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Media Relations Manager

HHMI Communications develops and executes a wide range of creative work to advance the organization’s mission to drive science forward. We’re a close-knit, collaborative group that’s committed to continuous development individually and as a team, through hands-on experiments, a focus on outcomes-focused planning, and the versatility to adapt in a changing nonprofit environment. We are a strategic, integrated content delivery team.
We’re looking for a media relations manager who will play a key role in developing HHMI’s profile among leading scientific and news media. If you’re the right person for this job, you have experience in an academic or research setting. You know how to identify, shape, and pitch compelling stories about scientists, and science organizations, that naturally align with the interests of reporters and media outlets.  You think critically about the value of media, not simply as a PR vehicle, but as a means of reaching specific audiences and encouraging them to take specific actions. You believe in the potential of discovery science. You don’t mind the ambiguity of a flat, matrixed organization. You have strong leadership skills and high technical proficiency.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Create and execute effective media strategies that contribute to a well-defined media presence for HHMI. This work requires a significant level of independence as well as collaboration with staff and consultants.
  • Write, or manage others who write, compelling and scientifically accurate communications materials, including press releases, pitch memos, editorial board memos, and op-eds.
  • Consistently perform and document core elements of outreach: collect assets, develop pitch ideas and language, perform the pitch out, follow up with media, and report back to the external communications director.
  • Create original digital content that shares HHMI’s story to raise visibility strategically with target audiences. Report, write, and distribute that content, includes posting content on HHMI websites using a Drupal CMS and distributing content using email software such as Mailchimp.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with members of the media and communications professionals in partner organizations. Understand and monitor the interests of key media outlets to effectively pitch stories about HHMI programs and priorities at the right time, to the right reporters, and with the right angle.
  • Actively monitor, circulate, and evaluate relevant media coverage.
  • Develop and experiment with workflow strategies to ensure that news, story tips, and other types of information about HHMI’s science and science education programs are evaluated, shared, and used effectively across communications efforts. Leverage and repurpose internal communications, where strategic, for external audiences.
  • Prepare and/or contribute to the preparation of reports, briefings, and presentations related to HHMI projects and initiatives. Oversee development and implementation of an editorial calendar to drive proactive media opportunities.
  • Work independently and collaboratively as part of an evolving Communications team that specializes in acting as a strategic advisor to scientific experts and program staff.
  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, communications, or a similar field.
  • 5-7 years of directly relevant experience in a similar position. Experience in a scientific nonprofit, major research university, or academic medical center is highly desired.
  • Skills and Abilities
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • Demonstrated experience independently developing and executing media relations strategies and pitching story ideas to the media.
  • Experience developing compelling digital media content. Experience with, or ability and willingness to quickly master, basic CMS and HTML skills, for posting and distributing content digitally.
  • Excellent science writing and editing skills that reflect the ability to clarify and simplify complicated issues and technical subject matter, with a versatility in tone and technique.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills, including the open-mindedness and flexibility to collaborate effectively with diverse stakeholders, from senior scientists to frontline staff. Ability to work respectfully and strategically with all, earning trust and credibility.
  • Desire and ability to work as part of a versatile, collaborative team that emphasizes transparency, small experiments, and innovation. This includes exchanging new tools and methods with team members, mentoring and receiving mentoring.
  • The judgment, positive attitude, and decision-making skills necessary to work effectively in a flat, often ambiguous organization.
  • Strong understanding of communication channels (new and traditional media) and how to evaluate usefulness, target audiences, and appropriate messaging.
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment and decision-making, appropriately reflecting HHMI’s position and perspective in the science community.
To apply, please visit