Deputy Director of News and Media Relations

Amherst, Massachusetts
Commensurate with skills and experience.
Mar 02, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Under the direction of the Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Director plays a major role in managing and shaping campus communications and the University’s image, implementing news media and public information strategies for both external and internal audiences. The Deputy Director acts as a spokesman for the university and assists in crisis communication and issues management, and also serves as a member of the emergency communications team.  This position works closely with senior-level administrators and is regularly exposed to critically sensitive and confidential information. The Deputy Director also plays a lead role in developing plans for future news coverage of annual and special events and activities. The job requires being available outside normal business hours, including evenings and weekends, to provide front-line support for communication needs.


  1. Works closely with the Executive Director in establishing external and internal communication and media strategies for the university. Helps identify, develop and implement strategic communications initiatives, including public relations, media relations, social media, video and internal communications to promote the achievements and distinctions of the campus community, including faculty, students, staff and alumni.
  2. Assists in crisis communications and issues management, ensuring accurate and timely release of information to the public. Works closely with senior-level administrators to develop key messages.  This requires responding as needed on short notice outside normal business hours, including evenings and weekends.
  3. Serves on the emergency communications team and works as a public information officer during an emergency and its aftermath, including severe weather notifications. Participates in ongoing training exercises.
  4. Plays a lead role in developing plans for future news coverage of annual and special events and activities such as commencement, fall opening of school, national rankings, major speakers, new facilities, new programs and ground-breaking research. Collaborates closely with University Relations colleagues.
  5. Responds to media inquiries and acts as university spokesman as designated by the Executive Director.
  6. Oversees and responds to public records requests that involve the news media. Promptly reviews and works closely with the Executive Director and other university administrators to determine the best course of action.

    Required Qualifications:

  1. Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Journalism, English, Communication or a related field.
  2. Eight years progressive experience in communications, journalism, public relations or a related field, including a background in news and media relations.
  3. Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to accurately translate technical or scholarly information into common language.
  4. Good judgment, discretion and the ability to think quickly and work under pressure. Demonstrated ability to handle sensitive and confidential information.
  5. Strong organizational and time management skills.
  6. Strong interpersonal and promotional skills to work successfully with people at all levels of the university community, the public and members of the press.
  7. Experience in using the World Wide Web to disseminate news.

    Preferred Qualifications:

  1. Familiarity with higher education, particularly public higher education.
  2. Knowledge of the university and campus culture.

Applicants should apply by the priority deadline of March 20, 2017 in order to ensure consideration. Please apply on line and submit a letter of interest, resume and the names and contact information of three professional references.

On-Campus applicants are defined as Amherst Campus non-student employees.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and encourages applications from these and other protected group members. 

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