Position Summary: The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations plays a critical role in setting and implementing external communications strategies to address and manage a portfolio of current and emerging public issues that pose reputational risk to Harvard University. S/he serves as the key connection between the media relations teams and other schools and business units across the University, with a specific focus on issues that span the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), ensuring awareness of the issues and understanding and alignment on strategic messaging and media response. The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations serves as a spokesperson across local, national and international press, and cultivates and maintains strong relationships with key reporters.
The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations must demonstrate a thorough understanding of current issues and events impacting Harvard specifically and higher education overall—both locally and nationally. S/he works independently within a seasoned team of communications and media relations colleagues, balancing long-term projects with new and emerging assignments. The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations reports to the Director of Media Relations and Communications for Harvard Public Affairs and Communications (HPAC) and must cultivate strong working relationships with leaders and other stakeholders across the University. She/he must also demonstrate capacity to learn and understand the unique culture of Harvard.
Duties & Responsibilities
Acts as a spokesperson on a range of topics and issues, as assigned.
Supports the development and execution of both proactive and responsive communications strategies to address issues that span the University, FAS and other Harvard schools and business units.
Develops strategic media relations plans to manage reputational risk as it relates to day-to-day issues management.
Works collaboratively with University and FAS media relations colleagues to ensure communications outreach and activities are coordinated and integrated.
Builds and fosters local, national, and international media relationships with a focus on those covering Harvard and higher education issues, including print, online, and broadcast outlets.
Supports the creation of communications materials, including press releases, key messages, presentations, Q&As, social media content, media pitches, bylined articles, website content and other external-facing materials.
Serves on the crisis communication team, identifying reputational risk and managing media response during public events.
Generates and implements thought leadership ideas, strategies and tactics.
Other related duties as assigned. This role requires availability outside of traditional work hours.
Harvard Public Affairs and Communications is committed to diversity and fostering an inclusive workplace. We welcome applicants who bring varied experiences, backgrounds, and expertise to advance the work of the department in service to Harvard's mission. Harvard University Benefits Package Vacation/Sick/Personal/Holidays: Harvard offers 3 (union roles) - 4 (exempt) weeks paid vacation, a paid holiday break between Christmas and New Year's Day, 12 paid sick days, 11.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days each year. Medical/Dental/Vision Benefit: Harvard offers a variety of excellent medical, dental, and vision plans which all begin on the first day of employment. Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service. Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted study options through participating Harvard Graduate Schools. Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as parking options to assist employees in their daily commute to campus. Wellness Options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation, and complimentary health services. There are also fee-based athletic facility memberships available at various locations around the university for employees.
Salary Grade: 058
Union: 00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary
Minimum 8-10 years' experience in a higher education, political, health care, business/corporate communications, or agency environment, with strong issues management acumen.
Bachelor's degree required.
Direct experience serving as a spokesperson and managing complex, confidential issues.
Superior writing and verbal communications skills.
Experience creating and executing strategic communications plans to drive proactive narratives and to respond to complex issues.
Strong organizational and planning skills and an ability to set priorities and manage multiple, often competing, demands and projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment and often under tight deadlines and pressure.
Successful track record as an effective communications strategist with a high level of professionalism, diplomacy, discretion, sound judgment and problem solving ability.
Strong interpersonal skills with a proven ability to work collaboratively as part of a tightknit team and with internal and external partners and stakeholders across complex organizations.
Should have a demonstrated record of success in positions of progressive responsibility in communications for a complex and fast-paced organization, preferably a college or university.
Should also reflect the sensitivities required to communicate to and with a diverse, multilayered community.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Internal Number: 48581BR
About Harvard University Administration
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.