ACLU: Media Relations Strategist

Job Description

GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES: The Media Relations Strategist works with the Deputy Director and Digital Communications Strategist to develop and implement communication and media strategies. The Media Relations Strategist is responsible for communicating with the media, the public and members on a wide variety of civil liberties issues by creating public education materials and managing the ACLU’s robust traditional media program. The Media Relations Strategist also aids volunteer-led efforts to publicize public events and manages internal systems, including materials inventories and relationships with vendors.


(1) Media Relations

  • Pro-actively cultivate relationships with reporters, editors, producers, bookers, bloggers and other media professionals through phone, email and in-person meetings.
  • Draft and edit news releases, op-eds, blog posts, letters to the editor, fact sheets, talking points, and other press materials.
  • Pitch news and feature stories to journalists and media outlets and actively follow up to garner maximum media coverage for our issues and for the ACLU as an organization. Keep track of journalists contacted to expand networks and measure success.
  • Develop and strategize media plans in collaboration with Digital Communications Strategist & media colleagues as well as the legal and advocacy colleagues.
  • Organize press conferences, teleconferences and other media events.
  • Monitor media email line, sometimes after hours.
  • Analyze media market trends and develop effective strategies for wide and effective broadcast of ACLU messages.
  • Design, plan and coordinate media campaigns targeted to ethnic media outlets and youth-oriented media outlets to increase the ACLU’s visibility and engage the media and target populations with the ACLU’s programmatic activities and mission.
  • Provide support to the Executive Director, preparing advance materials for interviews, facilitating interview requests, and identifying impactful opportunities.
  • Consult with the Deputy Director on appropriate spokespeople for media interview requests that best advance public perception of an issue.
  • Provide support to legal and legislative staff responding to media interview requests.

(2) Institution-Building

  • Work with the Deputy Director & Digital Communications Strategist to develop cross-platform campaigns on selected issues.
  • Guide and oversee the production, design, bidding process, and distribution of publications and local event invitations.
  • Maintain an inventory of ACLU educational materials, such as press clippings, videos, publications, newsletters and other civil liberties literature produced by the state and national ACLU, and create effective distribution networks.
  • Coordinate arrangements for events and speaking engagements; maintain database of speakers; prepare materials for staff and branch boards to bring to events.
  • Produce regular analytical reports that measure impact of media initiatives; Consult with Deputy and Executive Directors on how to use analytical reports to guide the formulation of strategy.
  • Empower ACLU staff to share content by initiating opportunities, and providing guidance and support.
  • Contribute to the staff’s understanding of messages, messaging, and relevant news and news opportunities by sharing internal content and successes.

(3) Advocacy and Public Education Campaigns

  • Collaborate with staff to conduct integrated issue advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing ACLU’s communication, legislative, field organizing and legal programs.
  • Serve as backup to Digital Communications Strategist for all email marketing, including writing and producing emails through the Springboard content management system to engage and build public involvement in the ACLU’s advocacy efforts, promoting local events, recruiting members, announcing significant news, and generating legislative action.

(4) Other tasks as assigned by Deputy Director


  • Demonstrated interest and commitment to civil liberties
  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field required.
  • 2-5 years of public relations and media experience, including experience writing press materials and organizing press conferences.
  • Experience with advocacy-oriented media campaigns, a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability and success in pitching stories to news outlets, newspapers, TV networks and cable shows, radio and bloggers.
  • Established contacts with reporters, editors, producers, bloggers and other media professionals.
  • Ability to proactively identify and cultivate key media contacts and outlets that lead to the placement of ACLU stories.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong writing and editing skills; ability to produce clear, concise talking points, press releases and other materials within tight deadlines.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to contribute to a collegial work environment.
  • Experience using public opinion research to frame issues and develop messages, a plus.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects in a busy office environment, and strong attention to detail; ability to work with minimal supervision and to meet deadlines.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office and Internet research.
  • Ability to work flexible hours and travel when necessary.
  • Demonstrated interest and commitment to civil liberties
  • Ability to supervise volunteers, work under supervision of others, work cooperatively with groups, and develop consensus.
  • A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.

Personal Characteristics

  • Personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications.
  • An energetic person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities; a self-starter and finisher.
  • A team player that inspires collaboration and functions decisively; flexible and well organized.
  • Emotionally mature and self-confident, with a sense of humor in order to maintain balance and perspective.

SUPERVISION: The Media Relations Strategist is supervised by the Deputy Director.


The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU compensation scale. This is a Band II position.


To apply, email cover letter, resume and writing sample by Monday, May 27, 2013 to: Rana Elmir, Deputy Director at with a copy to

ACLU of Michigan – 2966 Woodward Avenue – Detroit, MI 48201- (fax) 313.578.6811

The American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All interested individuals, including people of color, women, LGBT persons and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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