Manager, Media Relations

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • May 07, 2021
Full time External Relations, PR, Marketing

Job Description


Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


Reporting to the Director, Scientific Communications and Media Relations, the Manager, Media Relations oversees all aspects of the Salk Institute's media relations program.  The Manager, Media Relations researches and writes a variety of content in different formats, including media releases, media advisories, FAQs, and biographical summaries in order to meet the Institute's public education purposes and to raise awareness of Institute research programs. Serves as the primary media relations liaison for the Institute. Serves as the lead in researching, planning, implementing and evaluating all aspects of media relations for scientific and non-scientific content, including support for Salk events. Authors original content that conveys complex scientific research and stories of discovery that supports and enhances the Institute's mission. Working directly with members of the media, employs strategic messaging, media relations tools and relationship development activities to educate and advance Salk's media relations objectives.  Advances the research goals of the Institute by promoting external media coverage on Institute research and program activities to members of the media to secure coverage that reaches local, national, and international audiences.

In collaboration with the Director, creates strategies for effective media news coverage and high, positive visibility efforts for the Institute and its science in local, regional, national and international news outlets. Writes and pitches op-eds and news releases with a high degree of science accuracy in journalism style. Edits and manages traffic coordination of press release production, including managing contract writers. Supervises the Science Writer to help manage copy for Institute magazine, brochures, exhibit copy, promotional materials, media advisories, tips sheets, biographies, leadership messages and other public-facing content. Coordinates with other Comm members as needed to streamline the assets for media, including press release-related videos, imagery and other multimedia, Develops and implements press conferences and media opportunities at the Institute and out on location. Manages media monitoring and contact database management.

Cultivates and enhances excellent professional working relationships with media reps, developing creative avenues for increased and accountable interaction with reporters.  Develops fluid communications and coordination processes with Institute leadership, Institute faculty, staff and students and communication colleagues at scientific institutions. 


Media Relations (65%)

  • Implements marketing and public relations strategies with a deep understanding of the mission and vision of the Institute. Creates plans to promote research and development-related activities, accomplishments, and initiatives; faculty and research; and events.
  • Establishes and maintains regular contact with development colleagues and appropriate faculty and administrators to plan and implement public relations efforts on their behalf, including publicity, community relations and dissemination of information to public constituencies.
  • Creates media plans for development's news-making activities. Manages public and media relations aspects of all development-related special events.
  • Identifies and aggressively places Institute-related news and feature material suitable for local, national, and international print and electronic media.
  • Develops and maintains regular contact with local, regional, national and international reporters/editors who are interested in philanthropy, fund-raising, and coverage of Salk research/discoveries/ activities.
  • Edits and places op-ed pieces with local and national print media on behalf of Salk representatives and supporters.
  • Establishes Salk's presence in local event calendars. Secures events listings and promotes coverage with reporters, print, and online media contacts. Tracks coverage, follows placement patterns and rapid response needs for specific omissions.
  • Arranges, handles, and coordinates with communications colleagues news conferences, media interviews and other news media-oriented events relative to fund-raising.
  • Handles and coordinates development communications-related media requests for information and faculty/staff/leadership interviews.
  • Releases material by extensive traditional media, online and social media which involve blogging, social-networking and online campaigns. Cultivates and maintains excellent relationships with large numbers of supporters and subscribers through social media campaigns. Strategizes on how to use online and social media to advance organizational goals.
  • Communicates with print publications, TV, radio, cable channels, independent video producers, freelancers, and other media outlets.
  • Establishes internal database containing in-house media lists. Conducts Internet research to develop list of contacts with traditional print, broadcast and other media.
  • Updates in-house media lists. Conducts Internet research to develop list of contacts with traditional print, broadcast and other media.
  • Manages media monitoring service (Cision). Tracks and negotiates service contract, produces media monitoring reports, updates media contact lists and develops strategies for effective email-based outreach. Prepares media coverage report for Board of Trustees and other leadership.
  • Tracks other media metrics and analytics as appropriate.

 Science and Institute Writing and Editing (15%)

  • Works closely with faculty and scientists to collect information and apply technical expertise for the application and translation of scientific research into a wide variety of lay audience materials.
  • Writes op-eds as requested in proper journalism style using proper grammar.
  • Compiles and authors feature articles, research highlights, news and notes, headlines, captions, and other science stories for inclusion in Institute magazine (hard copy and electronic) and email newsletter.
  • As needed, writes or edits highly technical, comprehensive, and compelling documents about complex science issues across science disciplines within Salk, such as copy for science brochures, programs, public speeches, exhibits, and other publications that convey the depth and breadth of the Institute's research and its scientists.

Personnel Management (15%)

  • Supervises daily activities of Science Writer and contract writers. Remains ultimately accountable for their work product. Backs up position operationally when needed.
  • Develops and maintains a climate supportive of skill and knowledge enhancement; communicates career development opportunities to staff.
  • Conducts hiring, performance management and other employment actions as needed, including: screening applications, interviewing candidates; providing guidance on performance standards and Institute policies and procedures.
  • Conducts performance evaluations and makes recommendations for employee salary increases, bonuses, and promotions.

Project management/misc (5%)

  • Works with development colleagues in communicating the importance of Salk science to a general audience.
  • Works closely with and provide feedback to research investigators in developing written materials as related to external communications.
  • Identifies news and feature material, and write and/or edits compelling, scientifically accurate and journalistically strong copy, translating complex scientific jargon into news and feature articles for internal and external publications, and other materials for a general readership.
  • Helps manage freelance writers in traffic coordination of press release production.
  • Works with Senior Science Writer, Video Communications Manager, Photographer and Designers on production of press release videos and images.



  •  +3 years of experience in media relations and communications or
  • +3 years of professional experience writing and translating complex concepts for publication and distribution to mass media.
  • Some experience writing about complex scientific topics from information obtained from scientists for presentation through the media.


  • +2 years of journalism experience.



  •  BA/BS degree in a related field or the equivalent combination of education and relevant work experience.


  •  Bachelor's degree in life sciences, communications, or journalism



  •  Ability to translate complex scientific concepts accurately and intelligently to non-scientific audience.
  • Proven ability to write scientifically accurate, grammatically correct content for news releases, opinion pieces, features, documents, web, and other scientific efforts.
  • Demonstrated understanding of media relations and to effectively serve as a key media contact for all Salk science and leadership initiatives.
  • Strong interview skills. Proven ability to create and implement comprehensive media campaigns that support institutional goals and priorities; proven excellent news judgment. Ability to identify and seize proactive media opportunities that promote Salk and its science.
  • Ability to edit and proofread with proficiency.
  • Proven excellent computer skills, with proficiency at MS Word, PhotoShop, Excel, PowerPoint, and Cumulus. Mac experience preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as a member of a team and to maintain professional and productive relationships with faculty, staff, administrators, the public and the media.
  • Ability to juggle multiple tasks, with frequent interruptions. Ability to adhere to strict deadlines. Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Knowledge of popular social networking sites and how Salk's exposure can be maximized through use of them.
  • Ability to be proactive and assertive in developing and maintaining relationships with colleagues, the media, and any relevant outside entities to support work assignment.


  •  Proven ability to identify and translate complex science news from within Salk's scientific disciplines.
  • Technical knowledge of the biological sciences.


  •  Must be able to work evenings and weekends, as needed.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Must be willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Able to work a flexible schedule based on workload and deadlines.


This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, siting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, witting, working in confined areas and inside. 


Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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