Vanderbilt University Manager, Media Relations – Strategic Communications in Nashville, Tennessee

Manager, Media Relations – Strategic Communications (Job Number: 1801444)


About the role

The Media Relations Manager is part of the Strategic Communications area at Vanderbilt University and is responsible for overseeing media relations strategies and tactics to enhance Vanderbilt University’s reputation, and to advance the university’s mission as a premier academic research institution. This position will handle proactive and reactive media relations for Vanderbilt, including monitoring news developments, develop messaging, and build productive relationships with local, national, and international news media. Reporting to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Communications, the Media Relations Manager will interact with faculty, staff, students, and internal/external stakeholders.

About the Work Unit

The Office of Strategic Communications designs and executes integrated communications strategies to protect and enhance Vanderbilt’s local, national and international reputation, and positions the university as one of the world’s leading academic research institutions across a variety of digital and traditional channels.

Key Functions and Expected Performance

  • Develops and executes media relations strategies and tactics that reflect and support the university’s overall communications goals.

  • Manages other media relations staff, including setting and monitoring goals and performance and overseeing professional development, among other administrative duties.

  • Develops and oversees outreach and relationships with local, regional, national, and international media outlets.

  • Pitches stories to news media, prioritizing national, high priority and international media outlets. Manages and coordinates news interviews.

  • Writes and edits news releases, rapid response statements, media advisories, messaging, talking points, fact sheets, op-eds, and other media relations materials.

  • Follows industry-related news and generates ideas around trending topics.

  • Facilitates media relations at key events.

  • Provides media relations consultation and training for faculty and administration.

  • Monitors and measures media coverage; stays current on new developments.

  • Manages and maintains media lists.

  • Works closely with partners across the Division of Communications to coordinate communications efforts and ensure consistent cross-channel messaging.

  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Relationships

The position has supervisory responsibility for Media Relations Specialist positions; the position reports administratively and functionally to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Communications.

Education and Certifications

A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.

A Master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is preferred.

Experience and Skills

  • At least 5 years of experience in communications, journalism or related field, and a track record of success in media relations is highly preferred.

  • Prior management experience is preferred.

  • An ability to demonstrate excellent news judgment, excellent written communications skills and an excellent sense of what is appropriate for the brand is preferred.

  • Proven experience in media relations and a full understanding of how to navigate social media tools and audiences is preferred.

  • Demonstrated an understanding of the evolving media landscape is preferred.

  • An ability to demonstrate and communicate about the role media relations plays in the broader communications plan for a department, school, university or brand is preferred.

  • Demonstrated an understanding of the university’s mission, values, goals and priorities and an ability to ensure that all are considered in developing communications strategies are preferred.

  • Self-starter with ability to independently design and execute on communications priorities is preferred.

  • An ability to collaborate with Division of Communications colleagues and communicate comfortably with various internal audiences outside of the Division of Communications such as faculty and the staff is preferred.

  • Experience and comfort working in a deadline-driven environment of multiple projects and quick turn-around requirements are preferred.

  • Utmost adherence to confidentiality and business ethics; demonstrated outstanding judgment and discretion is preferred.

  • Willingness to work irregular hours, as needed, is preferred.

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 and located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university’s students, faculty, and staff frequently cite Nashville and the surrounding area as one of the many perks of being a part of the Vanderbilt community. Vanderbilt University is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded, and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt was recently named the “best large employer” in Tennessee and a top employer for women by Forbes , ranked #1 in the PrincetonReview among 384 top colleges and universities for having the best financial aid in the nation – as well as #3 for “happiest students,” “quality of life” and “beautiful campus,” #4 for both being in a “college city that students love” and for having “great campus/city relations.”

About Vanderbilt Benefits

In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, Vanderbilt University offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview at .

Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit

Creative Thinking – Goes beyond the boundaries of the job description, willingly takes on new challenges, finds creative solutions rather than always awaiting direct instructions.

Adaptability – Reads cues and adapts accordingly. Adjusts the style and approach to accommodate the styles and needs of others. Can anticipate and effectively de-escalate potential conflicts.

Integrity – Holds oneself accountable; takes responsibility for failures as well as successes, recognizes that trust is required to hold a team together.

Responds Promptly – When emails and phone messages aren’t returned in a timely way, it sends the message that the other party is not important. Responds even if just to acknowledge receipt and provide a timeframe by which the requester can expect a full response.

Works through Issues – Recognizes that the work is about successful outcomes. If things aren’t going well, outcomes suffer. Is willing to have crucial conversations if things aren’t going well. Doesn’t just complain to management . . . does everything possible to remedy the situation directly first.

This opportunity requires a Bachelor's Degree and five years of experience or the equivalent.

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville

Organization: 41300 - News and Communications

Job: Managers