Director of External Communications and Media Relations

Staff Exempt Boston, Massachusetts


Description

Suffolk University is pleased to announce the career opportunity as the Director of External Communications and Media Relations.

This position oversees and drives Suffolk University’s strategic efforts to elevate reputation through proactive and regular outreach to members of the media in print, broadcast and digital media, and to external partners and influencers. The Director leads the Communications Divisions’ efforts to inform the news media and the public about the University’s impact and excellence, including faculty expertise and scholarship, innovative programs, community impact and student and alumni accomplishments. The Director has established and develops strong relationships with members of the media and has a keen understanding of what reporters, editors and producers are looking for in news and feature stories. Collaborating with members of the Office of Public Affairs, she/he mines, researches, develops, writes, packages and pitches stories regularly to land high-impact and high-visibility placements while helping colleagues do the same. The Director also works to share Suffolk stories with key influencers, opinion makers, business, community, civic and higher education leaders through newsletters, social media and other channels, and she/he works to develop and expand those influencer lists. She/he cultivates partnerships with media and other organizations that advance University reputational efforts and identifies key priority media outlets to pursue for specific stories. The Director works closely with the Vice President of Communications on reputation and issues management, including crisis communications, and provides strategic counsel on responding to internal and external issues that impact the University and the Suffolk community.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Working closely with the Vice President of Communications, drive the University’s media strategies. Regularly develop, package and pitch stories on Suffolk University programs, faculty scholarship, research and expertise, innovative leadership, community impact, events, and student and alumni success, leading to high-impact placements.
  • Work with colleagues in the Office of Public Affairs and the Division of Communications, along with faculty and staff throughout the University and its three schools to identify potential media stories. Help generate ideas and maximize the impact of press releases, advisories and pitches.
  • Work closely with the Vice President of Communications and other members of the Division of Communications to develop reputation enhancement strategies and materials. Develop and draft communications plans and campaigns to promote University initiatives, programs, announcements and events. Develop content calendars in support of key initiatives, announcements and other University news, as well as school and program initiatives.
  • Working closely with the Vice President of Communications, cultivate and manage Suffolk’s media partnerships
  • Prepare, write and edit press releases, media advisories, internal messages, public statements, talking points, FAQs and briefings.
  • Develop and nurture relationships with news media locally, regionally and nationally, as well as with the higher education press and other specialty and industry publications, bloggers, influencers and others.
  • Build relationships with faculty members, staff, students and alumni to develop regular sources of story ideas. Develop an in-depth knowledge of faculty expertise and scholarship areas.
  • Manage, update, and improve the University’s faculty expert database. Regularly promote faculty expert commentary to the news media. Assist faculty members in preparing proposals to lead high profile conferences and events, as well as secure appropriate journalists as event moderators, which might lead to favorable media coverage.
  • Oversee media list building, press release and advisory dissemination, and media monitoring, and develop regular reporting on media reach and impact for various stakeholders, including senior leadership and boards.
  • Working with the Vice President of Communications, develop strategies to respond to and manage internal and external reputational issues, including crisis communications. Provide strategic counsel and crisis communications support, prepare talking points and FAQs, prepare University leaders or others for interviews, serve as a secondary spokesperson and as a backup Public Information Officer.
  • Drive efforts to maximize the impact of media placements through social media. Develop social media content that shares important University developments and examples of success. Foster social conversations and engagement that build community and elevate the University’s reputation.

Requirements: 

  • A minimum of 7 years progressively increasing experience in media relations/public relations with a proven track record of landing high-impact media placements
  • A deep understanding of journalism, preferably with experience in that field, and a creative approach to storytelling
  • Strong communications skills, including excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Strategic thinking and the ability to develop and drive media and external relations strategies that elevate reputation
  • Collaborative leadership and a willingness to help colleagues better develop, package and pitch stories, faculty expertise, and University news
  • Demonstrated experience working with diverse populations and a strong commitment to helping advance the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and policies.
  • Strong interviewing skills and relationship building capabilities
  • Sound judgment and proven crisis communications experience and ability to operate effectively in stressful and emergency situations
  • Ability to establish credibility with internal and external stakeholders
  • Familiarity and experience with media outreach and monitoring tools (e.g. Cision or equivalent).

Suffolk University does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, genetic information, or status as a veteran in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs, activities, or employment. Suffolk University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. The University is dedicated to the goal of building a diverse and inclusive faculty and staff that reflect the broad range of human experience who contribute to the robust exchange of ideas on campus, and who are committed to teaching and working in a diverse environment. We strongly encourage applications from groups historically marginalized or underrepresented because of race/color, gender, religious creed, disability, national origin, veteran status or LGBTQ status. Suffolk University is especially interested in candidates who, through their training, service and experience, will contribute to the diversity and excellence of the University community.