Towson University is now accepting applications for the Director of Media Relations and News in the Division of University Marketing and Communications. The Director of Media Relations and News serves as the initial, and generally the primary, point of contact at the University for news media. In this role, the director will perform on both “offense and defense,” proactively pitching positive story ideas to local, regional, national and international media outlets, as well as responding to media inquiries, issues, and incidents as they arise. The director also helps tell the contemporary story of TU through various channels, including the TU Newsroom space, Towson.edu website, social media, digital newsletters & printed materials, acting, effectively, as the “news director” or “news editor” for the university. The director supervises a team of communications managers as well as a student employee and works closely with other teams within the Division of University Marketing & Communications. The position reports to the AVP of Communications & Media.
The Director is responsible for positioning and promoting Towson University’s mission, research, accomplishments, and activities through traditional media, new media, social media, internal communications, and strategic media relationships and engagement.
Plan and train:
- Develop and implement an annual media relations plan for local, regional, national targets that support the university’s mission, brand and strategic priorities.
• Provide strategic media relations advice and guidance to faculty, staff, and students, including media and interview preparation, talking points, backgrounders, and key messages.
• Train and deploy TU faculty and staff as subject matter experts (SME’s).
• Coordinate and plan institutional (University-led) press events & press conferences.
Monitor, measure, and analyze:
- Identify and research trending media stories and industry topics to leverage opportunities to pitch and place Towson University stories and experts in the media.
• Day-to-day use of PR management platforms such as CisionPoint, social media, news subscriptions, and Social Studio to monitor, measure, track and report positive media placements.
• Share and report TU earned media placements with key stakeholders.
Pitch, promote, and respond:
- As the primary contact for all media inquiries and all media pitching, the Director will increase and improve awareness of the institution by maximizing positive earned media exposure.
• Be available on a 24/7 basis for emergency situations and to provide media with time-sensitive information.
• Possess analytical and issue management skills to anticipate and mitigate potential negative issues.
• Work closely with other Marketing and Communications staff to identify positive stories from across the campus and work to secure ongoing, positive story placement on a local, regional, and national level, as well as in specialized publications and media outlets.
- Identify university faculty, staff, students whose expertise (SME’s) and specific stories will be offered to media and develop strong ongoing relationships.
• Maintain the online faculty and staff expert database accessible to media.
• Cultivate long-term reporter and media outlet relationships.
• Forge partnerships through outreach as TU’s media ambassador and liaison.
• Provide frequent media relations, points of pride, informational update to University System of Maryland and represent TU on the USM Communications Council.
News director/newsroom managing editor:
Prioritize and promote TU’s research, news and activities through written, verbal, event and multimedia communications. The Director will develop and execute a strategy for sharing compelling university stories in the TU newsroom, web homepage, and across the university’s multi-media platforms. Closely monitor trending media stories and “news of the day” across all media outlets and strategically plan an editorial calendar for news content.
• Work with university-wide colleagues to identify what is newsworthy and work with your team to develop informative, creative, visual and multimedia materials.
• Write and supervise writers’ contributors from within the division and across the institution. The communications team includes a staff of 3 communications strategists who serve as the staff writers and content contributors to the university’s owned multi-media platforms. Supervise/mentor the student employee as it relates to media relations functions.
• Strategize content for and manage the @TowsonUNews Twitter account.
Crisis communications and back-up university spokesperson:
- In the event of university closures (weather-related), notify all media and activate appropriate platforms and channels to distribute communications and messages.
• Support the AVP and VP in executing the role of back-up media spokesperson on sensitive, emergency, and crisis communications.
• In the event of emergency incident structure activation, serve as a public information officer (PIO) for formal emergency announcements.
• Coordinate, update and improve the university’s crisis communications plan.
• Coordinate and update of the departments Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).
• Support the AVP and represent the division at regular Emergency Preparedness meetings.
Bachelor’s Degree in communications or related field. A minimum of five years of experience in Media Relations. Ability to communicate articulately; demonstrated external media spokesperson experience required; must possess an ability to write engagingly, persuasively, and accurately; must have a solid a demonstrated understanding of both new and traditional media; ability to work productively with media representatives as well as with senior administration, faculty, staff and students; knowledge of media, public relations industry preferred; ability to coordinate complex projects; ability to prioritize multiple projects and adjust to changes quickly.
The Director will be a collaborative and creative strategist, an effective media outreach program leader, and a people influencer with an inclusive, positive, and collaborative style. Discretion, excellent judgment, and trustworthiness are crucial. The Director is capable, comfortable, and willing to serve as a strong strategic and operational deputy to the AVP. The Director must also be able to effectively interact with culturally and ethnically diverse individuals.
A Criminal Background Investigation is required for the hired candidate and the results may impact employment.
Salary and Benefits
Competitive salary and full University benefits that include 22 days of annual leave, up to 14 holidays, personal and sick days; excellent health, life, and retirement plans; and tuition remission. To learn more about our benefits, click here.
This position will be open for a minimum of 14 days. Cover letter and resume are required.