Senior Political Media Strategist
Vera Institute of Justice
Who we are:
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.
Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.
Who you are:
As our first Senior Political Media Strategist, you are prepared to lead on the conceptualization and execution of media and communications strategies for Vera Action, Vera Institute of Justice’s independent, but closely aligned, 501(c)(4) affiliate. Vera Action’s mission is to harness advocacy, policy, and narrative change to end mass incarceration, fight for immigrants’ rights, bring dignity to people behind bars, and to build safe, thriving communities.
As the Senior Political Media Strategist, you will supervise and be responsible for the development and implementation of communications strategies for multiple projects at Vera Action, including the organization’s work to change the politics and narrative around issues of crime and safety. You will work closely with Vera Action’s Director, Deputy Director, and a wide range of internal and external partners to ensure that media efforts are supporting Vera Action’s strategy and goals. You will also ensure that the digital teams at Vera Institute of Justice and Vera Action have the content they need to amplify advocacy priorities and issues. Ultimately, you will hold the bottom-line responsibility in overseeing the measurement of media impact across Vera Action.
What you'll do:
Vera Action Communications Strategy
- Develop and execute a communications strategy, in coordination with Vera Action, Vera Institute of Justice, and external partners, to drive narrative and policy change and regularly report on progress
- Survey the media landscape for opportunities and challenges based on legislation, breaking news, elections, and other trends
- Develop messaging to support Vera Action’s advocacy priorities and campaigns
- Develop and execute a crisis communications response plan for a variety of scenarios related to any potential incidents
Thought Leadership and Positioning
- Identify and implement strategic ways to promote Vera Action’s work (i.e., reports, message testing, policy analysis, statements, etc.) and the public profile of Vera Action and its leadership. Opportunities could include conferences, speaking engagements, briefings, etc.
- Draft and edit content to make regular contributions to the national conversation around public safety (i.e., op-eds, blogs, letters to the editor, etc.)
- Craft statements and talking points, and provide relevant media trainings
- Create media opportunities for Vera Action leadership and / or partners through direct pitching
- Introduce Vera Action staff and leadership to reporters, editors, and producers, and maintain ongoing relationships with these individuals – both national press and local press in media markets where Vera Action work is focused
- Collaborate with Vera Institute of Justice’s communications, advocacy, research, digital, and editorial and program staff to ensure coherent messaging development and delivery
- Collaborate with Vera Action digital and editorial teams to ensure coordination of communication strategies and tight integration with Vera Action’s overall messaging
Other duties as assigned
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:
- Strong managerial skills, particularly in developing a new team or function
- Preferred: Work experience that includes 2-3 years of direct supervisory experience of rising communications talent
- Established media pitching experience, in addition to experience providing media training
- Strong writing and research skills
- Flexibility, adaptability, and productivity in a changing political climate
- Strong inter-relational skills and experience working effectively in a large organization with multiple stakeholders
What qualifications are we looking for?
- At least 6 years of work experience in communications, including at least 5 years of experience in political campaigns, nonprofit advocacy spaces, and / or government
- Ability to travel up to 20% of the time
- Ability to provide after-hours support, as needed
- Experience working with policy coalitions, electoral campaigns, and community-based partners
- Ability to consider multiple perspectives, think critically, provide an analysis, evaluate risk, and implement solutions to complex problems
- Influential communication skills, able to justify recommendations to diverse audiences in a compelling manner
- Highly proficient with Microsoft Office Suite
- An uncompromising commitment to justice and race equity
- Candidates who have a strong background in media relations or communications strategy are welcome to apply
- We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace – specifically, we value diverse experiences regarding educational background and justice system contact
Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY, or Washington, D.C. office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.
Compensation and Benefits:
The compensation range for this position is $89,500 - $94,500. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff – both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.
Applications may also be faxed to:
ATTN: People Resources / Senior Political Media Strategist
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
In order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability / medical contraindication or sincerely held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.
Vera is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.
Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.
For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org