Communications Specialist (Media Relations/Writer)

Alexandria, Virginia
Apr 05, 2021
May 10, 2021
Full Time
Job Description

Responsible for identifying, researching and pitching stories that reflect the mission of the division to targeted news outlets, writing media advisories and news releases, copy for the external and internal newsletters, op-eds, speeches and marketing content for brochures and other publications. This role requires meeting tight deadlines, high-quality writing and pitching skills, and a can-do attitude. This role involves relationship building and proactive coordination with the news media, experience in public relations or journalism and/or experience in working with the media. Public Relations and/or Journalism/media experience essential.

Assignments are received through the executive director of communications, meetings, and written instructions/requests affording latitude for independent judgment and action in the performance of duties.

Work is performed under general supervision, and involves considerable knowledge of the school division's organization, policies, regulations and an ability to exercise tact and sound judgment.

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: Five years of training and experience in public education, media relations work or journalism preferred. Journalism/media experience essential.

Key Competencies:
  • Knowledge of 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;
  • Strong ability to identify news 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; and
  • Considerable research skills and ability to produce creative, innovative stories for use in media pitching, publications and other materials.
  • Proven track record in producing positive earned news and social media.

Essential Functions
  • Research news opportunities and potential ACPS story ideas for media pitches.
  • Work with the communications team and division leaders on media strategy and planning.
  • 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 op-eds, editorials, speeches, newsletters and news releases.
  • Help prepare school division spokespeople for media interviews and track the news stories that result.
  • Coordinate logistics and staff reporter visits, interviews 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.
  • Cooperate 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 the division's website, brochures and other publications.
  • Generate newsletter stories that are interesting and attention-grabbing.
  • Serve as communications liaison between departments and schools.
  • Working with communications team colleagues, help 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 other division and of the School Board meetings as required.
  • Some evening and weekend work required.
  • May perform other additional duties or tasks as designated by the supervisor.

  • Criminal Justice Fingerprint/Background Clearance.
  • Tuberculosis Skin Test.


Primary Location:
Central Office
Salary Range:
$64,108.80 - $78,854.40 / Support SUP-34
Shift Type:

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