Press & Communications Manager

ABOUT WITNESS 

We are a global human rights organization, a collective of passionate human rights activists with (mostly remote) team members all over the world. WITNESS’ mission is to help people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. We are a 45-person multi-disciplinary team with staff based across 5 continents. While we’re legally a non-profit that is registered as a 501(c)3 in the U.S, we are a global collective: our  staff members (as well as consultants, interns, fellows and a vast community of partners and collaborators) are based around the world and reflect a group of activists with diverse skills and backgrounds. 

 

WHAT WE DO

WITNESS pairs grassroots community support with advocacy at a systems level. Our team works holistically on a global scale to understand how communities are using and want to use video and technology for human rights.  With a cellphone camera, anyone can become a human rights defender and expose injustice, making it harder for perpetrators to hide or for systems of oppression to remain invisible.  But using video for community organizing, justice and accountability can be dangerous – videos can put defenders (or those they film) at risk, can be used against communities in court or deceitfully discredited by tired old power narratives.  Filming is almost never enough – for videos to make a difference they need to work alongside strong advocacy or legal strategies; they also need to be created, preserved and shared in ways that avoid creating more harm or trauma. 

New threats to human rights are emerging at the intersection of artificial intelligence, misinformation and disinformation and a global wave of rising authoritarianism.

When it comes to systemic challenges we are on the watch for both existing problems – like how large amounts of critical human rights footage are lost because of the arbitrary decisions of platforms – but also emerging threats and opportunities, such as those posed by ‘deepfakes’, new ways to manipulate media to make it look like someone said or did something they never did.

THE ROLE 

WITNESS is seeking an experienced, energetic and multi-talented leader to join its team as a full-time Press and Communications Manager. The successful candidate will help frame and communicate WITNESS’ mission to reporters and editors, as well as to core audiences via WITNESS’ owned media, including its mailings and its website.

THE RESPONSIBILITIES

Media Strategy & Press Relations 

  • Develop and implement proactive earned media/press strategies for WITNESS’ mission, programs and thought leadership
  • Develop  and execute proactive media/press relations strategies, pitches and angles to help support WITNESS’ advocacy goals, raise its profile,  and promote its mission
  • Proactively develop, engage, and grow a portfolio of relevant media relation
  • Follow-up and respond to media requests – including scheduling and staffing meetings as appropriate
  • Support regional staff in engaging local media and press, prepare and advise staff on speaking with media
  • Develop and implement organizational publicity strategies for public events and advocacy strategies
  • Create and manage WITNESS’ press database
  • Track and archive  WITNESS’ earned media coverage 
  • Represent the organization at press conferences, interviews, etc.
  • Support media training for WITNESS’ staff and partners
  • Help develop talking points and other documents as needed for media interviews and media opportunities

Writing 

  • Draft opinion pieces, press releases, and media relations products  for WITNESS
  • Write institutional communications materials including website content, donor briefings, annual reports, announcements, emails and social media
  • Support on editing and writing for programmatic report launches and other programmatic materials

Positioning & Branding 

  • Oversee and manage the cohesive, compelling and consistent positioning and messaging of the organization’s mission, theory of change, strategies, programs, and impact for internal and external audiences
  • Oversee and manage the integrity of the WITNESS brand, its voice and visuals
  • Maintain and manage relationships with graphic designers and third party contractors

 

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE 

Experience: At least 5 years of progressively gaining responsibilities and experience in media/press relations and writing experience in non-profits and/or journalism.
Human Rights Background in (or passion for) human rights; Committed to social justice and WITNESS’ values/mission and to a global, human rights lead approach.
Languages: We are a global team who use English as our shared language, as such this role requires a high proficiency of written and spoken English. Additional languages are a plus.
Characteristics: Strong interpersonal skills and aptitude for cross-cultural communication. Team-minded. A doer. Is organized and follows through. Espouses good humor under pressure; inspires others.
Education: You can tell us about your degrees, but we’re more interested in what your passions are and what you can do. If your degrees are part of that story, great!  (But no formal education required).

Other Important Skills

  • Proven track record to communicate WITNESS programs, mission, vision and ethos, and engage stakeholders using a DEI approach, with intersectional lens and decolonial framework
  • Strong relationships with media outlets and reporters, experience being or working with journalists
  • Experience proactively recognizing and spotting opportunities for the organization and/or its programs to engage the media
  • A strong news sense and ability to identify, promote and shape an engaging story
  • Social media savvy
  • Ability to integrate into a faced-paced, team-first work environment, embracing and supporting coworkers in their objectives and goals as necessary
  • The ability to write clearly and succinctly
  • Strong interpersonal, problem solving, planning and organizational skills, and the ability to handle several duties simultaneously
  • Self-sufficient and proactive

Bonus skills- but not necessary

  • Experience creating visual-first marketing and public relations materials 
  • Experience in analyzing and interpreting audience analytics

Location: We are a globally distributed, remote workforce; this is a full-time position, with location preferences that include Africa, Latin America, and Europe, among others. At this time, our team members are working through hybrid office arrangements, combining remote at-home work with intermittent use of offices and/or co-working spaces. 

Typically, we can only consider applicants who are already legally able to work in the country in which the role is based. Visa sponsorship or relocation allowance are rare, and offered only for specialized positions. The successful candidate must have the legal right-to-work in the location in which they will be based

Compensation:  WITNESS operates a salary localisation policy using a combination of regularly reviewed FX and salary adjustment multipliers for various locations. 

Based on current rates, gross salaries for some of our current locations are given as an example:

  • New York CityUSD 78,931
  • Brazil –  BRL 281,716
  • South Africa –  ZAR 879,819
  • MalaysiaMYR 189,437 

Benefits:

  • Health: WITNESS also offers competitive and robust medical benefits that cover an individual’s medical, dental and vision at 100% and covers a % of the individual’s dependents.
  • Life Insurance & AD & D: WITNESS provides life insurance and AD&D payable at one time (1x)  the employee’s salary, to the beneficiary, in the event an employee were to expire while employed by the organization.
  • Remote Work Stipend: WITNESS recognizes that flexible working arrangements are key to equity and inclusion in the workplace and we provide a $175 USD monthly remote work allowance, we are happy to talk about the type of flexible arrangements that might work best for you. This remote work stipend is provided to all staff members to pay for extra equipment, electricity, stationery, internet, wellness,  or whatever an employee deems necessary in order to work remotely. Please note that a computer and basic accessories are provided to all employees at the time of hire.
  • Pension Contributions: After 1 year of service at the organization, WITNESS will contribute 3% of an individual’s gross salary towards a global retirement fund.
  • Paid Time Off: WITNESS has a range of paid time off types that support our staff.
    • Vacation leave: that meets local statutory levels or 15 days whichever is higher, in addition to staff’s local public holidays.
      • The vacation allowance increases by 5 days to 20 days after 3 years of service.
    • Personal / Wellness leave: 5 days staff can use at any time to recharge in recognition of the importance of supporting positive mental well being.
    • End of Year closure: which usually is equivalent to a minimum of 5 days leave in addition to any public holidays across the last week of December and early January.
    • Sick Leave: follows local statutory guidance however; 
      • WITNESS ensures a minimum of 10 days paid time off for occasional sickness and health related absences.
      • A minimum of 6 weeks of full pay in instances of longer term absence.
    • Sabbatical Leave: At the 10 year mark we offer staff 10 weeks of paid time off in order to take a break, gain new insights and expand their horizons.
  • Work/ Life Balance :WITNESS believes in creating a healthy work environment in which  flexible schedules are available, we also understand that sometimes an employee may just require a few hours to take care of personal issues in which case they can adjust their hours to make up for the time instead of taking a full day of leave. Both are allowable once agreed upon with the departmental supervisors.
  • Mental Health Policy: WITNESS feels that all employees should feel supported both physically as well as mentally while they are at work and realizes that many times the issues that we deal with, the materials that we watch and the events surrounding some of the work that we do, can lead to feeling “unwell” and not in a “good space”.
    Should a situation arise in which an Employee requests support on mental health, WITNESS will award  (10) days of “WITNESS” paid leave.
  • Professional Development: In support of the growth and development of our staff, WITNESS regularly seeks opportunities for professional development, exposure to new skills and supports a culture of learning. 
    • As part of this we offer staff Reading Days (1 day per month) where staff can take a day to read, study and connect more deeply with peers, partners and colleagues to further functional knowledge relevant to their role or deepen their general understanding and ability to support human rights work.

HOW TO APPLY

If you are interested in joining the WITNESS team, please apply through BambooHR. You will need to attach your resume, cover letter, and contact information for 3 references.

We are interested in hearing about what you’ve done, what you can do, and what you want to do at WITNESS.

Please include a cover letter. We are interested in hearing about what you’ve done, what you can do, and what you want to do at WITNESS.

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Applications accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled; early applications encouraged. Please note that due to the volume anticipated, we will not be able to respond individually to each applicant.  We kindly ask that you do not send duplicate applications via mail or email, and no phone calls. 

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WITNESS is a global human rights organization and aims to build an inclusive workforce that is reflective of the communities we work with. We are interested in building a talented team that brings their true selves with diverse backgrounds, cultures and perspectives. We are interested in receiving applications from those who are marginalized and underrepresented. 

WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer. People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under international federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply. 

http://www.witness.org



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