Associate Director of Media Relations and Advocacy
Public Policy Department
Associate Director of Media Relations and Advocacy
Senior Director for Media Relations and Advocacy
NAFSA’s public policy strategy uses a multi-pronged approach to advance the association’s advocacy agenda including direct lobbying by issue experts; actively participating in key coalitions; bringing important constituent voices to bear at the right time; and strategically using the media to influence thought leaders and policymakers on our issues.
NAFSA’s approach to media relations goes beyond traditional goals of brand promotion, crisis response, and media inquiries, although those elements are incorporated when strategic. Instead, the essence of our media relations work is to influence the public narrative around international education issues to advance our public policy agenda. Our approach to media relations helps to create a positive policy environment for promoting the exchange of students and scholars. With an integrated message, our policy and media staff are able to collaboratively advance our long-term objectives.
Therefore, the Associate Director of Media Relations and Advocacy is an integral part of a team working to achieve the association’s public policy objectives, as articulated in the strategic plan: to promote policies that ensure the global competencies of U.S. graduates, to enact a commonsense immigration policy; to promote the concept of peace as integral to our mutual security; and to promote democratic reforms. As part of a three-person media relations and constituent advocacy team that works closely with staff policy issue experts and constituents advocates to advance the policy agenda, the associate director engages in both media relations and in constituent advocacy work.
The position serves a dual function of media relations/communications and constituent advocacy mobilization: 1) Reporting directly to the Senior Director of Media and Advocacy, the associate director will implement NAFSA’s media relations strategies and will maintain a smooth, well-coordinated media relations operation so that NAFSA can respond effectively to media challenges and opportunities. 2) Working collaboratively with the Director of Advocacy and Media Outreach, the associate will help implement the team’s constituent advocacy strategies, with emphasis on supporting advocacy events and rapid-response outreach.
Media Relations Responsibilities (75%): Under the guidance of the Senior Director for Media Relations and Advocacy, the associate director will implement the association’s media strategy, including the following responsibilities which vary according to high-priority needs:
- Draft NAFSA media materials, including annual announcements of new Board members, national awards, Simon awards, 100K Strong grant winners, and economic value tool release; and conduct appropriate coordination with campus press offices;
- Maintain or develop new systems as necessary to ensure the media relations operation is organized and efficient, with an emphasis on maintaining and updating broad range of media relations contacts and tracking media inquiries;
- Develop relationships with trade media that will increase the likelihood of NAFSA’s agenda earning national attention. This includes helping national media with stories and requests they bring to the association’s attention;
- Write compelling pitches that will catch the attention of targeted national media, and in some cases writing news releases based on those pitches that can be distributed to wider media audiences;
- Identify and pitch appropriate experts to trade media, particularly at times when their areas of expertise are in the news;
- Respond to inquiries from reporters, as appropriate, and build and maintain/strengthen relationships with key bloggers at a range of outlets;
- Manage media conferences and availabilities;
- Assist with crisis and emergency responses as needed;
- Systematically screen, refer, or as appropriate, respond to media relations inquiries; initiate responses when appropriate, under guidance from the Senior Director or the Director;
- Track inquiries and responses;
- Monitor social and traditional media platforms and provide input on media issues and opportunities to engage and promote policy goals of the association;
- Produce content for and maintain web and social media platforms, including the press section of the website;
- Represent the department’s media-related perspective in inter-departmental meetings and projects;
- Implement social media strategy to position and message the association’s policy agenda;
- Oversee intern in daily press clippings;
- Distribute media stories, blogs, and reports; note trends; and flag priority stories, using guidance provided by the Senior Director;
- Track and promote media placements with stakeholder groups, through NAFSA communications vehicles, and through social media;
- Manage logistics and administrative details for media-related events and trainings;
- Undertake reporter and media outlet research as requested;
- Identify and share innovative ideas for promoting NAFSA policy positions.
Advocacy Responsibilities (25%): Work collaboratively with and provide support to the Director of Advocacy Outreach, including the following responsibilities which will vary according to high-priority needs:
- Manage logistics for and assist with advocacy events, in-district visits, and trainings;
- Provide Implement iMIS integration with the advocacy contact database and provide database support to the Director of Advocacy and Media Outreach (running monthly reports on ladder of engagement);
- Implement logistics and administrative tasks related to Advocacy Day (material development, distribution, web updates, video projects);
- Produce a variety of charts and other visuals to assist with the promotion of NAFSA policy priorities;
- Backstop the director for advocacy outreach in implementing constituent advocacy, as needed during high-volume, time-sensitive campaigns;
- Recommend modifications of activities/processes or approaches to improve effectiveness and efficiency;
- Participate in brainstorming and planning sessions on NAFSA policy work; Draft and edit copy for association publications;
- Other duties as assigned.
- Minimum 5 years related experience in media relations, communications (experience with constituent advocacy mobilization a plus;
- Excellent verbal skills, comfortable and effective communication style;
- Excellent writing, editing, and proofreading skills;
- High energy, people oriented personal style; confident presence, comfortable in a multi-cultural and policy environment;
- Familiarity and effectiveness using social media to advance policy goals;
- Professional-level word processing and database management skills;
- Ability to take initiative, set priorities, use judgment and make decisions;
- Flexible, able to work under pressure in fast-paced, ever changing environment, handling last-minute changes and unexpected contacts;
- Attention to detail;
- Discretion with sensitive material;
- Ability to create appropriate information and coordination systems;
- Bachelor’s degree;
- International education/exchange, international affairs, or public policy experience preferred;
- Experience with graphics and photography preferred;
- Experience with HTML, a plus;
- Experience with media relations and advocacy databases preferred;
- Experience working with government officials preferred;
- Second language preferred.
About NAFSA: Association of International Educators:
NAFSA is the largest association of professionals committed exclusively to advancing international higher education. The association provides leadership to its diverse constituencies through establishing principles of good practice and providing professional development opportunities. NAFSA encourages networking among professionals, convenes conferences and collaborative dialogues, and promotes research and knowledge creation to strengthen and serve the field. We lead the way in advocating for a better world through international education. NAFSA’s ten-person public policy and media relations/advocacy department offers a collegial, action-oriented work environment for change agents who want to make a difference in creating a more welcoming, globally engaged United States.
Work environment: The NAFSA workday is 9-5; during the summer, it is 8:30-5:30 M-Th, and 9:00-12:00 on Friday. Travel is required occasionally. Participation in the NAFSA annual conference the week of Memorial Day, including the holiday itself, is a job requirement.
Grade, title and salary will be commensurate with experience. To apply: Send letter/resume/salary requirements to: Hiring Manager, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, 1307 New York Ave., NW, Eighth Floor, Washington, DC 20005 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. NAFSA is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer. Principals only.