Senior Communications Associate, Democracy
There is no doubt that 2020 is a pivotal year for American democracy. As an election year, it may be like no other. But beyond that, other key questions are at stake that will pave the way for 2021 and beyond:
- Will Big Money alone dominate the election, or will grassroots reforms pave the way for greater participation and a more genuinely representative democracy?
- Will America’s courts make progress toward independence, or will special interest wield disproportionate power?
- Will all Americans continue to have equal access to the ballot, or will voter purges, restrictions, and poll closures shut people out from exercising their rights?
- Will policies that willfully discriminate against poor people and communities of color prevail, or will we make progress in living up to our democratic ideals?
With these questions at the heart of our work, ReThink Media seeks a passionate advocate to join our Democracy program, alongside a larger team of committed staff. By the end of 2020, the successful candidate will have presented media skills training workshops with key state and national organizations, developed relationships with top reporters, built a network of organizational contacts—and made a major contribution toward shaping a media narrative in support of a genuinely inclusive and representative democracy where all voices are heard.
ReThink Media’s Democracy Program is driven by a team of five staff working with a network of more than 100 state and national organizations strengthening our democracy by expanding and protecting voting rights, reducing the influence of big money in politics, and pushing for an independent and fair judiciary. The project seeks to strengthen the communications capacity of organizations in the sector, to broaden the movement for reform, and to develop shared messaging and media strategies that advance a more inclusive, participatory, and genuinely representative democratic process.
This is a position where no two days are the same and where quick thinking in rapid response is equally balanced with longer term strategic planning. The ideal candidate will be a self-starting problem solver with a proven record of success with media relations and placements. They will be an avid communicator who understands the role of storytelling in communications, who is committed to social and racial justice and who has an outstanding record of working in movement settings. Senior Communications Associates will have at least four years’ experience. Experience working as a Capitol Hill or NGO communications staffer, in campaign or advocacy communications, or in pitching and placing content and/or spokespeople in the media would boost your application. Strong “front of the room” training and/or presenting skills are also strongly desired.
Our next team member will play a central role in shaping narratives and communications strategy for our Democracy work overall and you will have an out-sized role in projects focused limiting the influence of big money in politics and strengthening the voice of everyday people as small donors.
The Senior Communications Associate is responsible for monitoring both traditional and online news coverage and responding rapidly and effectively to breaking news. This includes tracking all of the key reporters, Hill communications staff, and opposition spokespeople. It also means building and maintaining shared press lists, assisting groups in developing individual press lists and, where appropriate, assisting with the editing, pitching and placement of content and spokespeople. Importantly, the Senior Communications Associate will work to build capacity among organizational partners, positioning them to better lead communications and digital strategy from the ground.
Specific goals will be set annually, corresponding to the following duties:
- Monitor daily news, opinion, and social media coverage and review daily news digests from the sector in order to identify key opportunities for rapid response. Draft daily clips related to top news stories with relevant social media content.
- Assist in the development of timely and effective talking points, messaging tips and where appropriate draft op-eds and letters to the editor in response to breaking news developments and ahead of known media opportunities.
- Consistently pitch and place stories and op-ed commentaries.
- Develop expert knowledge of all of the key reporters and outlets covering these issues, with particular attention paid to developing relationships with ethnic media.
- Train groups to develop and maintain tailored press lists.
- Build meaningful relationships with partner organizations and develop expertise on the issues they work on.
- Assist groups in developing strategic communications plans and implementing media strategies.
- Provide effective and impactful media skills training.
- Help coordinate social media strategies and tactics, including both longer-term efforts and rapid response opportunities.
- Assist our Research & Analysis staff with longer-term research projects such as media and public opinion audits and coverage analysis of specific issues, frames, editorial coverage, and outlets.
ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS
- Experience monitoring, news coverage, writing press materials, developing traditional and social media strategies and/or pitching stories.
- Strong writing, editing, communications and presentation skills.
- Track record of working to effectively build relationships with journalists.
- Ability to creatively and strategically frame ideas, develop stories, and synthesize complex policy issues in a way that appeals to the news media and a wide variety of audiences.
- Experience with digital content and strategy for social media.
- Experience working in multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalitions.
- Demonstrated experience with or commitment to the work of ReThink Media Democracy Program.
- Demonstrated experience in fast-paced campaign communications, with preference for experience in state-based advocacy/political media relations.
- Excellent news sense and political savvy.
- Strong public presentation skills.
- Willingness to work flexible hours when needed.
- Demonstrated resourcefulness and flexibility in approach to project assignments.
- Experience with Cision, MailChimp, CRMs, Zoom, and/or Drupal a plus.
- Fluency in a second language a plus.
LOCATION, BENEFITS, & SALARY
This is a full-time position. Until the pandemic is resolved, this is a work-from-home position with a stipend for technology needs but it will transition to being based in our SF Bay Area office or DC office, with modest travel to key states for conferences, training workshops, and periodic staff meetings. This position comes with a generous and comprehensive benefits package, including vacation and sick time, paid sabbatical, flex time, and retirement. We expect this to be a long-term position but it is presently guaranteed for one year pending grant renewals in 2021.
The salary range for Senior Communications Associates is $60,000–70,000 a year.
To apply, send an email to [email protected] with the words “Senior Communications Associate – Democracy” in the subject line of your email. Include your resume and cover letter as PDF attachments and make sure to have your name in the filename of each attachment (e.g., cover letter-Jones.pdf). In your cover letter, state the reason for your interest in the position, provide a brief summary of your professional experience, your salary requirements, and address your background in relation to working on these issues. If you have applied for a previous position with ReThink Media, please indicate this in your email.
All applications will be acknowledged, and qualified applicants will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire and writing exercise prior to the scheduling of interviews.