San Jose State University

Senior Director of Media Relations

THE ORGANIZATION

Overview 

San Jose State University (SJSU) is a comprehensive public university located in San Jose, California, the third largest city in the state. Founded in 1857, SJSU is the oldest public college or university on the West Coast. A member of the 23-campus California State University System, SJSU grants bachelor and master’s degrees in 145 areas of study. Among the top 200 universities in research and development expenditures as surveyed by the National Science Foundation, SJSU offers rigorous course work, applied learning and research opportunities to more than 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students collectively pursuing degrees within the seven colleges of the university.

 

The university’s 154-acre metropolitan campus is at the epicenter of Silicon Valley, the global hub of technology innovation and America’s leading patent-generating region. This provides an exceptionally rewarding learning environment for students. Technology and other firms in Silicon Valley employ more graduates from SJSU than from any other university in the nation. Evidence of SJSU’s motto, “Powering Silicon Valley,” is that its alumni comprise the largest share of Apple’s workforce of any college or university. In fact, the number of SJSU alumni employed at the top five technology companies in the Valley consistently ranks in the top three. Silicon Valley firms regularly seek SJSU students for internships, summer work programs and for assistance with research and development projects.

 

SJSU has recently completed a comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning process with input from the university community and collaboration with nearby industries and communities. The 10- year plan, Transformation 2030, will ensure a dynamic future for SJSU as a leading 21st Century urban public university recognized nationally and internationally for the quality of its academic programs and research and the applied learning and educational access opportunities it provides to students.

THE POSITION

Strategic Communications and Marketing (StratComm) serves as the official voice of San Jose State University (SJSU) to key audiences and the news media worldwide. StratComm oversees all internal and external communications that enhance the university’s image and brand equity via owned, earned, shared and paid channels. StratComm is responsible for crisis communications and reputation management including the development of university statements, key messages and talking points. The unit is also responsible for developing executive communications for the offices of the President and Provost including content management of the President’s social media accounts. StratComm also develops and implements, in partnership with campus stakeholders, integrated communications and marketing plans involving university’s key initiatives and special events. The unit develops and maintains SJSU’s identity standards, visual systems and communication guidelines. The team also oversees media relations, news, and SJSU’s enterprise-level web and social media platforms, including the SJSU homepage and top-level pages for students, faculty and staff, alumni and other audiences. StratComm also oversees the hiring and production of creative video and photography needs and provides communications support to enhance alumni and donor engagement, including the rollout of the university’s next capital campaign. Publications produced by the unit include the alumni magazine, Washington Square, commencement materials and a broad range of fundraising materials.

 

Reporting to the Senior AVP for Strategic Communications and Marketing, the Senior Director of Media Relations will be responsible for the strategic development and implementation of communications tactics that strengthen and support SJSU’s brand, stature and external support, including but not limited to crisis communications, media relations, internal and external stakeholder communications and event coordination. S/he will provide strategic communications guidance and support to the president, provost, vice presidents, deans, athletics director, faculty, staff and students as needed. The Senior Director will serve as a primary spokesperson for SJSU and an important ambassador for the university. The position will manage one media relations specialist.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Crisis Communications​

  • Coordinate, develop and disseminate communications during an emergency or natural disaster. Act as spokesperson and public information officer as appropriate. Actively participate in the Emergency Operations Center, in accordance with U.S. Homeland Security guidance.

  • As appropriate and necessary, provide strategic advice and guidance to the president, chief of staff, vice presidents, athletics director, chief of police and Chancellor’s Office.

  • Collaborate with all divisions, departments and auxiliaries to develop enhanced and effective communications to ensure consistent and appropriate messaging.

  • Develop and ensure successful implementation of StratComm’s crisis communications plan including roles and responsibilities.

  • Use social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, to effectively share and distribute crisis communications-related information in order to inform SJSU audiences and media outlets.

  • Respond to changing needs or unusual/urgent events that occur in or near the university.

  • Participate in cross-organizational activities/training (e.g. tabletop exercises) designed to improve organizational performance.

  • Draft news releases, media statements, key messages, and talking points.

  • Prepare debrief and post-incident reports for follow up action items and assessment.


Media Relations

  • Devise and implement a news media outreach strategic plan that increases the impact of the university’s teaching, ideas, research, programs and initiatives.

  • Develop strong and mutually beneficial relationships with print, digital and broadcast outlets on a local, regional, national and internal level.

  • Pitch and successfully place earned media in print, digital and broadcast outlets on a local, regional, national and international level.

  • Act as an interface between the university and the media, serving as the university’s spokesperson as needed.

  • Advise SJSU’s senior leadership team of media requests, public records act requests, and breaking news that impact university operations and community members. Develop collaborative responses as needed.

  • On behalf of the university and senior leadership, contribute to and maintain editorial content over all news releases, op-eds, press statements, and letters to the editor.

  • Collaborate in the development and management of the university e-newsroom and contribute material.

  • Manage media relations tools/systems (e.g. Cision) and StratComm administered web sites, including the SJSU Faculty Experts Directory.

  • In collaboration with the president’s office, strengthen and promote positive, productive and constructive relationships with elected officials and their respective communications office/PIOs.


Digital and Print News Content

  • Develop and implement news content creation strategies that position SJSU, its faculty, alumni, research, teaching and campus activities favorably among key audiences.

  • Use social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, to effectively share and distribute news and information and communicate with SJSU audiences.

  • Collaborate with stakeholders to develop and disseminate materials that strengthen and promote university sponsorships, partnerships and joint ventures.

  • Ensure that all SJSU communications are aligned with and reflect the mission and values of the university.

  • Provide strategic communications counsel to content developers producing materials that promote the university’s brand, stature and encourage external support.

  • Create, manage and track applicable budgets to ensure on or under budget performance.

  • Create, manage and track all applicable project timelines to ensure on time, high-quality deliverables.

  • Manage and recruit key external vendors as needed.

  • Assist with external requests for photography and videography of and on university grounds.
     

Coordination and Implementation

  • Collaborate with Chancellor’s Office and California State University’s Office of Public Affairs system representatives to coordinate on timely crisis communications including relevant news releases, news conferences, op-eds.

  • In collaboration with the President’s Cabinet members and their respective divisions such as but not limited to Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Student Affairs, and University Advancement, develop strategic communications and media relations plans to support university’s key initiatives and events.

  • Build and manage relationships with news organizations. Visualize and develop related promotional and follow-up materials including news releases, photography, videography, interviews, fact sheets and press kits as needed.

  • Acting as the university’s principal media representative, strengthen relationships with key stakeholders including speakers, donors and sponsors by assisting with publicity and interview requests.

  • Coordinate with the president’s office, VP University Advancement, Senior AVP Strategic Communications, the Chief of Police and others to develop and implement disruption plans.

  • Collaborate with event planning staff to develop programmatic elements and develop printed materials, scripts and talking points.
     

CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS/EXPERIENCE

 

Education

 

  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Public Relations, Journalism or a related field required. Master’s degree preferred.
     

Experience
 

  • Minimum of five years of experience in a media relations role and/or ten years of experience in communications, public relations or marketing. Higher education communications and marketing experience preferred.

  • Experience supporting an organization in crisis communication and brand reputation management.

  • Extensive successful writing and editing experience with a variety of print and online communications media to engage local leaders, stakeholders, donors and other key constituents.

  • Experience in writing and editing press releases, news articles and announcements.

  • Experience in serving as a public information officer and spokesperson.

  • Advanced interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with a wide-ranging audience, including faculty, alumni, media, community residents and outside agencies.

  • Experience influencing, negotiating and managing complex relationships.

  • Demonstrated ability to earn credibility and influence opinion leaders.

  • Experience developing and maintaining close relationships with journalists, faculty and university colleagues.

  • Experience in working in a decentralized environment is desirable.

  • Three years’ experience in a management or supervisory role.


COMPETENCIES/ATTRIBUTES

The successful professional will have or be:

 

  • Ability to build strategic relationships with senior leadership and external stakeholders.

  • Ability to coach and support senior leaders as spokespersons and to provide staff leadership and supervision.

  • Knowledge of public relations and strategic communications principles and best practices.

  • Understanding of the legislative process.

  • Excellent managerial skills: both people management and project management.

  • Excellent public speaking skills.

  • Bilingual or multi-lingual skills a plus.

  • Ability to work in a fast passed, energetic and complicated environment.

  • Excellent multi-tasking skills.

  • Demonstrated team player with the ability to work with diverse groups.

  • Ability to craft messages that effectively reach a broad audience.

  • Knowledge of current practices in writing content for websites, social media and all other digital and printed communication.

  • A positive attitude. Superior news judgement and outstanding communications skills and presence at all levels and for all audiences, nationally and internationally.

  • Proven ability to manage large and complex issues through diverse and competing interests.

  • Excellent customer service skills.

 

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

A competitive compensation package, including a comprehensive benefits package, will be offered. To be considered for this position or for additional information, please send resume to or contact:

David N. Randall
Principal

Randall Search Associates

415 767 3814

david@randallsearchassociates.com

San José State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. It considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, or disability. This policy applies to all San José State University students, faculty, and staff as well as University programs and activities. Reasonable accommodations are made for applicants with disabilities who self-disclose.