Strategic Communication Specialist

Remote (Berkeley, CA)

The Public Health Institute (PHI) is seeking a full-time Strategic Communication Specialist for one of its programs, the Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG). We are looking for a skilled candidate with a passion for social justice and a background in journalism and/or communication.


The ideal candidate will have strong experience in either daily journalism or advocacy and wants to bring those skills to a range of groups to help them achieve their goals with news media and policymakers. They will thrive in a fast-paced work environment that could mean training experienced advocates one day and groups brand new to the idea of media advocacy the next. This person is eager to learn about new issues quickly and can pivot from one to the other with enthusiasm. They are curious about communications research and applying it in real-world situations with diverse groups. The ideal candidate is someone who enjoys working closely with diverse groups, excels at presenting and public speaking, is confident leading projects and teams, can write well on deadline, and has a strong eye for detail.


This position is located in Berkeley, CA; however, we will consider remote applicants. This position may require occasional travel to attend various trainings, community meetings, and conferences.


Pay: $65,086 to $79,722 per year. The typical hiring range for this position is $65,086 to $79,722 based on 100% FTE. The starting salary is determined based on the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and experience.

Employment Type: Full Time


About the Public Health Institute (parent organization to Berkeley Media Studies Group)

The Public Health Institute (PHI) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and quality of life for people throughout California, across the country and around the world. As one of the largest and most comprehensive public health organizations in the nation, we have hundreds of programs including BMSG, we are at the forefront of research and innovations to improve the efficacy of public health statewide, nationally, and internationally. PHI was distinguished as one of the top 50 “Best Non-Profit Organizations to Work For” by the Non-Profit Times in a national search.


About Berkeley Media Studies Group

Positioned at the intersection of media and public health, BMSG is committed to improving community health by building advocates’ capacity to bring about racial and health equity by making the case for policies that improve systems and environments. We do this through media research, training, and strategic consultation: We teach advocates how to engage the news media strategically to advance healthy public policies on a range of public health and social justice issues, including violence prevention, housing, tobacco control, food, reproductive justice, and more.


About this position

As part of the BMSG training team, the Strategic Communication Specialist will help teach both adult and youth advocates how to effectively engage with the media and make the case for solutions to a variety of public health issues. The Strategic Communication Specialist may help clients determine what communication tactics and platforms best support their advocacy goals and what language and framing techniques are best suited for their audience. This may involve teaching advocates how to: craft op-eds or letters to the editor; be an effective spokesperson before policymakers and journalists, including on-camera); and use social media strategically to support a campaign. Typical clients include health departments, foundation grantees, community-based grassroots organizations, and youth groups. In addition to developing and delivering media advocacy trainings and webinars, the Strategic Communication Specialist will provide tailored one-on-one support to advocates and assist them with creating and carrying out their media advocacy plans.


This position will also work closely with BMSG’s Senior Communication Manager to support publicity for BMSG’s training team, produce resources (e.g., blogs, reports, short videos), and contribute to the organization’s daily news monitoring. These resources get shared with staff, clients, and advocates around the country to keep them informed about public health news and media advocacy insights related to a range of health and social justice topics, including the housing affordability and eviction crisis, COVID-19, violence prevention, reproductive justice, climate change, junk food marketing to communities of color, soda regulation, tobacco control, guaranteed income, and more.


Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Conduct outreach and intake sessions with potential BMSG clients, including health department staff, foundation grantees, and others.
  • Design, deliver, and evaluate virtual and in-person media advocacy trainings, webinars, and professional presentations with a wide range of community groups and public health professionals.
  • Assist with developing and adapting media advocacy training materials and communications research, including presentations, interactive training activities appropriate for virtual and in-person delivery, and case studies of public health advocacy campaigns.
  • Facilitate strategic consultation or technical assistance sessions with clients, providing guidance in communication strategy, direct feedback on communication materials, or coaching before a media interview.
  • Assist with developing strategic communication and media advocacy tools for BMSG clients, from worksheets to communication plans.
  • Draft strategic consultation materials, including editing and/or developing news releases, media advisories, talking points, blogs, and other products.
  • Write and edit media advocacy papers, case studies, and advocacy materials for publication in professional journals, newsletters, websites.
  • Monitor, track, and coordinate logistics for trainings and consultations; track multiple client engagements and other project deliverables; and prepare progress reports for internal use and for funders.
  • Maintain strong relationships with clients, quickly become familiar with their issues and goals, and share promising strategies and lessons learned through the BMSG blog, newsletter, and other outlets.
  • Track news coverage of public health issues in traditional and digital media (e.g., newspapers and blogs), summarize coverage in newsletters, and identify media advocacy opportunities for clients.
  • Amplify BMSG’s trainings, workshops, and other media advocacy services on social media, including by participating in live events and occasionally live-tweeting BMSG speaking engagements.
  • Maintain the media advocacy training and consultation sections of the BMSG.org website and BMSG’s internal project management system.
  • Assist with developing new project proposals and scopes of work.
  • Complete other writing, training, and strategic consultation projects as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications

  • A minimum of 5 years’ relevant experience.
  • Experience developing and delivering engaging, effective trainings for a variety of audiences.
  • Experience with journalism and/or advocacy, such as:
  • working with news organizations — print, broadcast, or online — either inside newsrooms or as an advocate; and/or
  • experience providing effective strategic communication and/or advocacy consultations to a wide range of clients — for example elected officials, public health professionals, community residents, and community-based organizations; and/or
  • experience as an advocate on public policy issues.
  • Experience with social media management platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and email marketing tools (e.g., Constant Contact).
  • A bachelor’s degree and/or certificate in journalism, communication, public health, public policy, or related field is required, or substitute with two additional years of relevant experience.


Other Qualifications

  • Passion for public health, media, and communication and a commitment to racial and social justice.
  • Excellent public speaking and analytical skills.
  • Commitment to building capacity among advocates through training and strategic consultation so they can support community health and address racial and health inequities through narrative change.
  • Ability to write clearly and succinctly for a variety of audiences, and to edit client materials, including press releases, briefing materials, and opinion pieces, often under deadline pressure.
  • Ability to work well with minimal supervision, to work collaboratively with other staff members, and to stay focused while handling multiple assignments and priorities.
  • Strong attention to detail, ability to take initiative, and good organizational skills.
  • Proficiency on the Macintosh computer using System 10.5 or higher, Microsoft Word 2008 or higher, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Willingness and ability to travel (when safe to do so) throughout California and nationally. Overnight travel, availability on evenings and weekends are occasionally required.
  • Bilingual with the ability to speak and deliver trainings in Spanish or a second language.


Preferred, but not required, Qualifications

  • Demonstrated understanding of the public policymaking process at the local, state, and federal levels. Direct experience working on public health and social justice campaigns and/or covering public health and social justice issues as a journalist and/or working internally within the legislative process on social justice and public health policy.
  • Experience developing communication strategies for advocacy campaigns.
  • Experience with content management systems, such as WordPress.
  • Working knowledge of basic HTML.
  • Experience editing video.
  • A master’s degree is preferred.


OTHER Information

Berkeley Media Studies Group is an equal opportunity employer and an inclusive organization. People of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

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