Media Strategist (International)
PEN America, a growing nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic and expert media strategist to build and promote media awareness of PEN America’s efforts to protect free expression internationally. This role will be critical to PEN America’s work to drive forward its strategy to counter global threats to free expression and defend persecuted writers, artists, intellectuals, and dissidents worldwide. This is a full-time position reporting to the Chief Communications Officer and engaging extensively with the directors of the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center and Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) program, as well as PEN America’s communications and free expression teams. This position will be based at PEN America’s New York City headquarters or Washington, D.C. office.
The media strategist will bring robust experience in international journalism and/or human rights work, and press relations outside of the United States. The role requires a strategic and tenacious approach to securing earned media in targeted countries, amplifying the voices of writers and artists often in conflict with their governments, and understanding how to work with members of the media across multiple countries and cultures. Intelligent and elegant writing on all of these topics is a key component of the job.
The international work of PEN America is central to the ongoing growth of PEN America’s reach, impact, and profile as we enter our second century. It will bring together significant existing PEN America projects including the Freedom to Write Index, a case list of writers, artists, and journalists imprisoned or in peril; country-specific projects on a range of free expression challenges in China, Myanmar, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, Nicaragua, Uganda, Afghanistan and elsewhere; and our protection and emergency response work in support of artists and writers at risk. The media strategist will also collaborate with PEN America’s experts on online harassment, disinformation, and digital freedom to extend the international components of this work. Passion for PEN America’s mission to defend free expression and protect those who write and speak in defiance of authoritarianism is essential.
In alignment with PEN America’s current policy, all applicants should be available to report to the office at least three days per week. This policy is subject to change.
Required Skills and Core Competencies:
- Mastery of communications strategy: Develops mission-driven plans to reach target audiences and achieve results, while keeping an eye on breaking news
- Experienced public relations professional: Maintains professional relationships with journalists, newsmakers, editors, and partners on the ground in one or more regions outside of the US
- Clear, compassionate verbal communication: Speaks precisely on behalf of the organization, sharing context and being sensitive to cultural differences across borders
- Produces compelling written materials: Aims for accuracy and attention to detail. Can incorporate our “voice” across platforms; Organizes and shares information effectively — whether writing an internal email or crafting a pitch
- Proactively learns new tools: Stays ahead of the curve in an ever-changing technology environment
- Communications platforms: Deep knowledge of and experience with social media platforms, analytics, and messaging
- Strategic communication advice and assistance to PEN America directors and staff on the international media landscape as it pertains to programmatic priorities, including identifying opportunities to engage with existing and new audiences, being a strong storyteller, and crafting compelling messages for different audiences and formats
- Work proactively to plan media strategy for particular projects and advocacy campaigns, but also be able to react quickly to breaking news
- Strategize, develop, and implement both external and internal public relations programs and communications (including visual communications) that enhance the visibility and promote the value of free expression, highlight the plight of jailed or vulnerable artists and writers, and motivate policy makers to act
- All overseas media relations for the international work of PEN America, including email, social, and in-person contacts/pitches and events. This may also include US-based journalists on international beats.
- Work closely with regional representatives to build and expand our media relations across Asia, LATAM, ME, Africa and Eurasia.
- Raise the media profile of PEN America directors and staff experts to position PEN America as the go-to commentators on key international free speech issues
- As a member of the communications team, this position will play a key role in elevating the international work across all aspects of the PEN America brand, communication strategies, and marketing goals
- Draft, coordinate, and distribute press releases for the international work of PEN America
- Initiate, manage the drafting of, edit, and/or distribute written products (reports, policy papers, press releases, op-eds, etc.)
All PEN America staff are considered to be stakeholders in the development of our shared organization. As such, staff play a role in varied activities within the workplace as part of their job responsibilities. These may include committees or task forces to work on office issues, diversity and inclusion, strategy projects, training, or other initiatives.
- A minimum of six to eight years of relevant experience, including in international news reporting, human rights, public advocacy, civil liberties, press freedom, and/or related areas
- Deep grounding in international affairs, with one or more areas of regional expertise and on-the-ground experience
- Experience placing stories in both print and digital media
- A deep knowledge of current international media publications and outlets, along with excellent news judgment and storytelling ability
- Exceptional writing skills, including the ability to write quickly and persuasively
- Exceptional oral communication skills, including public speaking and media engagement
- Expertise in advocacy, content strategy and message development, and has developed and delivered communications initiatives for nonprofit or philanthropic organizations
- Demonstrated track record with media relations, writing, web/social media, and visual storytelling; Experience in this work overseas
- Formidable work ethic, drive, attention to detail, and ability to multitask
- Collegiality, demonstrated ability to work collaboratively, and excellent interpersonal skills
- A commitment to and passion for PEN America’s mission
Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $85k-90k, commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits and a 403b retirement plan.
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample to [email protected]. Use “Media Strategist” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Media Strategist – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body of your email. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.
No phone calls, please.
ABOUT PEN AMERICA:
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.