Director, Media Relations
Mercy Corps - Washington, DC

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The Media Relations team uses media outreach to raise Mercy Corps’ public profile and advance the agency’s fundraising and advocacy efforts. The team primarily engages with US, UK national and regional media, as well as international media outlets when appropriate. The Media Relations team is led by a Media Relations Director based in Mercy Corps’ Washington, DC, office.

General position summary:
The Media Relations Director leads a team that tells Mercy Corps’ story through coverage in national and international media. S/he will conceptualize and implement media strategies, building and maintaining key media relationships, reaching out to the press around newsworthy Mercy Corps initiatives and content, and managing inbound media inquiries. In addition, s/he will work closely with program and advocacy staff, executives and fundraisers to develop strategies and plans for telling Mercy Corps’ most compelling stories to external audiences.

Essential job functions:
Manage a 4-5 member Media Relations team.

Develop and lead the implementation of media relations strategy; contribute to overall profile-raising strategy.

Manage the agency’s external communications strategy during crises.

Identify and pursue media partnerships with corporations, campaigns, and other likeminded groups.

Serve as chief liaison to key national and international media – includes developing relationships with journalists, serving a lead on-the-record spokesperson, writing and editing press materials, pitching Mercy Corps experts to media, and preparing them accordingly for interviews.

Pitch Mercy Corps existing content (stories, photos, videos, multimedia pieces) to media outlets when appropriate.

Liaise with Policy and Advocacy team to develop messaging and plan potential media outreach related to Mercy Corps’ global advocacy agenda

Coordinate closely with creative services, fundraisers, web content and social media teams to align storytelling and maximize reach and impact of media hits.

Monitor and measure success of media relations activities.

As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve - we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.


REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Vice President, Marketing and Communications

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Executive team, Media Relations team, Policy and Advocacy team, other teams in Resource Development such as Marketing, Online Marketing, Creative Services and Major Gifts; Program teams as needed.

BA/S or equivalent required; MA/S in related field – journalism, public policy, international affairs – preferred.

8-10 years’ professional experience in media relations or journalism required.

Demonstrated ability to manage a globally diverse team.

Established track record of generating positive media coverage in US national and international outlets.

Superior written and verbal communications skills a must; ability to “translate” technical language into compelling stories needed.

Experience in international development or knowledge of development issues preferred.

The successful Media Relations Director will be a proactive PR professional with an active network of established media contacts. S/he will be an excellent storyteller and writer with a nose for news. S/he will be a self-starter who can work independently or in a team setting, can take on a leadership and mentoring role for staff, and is able to forge productive relationships with colleagues throughout the agency. S/he must have a deep interest in Mercy Corps’ programs and a commitment to the goals of the organization. S/he needs to be able to prioritize, multi-task and organize many urgent tasks. This person will demonstrate creativity and flexibility, as well as a proven ability to learn quickly and be accountable for results. Even temperament and a good sense of humor appreciated.

This position is based in one of Mercy Corps’ Washington, DC office. Travel is estimated at 20 -25% of the time including to Mercy Corps field locations which may be in remote in insecure locationsMercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Required Skills

Required Experience

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Mercy Corps is dedicated to helping the poor and oppressed in developing countries. The not-for-profit organization offers emergency relief...