Director, Media Relations

United States- Arlington, VA Headquarters
Mar 03, 2017
Mar 22, 2017
Executive, Director
Full Time

The Director of Media Relations is a vital, leading role for Conservation International (CI). This person designs, implements, and coordinates efforts to highlight the organization, it’s thought leaders and key messages in global news media. These efforts aim to promote CI’s brand and protect its reputation among key donor and influencer audiences, establish its credibility in science and programmatic work, and reinforce the importance of protecting the nature that is vital to human well-being. The Media Relations Director will collaborate closely with the Brand & Communications teams as well as stakeholders across the organization to identify, develop and promote CI’s key accomplishments and leaders in international media. S/he will offer support and amplification opportunities to field communicators in CI’s global offices and report to the Vice President for Communications.

The Director is tasked with developing targeted media strategies for CI senior leadership including the CEO, COO, EVP/Senior Scientist and other thought leaders. This position leads the selection and development of stories for news media outreach and placement in the U.S and Europe, with support for colleagues’ efforts across CI’s four field divisions – Americas, Asia-Pacific, Greater China, and Africa. S/he will also lead media strategies around relevant news moments including major events such as UN negotiations, partnerships, international conferences and fundraising galas. This position will also oversee media partnerships and the regular monitoring, measurement, and reporting of earned news media in coordination with other members of the media relations team whom s/he will manage and mentor. These efforts will be integral to broader public awareness campaigns to increase visibility of CI’s brand, to grow its online subscriber community, to secure public understanding of and support for CI’s mission and to contribute to conservation and policy outcomes that the organization has prioritized. 


Media placements: Oversee the consistent, quality production of multimedia news releases with clear key messages for dissemination to target audiences by the media relations team up to several times per month (written releases, position statements, along with maps, photos, videos, fact sheets). Lead development of institutional statements around external news events that may be relevant to CI’s work. As a result of this news gathering and production, as well as relationship cultivation with key journalists, secure high profile placements of priority CI stories across relevant media outlets (print, broadcast, radio, online) with goal of raising public awareness of CI’s brand and views, helping to secure conservation policy outcomes, increase traffic to CI’s site and build awareness among donors, supporters and partners.

News planning & media strategy:  Lead the media relations team and work with other organizational communicators to support CI’s strategic initiatives and news moments, which may be a combination of events, produced reports or papers, marketing campaigns, or field projects. Throughout the year, targeted strategies designed to leverage important global events/conferences will be required, as will likely participation in some of these events. Position holds authority to approve timing and distribution strategy of news outreach across the institution to maintain coordination of output, and manage risks.  Where conflicts arise that can’t be settled within the media team, the person holding this position will consult with VP, Communications.

Crisis communications response strategy: As required, to lead the creation and execution of crisis communication plans in response to high profile negative media articles, critical social media campaigns or natural disasters/acts of god, working closely with senior leadership and relevant field/specialist teams to determine appropriate actions to monitor damage, gather facts and/or correct inaccuracies, develop statements and FAQs, and assist colleagues in communications of key responses to staff or supporters as necessary.

Promotion of CI senior staff thought-leadership: Promote CI’s senior leadership and leading subject matter experts among key audiences through a combination of providing talking points for media-focused speaking events, ghost-writing and placing high profile opinion/editorial essays with and for CI senior leadership in targeted media & online outlets, in particular the CEO, EVP, COO and select members of the Board of Directors, and potentially securing “editorial board” meetings (as applicable due to senior leadership availability and travel). Topics to be defined by needs identified through overarching communication strategies (in conjunction with relevant news cycles). Hands-on media training for inexperienced staff and practice preparation for interviews will also be a component of this deliverable. Also, with the support of the full media team, oversee the development and implementation a media strategy for securing high profile placements that are designed to raise the profile and awareness of CEO Peter Seligmann, EVP Dr. M. Sanjayan, COO Jennifer Morris.

Monitoring, Measuring, cataloging: Oversee the management of a media monitoring system of CI’s news coverage that will assess media placements. Advise on daily, weekly and quarterly reporting of media coverage, as well as reports for specific campaigns.

Content promotion & distribution opportunities:  In close collaboration with CI bloggers and the CI blog editor, as well as the visual storytelling team, to identify content-sharing opportunities to broaden the reach of CI’s produced material (videos, blogs) and promote and negotiate CI content placement or syndication partnerships with external platforms such as news sites, partner blogs, etc.

Other duties as assigned by supervisor.


  • This position is located in at CI HQ in Arlington, VA.
  • Position will require up to 10% travel to international destinations as necessary to meet and/or accompany journalists, attend international conferences, etc.



Bachelor’s Degree.  7+ years’ experience working with the news media and strong contacts with national print, broadcast, online media outlets.  Excellent strategic planning, writing, and verbal communication skills.  Deep understanding of and experience working with news media with proven track record of successful high profile media campaigns in the U.S., Europe and other international markets. Strong experience and knowledge of environmental issues (i.e., climate, businesses & sustainability, extractives, agriculture, biodiversity, etc.) and an ability to communicate complex science or policy information to mainstream audiences.


Experience as a working journalist. Experience with crisis communications management. Proficiency in French, working knowledge of Spanish and German.

The successful candidate needs a high level of self-motivation, strategic thinking, pro-activity and creativity, strong attention to fact accuracy and detail, and energy to develop and implement successful earned news media outreach in some of CI’s most important target markets. Strategic thinking around through leadership is a must. Ability to jump quickly on an unplanned media opportunity, as well as manage and prioritize multiple projects under deadline pressures are essential. Also valued is a willingness to occasionally work outside normal office hours to capitalize on key opportunities and meet deadlines.

To apply, please also provide a cover letter.

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