Website Alexandria City Public Schools
The media relations specialist is responsible for managing media inquiries from news outlets to the school division and identifying, researching, and pitching stories that reflect the division’s mission to targeted news outlets, as well as writing media advisories and news releases. This role requires responding quickly to reporters, meeting tight deadlines daily, high-quality writing and pitching skills, excellent organizational ability for media tracking and analytics, and a can-do attitude. This role involves relationship building internally and externally and proactive coordination with the news media, experience in public relations or journalism, and/or experience working with the media. Public Relations and/or Journalism/media experience is essential. It also requires the ability to plan and manage media events, monitor news coverage, and prepare quarterly reports on media relations for division leadership.
Assignments are received through the executive director of communications, meetings, and written requests, allowing for independent judgment and action in performing duties.
Work is performed under general supervision and involves considerable knowledge of the school division’s organization, policies, and regulations and an ability to exercise tact and sound judgment in working with reporters and colleagues across all departments and schools.
This position reports to the executive director of communications.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism/English/public relations/mass communications or a related field.
Experience: Three to five years of training and experience in public relations, media relations work, or journalism preferred. Journalism/media relations experience is essential.
- Knowledge and experience with public education, the news media, local government, and current events
- Excellent analytical and critical thinking and judgment skills
- Superb verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills
- Good judgment and the ability to act quickly and manage multiple projects at once
- Strong ability to identify new opportunities for ACPS stories, establish relationships with reporters, and pitch story ideas that are timely and interesting to the media and reflect the mission of ACPS
- Research skills and ability to produce creative, innovative stories for use in media pitching, publications, and other materials
- Ability to organize and manage small events to share positive news from school divisions or individual schools for local news outlets
- Comfortable in using software to monitor news coverage and media impressions, track media inquiries, and research analytics to report on news coverage
- Possesses an equity mindset, with the ability to pitch news stories about and for diverse audiences
- Proven track record in producing positive earned news and social media
- Develop media strategy as part of broader school division communication campaigns and goals, research news opportunities, and potential ACPS story ideas for media pitches.
- Work with the communications team and division leaders on media strategy and planning.
- Attend evening School Board meetings in person, held approximately twice each month, to work with any reporters present and manage media on-site at occasional events or briefings held during the school year.
- Draft responses for all media inquiries and liaise with subject matter experts to approve them, and take the lead in ensuring all deadlines are met for media outlets.
- Support the division’s social media assets with posts, storytelling, and two-way engagement.
- Maintain and update media lists to ensure news contacts are current and targeted.
- Write messaging and content for news releases, media advisories, op-eds, media relations webpage, and newsletters.
- Help prepare school division spokespeople for media interviews.
- Manage the process to track all incoming media inquiries daily, monitor news coverage weekly, and prepare analytics and quarterly reports on media relations.
- Coordinate logistics and serve as staff liaison for reporter visits, interviews (by phone, virtual, and in person), and school division media briefings in coordination with the chief of school and community relations and executive director of communications.
- Disseminate information to the public and school division staff.
- Collaborate with administrators and other staff members, as appropriate, in publicizing and promoting performances, exhibitions, displays, dedications, or special programs sponsored by the schools and open to the public.
- Serve as a writer/editor for media relations materials.
- Generate school news round-up summaries for local news media and highlight positive stories in the internal newsletter.
- Serve as a communications liaison between departments and schools.
- Working with communications team colleagues helps determine appropriate communications for target audiences.
- Conduct research and solicit feedback through formal and informal means on activities, products, and purposes of the public relations program and the school division in general.
- Provide communications support for community meetings and events and division and School Board meetings as required.
- Assist with emergency/crisis communications as needed.
- Some evening and weekend work is required.
- May perform other additional duties or tasks as designated by the supervisor.
- Criminal Justice Fingerprint/Background Clearance.
- Tuberculosis Skin Test.
Public Health Compliance:
- Proof of COVID vaccination.
- Exemptions for religious/medical will be reviewed.
- Must follow safety and health protocols.