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Senior Director, Media Relations and Issues Management, University Communications
Location: Stanford, California
Internal Number: 96826
Stanford University seeks a Senior Director of Media Relations and Issues Management to manage breaking media issues and crises to support the institution's reputation. The position reports to the Assistant Vice President for External Communications and collaborates closely with News, Strategy, and Digital teams. The Senior Director of Media Relations and Issues Management will serve as one of the primary university spokespeople and will work closely with the rest of the external communications team.
Stanford University is one of the world's premier academic and research institutions, devoting tremendous intellectual and physical resources toward the betterment of humanity. As demonstrated by the IDEAL initiative (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access in a Learning Environment), we believe that diversity and excellence go hand-in-hand, and we hire individuals with a commitment to work effectively with colleagues and donors from diverse backgrounds. A major Silicon Valley employer, Stanford seeks people committed to excellence and to improving our world. In turn, the university is committed to supporting its employees as they develop their careers and enrich their lives.
University Communications supports campus leadership in planning, coordinating, and implementing strategic communications programs that support the institution. University Communications (UComm) manages brand positioning and strategy; issues and reputation management, crisis communications; oversight of digital content and top-level web and social media platforms; media relations and news services; executive communications with all constituencies; major publications; and a campus video productions studio and video production group. University Communications coordinates with communications professionals across the University, provides leadership to the Communications Working Group, and advises on communications policy with senior executive staff.
Reporting to the Assistant Vice President of External Communications, the Senior Director of University Media Relations and Communications will be a central communication strategist, emphasizing inbound media inquiries, issues, and crisis management.
The Senior Director of Media Relations and Issues Management manages reputational issues through sophisticated media strategies, data insights, and reporters' relationships. This role will develop strategic messages and talking points and work closely with local and top-tier news media. The position will involve message development, press releases, and opinion pieces to communicate the university's priorities.
As a public face for the university with members of the media, campus constituents, and the public, the Senior Director of University Media Relations and Communications will serve as a spokesperson and ambassador for Stanford University. Enthusiasm and understanding Stanford's education and research mission, history, and ethos are essential. This position works collaboratively in a tight-knit External Communications team and close coordination with colleagues in UComm. The position requires agility and influence to work with various constituencies across the institution, from the unit and school communicators to senior administration.
In this role, you will:
Develop rapid response strategies for media inquiries, write statements/or interview talking points in coordination with campus units and subject-matter experts, and conduct media training.
Serve as a university spokesperson on institutional and administrative issues.
Detect public relations issues as they emerge and consult with appropriate campus officials to address them quickly and directly.
Provide strategic media counsel to campus communicators on issues that could impact the university's negative reputation, especially concerning national issues.
Develop, execute, edit, and oversee complex written communications, including key content for leadership platforms and opinion pieces.
Develop and maintain collaborative relationships with local and top media organizations and individual journalists.
Develop a deep understanding of the issues that affect higher education.
Prepare experts/other spokespersons and staff media interviews (e.g., background material, key messages, media prep/coaching).
Write press releases and statements on institutional and campus issues.
Other duties as assigned.
TO APPLY: Please include a cover letter with your application explaining why you would like this job and how your experience qualifies you.
To be successful in this role you will bring:
Bachelor's degree and eight years of relevant experience or combination of education and relevant experience.
At least 10 years' experience in media relations and a similar spokesperson role in a highly complex, decentralized environment preferred.
Strong strategic communications background including experience in executive communications, issues management, and media strategies.
Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment.
Must possess superior news judgment, persuasive communication skills and ability to take initiative.
Experience analyzing situations and giving sound professional judgment on news value, strategic communications, public opinion, and media relations.
Ability to develop and maintain close relationships with journalists, subject matter experts and university communicators.
Exemplary written communication skills, outstanding research and analytical skills, and skills in conceptual editing, copy editing, and proof reading.
Comfortable working with top leaders and providing productive feedback for media strategy.
Proven experience working collaboratively with communications groups across campus, colleagues, and key stakeholders.
Demonstrated ability to work in deadline, fast-paced and high-pressure situations.
Experience working with databases like Salesforce or Muck Rack.
A commitment to promoting and supporting an environment of diversity and inclusion.
Higher education experience is preferred.
Journalism background is desirable.
Why Stanford is for you:
Imagine a world without search engines or social platforms. Consider lives saved through first-ever organ transplants and research to cure illnesses. Stanford University has revolutionized the way we live and enrich the world. Supporting this mission is our diverse and dedicated 17,000 staff. We seek talent driven to impact the future of our legacy. Our culture and unique perks empower you with:
Freedom to grow. We offer career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a TedTalk, film screening, or listen to a renowned author or global leader speak.
A caring culture. We provide superb retirement plans, generous time-off, and family care resources.
A healthier you. Climb our rock wall, or choose from hundreds of health or fitness classes at our world-class exercise facilities. We also provide excellent health care benefits.
Discovery and fun. Stroll through historic sculptures, trails, and museums.
Enviable resources. Enjoy free commuter programs, ridesharing incentives, discounts and more
The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.
Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.
Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Why work at Stanford?Stanford University has changed the world, over and over again.We are one of Silicon Valley's largest employers - and also one of the most unique. Our mission is to educate future leaders and promote interdisciplinary, world-class research and teaching. This passion makes Stanford an intensely creative, rewarding, and challenging place to work. At the same time, our traditions of respect and collaboration sustain a humane, supportive environment in which to pursue your life and your career.At Stanford you'll work with bright, diverse, dedicated people. You'll find encouragement to learn and grow. You'll enjoy excellent benefits and an outstanding environment. How will it change you?
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