Job Description

Duties & Responsibilities

Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations
Harvard Public Affairs and CommunicationsPosition Summary:
The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations plays a critical role in setting and implementing external communications strategies to address and manage a portfolio of current and emerging public issues that pose reputational risk to Harvard, with a specific focus on issues that span the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and the University. S/he serves as the key connection between the FAS and University media relations teams, ensuring awareness of the issues and understanding and alignment on strategic messaging and media response. The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations serves as a spokesperson across local, national, and international press and cultivates and maintains strong relationships with key reporters.
The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations must demonstrate a thorough understanding of current issues and events impacting Harvard specifically and higher education overall—both locally and nationally. S/he works independently within a seasoned team of communications and media relations colleagues, balancing long-term projects with new and emerging assignments. The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations must cultivate strong working relationships with leaders and other stakeholders across the FAS, including Harvard College and the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, and the University overall. She/he must also demonstrate capacity to learn and understand the unique culture of Harvard.
The Senior Communications Officer, Media Relations reports to the FAS Director of Media Relations, with a dotted line to the University Director of Media Relations and Communications, both of whom are members of the Harvard Public Affairs and Communications team.Duties & Responsibilities

  • Acts as a spokesperson on a range of topics and issues, as assigned.
  • Supports the development and execution of both proactive and responsive communications strategies to address issues that span the FAS and the University.
  • Develops strategic media relations plans to manage reputational risk as it relates to day-to-day issues management.
  • Works collaboratively with FAS and University media relations colleagues to ensure communications outreach and activities are coordinated and integrated.
  • Builds and fosters local, national, and international media relationships with a focus on those covering Harvard and higher education issues, including print, online, and broadcast outlets.
  • Supports the creation of communications materials, including press releases, key messages, presentations, Q&As, social media content, media pitches, bylined articles, website content and other external-facing materials.
  • Serves on the crisis communication team, identifying reputational risk and managing media response during public events.
  • Generates and implements thought leadership ideas, strategies and tactics.
  • Other related duties as assigned. This role requires availability outside of traditional work hours.

Basic Qualifications

Basic Qualifications

  • Minimum 8-10 years’ experience in a higher education, political, health care, business/corporate communications, or agency environment, with strong issues management acumen.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Direct experience serving as a spokesperson and managing complex, confidential issues.

Additional Qualifications

Additional Qualifications

  • Superior writing and verbal communications skills.
  • Experience creating and executing strategic communications plans to drive proactive narratives and to respond to complex issues.
  • Strong organizational and planning skills and an ability to set priorities and manage multiple, often competing, demands and projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment and often under tight deadlines and pressure.
  • Successful track record as an effective communications strategist with a high level of professionalism, diplomacy, discretion, sound judgment and problem solving ability.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with a proven ability to work collaboratively as part of a tightknit team and with internal and external partners and stakeholders across complex organizations.
  • Should have a demonstrated record of success in positions of progressive responsibility in communications for a complex and fast-paced organization, preferably a college or university.
  • Should also reflect the sensitivities required to communicate to and with a diverse, multilayered community.


Additional Information

Please note this is a two year benefits eligible term appointment


The standard business hours are Monday - Friday, 9-5 pm.

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