Reporting to the Senior AVP for University Marketing and Communications, the Senior Director of Media Relations will be responsible for the strategic development and implementation of communications tactics that strengthen and support SJSU’s brand and stature, including but not limited to proactive story pitching, general media relations, responsive crisis communications internal and external stakeholder communications and event coordination.
The Senior Director of Media Relations will provide strategic communications guidance and support to the university’s colleges, the president, provost, vice presidents, deans, athletics director, faculty, staff and students as needed; serve as a primary spokesperson for SJSU and an important ambassador for the university; and supervise and support the Assistant Director of Media Relations and work across the broader University Marketing and Communications function to coordinate and develop integrated communications, as needed. Bilingual candidates are encouraged to apply.
- Devise and implement a proactive news media outreach strategic plan that creates visibility for the university’s teaching, ideas, research, programs, initiatives and online education platform. Collaborate with, and supervise, Assistant Director of Media Relations in planning and execution, and coordinate with other functions within University Marketing and Communications when unified, multi-channel messaging is needed.
- Develop and implement news content creation strategies that position SJSU, its faculty, alumni, research, teaching and campus activities favorably among key audiences.
- Ensure that all SJSU communications are aligned with and reflect the mission and values of the university.
- Develop strong and mutually beneficial relationships with print, digital and broadcast outlets on a local, regional, national and internal level so as to successfully place earned media coverage and manage inquiries.
- Craft, target and distribute news releases, media statements, key messages, and talking points.
- Advise SJSU’s senior leadership team about high-profile media requests and breaking news that may impact university operations and community members. Develop responses in collaborative fashion with subject matter experts and appropriate leadership.
- Manage media relations tools/systems (e.g. Muck Rack) and StratComm administered web sites, including the SJSU Faculty Experts Directory and For the Media page.
- In collaboration with Community and Government Relations (CGR), strengthen and promote positive, productive and constructive relationships with elected officials and their respective communications office/PIOs.
- Demonstrate awareness that the lived experiences of community members may vary and work with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure communications are culturally competent/sensitive.
- Provide strategic advice and guidance to the president, chief of staff, vice presidents, athletics director, and chief of police when sensitive issues or crisis arise. Develop talking points that convey the university’s values, position and actions.
- Coordinate, develop and disseminate communications (e.g. campus messages, website, social media) during an emergency or natural disaster (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic). Act as spokesperson and public information officer as appropriate. Actively participate in the Emergency Operations Center, in accordance with U.S. Homeland Security guidance.
- Respond to media inquiries regarding urgent events that occur in or near the university.
- Prepare debrief and post-incident reports for follow up action items and assessment.
- Prepare student, staff and faculty communications on COVID-19 and its impact on operations, policies or practices. Collaborate with the Director of Executive Communications, Director of Digital Marketing, Senior Director of Creative Strategy, as needed, to coordinate content and delivery.
- Coordinate with the president’s office, VP University Advancement, Senior AVP University Marketing and Communications, the Chief of Police and others to develop and implement disruption plans.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
- Ability to build strategic relationships with senior leadership and external stakeholders
- Ability to coach and support senior leaders as spokespersons and to provide staff leadership and supervision
- Knowledge of public relations and strategic communications principles and best practices
- Understanding of the legislative process
- Excellent managerial skills: both people management and project management.
- Excellent public speaking skills
- Bilingual or multi-lingual skills a plus
- Ability to work in a fast paced, energetic and complicated environment
- Excellent multi-tasking skills
- Demonstrated team player with the ability to work with diverse groups
- Ability to craft messages that effectively reach a broad audience
- Knowledge of current practices in writing content for websites, social media and all other digital and printed communication
- Superior news judgement and outstanding communications skills and presence at all levels and for all audiences, nationally and internationally
- Proven ability to manage large and complex issues through diverse and competing interests
- Experience working with outlets that serve individuals where English is a second language or where there is limited English proficiency
- Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Public Relations, Journalism or a related field required
- Minimum of 5 years’ experience in a media relations role and/or 10 years’ experience in communications, public relations or marketing, Higher education communications and marketing experience preferred
- Experience supporting an organization in crisis communication and brand reputation management
- Extensive successful writing and editing experience with a variety of print and online communications media to engage local leaders, stakeholders, donors and other key constituents
- Experience in writing and editing press releases, news articles and announcements
- Experience in serving as a public information officer and spokesperson
- Master’s degree
- Demonstrated advanced interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with a wide-ranging audience, including faculty, alumni, media, community residents and outside agencies
- Experience influencing, negotiating and managing complex relationships
- Demonstrated ability to earn credibility and influence opinion leaders
- Experience developing and maintaining close relationships with journalists, faculty and university colleagues
- Experience in working in a decentralized environment is desirable
- 3 years’ experience in a management or supervisory role
Classification: Administrator III
Hiring Range: Commensurate with experience
San José State University offers employees a comprehensive benefits package typically worth 30-35% of your base salary. For more information on programs available, please see the Employee Benefits Summary.
Click Apply Now to complete the SJSU Online Employment Application and attach the following documents:
- Letter of Interest
All applicants must apply within the specified application period: December 22, 2021 through January 11, 2022. This position is open until filled; however, applications received after screening has begun will be considered at the discretion of the university.
CSU Vaccination Policy
The CSU requires faculty, staff, and students who are accessing campus facilities to be immunized against COVID-19 or declare a medical or religious exemption from doing so. Any candidates advanced in a currently open search process should be prepared to comply with this requirement as a condition of employment. The system wide policy can be found at https://calstate.policystat.com/policy/9779821/latest/ and questions may be sent to email@example.com.
Satisfactory completion of a background check (including a criminal records check) is required for employment. SJSU will issue a contingent offer of employment to the selected candidate, which may be rescinded if the background check reveals disqualifying information, and/or it is discovered that the candidate knowingly withheld or falsified information. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may affect the continued employment of a current CSU employee who was offered the position on a contingent basis.
The standard background check includes: criminal check, employment and education verification. Depending on the position, a motor vehicle and/or credit check may be required. All background checks are conducted through the university's third party vendor, Accurate Background. Some positions may also require fingerprinting. SJSU will pay all costs associated with this procedure. Evidence of required degree(s) or certification(s) will be required at time of hire.
SJSU IS NOT A SPONSORING AGENCY FOR STAFF OR MANAGEMENT POSITIONS. (e.g. H1-B VISAS)
All San José State University employees are considered mandated reporters under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and are required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.
Equal Employment Statement
San José State University (SJSU) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, race, religion or lack thereof, sex, sexual orientation, transgender, or protected veteran status consistent with applicable federal and state laws. This policy applies to all SJSU students, faculty and staff programs and activities. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and certain other federal and state laws, prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs and activities operated by the university (both on and off campus).