
  • 8-10 years of professional experience in media relations or journalism required.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage operations of a geographically dispersed team.
  • Established track record of generating positive media coverage in U.S. national and international outlets.
  • Superior written and verbal communications skills a must; ability to “translate” technical language into compelling stories needed.
  • Strong leadership skills with a proven track record of excellent communication, ability to delegate and commitment to inspiring and growing a high-performing team.
  • Experience in international development or knowledge of development issues preferred.


Success Factors:

The successful Media Relations Manager will be a proactive PR professional with an active network of established media contacts. S/he will be an excellent storyteller and writer with a nose for news. S/he will be a self-starter who can work independently or in a team setting, can take on a leadership and mentoring role for staff, and is able to forge productive relationships with colleagues throughout the agency. S/he must have a deep interest in Mercy Corps’ programs and a commitment to the goals of the organization. S/he needs to be able to prioritize, multi-task and organize many urgent tasks. This person will demonstrate creativity and flexibility, as well as a proven ability to learn quickly and be accountable for results. Even temperament and a good sense of humor appreciated.


Living Conditions/Environmental Conditions:

This position is based in either Washington, DC, or Portland, OR. Travel is estimated at 30-50% of the time, including to Mercy Corps field locations, which may be in remote and insecure locations.  Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.