Media Relations Manager

Urban Institute, Washington, District of Columbia

Date PostedFebruary 05, 2018
Job StatusNot Specified
SalaryNot Specified

Who we are:

At the nonprofit Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Our employees are empowered to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions. We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates the debate, wherever it takes place.

The Urban Institute has built a cutting-edge in-house communications team that is translating research for broad audiences through creative content and innovative engagement. As an extension of those efforts, Urban is hiring a media relations manager to join the strategic communications team.

How you’ll contribute:

This position is designed to strengthen Urban’s visibility in the media and leverage the voices of its researchers in pressing social and economic policy conversations. The right candidate will be a highly organized, detail-oriented, and mature self-starter who is an avid consumer of news and has an appetite for rigorous policy research. He or she should be entrepreneurial, flexible, and adept at handling multiple assignments at once. This position reports to the senior media relations manager.

The media relations manager will work closely with colleagues on the external affairs and digital communications teams along with researchers in all of Urban’s policy centers and programs.


  • Secures high-quality media coverage on the full range of Urban’s social and economic policy issues
  • Works with the external affairs and digital communications teams to seize opportunities in the news cycle to elevate Urban’s researchers and expertise
  • Serves as a communications adviser, strategist, and coach to researchers, executive leadership, and communications colleagues
  • Innovates new media outreach practices, staying current with an ever-changing media landscape, identifying what’s trending, and forecasting potential news hooks
  • Develops media strategies for traditional research publications, digital features, videos, and events, while demonstrating sound news judgment
  • Manages media opportunities, including preparing researchers for interviews, leading media trainings, and facilitating video and phone interviews
  • Partners with teammates to integrate traditional media relations strategies into communications planning to ensure maximum visibility and impact
  • Cultivates relationships and promotes the organization with reporters, producers, and bloggers, including through personalized outreach, media pitches, in-person briefings, targeted social media outreach, press conference calls, and events
  • Leads efforts to diversify Urban’s media presence, including building relationships with Spanish-language news outlets
  • Writes compelling media pitches, blog posts, and press releases
  • Manages and updates issue-specific press lists, using Cision as a resource
  • Serves as a main point of contact for incoming media-related inquiries via phone and email 
  • Provides professional, rapid, and helpful responses to media inquiries
  • Keeps an open mind and is flexible and creative in identifying and responding to media opportunities
  • Monitors media coverage for Urban mentions and collaborates with the analytics specialist on media visibility reports


What you’ll bring:

The successful candidate will have:

  • Bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, public relations, public policy, political science, English, sociology, media studies, or a related field
  • Four to 10 years of experience in traditional media relations or related communications work
  • A passion for social and economic policy research
  • Exceptional writing and analytical skills
  • An appetite for news, with a strong ability to identify and leverage media opportunities
  • Ability to form relationships with reporters and producers, as well as research and communications staff
  • Ability to work under pressure and tight deadlines
  • A team player and natural collaborator who works well within large teams
  • Experience understanding and interpreting data and research and translating it for mainstream audiences
  • Proven ability to set objectives, measure success, and meet (or exceed) goals
  • Proficiency with all Microsoft Office software
  • Experience as a professional journalist, Spanish fluency, and knowledge of Cision are all pluses
  • Please include a cover letter and resume with application materials

What you’ll experience:

Working in the Nation’s Capital- the epicenter of public policy- among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. You will blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration; be encouraged and supported to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters; and enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination, and intolerance.

In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage. Competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan plus elect a pretax benefit for commuting expenses.

The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.

The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer --Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.


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