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Communications and PR Specialist

Gaston College   Charlotte, NC   Full-time     Education
Posted on September 8, 2021
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Gaston College is seeking to fill the following position: Communications and PR Specialist

The Communications and PR Specialist acts as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the College and is responsible for planning, developing, and implementing internal and external public relations and media relation strategies in support of the College’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Strategic Plan by heightening the College’s reputation and brand.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Supports the College’s success by strengthening media and public relations and raising awareness of the College’s reputation and brand. This includes drafting press releases, pitches, and media summaries; developing and maintaining relationships with media contacts; managing media requests in a timely and professional manner; organizing and scheduling college personnel interviews; tracking and analyzing media coverage; and ensuring that communications are cohesive with the brand image.
  2. Assists in developing and implementing media and public relations strategies through effective communications, under the direction of the Executive Director of Marketing and Communications.
  3. Implements media and public relations plans to support the College’s initiatives and events including, but not limited to, enrollment, major gifts, facility renovations and openings, key partnership events, and other newsworthy activities. Provides guidance and support to departments and campuses for media and public relations activities.
  4. Identifies and writes news stories to highlight the College’s academic excellence, new and existing programs, innovative culture, and successes of students, faculty, staff, and other key stakeholders, and cultivates opportunities for headline coverage across various media channels. Takes and edits photos to accompany stories and other written communications.
  5. Serves as the College's Public Information Officer (PIO), official media contact and principal spokesperson to the public and media with a primary focus on promoting positive public relations. Maintains contact with supervisor, and other senior leadership as appropriate, in matters relating to news media, public statements, and public relations activities.  Serves as the communications specialist for emergency operations and response.
  6. Assists with public events, press conferences, meetings, and public appearances as needed.
  7. Writes content, garners appropriate approvals, and effectively develops and disseminates College communications, including press releases, media packets, website content, emails, articles, and other internal/external communication pieces. 
  8. Maintains a database of College highlights and key facts, College awards and recognitions, and information on key positions and leaders.
  9. Assists in increasing internal communications and awareness of various activities, events, recognitions, etc. by identifying and writing stories of interest with the goal of cultivating an informed and proud culture.
  10. Coordinates communications activities with other members of the Marketing and Communications team to effectively use the website, social media, and other tools to promote and elevate the College’s reputation and brand.
  11. Develops and maintains an annual “communications activities” calendar that identifies and plans for key communications and activities to support and promote public relations, key events, etc. Measures PR program impacts using regular reporting.
  12. Schedules and coordinates internal and external photography and video services for College public relations-related activities as needed.
  13. Encourages the submission of suggestions for internal and external PR and media stories and related activities. 
  14. Responds timely to internal and external communications and requests and attends and participates in meetings and other College events to ensure that communications and PR interests are covered. Provides communications and related support as requested such as speech writing, talking points, and scripts. 
  15. Provides editing support for various College and special publications as requested.
  16. Maintains records of all media coverage and related PR information.
  17. Maintains a high standard of professionalism in representing the College including confidentiality in all aspects of the position’s responsibilities and adherence to policies, procedures, and other established guidelines as appropriate.   Adheres to professional accountability and accepts responsibility for managing situations and problems.  Works cooperatively with team members and colleagues, contributing positively and constructively to the achievement of team and College objectives and provide a high level of service to customers by establishing and maintaining effective working relationships and partnerships. 
  18. Performs other duties as assigned.  

 

MINIMUM EDUCATION QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor's degree from a nationally accredited institution required. 
  • Bachelor's degree from a nationally accredited institution in journalism, communications, or public relations preferred.

 

MINIMUM EXPERIENCE QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least three years of public relations/communications experience. 
  • Demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience in the design and execution of public relations and communications required.
  • Strong creative, strategic, analytical, and organizational skills required.
  • Must be able to assimilate large amounts of information, research topics, and write on unfamiliar topics. Experience writing about a variety of topics preferred.
  • Strong storytelling, oral and written communications skills required, including excellent skills with structure, grammar, spelling, etc.
  • Must be able to build rapport with diverse populations
  • Excellent time-management skills and ability to prioritize and meet deadlines required.
  • Valid driver’s license required.
  • Proficiency in MS Office software required. 
  • Basic photography and photo editing skills preferred.
  • Experience working with various media outlets preferred.
  • Knowledge of social media channels and experience using them to support communications efforts preferred.