Website National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Job Description Summary:
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) are the nation’s leading independent voice on many crucial issues facing society, such as COVID-19, climate change, education, science policy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The National Academies give government leaders and the nation the highest quality advice on a growing range of pressing scientific, engineering, and health care issues. Over 1,000 professionals help lead the work of over 5,000 volunteers to coalesce the best thinking of the American scientific community. The Office of the Chief Communications Officer (OCCO) is recruiting for a Media Relations Officer within the Office of News and Public Information.

The Media Relations Officer position provides an excellent opportunity to join a fast-paced public relations and content strategy department that works with top-tier news outlets on a daily basis. Our ideal candidate is an excellent writer with exceptional interpersonal skills who can translate complex information to a lay audience across a variety of platforms – from traditional to digital media. The media relations officer will serve as a key strategist to disseminate information about reports, events, and other newsworthy activities of the National Academies to journalists and the wider public.

Job Description:

The media relations officer’s responsibilities include:

1.  Following assigned program divisions’ reports and events to gauge their newsworthiness and develop accompanying media strategies.

2.  Writing press releases, media advisories, magazine articles, and online content, and moving documents through institutional review process.

3.  Pitching stories to journalists and garnering widespread and accurate coverage in local, national, and international outlets, as well as across digital and traditional media.

4.  Crafting key messages and talking points, and coaching experts on how to explain their findings to lay audiences.

5.  Responding to media inquiries and interview requests, cultivating contacts in the media, and serving as spokesperson when appropriate.

6.  Monitoring print and online publications for stories affecting the National Academies and science policy.

7.  Identifying and rapidly responding to opportunities for media coverage on National Academies issues and capitalizing on those opportunities.

8.  Tracking coverage of the National Academies in traditional and digital media and helping create media reports with analytics.

9.  Organizing and conducting in-person and online public briefings.

10.  Providing strategic advice on complex communication issues to senior management.


Related duties and special projects as assigned.


Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Excellent written and verbal communication skills with a track record of translating complex topics into clear messages that resonate with public audiences. Keen news instincts with good understanding of media relations, social media, and crisis communications. Proven success pitching story ideas to journalists to produce positive and accurate stories in the press. Interest in public policy, science, technology, or health policy. Ability to navigate crisis situations. Experience working with leaders of organizations, senior management, and experts in the news. Ability to think strategically and serve as a resource to others in the resolution of complex problems and issues.  Need to operate independently and exercise significant latitude for independent judgment, discretion, and action. Must work successfully in a team environment and have the skill to form and maintain effective teams. Experience working in complex environments with a high degree of organizational effectiveness. Ability to develop relationships with coworkers and employees in other National Academies’ departments through effective communication.

Preferred Qualifications: Experience in public relations for non-profit, university, or scientific institution, or public relations agency is desired.

Minimum Education/Training Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Journalism, Communications or related field, or equivalent experience.

Minimum Experience: Three years of related professional experience in media relations and/or public affairs.

Physical Capabilities: Ability to work at a computer for extended periods of time.

Required Licenses, Certification or Registration: None.

Supervisory Responsibilities/Controls: Reports to Director. General direction is provided.

Work Environment: Hybrid Office/Telecommute environment, with occasional travel between National Academies’ facilities and to off-site meeting/sponsor locations. In accordance with the National Academies’ commitment to provide a safe and healthy workplace, all employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except as otherwise permitted under a reasonable accommodation for medical or religious reasons.  Unless granted an accommodation, successful applicants will be required to confirm their vaccination status and proof of vaccination promptly upon beginning employment.  Applicants needing accommodations should indicate this in their application; applicants will not be discriminated against in the hiring process on the basis of requesting an accommodation.

The National Academies’ Statement on Diversity and Inclusion:

To promote diversity and inclusion in the sciences, engineering, and medicine, we are committed to increasing the diversity of the National Academies’ staff, members, and volunteers to reflect the populations we serve. We pledge to cultivate an environment and culture that promotes inclusion and values respectful participation of all individuals who help advance the mission of the institution.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

It is the policy of the National Academies to recruit, hire, transfer, compensate, and promote people in all job categories and to administer all other personnel actions, terms and conditions of employment in a manner that is consistent with equal employment, and does not discriminate on the basis of  race, creed, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, medical condition for which a person has been rehabilitated or cured, marital status, family responsibilities, genetic information, political affiliation, personal appearance, matriculation, unemployment status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.  It is also the institution’s policy to recruit, hire, promote, and provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities and covered veterans who are otherwise qualified.

Any qualification to be considered equivalent, in lieu of stated minimum, requires the prior approval of the Office of Human Resources.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by employees assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified. Some functions in this description may be specific to a particular unit of the National Academies and not applicable to other units.

Employee Type:

Scheduled Weekly Hours:

Washington, District of Columbia

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